Often saving money with tradespeople involves a time / quality / cost trade-off. You can usually get two of the three. You may get work done quickly to a high standard, but you will pay a lot for it; or the materials may not cost much, but they also may take you a long time to source; or you may get a job cheap but it may not be high quality.
Here are some of the ways you can save on tradespeople and understand that trade-off better.
Just because you are going to pay for labor, does not mean that you have to pay for the materials.
The cheapest place to get materials is at demolition yards. Secondhand and reused materials are usually the cheapest, although the most time consuming to get.
The cheapest place to get new materials is direct from the manufacturer. If you cannot get hold of them, insist on a trade discount at your hardware store. Set up an account to get the best discounts.
There is a golden rule that you should always get three quotes when you are going to hire a trades-person. The three quote rule is to make sure that you get the best price.
Tradespeople, even if they are in the same field, will quote jobs differently. Often this is to do with their likes and dislikes of jobs, but it also reflects how long they expect a job will take them, which often comes down to experience.
Its a good idea to get at least three quotes to make sure that you are getting value for money. The cheapest job may well be by the most experienced trades-person who knows that they can get the job done quickly.
Watch out for tradespeople who quote too low. If one of the quotes comes in WAY below the other two, it may be by a dodgy trades-person. If you pay too little for work, often you can end up having to pay a lot more to get it done properly afterward.
Make sure that your tradesman is certified, and has a good reputation. Choosing a trades-person who doesn't do a good job can be a costly mistake. Getting a job fixed-up can be more expensive than if you had hired a properly certified and reputable trades-person to begin with.
Look out to make sure that the person or company has registered and licensed employees. Make sure that they are insured also. This information shouldn't be hard to find. If they are registered, licensed and insured, they shouldn't have a problem with showing you their certificates.
Try searching their name on the internet to see what sort of a reputation they have. Better yet, ask your friends for recommendations; they aren't likely to steer you too far wrong.
When to Consider DIY
Sometimes a job is outside of your expertise, or has potentially expensive cost to fix if you don't do it right the first time. Know your limitations. There are times however, when you can do a job yourself, cheaper than hiring a tradesman.
If you are going to do it yourself, then consider these ways to make the job cost effective:
It is really great to have a fully stocked tool shed. However, we have all bought tools which only got used once. Hiring tools may be a better option for odd jobs, and borrowing tools from a friend is even better!
Another labor saving tip is to get your mates together to help you with it. Return the favor when they need help.
Your time is valuable. Especially with a big job, work out how long it will take you to complete. Consider hiring a professional if it would take you longer to do the job, than it would take you to earn the money, and to pay someone else to do it.
There are always options when it comes to hiring a professional or doing the work yourself. You can source materials yourself, get quotes from different tradespeople, and ask a few people's recommendations. Even if you are going to consider DIY, there are some basic principles to save time and money.
Remember the cost – time – quality trade-off when you are dealing with tradespeople!