No matter how large or small your next project, there are simple ways to lower costs and increase value. You get what you pay for – can be especially true when hiring a contractor. While it might be tempting to hire the cheapest contractor you can find, that can and often does backfire. There are many other ways to save money while maintaining quality. Following are some useful tips that can help cut costs and add value to your home without sacrificing reliability and quality of workmanship.
Shop carefully for materials
You can save a lot of money shopping sales and comparing materials at different suppliers. For example, if you are installing hardwood floors, you may be able to save several thousand dollars on materials by choosing flooring that runs $10/square foot vs. $14 that is just as good. Habitat for Humanity’s Home Improvement Outlet Stores in Seattle and Everett (newly opened!) can be valuable resources. They are open to the public and offer deep discounts on a wide variety of home furnishings including appliances, doors, windows, flooring, countertops, plumbing fixtures, and much more.
Consider doing projects in the off season
Most contractors start getting busy in the spring and slow down late fall and winter. If you plan your project when their schedules are open you won’t be competing with other homeowners who may have bigger budgets or bigger jobs. A perfect example is of a time when one of our customers was planning a kitchen remodel. They chose to have it done in November, during Thanksgiving of all times! The contractor was thrilled to have work at that time of year, negotiated a good price for them, and was able to give them his undivided attention until it was completed well before Christmas.
Consider doing your project in stages
If you have found a reliable contractor but his bid is too high and there is no room for negotiation, consider doing the project in stages. A good contractor will recognize that gaining a customer for a smaller job with prospects for future work is worthwhile.
Talk to References
Before hiring any contractor, ask to speak with other homeowners who hired the contractor for a similar project. Ask them about their experience and where they felt they could have saved a few dollars.
Consider doing prep work yourself where you can
For example, if you plan to have the exterior of your house painted, you can save money by clearing the area around the house yourself and power washing just prior to when painting is scheduled to begin.
Reconsider your plans
Review the details of your project with your contractor and ask if there are any design elements in your home that can stay and be incorporated into the job rather than replaced. For example, perhaps you can save money (and not compromise too much on design) if you paint and reuse doors rather than purchase new ones.