When it comes to home improvement contractors, it’s not hard to see why so many myths exist around them. After all, they’re typically in the business of making homes look and feel better than ever before, which makes them very valuable to potential homeowners. But if you’re eager to improve your home but don’t know where to start, you might find yourself falling prey to popular myths about that keep you from growing your own home into the kind of place you dream about every night and want to spend every day in.
Myth 1: Start By Hiring Professionals
Unfortunately, it’s easy for a homeowner looking for home improvement contractors to fall into this category. Believe it or not, you can save money by skipping some of those expensive middle men and doing your research online instead. It’s also important to keep in mind that in many cases, hiring home improvement contractors is unnecessary. If all you need is new carpeting or a fresh coat of paint, there’s really no reason that you can’t do both yourself.
Myth 2: A Bigger House Means a Bigger Payment
Home improvements can help you save money and improve your life. But home improvements can also break your budget. If you’re buying a house, and especially if it’s your first time, keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. The interest rate on a 30-year mortgage will be about four times higher on a $600,000 house than on a $300,000 house for exactly the same amount of money down, so think twice before going overboard. On top of that, if you’re planning to stay in your new home for only five years or less (the typical length of time people stay in their first home), then all that space is really just wasted money.
Myth 3: If You Can’t Afford It, Save Up
It might seem obvious, but if you can’t afford home improvements right now, start saving up. There are several simple ways to make extra cash: Sell unwanted items on eBay or Craigslist, create an income stream through blogging, pick up a part-time job in your spare time, or even ask family members for an advance on your upcoming birthday or holiday gift. Make it a goal to pay off as much of your loan as possible so you’re not financing major renovations in addition to paying interest and having fewer resources at hand when problems arise. It might take some time, but going slowly will mean more money in your pocket in the end.
Myth 4: Get Multiple Quotes
You’ll be shocked at how much you can save by calling multiple contractors and finding out what they charge. While it may seem like a hassle, in reality all you have to do is call them up (making sure each company lists their phone number somewhere on their site) and compare prices. It’s important that you don’t limit yourself to talking with only local contractors since they usually have higher overhead costs than contractors across state lines. Instead, get some quotes from nationwide home improvement contractors who will actually compete for your job and give you a much better price than what local companies are offering.
Myth 5: The Quality of Work is in the Details
One of my favorite sayings when it comes to customer service is: The difference between doing a good job and doing a great job is in your attention to detail. This saying is no different when applied to home improvement contractors. A contractor’s ability to give his or her client 110% depends on how many of these little details they take care of while they’re working on your project.
Myth 6: Do it Yourself Is Always Cheaper Than Having Someone Else Do it
It’s tempting to think that you can save a lot of money by doing home improvement work yourself instead of hiring an experienced pro, but one mistake could easily turn into two or three costly mistakes. If you hire a professional, there’s less chance for things to go wrong, and if something does go wrong, it won’t be as bad since you didn’t do it yourself. For example, if you try installing new tile in your bathroom, and something goes wrong with your measurements or cuts, it will cost more than if someone who knows what they are doing installs your tile. Do it right from day one and save time and money in the long run by hiring someone who knows how to handle projects professionally.
Myth 7: Check Their References Before Getting Started
If you haven’t worked with home improvement contractors before, it can be difficult to determine which companies are right for you. Fortunately, you don’t need experience working with home improvement contractors—or even their references—to know they are a good fit. Since every contractor has different strengths and weaknesses (as well as different ideal clients), some may be better than others for your specific project. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing a contractor. Don’t rely on references or recommendations from friends and family; instead, look at what each company does best by taking a close look at their website and portfolio of work.
Myth 8: Check Their Credentials and License
More often than not, you end up spending more money doing it yourself than if you’d hired a professional in the first place. Not only does a professional have experience, but he or she can be more efficient and save you time as well. To illustrate, we’ve estimated how much it would cost you if you decided to do your project all by yourself: * Prices based on having 2 workers (1 labor + 1 skilled) for 8 hours at $28/hr. ($56 total). If instead of having just two people working on your project all day, five of them worked eight-hour days… that’s $280 per day x 5 days = $1,400.
Myth 9 (The biggest one): Doing it Yourself Saves Money
If you believe all of these myths about home improvement contractors, then it’s likely that you are making plans to do it yourself. In fact, many homeowners opt for DIY projects simply because they think that it will save them money. This belief also perpetuates more myths and leads people down a dangerous path that could cost them time and money. There is a reason why an outside company was hired to complete certain tasks, so let your expertise speak for itself by paying them to do what they’re good at doing. It’s not worth saving $200 only to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars over time due to improperly finished work or an inferior final product.