Trying to save money on the wrong aspects of your building project could cost you big. Shopping around for the best prices, and putting in your own time and energy to save money, all sounds like logical ways to cut costs on a project. It could be, yet it could be the making of a disaster.

Some of the more confident or experienced homeowners may consider managing their own home remodeling or construction project as a cost saving measure. The first obstacle to overcome is time. Managing a project is a VERY time consuming endeavor. Even a small project, usually takes more time than first anticipated. Typically one will find that they just do not have the time to effectively manage a project on their own home, preventing a timely completion and sacrificing quality control. This is largely due to unforeseen problems arising during the course of the project. Project managers and contractors maintain industry standards and utilize their years of professional experience to maximize efficiency by effectively managing problems as they arise, and by controlling the project in a manner that limits the amount of mistakes made by the craftsmen. Limiting mistakes and effectively dealing with problems as they arise is exactly how a project manager saves money on a project.

When looking for craftsmen and contractors, everyone knows to get multiple bids from different companies. However, there is no proven method for a homeowner to know which contractor is the right one to hire, but it is easy to see which one costs the least. When hiring a contractor, keep in mind that the lowest bid is by no means going to cost you the least amount IN THE LONG RUN. Low bids, can indicate inexperience or desperation. Neither of these scenarios are optimum. They may think that they can do the job for a lower than market rate, yet in the end the desperate and inexperienced contractor or craftsman will fail you and leave behind a mess for your next hire to finish. In our experience, this is how homeowners typically lose money on a project.

If you don’t hire licensed and insured contractors on a regular basis, it is likely that your labor pool is limited. A project manager has a network of various contractors and craftsmen that they use on a regular basis. They will know which one can actually perform the best on your project. A homeowner may be tempted to hire handymen and craftsmen that they have used in the past for smaller jobs, but using a handyman for larger projects may bring legal issues that could lead to penalties and construction delays due to the liabilities of hiring uninsured and unlicensed labor. Beyond legalities, typically handy men deal with smaller tasks that can be completed within a few days. Even if the handyman or craftsman is highly skilled, he may not have the fortitude to tackle a project outside the scope of short term work. The “burn out effect” can occur; that is when corners are cut and the scheduled completion of the project drags on. Projects with multiple activities and milestones require an infrastructure that can handle the scope of work.

In our years of experience, homeowners generally lose money when they attempt to self-contract and/or project manage their own remodeling and construction projects. Please be aware that when you try to save money by hiring cheap labor it will likely cost you much more than you originally anticipated.

Joshua Broadhead

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