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Tips for Hiring a Contractor When Money Is Tight

Tips for Hiring a Contractor When Money Is Tight

Looking For a Local Contractor Fast?

January 10, 2011

It is a familiar story: You need serious work done on your house, and you need it done quickly, but money is tight. Hiring a contractor on a limited budget might seem difficult, but it can be done.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor at Rock-bottom Prices

Need help with that house but don't have enough cash? There are ways around that.

  • Hire a professional contractor as a consultant. If you can do the job yourself but need a little guidance, ask a contractor what he might charge per hour to coach you through the work. Sometimes all it takes is a professional eye to tell you what you're doing wrong and get you back on track, and it can be much cheaper than hiring a contractor to handle the job for you.
  • Hire in the off-season. Contractors are usually very busy during the warmer months, but work slows down as the leaves fall and the snow flies. Hiring in the off-season usually means faster delivery of supplies, more labor available, and of course, the potential for lower estimates.
  • Have a solid plan. Know what you want when you go into the job. Changing your mind in the middle of a job can mean delays, extra purchases, and higher labor costs. Design your plans, make your decisions, and be precise when you tell the contractor what you want to see with your home renovation.
  • Do what you can on your own. Look for ways you can make the job shorter and easier for the contractor. Tearing down that old deck or hauling off those old shingles can cut down on labor costs. The more "sweat equity" or effort you put into the renovation, the cheaper your bottom line could be.
  • Be your own delivery service. Rather than have the materials shipped to your home on flatbed trucks, thus driving up the cost of the overall project, retrieve the materials yourself. Borrow or purchase your own flatbed trailer to use for the project. You can always sell it again when the project is done, increasing your savings even more.
  • Ask about leftover materials. Many contractors end up with leftover materials from other jobs that aren't earmarked for immediate use. Ask them how much it would cost to take the materials off their hands. You might be able to get the materials at the contractor's price or slightly above, saving a nice chunk off the retail price.

Talk to your preferred contractor about what other ways you can save money by helping out and cutting corners. They might have some great ideas that can benefit everyone involved.

Shannon Dauphin

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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