Home improvement projects are extremely rewarding, but since you have to control your budget and goals, it’s important to know a few things before you get too far in.

One of the most common problems with bigger projects is not planning properly and either missing the goal or blowing the budget. But many other obstacles can appear along the way, like previously unknown requirements, extra work, or even things that are out of your control (such as the weather).

All of these can get in the way of your project, but as long as you have a plan and good communication with your contractor, you should be able to get it done. Follow these tips to ensure you keep everything under control!

Have a solid plan

Many homeowners start without a plan of their own and let the contractor call the shots from there. That’s pretty reliable assuming you’re working with a trustworthy pro, but even then, it’s a better idea to have a plan of your own.

What kind of plan? I’m talking about logistics:

  • How many days should it take for the project to be completed?
  • Will you have to vacate one or more rooms during that time?
  • Will there be dangers to pets and children during the process?
  • Do you need items and materials to be delivered in time?
  • If the project is outdoors, will weather conditions be agreeable?

You have to think as if you’re the one responsible for the whole thing. This is done primarily to prevent roadblocks and to help you keep track of your budget and time.

You don’t have to do all of this alone though. Working alongside your contractor of choice will make planning thousand times easier!

Communicate with your contractor

Especially for larger projects, maintaining an open channel of communication with your contractor is highly recommended.

It’s important to be inquisitive from the start so that you have a very clear understanding of the project in terms of scale, budget, and deadlines. Take notes, plan accordingly, and always talk to your contractor to make sure your goals are aligned.

This is not about micromanaging every step of the way. You just need to know what’s going down in case you need to get around time constraints, avoid roadblocks, and ensure you don’t go over budget.

Have a clear goal in mind

There’s a lot of discussion in the business world about “scope creep, but now many homeowners know what this is about. Do you know what scope creep is?

It’s what happens when a project of any nature keeps growing unchecked, making it impossible to finish in time and with a high-quality standard.

When it comes to home improvement, this usually happens because either the contractor or the homeowner allowed too many additions and changes to creep into the project. This, in turn, destroys the budget and causes many problems. Deadlines have to be shifted, materials have to be re-ordered, meanwhile, the clock is ticking and your budget is out of control.

This is why it’s crucial to have a clear goal in mind. If you have ideas for adjacent projects, then take note and leave them for later – let’s finish one thing first before making new plans.

It’s easy to get really excited when you start a home improvement project. And that’s wonderful, but keep in mind that you never have to do everything at once. Start one project, finish it, then move on to the next. There’s no rush!

Don’t forget that our inspiration blog has thousands of articles with useful information to help you plan better for any project!

Get some breathing room in your budget

Even with proper planning, the budget should have some wiggle room in case something happens – maybe you decide to make a small addition or there are unplanned expenditures along the way. When learning how to work with a contractor this will often come up.

The recommended margin of error is to calculate your budget and then add an extra 10% to it.

This will ensure that in the event of minor inconveniences, you should have enough saved to cover for it. This also goes for minor changes you can make to the project when talking to your contractor – such as adding one extra feature that wasn’t planned, so long as it doesn’t blow the budget.

Get everything in writing

A typical mistake made by homeowners and inexperienced contractors is to make promises informally instead of in writing. Everything should be in writing, starting from the contract.

It may sound unnecessary for smaller projects, but it’s important nonetheless. And it’s beneficial for both sides. The contractor gets a clear idea of the project goal, deadline, and payment, and the same goes for you. If by the end there’s a problem with how the project was handled, you should have everything in writing to prove your point.

But more than just serving as a last resort when something goes wrong, working with a contract is just good sense. It gives both sides clear information and peace of mind!

Now that you know how to handle a home improvement project, get free quotes from local contractors and start planning your dream home!


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