There are several ways to save money on labour when building your granny flat.
Shop Around for a Builder
Get several bids and choose your contractor wisely. By doing so, you may find a contractor you like who keeps their price low.
Once you’ve gotten a few bids you’re happy with, ask for references – names of former customers. Go even further by asking those customers if they have any more references. Trying to get a review from a customer further than “arms-length” from the builder will work wonders with a real review.
Of course, contractors are going to give you their best references. So, it’s a wise idea to seek out more to get the best possible picture of them. After all, it’s not just the price that costs you money.
If the contractor delays work or doesn’t effectively manage their subcontractors, you may end up paying more to correct their errors. The goal is to find a respected, affordable contractor whose work can be trusted and who sticks to the timeline.
If unable to find a contractor you are happy with, you could:
Once you find a builder, keep your lines of communication open. Make sure your builder knows what your priorities are. Also, seek their input when it comes to finding ways to save – they are experts in their field.
They may be able to advise you which styles to choose, which will save you valuable dollars.
Choose a Smaller Design
Have a long, hard think – does your granny flat really need to be as big as the design you initially chose? It’s basic math – the bigger the home, the higher the cost.
Reduce the size and lower your cost. One of the best ways to do this while maintaining space is to choose an open floor plan.
This enables you to use the space in multiple ways – the kitchen opens into the living and dining room. This prevents the area from feeling confined.
Basically, here are the “used” options you have for a secondary dwelling:
Used granny flats
Used shipping containers
Also wise to consider, if thinking about a shipping container home. They may not be as strong; as they may have been hit or be dented. And while some may be structurally sound, others may have been dropped from a great height.
You have no idea where they have been. Used shipping containers in particular will not come with a detailed history. So you do not necessarily know what possibly deadly materials may have been inside.
So you are potentially putting your health and safety at risk if you house yourself in a container in which you don’t know what it once carried.
PICKING THE RIGHT TRADES PERSON
If you choose the cheap option and hire the wrong builder, you may end up with someone who has never completed a granny flat build. This is why it is so important to check their references, so you know their quality of work.
They may make errors, break your councils’ regulations, and you may have problems getting approvals. When building a granny flat, time is money, and every error costs.
There are a range of budget granny flat options in which you can choose from;
Relocatable granny flats
Mobile granny flats (“on wheels”)
Used granny flats
There are ways to save costs with a builder, including getting several bids and choosing wisely.
Check references, to get a broader view of their work. After all, delays and any work done by their subcontractors also cost you money.
Once you’ve found a trusted, respected, affordable contractor, communicate with them. Seek their input on your project when it comes to saving money, as they have (hopefully) performed the job before. They may be able to save you money on materials, or allow you to source your own. Also make sure you keep every bit of material for reuse.
Think wisely about your design, the materials you use and the finish you choose. Every small change can save you valuable dollars.
Even consider doing the work yourself as an “owner-builder” to save huge dollars on labour. See our site Do It Yourself Granny Flat to learn more.