Cost Of Materials
Some people think the cost of materials is what breaks the budget. It’s actually the cost of labor and poor planning that are the biggest factors in budget overruns. Materials can be easily budgeted. Unless you’ve picked a material that has to be custom made in batches, odds are you will be able to go back to the home improvement store and order more if you are short without breaking the budget.
You should develop a spreadsheet with all the materials you will need to complete your home improvement project. You should have already collected accurate measurements for counters or floors, so you can estimate what the total cost is for materials. Include additional materials for any solvents, glues, fasteners, or tools that you need to buy or rent to complete your project.
Cost of Labor
The only way to deal with the cost of labor is to get three estimates from contractors with good references. This will give you an indication of the cost of the labor and also should pinpoint some material costs. If you plan on doing the project yourself, you can save on labor immensely. If you don’t have the experience, but would like to offset labor costs, you might be able to work out a deal where you provide part of the less skilled labor. Some contractors won’t do this at all, so don’t be surprised if you get turned down.
Labor costs for do-it-yourselfers is only cheap if you are confident that you can do the project and meet all safety and quality building codes. Also, you don’t want to start a project and then be required to call a contractor to finish it as an emergency project. Odds are, the contractor will charge for removal of your work and starting over. If you think that you cannot do a quality job or haven’t sufficient experience, check out your local home improvement stores to see if they have classes on the project you are trying to do yourself. This will give you an idea of whether it is worth it to hire a contractor or to attempt the job yourself.