Fixed-Price vs. Cost-Plus Contracts: A Niagara Homeowner’s Renovation Contract Guide

Niagara Home Renovation Contract

At Eden Build, we are dedicated to providing high-quality home renovations that meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. As a top-rated general contractor in the Niagara Region specializing in full home, kitchen, basement, and bathroom renovations, as well as home additions, our goal is to ensure a smooth and stress-free renovation experience for homeowners. One key element that contributes to this seamless process is our use of fixed-price contracts. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what fixed-price contracts are, compare them to cost-plus contracts, and explain how they benefit homeowners.

What is a Fixed-Price Contract?

A fixed-price contract is a type of agreement where the general contractor agrees to complete the project for a predetermined, fixed amount. This price is established before the project begins and remains unchanged throughout the duration of the work, provided there are no changes to the project scope.

Key Features of Fixed-Price Contracts

  • Set Budget: The total cost of the project is agreed upon upfront, giving homeowners a clear understanding of their financial commitment.


  • Defined Scope of Work: The contract includes a detailed description of the work to be performed, materials to be used, and timelines to be followed.


  • Risk Management: The risk of cost overruns is reduced because the scope of work is well-defined, and subcontractor bids are secured before signing the renovation contract.

What is a Cost-Plus Contract?

A cost-plus contract, also known as a cost-reimbursement contract, involves the homeowner paying the actual cost of materials and labor plus an additional fee (either a fixed percentage or a flat fee) to the contractor. The general contractor provides their client with “allowances” for renovation tasks. If the client exceeds these allowances, they will pay more than the amount specified in the renovation contract.

Key Features of Cost-Plus Contracts

  • Variable Costs: The final cost is not determined until the project is completed, as it includes the actual expenses incurred.


  • Transparency: Homeowners see the actual costs of materials, labor, and contractor management fees.


  • Flexibility: Allows for changes in the project scope without the need for an official change order.
NIAGARA region general contractor renovation van

Why Does Eden Build Use Fixed-Price Contracts?

Budget Certainty

One of the biggest advantages of fixed-price contracts is the certainty they provide. Homeowners know exactly how much the project will cost, allowing for better financial planning and peace of mind. This ensures homeowners can verify they have the budget to afford the renovation project. In contrast, with a cost-plus contract, the homeowner may exceed the allowances provided, requiring a higher budget than initially predicted to complete the renovation.

Scope Clarity

Fixed price contracts require a well-defined scope of work from the beginning. This ensures both parties have a clear understanding of what is included in the project, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes. At Eden Build, we engage in a meticulous pre-construction planning phase to ensure the scope of work is well defined and all renovation tasks are accounted for in the contract and final price.

Risk Mitigation

At Eden Build, our clients can be confident that their project is accurately priced prior to the commencement of the renovation. To ensure this, we reach out to all our sub-trade partners during the quoting process to collect prices for each task outlined in our detailed scope of work and deliver a contract that accurately reflects the price of the project.

Enhanced Trust

Fixed price contracts can foster a stronger trust relationship between the homeowner and the contractor. Since the contractor is motivated to manage costs efficiently, there is a shared interest in completing the project successfully within the agreed budget.

Niagara home renovation general contractor

Is There Still a Risk of Unforeseen Expenses with a Fixed-Price Quote?

Even though we use fixed-price quotations to reduce the risk of costs increasing during your home renovation, we still strongly encourage our clients to have a contingency fund. There is still a chance costs could change if:

Unforeseen Issues Arise

We uncover an unforeseen issue during demolition that we could not predict when creating the scope of work and pricing the project. For example, during a previous bathroom renovation, we discovered a significant amount of mold hidden behind the shower insert due to leaking water. This issue was not discovered until demolition, and addressing it increased expenses as it was outside the predetermined scope of work.

Scope of Work Changes

Costs can increase if the client chooses to change the scope of work during the renovation. For instance, if a client decides to add more electrical outlets to a room than specified in the project scope, this would result in a change order and increased cost.

By maintaining a contingency fund, homeowners can be prepared for these potential additional expenses, ensuring that the renovation project remains smooth and stress-free.

At Eden Build, we believe that fixed price contracts are a powerful tool for delivering high-quality, stress-free renovations. By providing budget certainty, reducing financial risk, and ensuring clear communication and scope of work, fixed price contracts help us meet our commitment to excellence in every project. If you’re considering a home renovation, contact us directly to discuss how we can help bring your vision to life.


In this guide we highlight the costs of renovating so that homeowners can plan, budget, and prioritize their renovation projects


In this guide we highlight the costs of renovating so that homeowners can plan, budget, and prioritize their renovation projects