153 – 10 Ways To Manage Your Reno Costs

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The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

10 Ways To Minimise Your Renovation Costs

Minimising your costs in a renovation project is critical. It doesn’t matter whether you are renovating your family home, an investment property or a property you are planning to flip for a profit. If you lose track of your costs, you could end up spending significantly more than you  had planned to.

There are three types of costs involved in a renovation project:

  1. Holding cost
  2. Labour costs
  3. Material costs

The goal is to produce a quality renovation for the best price possible. The labour costs are by far the biggest costs involved in renovations, followed by the cost of your materials. These are my ten tips to help you keep your labour and material costs to a minimum.

 Watch the Episode on Video:

10 Ways To Manage Your Reno Costs


  • [01:11] The three types of costs with your renovation
  • [01:37] Your best tools for managing your costs 
  • [03:05] Train your trades
  • [04:36] Get a good handyman to help you in the project
  • [05:43] Retain what you can 
  • [7:09] How to manage the kitchen process really well
  • [9:10] Design for standard sizes
  • [10:06] Build up a repertoire of Reno hacks
  • [12:13] How to maximize your budget using a flat pack
  • [14:21] Tactic for kitchens
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Organisation is one of your best tools for managing your costs. You want to allow enough time to be able to source your labour and materials. Because if you try to do that under pressure, you don’t have the time to compare prices to negotiate and to really brief your trades to do the job.

#1 Be Organised to Cut Costs

Organisation is one of your best tools for managing and minimising your renovation costs. Allow enough time to be able to source your labour and materials without feeling pressured. In order to get the best price, you need time to compare and negotiate with your suppliers. It also allows you to check out the sales and get more than one quote.

#2 Train Your Tradies

Set up a formal tender process. It makes sure there is a written record of your agreed job specification and price. If you can, you should try and agree on a fixed price to avoid any pricey surprises along the way. Your tradie will factor in a buffer for unforeseen expenses. You can negotiate out at least some of that.

#3 Get A Good Handyman On Board

There are lots of bits and pieces that need to be done. Costs can climb significantly if each and every job is quoted for separately. I like to engage a handyman on a daily rate to do all of the small jobs that often slip through the cracks.

#4 Retain What You Can

There is often no need to completely strip out a property. There are usually things you can retain or reuse. For example, I have sometimes taken the oven out but used it in the new kitchen, saving me the $900 I would have had to spend on a new one. It is a renovation cost saving exercise that helps to maximise your profit.

#5 Manage The Kitchen Renovation Very Well

To save money on a kitchen renovation it is best to subcontract the various components of the kitchen. When you use an all-in-one kitchen company you end up paying for their expenses such as a fulltime designer and the cost of having a showroom. They will also put a markup on all everything they had to subcontract for such as making the cabinets and the trades they engage to build your kitchen. It pays you to source the cabinet maker, plumber and electrician yourself.

#6 Design For Standard Sizes

Using standard sizes for mirrors, doors, fencing, wardrobes and curtains will save you money. If you have to have anything custom-made it will cost you more. There are some variations in standard sizes that will allow you to achieve the look you are going for while minimising costs.

#7 Reno Hacks to Save Time and Money

Make a note of everything you learn when you are working on a renovation project so that you don’t have to learn the same lesson again in a future project. I wrote a little eBook that lists fifty five reno hacks that help save you time and money.

#8 Use Flat Packs

Flat pack cabinets in the kitchen may not save you time and money, but they are useful in other areas of the house. There is no waiting time. You can go to the store, purchase what you need and go back to your renovation and install it straight away. If you need some help installing a flat pack so that it doesn’t look like a flat pack, have a listen to the podcast episode I did on the topic.

#9 Be Clever About Sourcing Products to Minimise Renovation Costs

Not everything you need for your design needs to come from a traditional store. They don’t even need to be brand new. I have sourced many products from renovation auctions or Facebook Marketplace. These are great places to find statement fittings. I have even managed to pick up some brand new appliances. This is a great way to minimise your renovation costs.

#10 Upcycle

You can reuse any number of items, either from the original property or salvaged from somewhere else. I find this to be an interesting tactic to use in kitchens in particular. It can considerably cut down your reno costs.

When you take the time to think, plan and do your research, minimising your renovation costs is so much easier. You will save yourself a lot of money, without compromising on the quality of your renovation. It’s definitely a win-win.


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She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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