We went into our renovation like most people having an idea of what we wanted to achieve, but lacking any real plan at the start. This ended up costing us both time and certainly money. Leaving things to the last minute, especially when it comes time for tradespeople, will always increase the cost.
I recommend writing down what you want to achieve to start with, “a new kitchen”, “a new bathroom”, “changing a bedroom into a study” etc. From this you can start to plan what needs to be done. You can write down what you can do and what you will need a tradesman to do. I would never recommend trying electrical work by yourself, leave this to the experts. Once you have this information you can start to get quotes from the tradesman and I always recommend getting at least 3-5 quotes for each job. If you can get a recommendation from someone you know about a tradesman they used who was good and reliable, sometimes it’s worth spending a little extra. As with anything you quite often get what you pay for. Another good tip here is to ask about a “cash” price (no tax), most tradesman are happy to do this and it will save you money.
Once you have selected your tradesman and decided what you can do, create a timeline. Keep in mind doing things yourself will often take longer than you think. Book your tradesman for the required dates and if anything occurs to change your timeline make sure you tell your tradesman straight away. Given enough time they are usually happy enough to fit you in at a later date. But remember try to stick to your time line, don’t try to take on extra projects or increase your initial plans half way through. This will lead to delays and will end up costing you time and inevitably more money.
Part of your plan also needs to include buying your materials, which you should do before you start your reno. Doing your research here will also save you a lot of money. You would be surprised the price difference between stores. I would recommend wholesale/warehouse outlets. You can get want you want at discount prices. These stores don’t have expensive showrooms, so you don’t pay expensive prices. Another good place to pick up bulk items such as timber, tiles, bathroom and kitchen fittings etc is auctions. There are some really good bargains to be had here. Check you local paper, they usually have the items listed so you can see what’s on offer before you go. You can also check out the prices before you go.
Another good tip is to do your research. Use the internet and get some Do It Yourself (DIY) books. I have a whole pile of books from which I get information from. Having a book at your finger tips is often faster than trawling the internet trying to find answers to your questions. Books also have great step by step diagrams and tricks to help you along the way. A good collection of books is a handy man’s or woman’s best friend.
So now your armed with your plan, you have your tradesman booked, your materials purchased, a few good books to use for guidance. Remember to try and stick to your plan, things will always come up to throw a spanner in the works, just update your plan to reflect the changes. Plans are not set in stone. They are a live document and can be changed and updated as needed.