Having work done on your home is never inexpensive. But whether you’re putting on a new deck, constructing built-in cabinets or refinishing your basement, below are a few ways you can cut costs, without cutting corners.
Be an Educated Consumer
Aggressively shop for the most reasonable bid. Don’t just hire the first contractor you find. Ask your friends, family and real estate agent if they have a recommendation, spend time on Yelp, and once you find a contractor you like, call several (not one) of their previous clients. If there is a client nearby, you may even want to see if you can check out the contractor’s previous work.
It’s also important to remember not to go with the lowest bid you get. Inexpensive but shoddy work will only cost you more money in the long run.
Check for Discounts
After you find a contractor, insist that trade discounts on materials be passed on to you. If you have the time and the know-how, you can shop around to buy materials yourself. Some contractors have relationships with material distributors; just because they always work with a certain company doesn’t mean that company is the least expensive.
Slash Unnecessary Costs
Root out any unnecessary costs written into the contract, and compare payment alternatives — flat vs. hourly rates, for example — and negotiate the more reasonable of the two.
Do Part of the Project Yourself
Disassembly and prep work can save you hundreds of dollars. Spend the weekend painting deck posts so the contractors can put them up on Monday. Do the trim on that new bathroom yourself. Any hours you can shave from the contractor’s job will save you money.
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