Saving Money By Doing The Work Yourself

The cost of labor is one of the biggest cost components of construction. By doing some of the labor, it is possible to reduce the cost of a project. But do-it-yourself (DIY) construction comes with some challenges:

  • It's possible to "save" the contractor's fee. But these savings require that the DIY "general contractor" spend the time and have the skills to plan, organize and supervise the work. Good contractors work very hard to earn their fee, the DYI contractor will have to work even harder.
  • Good contractors and specialty contractors have the skills and tools to do work faster and better. DIY work requires some construction skills, a learning curve and more time.
  • General contractors have a stable of established and known sub-contractors. This saves them time and money and results in an established quality of work. The DIY general contractor will have to spend a disproportioned amount of time and effort to find good quality sub-contractors.
  • I have seen many books, material and services that promise large savings when undertaking DIY work. My experience suggests that some modest savings are possible with DIY work. I have also seen projects that ended up costing more than contracted work and some with very poor quality results.

The best DIY projects are those done by people who enjoy this type of a project, are well organized and have some construction skills and are willing to learn others.