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Building on a Budget

Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Building on a Budget

Building on a budget

It’s no secret that cash is king. The problem is that most people don’t have money just sitting around. For a large number of people that wish to improve or re-build their home, building on a budget is a crucial aspect of the process. During the initial planning of a construction project, the first thing anyone does is look at their budget, to see what they can afford to build. However, one of the best ways to save cash on a project almost always goes by unnoticed. A lot of people assume that they will save a ton of money by purchasing all their own materials, acting as project manager, or even searching for the cheapest possible contractor for the project. In reality, these are some ways to save, but not always the best way of building on a budget.

The best way to guarantee that you will save money is to complete the tedious tasks on your own. For instance, if you hire a contractor to replace the siding and roofing on your home, you will surely need new paint and caulking. Would you rather spend thousands of dollars, sometimes even tens of thousands to have it done for you? Or would you rather spend a fraction of that cost on painting & caulking supplies, and spend a few days to do it yourself? Even though this seems like the obvious solution, you’d be surprised how often it gets cast aside when building on a budget.

More often than not, these sweat-equity savings will go a long way in helping you complete your project within the allocated budget. One of the biggest problems people face with new construction projects is the very real barrier of funding a project. Whether you’re trying to add living space to your home, or simply want to build a new one, doing some of the work on your own will allow you to save more of your hard-earned money. However, the biggest challenge for most is being able to do the work properly. Thankfully, we live in an advanced technological society, and you have all the information in the world at the touch of a screen. It’s crucial to understand how valuable that can be as a learning tool, especially when you are learning a new skill. 

Before cell phones, computers, the internet, and YouTube, the trade skills needed for construction projects, were passed down from generation to generation. The true craftsmen of the past were extremely skilled and didn’t have YouTube tutorials that they could watch anywhere. They had to start from the bottom, learn skills individually, and hone their craft over years of time and practice in the field. Fortunately today, it doesn’t have to be like that. Now, if someone wants to learn how to properly insulate and drywall their home, that’s something they can research and do themselves for a modicum of the cost.

When starting a new construction project, look at the scope of the work. Check your tools at home, and research the different tasks. Differentiate which parts you feel comfortable doing, and prioritize those as part of the work you’ll take on. One of the most important things to keep in mind though is the significance of the specific task you’re taking on. For example, if you have little to no experience working in construction, don’t try and pour the foundation or frame the load-bearing walls by yourself, especially if you’ve never done it before. Try to stick with simpler, more “time-consuming” tasks that will save you money in terms of cost in labor, which would otherwise go to a contractor and their crew for time worked. Not only will you save yourself money, but you will also achieve a greater sense of appreciation for the work done to your home. 

Written by: Andrew Sample

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Check our blog for another article on my “Top 3 reasons to join a career in the trades” here