Tips for Hiring a Contractor When Money Is Tight
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
- 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 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
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