Ways to save money on your renovation Pt 2

Spend more!

NO, that headline’s not a typo … I know I said this in the last article; this time I mean spend more money … with your builder!

OK, I’m not forgetting the title and neither am I reneging on the deal to save you money. I refer here to choosing your builder / designer and to a certain degree, relates to the simple rule of life, ‘you [generally] get what you pay for’.

Unfortunately, in the building industry, one has to be a little more discerning – we are peppered with some less-than-honest folk. However, let me set you straight on something. Getting five quotes and picking the cheapest one, far from ensures you’ll get the cheapest or best job. Semantics aside, but ‘cheap’ usually doesn’t equal ‘good value’.

When I started the business, I bought a VW Amarok – the first new car I’d bought. I went to four dealers and haggled over the price, warranty, ‘fruit’ and availability. Amplified by the childlike excitement of owning a vehicle that no longer bore the reference ‘car’ but indeed ‘truck’, I settled on the dealer. In this instance, I took the cheapest price … about $500 cheaper than the next best.

So, what’s my point? My point is with a truck (I love just saying that!), selected ‘fruit’, standard warranty and local dealer it’s easy to compare like-for-like, so price is the only real defining factor. Paying more wouldn’t have given me anything extra.

“If your gut tells you otherwise, follow it and move on.”

With a builder, plans, specifications, selections, approval process, customer service, variations and timelines, it’s very hard to know if you’re getting a like-for-like comparison and if someone is ‘cheap’, there could be an underlying reason why so.

That said, more expensive doesn’t always relate to the best. But like a fine wine or Audi convertible, outside of personal tastes, it’s difficult to argue that their prices don’t warrant their rightful place in the market where you’d be hard pushed to knock them.

I have a saying – “There are two ways of doing things; the best way, and every other way.” 

If it was me, I’d want to know I’m getting the best and while knowing I might pay a bit more, I also know it is worth it.

My advice here is simple. Don’t chase the cheapest price. Do your research on the builder (and read the previous article!). No matter who you prefer, speak to at least a couple of their previous clients and feel comfortable with them. Ask them to show you how they prepare the plans, what their quotes look like and how they schedule the jobs.

Over the process of the project, you’ll be in each other’s lives for several months and you need to have a good relationship to ensure it’s relatively stress-free and you get what you hoped for.

In the current market I get the impression clients are taking whatever they can get as builders are so busy. It’s all too easy to avoid the extra homework and (potentially) end up with a horror story.

For those of you that have had the mixed pleasure of online dating you’ll get the irony here. A lot can be said from a website, some old or professional pictures and a dash of humour only to find out the real story after a few dates.

Quite simply, like dating, when choosing a builder, if your gut tells you otherwise, follow it and move on!

If you have any questions you’d like answering, please send them in and we will try to address them in forthcoming articles.

by THE BAREFOOT RENOVATOR Mark Hughes http://www.barefootrenovations.com.au 

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