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FAQs: "How will you estimate the cost to build my new garage?"

BELOW: 1. Intro 2. Average costs 3. Getting a realistic estimate (Materials & Labor)

Costs to build a new garage

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First, if the cost of building the new garage is a major concern for you, then be sure to let your estimator know that! (To simply request a bid or even just a "ballpark estimate," click HERE.)

For most people that contact us, their top priority is to closely match the garage to the exact appearance of their home (from the roofing and siding down to even the lighting accessories). Other people tell us, "If you can stay within my current budget, then I am ready to schedule the construction immediately (or else I would be open to your help for getting a loan to finance the construction of the garage)." Some even say "just tell me the absolute minimum cost because all I need is for my new garage to be legal and functional."

We respect our time and yours, so we will appreciate you concisely stating your priorities from the beginning. Next, keep reading to learn more about typical costs and how we will compute the estimate for building your new garage for you.

"What is the typical cost to have a garage built?"

According to Home Advisor, the nationwide average for paying a contractor to build a garage for you is about $25,000. However, there is a big range of construction costs depending mainly on the size of the new garage. For instance, will it be an attached 1-car garage or a big multi-story barn-style detached garage?

For example, the 1-car garage on the left above was added on the side of the existing 2-car garage (to the right). Building that 1-car garage cost much less than the nationwide average cost. (Below is a picture prior to the construction of the new garage).

More costly would be the 3-car garage addition below. It has high ceilings, lots of windows, custom cabinets, plus an epoxy-coated floor.

A new multi-story garage can be even more expensive. Big barn-style detached garages with second-level lofts can cost at least as much as it would to build a guest house addition.

Below, we will explore several more factors in the construction costs beyond just the size of the garage. First, you might be interested in seeing a chart of several renovations along with the average cost (and average increase of future resale value), including garage additions with building expenses ranging up to $50,000 or even $80,000. To see that chart next, click this link: garage additions.

"Why else is there such a big range in cost estimates for building a new garage?"

#1 Variations in the cost of materials & labor

#2 Some estimators are far more realistic (precise) than others

We'll come back to the issue of different estimators (after getting clear on some of the other basic issues). First, after considering all three dimensions (width, length, & height) in the size of the garage (like 1-car, 2-car, 2-story RV, etc), two other basic factors in the construction cost will be cost of the specific materials that you select plus the cost of the expert labor.

Of course, if you just want a "ballpark estimate" of the cost of building your new garage, the most important detail will just be the size (like the dimensions of the width and length). To request a "ballpark estimate," click HERE.

Generally speaking, the labor costs can be significantly different with different construction companies, while the cost of materials will be relatively constant. So, let's start with the simplest issue: materials.

The cost of the MATERIALS for the construction of your new garage

As for the main material from which your new garage will be built, the least expensive materials will be the least insulating. Overall, the garages with the lowest cost to build (and also the fastest to build) are metal garages. Next best is the standard wood or "stick-built" garage. Even better (in terms of better insulation but also with higher initial construction costs) is masonry block (or brick).

Next, will your new garage addition be detached or attached? A detached garage addition usually needs everything built from the foundations up. When building an attached garage, there is generally already a usable concrete slab foundation, plus at least one wall. For a large garage, that existing wall and slab can make a big difference (just in the costs of materials alone).

In fact, the lowest costs for building an attached garage typically involve the enclosing or converting of a carport. In that case, the slab, the roof, and two or even three walls may already be built. That will reduce the materials costs by many thousands of dollars (plus greatly reduce the typical construction time). So, carport to garage conversions can cost less than half of what it takes to build a new detached garage.

Typically, for a detached one-car garage, the expenses for just the materials will generally start at about $8500 (at least). For a larger detached garage addition, the cost of the materials will be at least a few thousand dollars more than that. (Add on the costs of blueprints, permits, and expert labor, and then your estimator can give you a bid down to the exact dollar).

For additional details, you may be interested in skimming an article on the minimum costs of materials for construction of a garage. To simply request a quote or even just a "ballpark estimate," click HERE.

The cost of the LABOR for the construction of your new garage

The issue of the cost for the skilled labor to construct your new garage is not as simple of an issue as you might hope. If you get estimates from a few companies, they may give you rather different prices for the expert labor. Why?

First, lots of construction crews can build a garage that will pass inspection with no delays or oversights. However, you may prefer hiring only a company that is bonded, insured, and licensed. In the event of any surprises, can you afford to risk extra costs or delays?

You may also value a contractor that is both experienced at supervising the construction of new garages and who is also a respectful professional that will communicate with you in an honest and precise way. One big reason that construction estimates can have such wide variance in the expected labor costs is because some estimators are more realistic and precise than others. (If you have ever heard of a construction job taking more time or costing more than originally estimated, then that points to the issue of precision and accuracy.)

The more experienced that an estimator is with building garages, the more precise you would expect them to be (both in regard to estimating the cost of labor and the cost of materials). Why not ask your estimator to show you photos of some similar garages that their company has built? Last, in addition to the issue of innocent errors on construction estimates due to lack of expertise, the issue of honesty can be quite important, especially during times of economic decline.

CONCLUSION: Getting a realistic bid for the building of your new garage

Even in the best of economic climates, some garage construction contractors (even licensed ones) are consistently unrealistic in their estimates. They may attempt to "underbid" jobs. They hope to entice you in to signing a contract that has been designed to bait you, hook you, and then "switch" the final costs that you will need to pay for the completion of the new garage.

So, if you get multiple estimates, please be cautious about automatically selecting the lowest one. Instead, show all of your estimates to the estimator that you personally found to be the most trustworthy and competent. Ask that estimator to compare the different estimates and then to explain to you any major differences in price. They may show you evidence that you have been given an unrealistic bid, whether due to inexperience or an attempt to mislead you.

To make a precise estimate of the exact amount of construction work that will be needed, that requires an experienced and honest estimator. Do you want someone to give you a realistic quote for building the garage that you really want? (Or, are you willing to risk getting an unrealistic quote that is biased to seem appealing to you, but then encountering a disaster)?

The process for computing a precise bid begins with an inspection of the property (and if you can provide a few photos, that can help speed up this stage). Are there any issues with water flow or underground infrastructure (from built-in tubes for irrigation of the lawn to pipes for the home's main water supply or wiring)? Is the ground already cleared and level?

How much work will be involved with preparing the ground for a foundation... or is there already a solid, stable concrete slab foundation present? If there is already a slab, is it ready to bear the additional weight of a new garage or first will it need repairs or additional steel re-bar for reinforcement?

Of course, those are just a few of the issues that most homeowners have not considered yet. That does not even get to the actual main part of the construction of your new garage. For instance, we've even had projects get delayed by things totally out of anyone's control, like if you recently bought the home and then, upon filing for permits to build a new garage, the city inspector informs you that there were unpermitted renovations prior to your buying the home. Those may need to be addressed before a permit for the new garage will be issued.

Those are small issues for a construction company that is truly professional, but having a license does not establish how experienced or skilled a contractor will be in the event of unexpected issues. What truly makes our garage builders unique is not just expertise, but a respect for the importance of communication and professionalism.

To request a bid or estimate now, click HERE.

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