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Why Cost-Plus?

When it comes to financing a remodeling project, homeowners and contractors often explore different billing methods. One such approach, which is gaining popularity in the construction and remodeling industry, is the cost-plus billing method. In this blog post, we'll take an in-depth look at the process of billing cost-plus in a remodeling project.

What is Cost-Plus Billing?

Cost-plus billing, also known as a cost-plus contract, is a financial arrangement where the homeowner pays the actual cost of materials, labor, and any other expenses related to the project, plus a predetermined percentage or fee for the contractor's services. This method offers transparency, flexibility, and a clear understanding of where the money is going, making it a preferred choice for many homeowners and contractors.

Here is a step-by-step guide to the cost-plus billing process in a remodeling project:

Step 1: Establish the Agreement

Before you begin your remodeling project, it's crucial to establish a clear and detailed cost-plus contract with your contractor. This contract should outline the scope of work, project timeline, cost estimate, and the contractor's fee structure. The fee structure is typically expressed as a percentage of the total project cost or a fixed fee.

Step 2: Cost Estimation

In the cost-plus billing method, the contractor provides an estimate of the project's cost based on their experience, market prices for materials and labor, and a detailed breakdown of expenses. This estimate should be as accurate as possible to avoid any surprises during the project.

Step 3: Expense Tracking

Throughout the project, the contractor will track all expenses related to the remodeling work. This includes the cost of materials, subcontractor fees, labor costs, permits, and any other expenses directly related to the project. It's essential that these expenses are well-documented, with invoices and receipts kept for transparency.

Step 4: Regular Updates

Communication is key in a cost-plus billing arrangement. The contractor should provide regular updates on the project's progress and expenses to the homeowner. This transparency allows the homeowner to be aware of where their money is going and makes it easier to manage the budget effectively.

Step 5: Change Orders

Inevitably, changes and adjustments may be necessary during the remodeling project. These changes are addressed through what are known as "change orders." Change orders are documented and agreed upon by both the homeowner and the contractor and specify any additional costs or time adjustments resulting from the change.

Step 6: Final Accounting

Once the project is completed, the contractor compiles a final cost report, detailing all expenses incurred during the remodeling. This report includes the initial estimate, change orders, and any unexpected costs. The contractor's fee or percentage is applied to the total project cost.

Step 7: Payment

The homeowner pays the contractor based on the final accounting. This payment includes the actual cost of the project, as well as the contractor's fee. Payments may be made in installments throughout the project or as a lump sum at the end, as specified in the contract.

Step 8: Documentation

Both the homeowner and the contractor should keep comprehensive records of all financial transactions and project-related documents. This documentation is crucial for transparency, accountability, and potential legal purposes.


Billing cost-plus in a remodeling project offers a transparent and flexible approach to financing your home improvement endeavors. With a well-defined cost-plus contract, accurate cost estimation, and thorough expense tracking, homeowners can ensure that their project stays within budget, while contractors are fairly compensated for their services. By following this step-by-step guide, you can successfully navigate the cost-plus billing process and embark on your remodeling project with confidence and financial clarity.

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