Many home improvement projects are simple enough to be done with help, but for the bigger projects it often becomes necessary to hire a professional. Contractors make their living on this kind of work, so you can rest assured that there will always be someone available to do the job. However, they don't work cheap. Your project may already be pushing the budget, and hiring a contractor can be quite expensive. Here are 5 ways to save money when hiring a home contractor.
Play the Field Many contractors offer free estimates. You can show therm around your home, explain the details of the project, and get an idea of what the total cost will be. This can be an excellent shopping tool. Ask for estimates from a few contractors. This will help you weed out any who may charge unreasonable rates, and has the added benefit of letting you meet and get to know your potential contractor before the job begins. Even if contractors in your area charge a fee for assessment and estimate, it can pay off in the long run.
Are You Experienced? Your ideal contractor has lots and lots of experience in his line of work. Ideally, you want someone who has done this exact job before. Hiring experienced contractors has multiple benefits. First, you know that the job will get done quickly, efficiently, and to a high standard. This will, of course, end up saving you money and keep the unexpected costs from cropping up. But also, experienced contractors know their industry well enough to be able to price reasonably and move on to the next job quickly, thereby making more money themselves. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.
Here Comes a Regular If you do not already have a good, established relationship with a local contractor, now is the time to start developing such a thing. Your contractor will appreciate the repeat business, and offer you competitive rates on all your projects. Regular customers always get the best treatment--all kinds of businesses work this way. Once you find a contractor that you like, call him for everything.
The Breakdown Ask for a breakdown of all costs related to the job. This will help you figure out where the money is actually going in your job. Labor costs are typically not negotiable, but if you see that an inordinate amount of your payment is being dropped into supplies, then you have something to discuss with your contractor. You might see some things that you can source on your own; for example, if you're having the kitchen remodeled you may be able to save by picking up the cabinet set on your own.
Can I Borrow? If your project is beyond your scope financially, don't count it out right away. There are loan options available from places like ContractorMortgages.org that can help you keep your home improvement projects moving. If you were planning on taking out a mortgage anyway, you could really make it work to your advantage by completing home improvement projects, thereby increasing your home's value, at the same time!