10 Golden Rules for Saving Money on Construction


Build During the Off Season

Fixing or replacing that roof in winter could save you 10 percent over summer.
Fixing or replacing that roof in winter could save you 10 percent over summer.

We broke ground on our addition in late February, which means we were getting quotes and talking to contractors beginning in mid-December and through early January. One contractor flat out told us that by getting quotes now, he'd be able to get lower prices from his subcontractors, because winter is a slow time for the construction industry.

Like many industries, the construction business has busy and slow times each year. You can save between 4 and 5 percent by starting your project when contractors tend to be slow — right after Christmas [source: Glave]. On a more seasonal project, like a roof, you can save as much as 10 percent by doing the work in the winter [source: Gordon].

Not only can you save money, but you'll get better service from your contractors during the off season. Since contractors are less busy, they have more time to meet with you, answer your questions, and go through those budgets line by line to see where you can save some cash.

Of course, there is a reason for those off seasons. We saved a lot of money on labor a few years ago by replacing some of our windows with energy-efficient ones in the middle of winter. The thing we didn't consider: Replacing those windows meant that for most of one day, our home was exposed to the elements. Make sure you're ready for some unexpected inconveniences that can come with off-season construction, like spending the day huddled next to a space heater for warmth.