Door replacement markups: reality or myth?

January 13, 2012

You want a new exterior door installed. How do you make it happen? Many homeowners think the best method is to purchase a door and then hire a contractor to handle the installation. After all, everyone knows the rumors about how high contractor markups can be. However, you might be surprised at how small the markup often is when the contractor supplies the door. You might also be amazed at how much trouble it can save when a professional is involved in the purchase process.

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3 reasons to leave door replacement to a professional

How much is it worth to you to know the door you purchased is the best type for your application? You might know what style you prefer, but how much do you know about door sizing, jamb widths, handing, and what types of bores are needed for locks and deadbolts? The salesperson can provide some assistance, but they haven't seen your house and can only work with the information provided.

According to the R.S. Means Repair & Remodeling Cost Data guidebook, a standard 3-0 x 6-8 fiberglass door averages about $252, and a contractor charges about $44.50 for the installation. Their markup is included in with overhead and profit that normally averages around $50 for the entire project. That works out to less than 18 percent for markup, overhead, and profit to make sure the right door is installed in your home. These figures can all vary depending on where you're located, the type of door, and how involved the project is, but you get the general picture--a contractor receives about $50 to assume all the headaches and responsibilities such as these:

  1. Size. A door replacement requires choosing the right size to fit into the existing opening unless you plan to pay for a lot of extra work. A door contractor is familiar with the many standard widths and heights of exterior doors and can make the right choice for the opening.
  2. Jamb width. You might think one exterior door is the same as another, but choosing the correct jamb width is very important. Jamb width is affected by your interior wall surface, the thickness of your framing, and the type of exterior siding on the home.
  3. Lock bores. Exterior doors normally come with the holes already drilled for your lock-sets and deadbolts--how many holes do you need, what's the correct back-set spacing, and what diameters should the holes be? Your contractor has the experience to know.

When you think about it, $50 isn't very much to free yourself to pick a style and let the contractor handle the rest.

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