Are you feeling cramped in your kitchen? Or does the look and feel of your space feel too outdated? If you’re getting ready to remodel your kitchen, a critical step in the planning stage of your project is the cost estimation and budgeting process. It’s important to understand what the projected costs will be, as the national average for the cost of a kitchen remodeling job is at $22,185. And if you opt for a higher tier project, your total expenditure could reach as high as $30,000. Yet, if you follow these four budgeting methods, you could end up saving so much money that you’ll find yourself only setback a few thousand in the end.
Find a Trustworthy Contractor
First and foremost, you’ll need to find yourself a trustworthy contractor who can provide a valuable service on a budget. Look for an innovative and excellent service to use, which will provide you direct support from the beginning to the end of your remodeling process.
If you find a reliable service, chances are that included in their services, they will have a portal through which you can find your ideal contractor. A major advantage to taking this route is that the contractors that are registered with such professional services have been vetted, and you can leverage the tools they’ve created to check out which of your neighbors have worked with which contractor. This can be very useful for people who are renovating a rental property in an area they’re unfamiliar with, or for a vacation home and they are not connected with the local community very well. It’s better than word-of-mouth!
As you conduct your search, it’s important to know that there’s a difference between a handyman and a contractor, as each of these focuses on a different range of tasks. A handyman will generally handle smaller, general tasks associated with home maintenance projects. And on the flip side, a contractor specializes in handling more full, larger jobs. If your kitchen job will involve minor tasks, such as replacing appliances or repairing the floor or drywall, you’ll want to consider a handyman. But if you’re going for the full-scale kitchen remodel job, this will fall under the purview of a general contractor.
Get Your Budget Organized
The foundation of your budget should be an honest and well-organized itemized list of all materials and labor costs. Oftentimes this can become difficult, as cost overruns and other unexpected costs can happen with your project. For this, you may want use a service that provides tools for contractors to organize and budget their projects more efficiently. With a wide variety of different materials associated with kitchen jobs, such a tool becomes essential. Otherwise, keeping a grip on your budget can quickly become overwhelming.
On average, cabinets, labor, and appliances eat up the largest share of your project’s overall cost. After that comes materials like windows, fixtures, fittings, and other miscellaneous costs. In general, after coming up with a rough idea for your initial budget, you’ll also want to set aside approximately 20 percent of your overall resources to address unexpected costs as they arise. These can happen all the time, like when you remove your old sink and discover that the flooring materials and cabinetry beneath it have rotted completely through. Or when knock down the drywall to expand your space, and discover that all the wiring and insulation is heavily outdated and needs to be replaced. Even something as easily overlooked as the costs of eating out regularly should be included.
Home Advisor has laid out the typical costs associated with different types of labor on their website. Have a look to get a feel for the kind of labor costs you’ll need to factor into your budget. You’ll notice that labor costs can add up pretty quickly, so it isn’t a bad idea to see how many of the smaller tasks you can take on by yourself (with the knowledge and approval of your contractor, of course). Oftentimes, demolition work is considered manageable and can be done without training or experience. This typically involves removing old cabinets, appliances, and flooring.
Secure Your Financing
You may not be aware, but in general you can find a multitude of ways in which you can pay for your remodeling job, so it’s important to choose wisely, given the unique circumstances of your financial situation. Home equity loans are a popular option with many homeowners, because they are tax-deductible. If you are looking for something simpler, classical bank loans are typically a better option for such projects, even when you have cash on hand. This is because cash could be used elsewhere or, it can even earn you a higher interest rate if left in an investment account. Whichever option you choose, it is important to sit down and look at all the potential losses or savings with each one.
Finding and Saving on Materials
Very often, and this is especially true for first-timers, people are tempted to purchase the more expensive, and exclusively new, materials for their remodeling project. Quality is indeed most important and, as advertised, new and exclusive materials will suggest the idea of quality. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose instead to purchase second-hand items. Reuse centers, like the popular Habitat for Humanity ReStore, are excellent choices if you want to go this route. But if you are going to be purchasing new materials, don’t forget to shop around and explore the competition. There’s always another tile, lumber, or hardware store that you can visit if you’re not finding the prices you need on your initial run. It doesn’t hurt to be patient and persistent.
Taking frugality to the next level is possible, especially if you consider selling your old stuff. The parts of your kitchen—old appliances, fixtures, and accessories—can sometimes fetch a penny on the second-hand market. Websites like Craigslist, or apps like OfferUp can help you in the department. Every dollar made from this is a dollar saved on the purchases you’ll need to make for your project.
Marie Erhart is a Success Manager at FieldPulse, creators of field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. She works with contractors to help them grow their business using best practices.