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10 Golden Rules for Saving Money on Construction

Do it Yourself, Unless You Can't!

Whether you're a die-hard do-it-yourselfer or just handy with a paint brush, you can probably pick up a few of the tasks on the construction to do list. Contractors make an average of $18 to $25 per hour, so when you do some of the work yourself, you're saving all of those labor costs [source: PayScale]. The trick is to be realistic about what you can do.

Only you know what your skills are. If you can do something yourself, it can save you a bundle, but if you don't know what you're doing, there's a chance you'll end up paying more to have a contractor fix your mistakes. Certain things, like installing a toilet properly, are more difficult than they may seem. Plumbing mistakes in particular can be very expensive to fix, since leaks can cause water damage that you'll have to pay for on top the cost to have things plumbed properly.

It's also important to make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. Some parts of a construction project have more to them than meets the eye. If you agree to paint, make sure to find out if you're just painting the walls, or if you'll have to paint the trim and the ceiling, too. My husband and I got burned a little on our home addition when we said we would paint. Let's just say that the addition has been finished for almost a year, and I'm still staring at unpainted closet doors and trim and kicking myself!