Understanding the Estimate Your Tampa Bay Residential Contractor May Present You With

As a state licensed residential contractor, the management team here at Jack O’ Trades has always taken the decision of how to present estimates to our clients very seriously. To us, clarity, transparency, and protection are always the goals with both estimates and contracts. We also like to present clients with estimates that will allow them to compare us to other residential contractors in as close to an “apples-to-apples” fashion as possible, while still remaining both simple and client appropriate.

From our experience, there are three typical ways that a Tampa Bay residential contractor might present you with an estimate for your home remodeling job. Each type of estimate not only presents a significantly different total cost, but also varies when it comes to the “leg work” that a client will have to handle on their own project. Each of the three estimate presentation types are illustrated below, and we strongly encourage you to review them all in order to get a better understanding of which type of service you are requesting, and which suits you most appropriately.


An estimate of this variety is typically suggested for a client that wishes to spend their own time, effort and design skills selecting and providing their own materials for the remodeling project at hand. One will find this to be the most inaccurate estimate you will receive for the following reasons:

• Since no materials have been selected, the complexity and difficulty of the installation cannot accurately be accounted for, thus creating a potentially large change in labor cost once chosen.

• Accurate scheduling of a project’s start and completion date is paramount, but without product selection, the following are undetermined: length of time to select products, delivery time of the materials, and how long installation of the specific materials will take.

• When attempting to budget for a remodeling project where only labor is presented in an estimate, how can one budget the entire project if only a portion of the job has been considered?


This type of estimate accounts for “baseline” or entry level material and installation cost. It will provide some accuracy, but is assumptive on most accounts, reflecting no specific product in most cases. This results in an estimate that is subject to vague interpretation. The overall cost of your final selections will almost always raise the cost of your labor and materials, creating a “hidden cost” which is subject to the client’s unique selection of materials, the additional labor to install these materials, and ultimately the integrity of the contractor.


An estimate of this nature will provide the most accurate possible cost for your entire project, reflecting specific materials and the respective labor cost to install these materials. This service will incorporate a collaborative design of the remodeled space with respect to the surrounding area based on the style and preferences of the client combined with the guidance and expertise of a design specialist. Since virtually all of the “leg work” is done upfront, a client can expect to invest some time with a designer and contractor, typically upwards of 1-2 weeks, prior to receiving an estimate in this scenario. Once you have received the estimate reflecting all of the finish materials and labor, your project can be commenced very quickly, with the only real restriction being based on delivery of materials and available scheduling.

If you’d like to speak to an experienced Tampa Bay residential contractor to learn more about these estimate option and how they apply to your project, please contact Jack O’ Trades here.