Remodeling Costs: How to Control How Much You Spend


Article by: Dan Fritschen

There are four key remodeling cost drivers that impact how much you need to spend when undertaking any remodeling project: The design , Using a Ladder Safely of the remodel, the materials you use, who manages the project, and how you pay for it. This article focuses on where you can save , Choosing a Vinyl Replacement Window Contractor on project management, and three different options you should consider.

When it comes to project management of your remodel, you can:

"¢ Hire a general contractor
"¢ Manage the project yourself
"¢ Hire a fee-based project manager

General Contractors. , The Changing Face Of DIY Stores
General contractors , Information About Trash Can Liners. will do the project management for you and usually do some of the work themselves. Often, the general contractor , Electrical Home Inspection: What You Need to Know! will do the framing, install the doors , Empire Furniture For Home Decorating and windows, , Installing Vinyl Fences do the finish work, install fixtures and then subcontract with others to do the rest of the work.

General contractors , Why Take Time To Choose Leather Office Chairs? typically will provide a fixed bid for your project based on their management of the job and subcontractors, and may charge you additionally for time and materials for the actual work they perform. They will include in their fixed bid a fee for their management time, and possibly will mark up the subcontractors' fees to cover their own time to manage the variety of subcontractors' activities. They will also take care of paying all the subcontractors, so instead of writing twenty checks, you only have to write one, to the general contractor. , Tips for Home Remodeling Projects To better understand the costs of employing a general contractor, , Why Take Time To Choose Leather Office Chairs? try the "Manage it Myself" option in the Remodel-or-Move Calculator at You can also gather information , Choosing a Vinyl Replacement Window Contractor on your remodel at

Manage the project yourself. , Choosing the Right General Contractor
Just like a general contractor, , Metal Shingles whose primary duties are to coordinate the activities of the remodel and make decisions on your behalf, you can manage the project yourself. , Tips On Buying Ceiling Fans Even if you hire a general contractor, , The Right Carpet For Your Home you will be required to make most of the decisions, so doing the task coordination is a natural , Installing Vinyl Fences offshoot of decision making. Even if you don't have construction experience, there are resources available to help along the way.

The more important question to ask yourself , Bath Tubs & Bathing: which Bath to Choose? is do you have the time and interest to take on and complete this project? It can take an hour or two each day to keep on top of things, make timely decisions, and follow up on the phone. , The Right Carpet For Your Home If you have other things you would rather do, then you should probably hire a general contractor. , Counter Tops - Clean, Shiny, Inviting: Choosing the Best One If you don't enjoy learning new things or the stress that comes along with hiring and working with subcontractors, then you should definitely hire general contractor. , Information About Trash Can Liners. However, if you have good people skills, , Evolution Of The Sauna Heater strong organizational abilities, and most importantly, the time -- then being your own project manager can be a fun and rewarding adventure.

A critical component of managing any remodeling project yourself , Ceiling Fans Look Great and Save You Money is finding and hiring good, reliable subcontractors. With a big project, this may take more time than you can budget. If you consider that you may need six or more different skilled subcontractors (electrical, plumbing, , Home Improvement Loans drywall and texture, etc.), you will have to interview quite a few people before picking the right person or company for each task, and evaluate at least two estimates from each one. This is where networking helps.

One good subcontractor will often know others. Ask your neighbors and friends; look in the newspapers. Good subcontractors are out there! Also try the contractor , Where to Find Great Kitchen Canister Sets referral service at The benefits of being the project manager yourself , Bath Tubs & Bathing: which Bath to Choose? include the pride of knowing you had a hand in the creation, the empowerment that comes with knowing that you made the decisions along the way that produced fine results, and the money you will save. , Empire Furniture For Home Decorating

As described above, without a general contractor , Ceiling Fans Look Great and Save You Money a project can be 20 to 50 percent less expensive. This savings can allow you to make more improvements , Tips On Buying Ceiling Fans or keep more of your money in savings. A great tool , The Solar Energy Industry Grew 67% Last Year: Are You Making the Best Decision for Your Future? for helping you organize your remodeling project is The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer available at

Hire a fee-based project manager.
A third option is a compromise between the previous two. Most homeowners choose to use a full-service general contractor, , Using a Ladder Safely many manage remodel projects themselves, and only a few choose a fee-based project manager. Fee-based project managers will do all the project coordination and subcontractor hiring tasks at an hourly rate, usually between $50 and $100 per hour. They do not mark up the subcontractor charges; you typically will pay them directly.

This can be a very attractive option because it can save , Using a Ladder Safely you money over using the full services of a general contract, yet take away a lot of the burden of managing the project yourself. , Foundation Leak Repair Unfortunately, these fee-based contractors , Miracles Always Happen Under A Tent ( A Gazebo Or A Canopy)! are not nearly as common as general contractors, , Generator Power Solutions Compared To Generator Shopping and it may be hard to find one in your area who can do everything that may be required.

No matter which option you choose, you will need the tools , Harnessing the Sun for Your Home - Key Components to organize the information , Installing Vinyl Fences you will be receiving from many sources. Business cards, quotes, invoices, receipts, contractors, , Carpet Cleaning Equipment notices, warranties and contracts will all begin to pile up before you know it. Scheduling tasks using check sheets and tables to compare quotes, product , The Many Dimensions of the World of Candles specifications and costs can all be organized in one place , Electrical Home Inspection: What You Need to Know! with The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer. You can learn more about it at

Copyright 2005 ABCD Publishing LLC
About the Author Dan Fritschen, founder of, a homeowner advocacy organization, speaker at Home , The Changing Face Of DIY Stores and Garden , Drapery fabric enhances your window architectural style in any room in your home shows Nationwide, author of the best selling book Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision and The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer (available at has recently been interviewed on CNN, in Better Homes , Where to Find Great Kitchen Canister Sets and Garden , Home Improvement Loans Magazine and in Newsweek.

Do you have remodeling or moving questions? Email Dan directly at

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