When the project is not a DIY thing and you need to hire an outside source of expertise and labor, there are still several things you can do to save money and get the job done right. There’s nothing worse than having to hire a second craftsman to re-do a re-do, so get the work done right the first time and save money on home improvement projects with these tips.
The internet is a wealth of information and you can probably find videos and various step-by-step tutorials that will walk you through the home improvement project. This will give you an idea of what is involved in the renovation and a ballpark figure for the money output.
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Learn the Lingo
If you learn the lingo of the home improvement and remodeling world you will be more confident with your negotiation skills. Learning the basic terms of plumbing, electrical and other types of construction may also help you spot a phony who is trying to fast talk you into more work than your home really needs.
If you have several projects that you would like to get done, consider combining the work and negotiating for a one-price package deal. Contractors typically give a better deal if you can bundle more than one remodeling project together for them.
Go into the home improvement project with your eyes wide open, realizing that one planned project often leads to another unexpected project that jacks up the overall cost. Remain calm and if something unexpected comes up that ups the price considerably, like a new drainage system or roof, get a second opinion before shelling out the big bucks.
If the home improvement project is elective, schedule having it done during the off-season (fall and winter) to save yourself some money. Even small maintenance projects, like having the central air conditioning unit serviced, will be speedier and cheaper if scheduled during the off-season.
A small business owner who is hands-on and leads his crew during the home improvement project typically will offer the best price and be more willing to negotiate than the big box fellows. Keeping your business local and money in your own community makes sense too, plus you probably have a friend of a friend who can recommend a good local contractor that will be perfect for the tasks you need doing.
For home maintenance tasks that need doing each year, like lawn mower servicing, chimney sweeping and gutter cleaning, consider taking out a service contract with a local company or individual that you know and trust. A service contract is a hedge against inflation and usually prevents an emergency situation from arising (like an air conditioning breakdown during mid-summer) and saves you money in the long-run.