Lowering Costs on Projects
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 13, 2022)
One of the biggest problems with doing any kind of home improvement project is the amount of money that it usually takes to do the job right. For some reason, no matter how well someone does their planning, it can easily be expected to have the project go over budget by at least 10 percent, and often more. Due to this, finding ways of lowering costs on projects is something that should always be looked for. Following the suggestions outlined here should help you be able to keep those costs down as low as possible.
- When possible, do your own work. Typically, labor intensive aspects of projects (such as demolition, painting, insulation, or even the general clean up) are the most expensive portions. One way to dramatically reduce the overall costs of your home improvement project is to handle any and all labor intensive aspect of the project yourself. However, if you do utilize this keep in mind that your project will only be able to proceed as quickly as you complete the task. Be aware that you will also be responsible for the results of the work that you accomplish.
- Plan accordingly. Whenever possible, stick with preexisting fixtures and features. By replacing or remodeling such things as plumbing or gas lines you can significantly increase the cost of your project. While you don't always have to do this, be aware that most changes you make will entail a corresponding increase (often dramatic) in overall price. In addition, if you have a contractor doing the work for you, then ask for a similar rate brake that they get. For example, when a contractor purchases their materials from a home improvement store for a large project, they often get a 10 percent discount. If they are getting a discount for their purchases, it is only fair that you get a similar one.
- Stick to your budget. Perhaps the single most difficult aspect of any home improvement project is actually sticking to the budget that you come up with. This however is the single most important part of lowering costs on your project. The best way to stick to your budget is to first decide on how much money you will spend, and then keep that as a hard target. If you increase your expenditures in one area (for example buying custom countertops) reduce the expenditures in another area (resurfacing your cabinets instead of getting new ones).
- Buy direct from source. If you are doing your own work, try to purchase your materials directly from the source whenever possible. For example, purchase your cabinets directly from the manufacturer rather than simply getting them at a store. Another example of this is when you purchase your wood from a mill, be sure that you can meet the minimum order. If you necessary, plan on a couple of projects at once, or combine your purchase with those of a friend to ensure that you meet the requirements. Often purchases outside of these minimums are more expensive than they are worth.
- Find your own specialists. If you have the patience, you can always try being your own general contractor. This means that you find, negotiate, and hire your own specialists for each individual job that comes along. Be careful when doing this though, since you have to be responsible for scheduling, supervising, negotiating fees and terms, and paying the subcontractors, in addition to often being responsible for the requisite permits.
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