Time and materials. It’s a simple enough equation for how builders charge their clients. You are paid for the hours that you labor, and for the stuff needed for the job: the 2x4s and drywall and mesh tape; the tiles, the 80-pound sack of cement, the carton of grout; the lags, j-bolts, and pressure-treated 4x4s; the flooring, the paint, the baseboard, basecap, and crown molding.
When the cab driver dropped me off at my new home, he warned me about the neighborhood. "Oh, no, love, you don’t want to live here," he said. "It’s not safe."