Sometimes, as much as you would like to do it yourself, there are things that may just be beyond your expertise or your schedule. These are the times when hiring a contractor is the best route towards getting your project done quickly and professionally. But what happens if your budget doesn’t quite allow for the expense of hiring the job? All is not lost. There may be some things you could do that will allow for the benefits of having a contractor, and still keep it within your budget.
If the project allows, consider hiring during the off-season. This is best suited for interior jobs, since most off-season work is during the winter. Generally, work for contractors is not as abundant during this time; therefore, they may be willing to work out a discount rate with you to ensure your business. The summer months, of course, are prime time for contractors. Labor and supplies are at their most scarce during that time.
Have a clear vision of what you want done before the project begins. Often, there are a lot of hidden expenses in a project because of changes during the process. Good planning and self-discipline can save a lot of money as the project moves towards completion—as long as you stick with the plan. For example, if things were not explain clearly enough to the contractor, then they may move along with their perception of what you want. However, as they proceed, it may not be in line with what you’ve expected. That’s when changes occur—and that’s when expenses occur.
It may be that you are willing to do the work, but you’re just not sure how to approach it. Rather than hire the entire job to be done for you, consider hiring a contractor as an advisor. That way, rather than paying him to do the whole job, you can pay him by the hour as a consultant, helping you through the project as you do it yourself. Not only will you save lots of money, you will also be gaining valuable skills and knowledge along the way.
Sometimes, when contractors buy bulk materials such as flooring, tile, and roofing materials, they often have a stock of excess supplies. Ask them if this is the case, and if these materials can be incorporated into your project at a discount. Depending on the job that you need done, this may require a bit of compromise. But generally, when working with access tile pieces, for example, they can be worked into patterns and designs with surprising results.
In some cases, it may be possible to do some of the work yourself. While this may not necessarily mean the building and finish work, it could mean some simple demolition and cleanup after hours. This of course will take some coordination with the contractor, because the last thing you want to do is slow them down. Also, if you have the means or skill, offer your services to help in other ways such as scraping, painting or even pickup and delivery of materials.
These suggestions may not be viable with every project and all contractors, but they are all tried and true methods in which both homeowner and contractor work together towards a successfully completed and affordable job well done.