TIME wasted on your renovation project means money sacrificed from your budget. Every minutes counts - and you're paying for each and every one of them. There are lots of ways to save money renovating, just remember plan, budget and prepare well.
TO SAVE MONEY RENOVATING, ALWAYS REMEMBER - TIME MEANS MONEY.
There are various reasons why a project can be held up and some, for example weather delays, will be completely out of your control. Other matters however will be within your control and if you are project managing the job, it will be your responsibility to take charge and ensure that time wasting does not occur.
1. ALL TRADESMEN ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL - KEEP ABREAST OF EVERYTHING HAPPENING ONSITE AND MAKE YOUR CONTRACTORS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR TIME.
"Most people are honest and reliable, but some will take advantage of you, particularly if you are an inexperienced renovator or simply not a very tough boss! Either way, you are paying for your tradesmen's time, so one way or another you will need to deal with them."
If you think your contractors are slacking off, have a quiet chat with them or their supervisor. Worse case scenario, you may need to terminate their contract - be aware of your rights to do so and do it in the appropriate manner.
Good tradesmen turn up when they say they are going to, period. If not, at the very least they will call or message you to advise of any incapacity on their behalf to meet at a designated time.
Other tradesmen who turn up late or not at all, and don’t inform you of their inability to attend an arranged meeting or job are in my opinion not worth dealing with. Contractors like these take advantage of clients during good times, however they will also be the first to be searching for work when the market takes a downturn.
Jobs do run late and unforeseen problems do arise. Professional (and courteous) contractors will re-schedule and keep you informed - these are the sorts of tradesmen I want on my team.
For the most part, I have found the contractors that have worked on our projects to be obliging and helpful, understanding and patient. (It's obviously in their best interests to be obliging and helpful - we are paying them a small fortune!)
Most of the contractors we employed were great people, but you must never forget that you are paying for their services and their time - every second of it. Some will clock off and still finish up if they are behind. Others will 'down tools' as soon as the clock strikes the final hour of their working day.
2. YOU COULD BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
When it comes to distracting your contractors, you can be you own worst enemy and it essential to be mindful of wasting their time.
In order to appreciate the financial implications of indulging in a little banter with your respective contractors, do some simple arithmetic.
Let’s say you have a regular chat with one of your tradesmen for 10 minutes in the morning then 10 minutes in the afternoon - that’s 20 minutes a day you are paying for, and 20 minutes he or she isn’t working.
Now, if the tradesman is a sub-contractor for the builder, the builder will take a cut of his pay as well. In Australia, it is nothing to pay a minimum of $60 an hour for contractors, so your chat could cost you $20 a day. If you decide to chat like this everyday - he is a nice guy after all - your chats will be costing you $100 a week, around $400 a month, or $5,200 a year!
What if some of the other tradesmen are nice guys too - are you going to waste more time and your money chatting to them as well?
Now I’m not saying you should never talk to your contractors and get to know them, quite the contrary, it is important to cultivate a good relationship with them. Who knows, your may build a very successful business relationship with them, which may see you employ them again on future projects. Always be polite and interested, but don't make it a habit to waste time chatting to them on a regular basis.
"If you and your contractors really hit it off that’s great - become golf buddies or go fishing together - just save that until after the job is over!"
Once the line is crossed between a business based relationship and a friendship, it is difficult to keep things on a professional level. Remember your builder/contractor is not your friend.
3. USING FRIENDS ON YOUR PROJECT CAN BE FRAUGHT WITH FINANCIAL DANGER.
I would also caution anyone contemplating using an existing friend as a contractor to please think this through. I personally know of many instances where friendships have ended or soured as a result of friends working together on a renovation project.
"If your friend treats the job as a favour to a friend, his or her commitment to the project may not be as professional as you would like. That lack of commitment could affect the progress of the project, holding up other trades and ultimately costing you money."
4. SUPPLIERS AND SUPPLIES CAN HOLD UP YOUR PROJECT, COSTING YOU MORE MONEY.
In some ways if you are having a product supply problem, you may think it is out of your control. My advice would be to have an alternate plan in place for your tradesmen - maybe they can start on a different part of the renovation until the required products arrive.
"If the delay is substantial, it may be worth investigating alternatives products or even alternative suppliers - if your contractors can't keep working because products for the job have been delayed, it will cost you time and money."
Every day they aren't working means a day not accounted for in your budget (which is why it is essential to have a financial contingency in place). Avoid these delays whenever possible.
5. GOOD PLANNING INVOLVES EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT.
Our largest renovation was carried out over a number of years, while we lived in the house, (with sanity breaks in between!).
One dilemma this created was that the painters were needed to come and go as sections of the renovation were finished, only to find that they needed to repaint some sections which had been damaged during latter stages of the project.
Also, as one of the painters pointed out to me, if left for a lengthy period of time paint changes colour slightly. Therefore, if half a room is painted but the remaining half left until the next part of the project is undertaken, the originally painted section may need to be repainted to match.
"Even if it’s only one coat of paint, it all adds up to spending extra, unnecessary money."
In hindsight, we could have saved thousands of dollars if we had arranged for the painters come in and finish the job in one go, rather than having them come and go throughout the project. The fact that we had to sit in an unpainted house would not have been ideal, but it would have saved money.
"Plan to have your project finished as quickly as possible. I can't emphasise it enough - planning and organisation are the key to running a successful renovation project."
Plan and manage your time well, ensure your workers are accountable for their time, be accountable yourself, and your project stands a good chance of coming in on budget and being the success that you hoped it would be!
Renovating with love,