What is the Average Salary of a Residential Remodeler
Pro Tips

What is the Average Salary of a Residential Remodeler

BuildBook Team
October 19, 2022
Updated:
October 19, 2022

Residential remodeler salaries across the United States have risen since 2021. It is believed that residential remodelers salaries will rise again in 2022, due to the hot housing market. Salaries are expected to increase as much as 10% -15% in the most active regions.

Residential remodelers are defined as having the experience, resources, and licensing to remodel structures safely and effectively for their clients. We have not included remodelers salary data if they also build new homes.

Remodeler salaries are often a function of reputation, experience, and quality of work. Unlike general contractors and home builders, residential remodelers are often working while the client is in the home. Positive client relationships are the bread and butter of residential remodelers. 

In 2021, residential remodelers in some markets earning a 50% increase in their salary.

We will discuss the average salaries of residential remodelers by region, expertise, and experience level. Residential remodelers tend to work locally (as opposed to builders who work in several states), so reputation for honesty, quality, and professionalism can affect salaries significantly.

How do residential remodelers profit in a downturn? 

Remodelers are generally working in a much larger market than home builders and developers because they primarily work with existing homes. Developers and home builders salaries tend to follow the rise and fall of the real estate market, while residential remodelers’ salaries are more stable.

Residential remodelers have a more consistent market demand because they can find profitable work regardless of market conditions. As real estate markets heat up, existing owners tend to update and remodel their homes in hopes of a higher resale value. 

Or, as prices rise, some potential buyers are priced out of the market and opt to remodel their homes instead of moving. This creates demand for residential remodelers even when home builders are selling everything they can build.

In cooler market conditions, house flippers find deals on dilapidated properties and hire remodelers to create sweat equity in the project. In fact, many residential remodelers are flippers themselves when supply of homes exceeds demand.

Simply put, home builders are restricted by land availability, buyer demand, and interest rates. In contrast, remodelers work with existing structures and are often funded by home equity. High interest rates can actually benefit remodelers because homebuyers are forced to stay put.

What is the average salary of a residential remodeler?

Based on salary data collected from multiple sources, the average salary for a residential remodeler in the U.S. is about $60,000 per year. We gathered data from:

  • Employment Recruitment Companies
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Client Referral Websites 
  • University Studies

The most current reliable salary data we have is from 2021, which was chaotic for the building industry. With stimulus checks plentiful and the PPE program in full gear, the building industry as a whole went from a near standstill to full speed ahead in a matter of just months.

As a result, salaries across the industry increased, worsening the fear of runaway inflation. The housing sector is closely tied to not only the GDP, but interest rates as well. In 2021, this led to residential remodelers in some markets earning a 50% increase in their salary.

On the flip side, some smaller remodelers found themselves taking a small pay cut to offset the rising cost of materials. To get projects completed on budget, some were forced to increase wages as well, leading to lower overall profitability.

Protip: Check out our article, How to Make $1,000,000 as a Remodeler

What affects residential remodeler salaries?

The salaries earned by remodelers are mostly affected by their experience, expertise, and location. The most successful residential remodelers provide profitable, high quality work in, or around a medium to large city

Although this may seem an oversimplification, many residential remodelers tend to work local to where they live. If a remodeler primarily serves and resides in a region with lower home values, the cost per project is often lower. Since homeowner wages are often lower in these areas as well, more homeowners lack the capital for home improvements.

Unlike home builders that often follow hot markets around the country, remodelers tend to stay in place, develop a following, and become multi-generational businesses.

Conversely, a residential remodeler living and working in San Francisco, California with a stellar reputation can often name their price. San Francisco obviously has a high cost of living compared to other places, but home values are so high many homeowners are willing to pay higher prices for quality, and can afford to do so.

All residential remodelers deal with the same concerns, like material costs and interest rates. How you deal with these concerns in your business however can make a big difference in your salary.

Experience

Unlike developers and general contractors selling homes one time, remodelers can remodel the same structure over and over. This makes a positive reputation critical to the prices remodelers can charge. 

We should understand that we are modifying what is likely our client’s most valuable possession. This makes reliability, honesty, and quality the most important factors clients consider when hiring a residential remodeler.

Financial Stability

The best way to ruin a stellar reputation is to experience financial trouble as a remodeler. Most client’s rank project completion as the most important element of a remodel. Not completing a project due to financial mismanagement is a remodeler’s worst enemy.

We must consider cash flow management just as important as passing an inspection. With social media now the most used method clients use to find contractors, one bad review can doom a business.

Expertise

Serving a niche solves two problems at once. First, serving a niche means less competition, so pricing pressures are lower. Second, serving a niche leads to perceived expertise from the perspective of the client, so they will pay extra for quality and experience. 

Quality

Quality, whether you work in lower income areas or gated communities, means giving the client what they paid for. Even if projects have basic requirements, a quality job will usually mean future work. Remodelers that provide the most value to the client tend to have higher salaries. 

Customer Service 

Many remodeling clients rank customer service as more important than price when negotiating with a remodeler. Again, we are helping our clients with their most valuable asset, so many clients need to feel confident their remodeler won’t disappear when the last check is cashed. 

Where can I find salary data for residential remodelers?

You can find reliable, up-to-date salary data in university studies, online job recruiters, and online government databases.

We gathered salary data from websites that provide economic data and employment statistics by region. Employment recruiting websites like Ziprecruiter and Indeed use data collected from their recruiting efforts to establish pay ranges.

Sites like comparably.com are good at narrowing down the details of what affects your salary. The online tool lets you select factors that apply to your situation to see how each one affects salaries in the region.

Some websites, like thumbtack.com and homeadvisor.com collect data from contractors and clients to establish a baseline cost for services. These companies function as a club, which you can join to gain access to their database.  

Government sources 

Government funded agencies, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLA) is a reliable source for salary data, but the information may not be as up-to-date as that provided by commercial companies. However, you can also access cost of living data while you’re there.

What outside influences affect residential remodeler salaries?

Residential remodelers are subject to the standard influences found in any construction project, like material prices and labor availability. Fortunately, remodelers can control many of the negative factors that can affect their profitability. Here are a few:

Experience and reputation

Residential remodelers rely on at least some repeat business. Because many serve local markets, a good reputation is the best calling card they can have. Conversely, a few bad reviews in a row can wipe out years of credibility. 

Quality

Quality doesn’t stop at the job you’re performing. Quality also means being prompt, clean, safe, and timely. If you provide these services consistently, your marketing costs will shrink because clients will search for you.

Customer service

Great service after the sale is a hallmark of profitable remodelers. It’s been said that happy clients tell five friends, while unhappy clients tell ten. Most new clients ask a friend or relative for a referral, much like they would for a dentist or car repair shop.

Financial management

We must devote the time and resources to cash flow management, as mismanagement is the most common cause of remodeling business failures. Having an easy to use system is critical to maintaining a handle on both accounts payable and receivable. 

Where do residential remodelers earn the highest salary?

According to indeed.com (a job recruitment website), just over half of residential remodelers feel their salary is keeping pace with the cost of living in their area. On average, residential remodelers earn the most in the Northeast and Northwest regions of the United States, but only by roughly 5 to 7 percent. 

Northeast remodeler salaries

The top reported salaries in the Northeast region of the U.S. were:

  1. New York, NY - $25.00/hr - 38.00/hr
  2. Jersey City, NJ - $28.00/hr - $53.00/hr
  3. Rochester, NH - $31.00/hr - $54.00/hr

Based on the data we found, the average annual salary for this region is $79,386, with the highest being $112,320 per year in New Hampshire and the lowest being $52,000 per year in New York. 

Southeast remodeler salaries

In the southeast, Florida is considered a utopia for residential remodelers because the building season never really ends. Southeastern markets like Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN are just above the national average, but rural markets in the southeast tend to be some of the lowest.

  1. Atlanta, GA - $22.00/hr - $46.00/hr
  2. Nashville, TN - $30.00/hr - $48.00/hr
  3. Jackson, MS - $16.00/hr - $24.00/hr

Based on the data we found, the average annual salary for this region is $64,480, with the highest being $99,840 per year in Nashville and the lowest being $33,280 per year in Jackson, MS.

Northwest remodeler salaries

The Northwest region is home to the highest salary reported for residential remodelers.

  1. Seattle, WA - $22.00/hr - $30.00/hr
  2. Portland, OR - $46.00/hr - $61.00/hr
  3. Jackson Hole, WY - $17.00/hr - $25.00/hr

Based on the data we found, the average annual salary for this region is $69,680, with the highest being $126,880 per year in Portland and the lowest being $35,360 per year in Jackson Hole.

Southwest remodeler salaries

Just south of the region with the highest reported salary, the Southwest is home to the state with the lowest salary reported for residential remodelers.

  1. Los Angeles, CA - $14.00/hr - $39.00/hr
  2. Las Vegas, NV - $22.00/hr - $25.00/hr
  3. Albuquerque, NM - $12.00/hr - $28.00/hr

Based on the data we found, the average annual salary for this region is $48,533, with the highest being $81,120 per year in Los Angeles and the lowest being $24,960 per year in Albuquerque.

How can a residential remodeler increase their salary?

Since most remodelers receive their pay in the form of a salary and bonuses, profitability is key to higher salaries. Your focus should be on providing the most value for the client, regardless of the project. Clients love to boast about great deals, so make sure they get one.

Focusing on these areas are fool-proof ways to improve profitability and increase your salary:

  • Quality Work
  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Timely Completion
  • Customer Service
  • Reputation

Spend most of your time improving what is important to your clients. If we focus on what is important to the client, most other problems will fix themselves. Cash flow, legal expenses, and reputation damage can be avoided before they occur by giving the client a great experience they’ll brag about.

How efficiency increases residential remodeler salaries 

Residential remodelers often have a few projects going at once, which can require a fair amount of project management. The most successful remodelers are constantly looking for ways to improve their profits by keeping a pulse on new tools and technology that can help save time and increase their margins.

Utilizing construction management software has quickly become the most popular way for remodelers to improve their efficiency and increase their salary. With the majority of remodelers still relying on notepads and spreadsheets to manage their projects and business, those that have already shifted to software have gained a noticeable market advantage.

With more modern and affordable construction software now available, the learning curve and barrier to entry has been eliminated, allowing remodelers to modernize their business without spending 1,000's of dollars or endless hours of training.

BuildBook construction management software has become a favorite among remodelers due to its speed and simplicity.

BuildBook offers remodelers tools to create and manage contacts, estimates, tasks, schedules, and so much more in a modern interface that doesn’t require any training to use.  Whether you are a remodeler tracking progress across several projects or you’re on the job site putting together a daily report, BuildBook makes it easy.

To schedule a free demo to see how BuildBook can increase your salary, just click here to learn more and book a time.

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