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How to Manage Your Home Improvement Project


Completing a home improvement project within budget and on time is not a simple task. There are countless things that can go wrong, a lot of people involved, and a lot of money at stake.

What can you do to keep everything running smoothly and under control?

Plan everything thoroughly

Approach your home improvement project like a professional project.  Start off with a well thought-out plan and monitor the progress of your work.

The cost and time associated with home improvement projects certainly warrant detailed planning; this is not the time for the “winging it” or “planning-as-you-go” approaches.

Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard!) and plan and document every detail: budget, materials, contractor teams, permits, timeframe.

Be prepared for the unforeseen by adding an extra 20% to your budget and an extra 20% to your estimated completion time. For areas of uncertainty, do not hesitate to ask for professional advice.

Once you have a plan, stick to it. It is very easy to continuously second guess yourself or change your mind.  Just remember, if you do change your mind about the color of the kitchen cabinets or the way in which the bathroom tiles should be installed, additional costs and delays will be inevitable.

Remember the paperwork

Large home improvement projects require permits (typically issued by the city council or local county government), so make sure that you understand which permits are required for the entirety of your project and whether you or your contractor will complete the legwork required to file for and schedule the permit inspections. Taking care of the red tape before starting the project will save you from headaches, delays, and fines in the long run.

Remember that paperwork also protects you: when you hire a contractor, get every detail in writing. We mean it – every single detail!  The list of details that should be confirmed in writing include: work scope, time frame, material brand, composition, type and color, quanitites for included items, all chosen upgrades and options, labor costs, payment schedule, and warranty coverage.  Also, it is a good idea to ensure that your signed contract covers you in case the project is delayed or poorly executed.

Insurance is another important aspect you need to consider: before signing with a contractor, check their insurance coverages and workers’ liability policy. Ask to see the policy and/or call their insurance company yourself to make sure their policy is still valid and you are covered.  Most professional and reputable insurance agents will send out a Certificate of Insurance (COI) with 24 hours notice.

Hire the right contractor from the beginning

One way to jeopardize your home improvement project is to hire contractors solely based on price. Yes, we all want to save some money, but when it comes to home improvements, a cheap contractor may end up costing you more in the long run.

A cheaper estimate typically comes with poor quality materials, unqualified laborers, or a delayed timeline. If possible, hire your contractors based on recommendations from friends or neighbors. If not, make sure to check their online reviews and even ask for a few phone numbers of their previous clients whom you can call to ask for references.

Hire a professional to manage your project

If your home improvement project seems overwhelming or you simply do not have enough time to deal with it like you should, then it may be time to call in the professionals. Hire a project manager, who could be an architect or a construction engineer, to ensure that the contractors finish everything on time and perform quality checks.

Usually professional home improvement managers will charge a percentage of the value of the entire project, in return for their experience and expertise to ensure that everything is under control.

Hire a home improvement contractor


Topics: Home Improvement