The Cost vs. Value report has been around for more than two decades and is the most popular feature we publish, both in print and on the web. Remodelers responding to a recent query told us they keep it with them all year, employing it as a resource that not only validates their prices, but helps homeowners understand the benefits of different remodels.

“The report is perfect for the potential customer who is thinking about selling their home in the next five years and is apprehensive about putting money into improvements,” wrote a representative from the A Caspersen Company from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. “We show them the report and how much they will recoup when they sell their homes and they love it!”

Lots of dealers employ Cost vs. Value to educate customers on the reality of prices. Duane Oglesby, president at Oglesby Construction in Beaverton, Ore., discusses the report on the first sales call to find out which customers are serious.

“They see this as another source which gives them a better sense of costs for a wide variety of projects,” Oglesby wrote. “If we use this, we can add one category to another, too. This gives a rough estimate first so we can follow up with a detailed proposal later if we don’t have historical data on a certain type of project.”

"I refer to it on basically every sales call to give a reality check when needed." —Mary Kaye Wild, president, Wild Development Design and Renovation

“BHB Remodel & Renovation has used this report for a number of years as an introduction to provide realistic remodeling costs to our prospective customers,” wrote the company’s Gilbert, Ariz.-based owner, Kenneth Behrmann. “They really appreciate confirmation that supports quality remodeling and services by professionals and not TV reality shows and DIY programs.”

That reality check is a running theme among remodelers, with many citing the report as a dose of reality for customers who are used to the oft-exaggerated world of TV repair shows.

“It’s a great tool for setting budget expectations for various projects,” wrote Mary Kaye Wild, president at Wild Development Design and Renovation in Scottsdale, Ariz. “It’s a wonderful tool and I send it to every potential client before booking an appointment. I also refer to it on basically every sales call to give a reality check when needed as to what to expect, from basic to high-end projects.”

Beyond grounding the expectations for homeowners and customers, remodelers use the report to validate their own prices.

“We have the summary page laminated,” wrote a representative for Window World of Youngstown, Ohio. “It is a great third-party thumbs-up for the benefits of remodeling, especially at the value price we offer to our customers.”

Cost vs. Value is created from professional remodelers’ reports and is meant to show how much a project costs when the customer hires a pro. That makes it stand out for some remodelers.

“The data is solely collected from professional remodelers and builders who are much more likely to account for all their project costs, unlike other sources which include data from DIYers who inevitably do not report accurate costs such as permits, sweat equity, etc.,” wrote Molly McCabe, owner of A Kitchen That Works in Bainbridge Island, Wash.

The Cost vs. Value report serves as a litmus test for the relationship between these remodelers and their customers. By validating prices and curbing reality-show enhanced dreams of a whole home renovation for under $10,000 in 24 hours, the report helps rein in expectations and reinforce the benefits of remodeling.

Let us know how you use the Cost vs. Value report. Write to me at