8 years ago, I bought 5000 tiny little rubber bumpers to have in stock for use as needed when installing Kitchen cabinets. The cost of them worked out to around $0.02 each. Today those same little bumpers cost about $0.07 each, almost quadruple what they cost 8 years ago. That kind of price increase isn’t uncommon, yet I get clients who think it should cost around the same to renovate a bathroom as it did 5-10 years ago.
In many instances, the client has renovated in the past and has set a budget in line with the last time they did a similar renovation. But a renovation done 5-10 years ago will have cost much less than the same reno today. When deciding on a budget, some things need to be considered; especially the areas in which prices are being driven up.
Things driving up the cost of renovation:
- Fuel charges: This affects the transportation and delivery costs of the materials needed.
- Insurance costs: Labour is more costly today, partly due to fuel, but also due to insurance requirements, especially WSIB.
- Supply and demand of labour: Good help is very difficult to find and in many cases you will get what you pay for. Although occasionally a great handyman comes along who can provide quality work for an affordable price, it has been my experience that the low-cost renovator has questionable skills, can be unreliable and won’t do the work to the quality expected.
- License costs: These are the fees to keep special trades licensed.
- Overall cost of living: Think about the % increase in min. wage over the past few years. Contractors and trades people will be charging the same % more per hour to do work. They have to deal with the increase in the cost of living just the same as anyone else.
- Supply and demand: As resources are depleted and skilled manpower is booked, it drives up the value of materials and labour.
What does this mean?
Be prepared to spend more. 5-6 years ago I could remove and replace a tub for around $3000 materials, labour and taxes included. But 5 years ago the materials cost only around $1500 and the labour was around $25/hr. Today the same materials cost around $2000-$2500 and the labour is around $40/hr, and more if working with a licensed plumber.
The High Cost of Cutting Corners
Cutting corners may seem like the only way to keep the cost down. This is NEVER a good solution! It will cost you more in the long run. I have had many clients who chose to go with the cheapest quote, and in the end, the renovation cost more than the highest quote. Many trades and suppliers leave things out of the quote to hook you with a bargain price and then:
- “that’s extra” comes up as you ask for things moving forward
- if the workmanship is poor, you end up spending more dollars to correct what you are not happy with
- Your valuable time is lost, with the possibility of lost pay because you needed to be available to deal with the issues.
The cost of many items have skyrocketed. Others have had seemingly normal increases in cost over the years. Regardless, the fact is… things cost more today. That means that, overall, a renovation will cost more now compared to the cost of the same renovation 5-10 years ago.
Read Part two of this 3 part series for some tips on how you can spend your time and money wisely and how to be better prepared for the expense of a renovation. When planning a renovation a “Plan” is key in being prepared! Working with a designer is a great way to be prepared.