So you’ve decided that your next home improvement project is too much for you to do without the help of a professional. You got your contractor bids, and now you’re in sticker shock! It’s way more than you imagined! Before you throw in the towel, here are some ways you can save big on your next home improvement project.
1. Do The Painting
Depending on the scope of your project, you may be able to save a lot of money doing this yourself. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure your paint job turns out the way you pictured it. Find out from your contractor the best paint, brushes, and rollers to use for your project. If you have a hard time cutting in straight, try some frog tape to keep your lines straight and paint out of places you don’t want it.
2. Do Your Demo
If your project requires demo, talk to your contractor about doing it yourself. I’ve seen the TV shows where the homeowners just go to town with their big hammers destroying things, and I don’t recommend this. All demolition is not the same. Sometimes when you’re demoing for a project you need to leave certain things alone. So be sure you have a good understanding of what needs to be demoed, or you might end up costing yourself money instead of saving money. I’d strongly recommend having a professional do all of the structural demolition.
3. Order & Pick Up Materials
Ask your contractor if they’ll allow you to supply materials. For this to work, you’ll need to get a detailed list of materials from the contractor and subcontractors. If you’re not used to looking for the things on their material’s list, you might end up spending a good amount of time wandering around the supply house, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. So this option may save you some money, but it’ll cost you time.
Make sure to pay close attention to your material’s list and don’t stray from it unless you get approval. If you do, you could end up with the wrong things, which is likely to result in a delay for your contractor and subcontractors. Remember this option has you supplying the materials, so you don’t want to be the reason your project takes more time.
Keep in mind that contractors sometimes get discounts on their materials that they may be passing along to their customers. To know how much money you’ll save, you’ll need to get a breakdown of labor and materials.
4. Dispose of the Renovation Waste
If your contractor has to dispose of your trash, then they’re going to be some dumpster fees. If it’s a smaller project, maybe you can haul the trash to the dump yourself. In some cases, it’s not trash at all, and you could donate the things being replaced. There are also companies that will do the demolition for free if you allow them to keep what they remove, such as cabinetry, fixtures, and appliances. They may also give you a charitable donation receipt with an approximate value of the items.
5. Be Your Own General Contractor
Being your own builder or general contractor can save you some serious cash. Some of the things you ‘ll need to do include hiring your subcontractors, scheduling them, and making sure you have all of the materials there for them to work. This could turn into a real headache, so don’t choose this option lightly. Also, keep in mind, that often there are long time relationships between general contractors and their subcontractors. This results in subcontractors that want to keep their general contractors happy by responding quickly and giving them a discount.
You might also find a contractor that’s willing to work more like a project manager and coordinate all of the work and subcontractors while you take over the other responsibilities that they would typically provide.
6. Volunteer Your Time
Ask your contractor if there’s anything you can do to help them. Maybe they need you to hold up some cabinets while they install them, or they might need you to help carry in some larger materials.
In the end, you’ll need to turn your project into a combination of DIY with contractor help to save some serious cash.
I’d love to hear some of the ways that you saved on your last renovation!
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