Is my basement reno quote too high?

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Posted by: from St. Thomas, On
9/10/2016 at 1:57:44 PM

Hi all,

I recently had a reputable contracting/design firm design a 700 square foot basement reno in St. Thomas ON (near London) and later furnish a quote. I think their quote is quite high and I'm looking for feedback.

The basment in the five-year-old house has framing, electrical, ductwork and a bathroom pre-installed by a builder. I am seeking a relatively no-frills finishing of two bedrooms and a llving area according to the existing framing. The only new framing required is for a small landing area at the bottom of the stairs and to create a bulkhead of about 10 feet on one bedroom to surround existing ductwork. Installation involves one set of two french doors for the living area, two closets with bifold doors and two bedroom doors. Other details included berber carpet, one extra electrical circuit for fireplace (electric panel has plenty of extra capacity). All trim, finishing and painting included. I insist on building permits, to be obtained by the contractor. The quote works out to about $45 per square foot + 13% Ontario HST, for a total of $32,000 before HST. I was expecting much less, given that electrical and framing are done and no bathroom work is involved. I

I am wondering what others think of that price?

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Jeff from JTL Construction in Winnipeg
Date/Time9/10/2016 at 5:21:50 PM

Hi customer,

Everybody gets too fixated on price and nothing about the history of the the company giving the price. The price you received is very good we start at $40 sqft and bathrooms would add $10k. Adding two french type doors would definetely add to price. We would not include flooring at $40 sqft.

There are costs customers never see other then the costs on the quote sheet like insurances workers comprnsation tools etc all costs incurred but never shown on quote sheet.

There are good companies dont nickel and dime them. If the companies price is low it just means they are desperate and price will change during project when they realize they under quoted it!!

Great price!!!

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David in St. Thomas, On
Date/Time9/10/2016 at 5:50:51 PM

Nobody is trying to nickel and dime anyone, just get some feedback on the quote. Would your quote still start at $40 a square foot when framing and electrical are pre-Installed? Is that $40 before HST.

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Date/Time9/10/2016 at 6:01:35 PM

I'd say you did good. I would have charged about 40k. When it comes to hiring a contractor the price is the price and it's worth should show in the outcome. You really do get what you pay for. Get 5 estimates and run a check on all of them.

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Raffaele from Shield Renovations in Burlington
Date/Time9/10/2016 at 6:28:11 PM


Prices vary, depending on the size of the contractors business. If you go with a more reputable and larger company the price will always be higher as they have a lot more overhead. When you use one of these contractors you tend to get more reliability and should something happen down the line you know they wont just fold up and disappear over night. You could find someone who will do your basement for half that price, but it will be a one man show contractor who has no insurance or and employees. It will take him longer to complete and these types of workers tend to do everything themselves instead of hiring trade masters for each trade as larger companies do.

It all comes down to you typically get what you pay for.



Shield Renovations

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Ernie from Edj Decorating in Winnipeg
Date/Time9/10/2016 at 9:21:59 PM

Yeah, I would agree seeing how most of the framing is done. Framing the remainder 250.00. Insulating and vapour barier 0.80 sq.ft. Drywall up to 1.00 sq.ft. Taping should be about the same. Priming n Paint ng could be up to 0.70 to 1.10 sq ft. Install doors 250.00 to 300.00 per door. Casing and baseboard 1.50 ft. 0.75 ft to paint baseboard. So all of this is what I charge for labour. The electrical is a plus cost. The permit is also a plus cost.


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Date/Time9/10/2016 at 10:48:57 PM

This price is fair enough as long as you have a good contractor that he would do a good job with obtaining the building permits which will add on a few thousands of $$$ and its included already as you said.

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David in St. Thomas, On
Date/Time9/11/2016 at 1:38:06 PM

Thanks, everybody, for the responses so far. You've all certainly helped me gain a better understanding of what goes into the pricing and some of the factors to consider. If anyone else wishes to comment, I welcome your opinion and suggestions.

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Matthew from Matt of All Trades in Kitchener
Date/Time9/11/2016 at 10:41:24 PM

It seems to be in line with the average square ft price for a basement.

Maybe a little high as some framing and electrical is in. Permit work is generally charged out higher than non permit work. Delays from inspectors, any changes, drawings and all the details required for a permit simply cost more.

I would get a few quotes from other companies.

But what do I know, I am only a "One man show"...who pays insurance, WSIB, and taxes.

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Patrick from PSInsulation in Sudbury
Date/Time9/12/2016 at 5:24:10 PM

Too high. It should be down around 8000 for labour plus material.

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