How to save more than $5,000 on your bathroom renovation

Posted: 26 June 2017 12:50 pm
News

How to save on bathroom renovations

Renovation expert James Mason reveals how to save thousands on your bathroom renovation.

If you've ever wondered how you can save big bucks on your bathroom reno project, James Mason author of Renovation Junkies is here to show you how a bit of hard work on your end could save you lots. Let’s dive in and find out how you can save yourself $5,000 or more.

What hiring a builder would normally cost you

The average bathroom renovation here in Australia costs around $20,000. This figure will vary depending on the size of the bathroom and what finishes are chosen.

Now, if you factor in that most builders have a profit margin of around 30% added to their costs, then that equates to you paying an extra $5,000+ on top of the $20,000 that it actually costs to renovate your bathroom. If your budget is tight, then that extra 30% or so can make or break your renovation plans.

How to save money by managing your own renovation project

If you’re the type of person who likes to get in and give things a go and you're not afraid of a little hard work, then project managing your own bathroom renovation could be for you.

However, before you jump in and start organising a bathroom renovation, you need to know how the entire process works from beginning to end. Below is a snapshot of all the critical stages of a bathroom renovation.

  • Stage 1: Research
  • Stage 2: Planning
  • Stage 3: Pre-construction
  • Stage 4: Construction
  • Stage 5: Project completion

Keep in mind that stages 1-3 all take place before you even strike the first blow on your bathroom and usually require three months or more of planning and preparation to work through.

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these stages.

Stage 1: Research

You can spend days trawling the net looking at beautiful bathrooms, but my advice is to pick a few individual websites and be structured in your approach. My two favourite websites are Pinterest and Houzz.

Simply create an account and a storyboard to save your design ideas, then narrow down each item (tiles, vanities, taps, toilets, shower screens, lighting, etc) in a separate folder.

Stage 2: Planning

There are a few key steps in this stage:

  • Create a job file structure. This is where you can store everything related to your project.
  • Draft your plans. No matter how big or small your bathroom renovation is, you must have a set of plans or a sketch with instructions to work from. There are three main options when it comes to getting plans drafted:
    • Pay for an architect, interior designer or draftsperson to design your plans.
    • Use an online software program to draft up your own design. A simple one I like to use is EDRAW, which has drag-and-drop features.
    • Sketch out your own design by hand on paper. Make sure your room and all its fittings are drawn to scale to show their exact locations.
  • Shop for your selections. Sounds simple, but trekking across the city to visit showrooms for tiles, plumbing fittings, lighting, vanities and shower screens can be a real pain. I’d advise that you block out a few weekends if you plan on securing all your fittings in one hit.

Stage 3: Pre-construction

There are two main tasks that need to be done during pre-construction and these will take a lot of effort.

1. Find contractors for your project. When requesting quotes, it’s essential that you have a structured way of documenting all the contractors that will be tendering for your project.

You should also arm yourself with knowledge about contracts and licensing for contractors. Having signed documents and a scope of work in place when engaging a contractor (even for work valued under $5,000) is crucial and can save you a lot of headaches once the project kicks off. More detailed information can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website or your state's relevant website.

2. Estimate your construction timeline. Mapping out a good construction schedule allows you to book in start and finish dates for all for your contractors and is also a good visual tool to use for planning. It also helps you avoid clashes in critical tasks and keeps you on top of things.

Stage 4: Construction

The construction stage is where all your planning and hard work comes together. It’s here that your project management skills will really need to shine and it’s your job to make sure that your contractors start when they are booked and finish when they agreed to.

Manage this stage correctly and it should all be smooth sailing from here. Get it wrong and one delay can lead to knock-on effects that could delay the finish date of your project for weeks (not good if you are a one-bathroom household).

My key tip: Always be on the phone with your tradies letting them know what’s going on. Keeping them in the loop with delays and rescheduling could help get your timeline back on track.

Stage 5: Project completion

In this final stage, it’s all about wrapping up the project so that everything is 100% complete with no outstanding defects.

Make sure you factor in a defects liability period with your contractors. This is where you retain a small amount of the contractor’s pay for a period of time, for example, 5% or 10% of the contract value for a period of three months after the work is completed. This gives you a degree of security, where if a defect arises during this period of time, the contractor will return and rectify the problem at their cost.

If they refuse to return to repair their defects (make sure you document it), then you are entitled to use that money to get someone else in to rectify the defective work.

Conclusion

Renovating is tough and it takes a lot of careful planning to get it right. Don't be scared off, though, as it can also be a very rewarding experience.

The question you need to ask yourself, is are you up for the challenge and the hard work to save yourself that extra $5,000+, or is that money better spent on engaging someone else to manage the project for you?

Good luck with whichever path you choose.

Finance your renovation with a construction loan

Aussie Home Loans Logo

Enter your details and get a free consultation with an expert broker from Aussie.

By submitting this form, you agree to the Finder Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use

Applications are subject to approval. Conditions, fees and charges apply. Please note that you need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to apply.

Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie Activate and Aussie Elevate products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 (“Aussie”) and its appointed credit representatives, Australian Credit Licence 246786. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133, Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Activate products is provided by Pepper Finance Corporation Limited ACN 094 317 647 (“Pepper”). Pepper Group Limited ACN 094 317 665, Australian Credit Licence 286655 acts on behalf of Pepper. Credit services for Aussie Elevate products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 (“Aussie”) and its appointed credit representatives. Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861. Credit and any applicable offset accounts for Aussie Elevate are issued by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL / Australian Credit Licence 237879.

Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd. Aussie is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ©2020 AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786.

By submitting this form, you agree to the Aussie privacy policy.

After entering your details a mortgage broker from Aussie will call you. They will discuss your situation and help you find a suitable loan.

  • A comparison of home loans from multiple lenders.
  • Expert guidance through the entire application process.
  • Free suburb and property reports.

Aussie Home Loans Lender Logos

The Adviser’s number 1 placed mortgage broker 8 years running (2013-2020)

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Construction Loan (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.66%
3.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Fund the construction of your new family home with a very competitive variable interest rate. Available with a 10% deposit.
ANZ Land Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
4.39%
4.49%
$600
$5 monthly ($60 p.a.)
90%
Buy vacant land with a competitive interest rate. 5% deposit option available.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.68%
2.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$2,000 to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Get a competitive variable interest rate with no application fee or ongoing fees. Refinance to an eligible Suncorp loan and get a cashback of $2,000 or $3,000, depending on your loan amount. Other conditions apply.
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Construction Loan (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.46%
3.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Build your new home with a variable interest rate and enjoy a 100% offset account. 10% deposit option available.
AMP Bank Construction Loan - Owner Occupier (IO)
3.29%
4.73%
$20 monthly ($240 p.a.)
80%
Build a home or investment property and take advantage of interest-only repayment options.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

James Mason headshot

James Mason

James Mason is a builder with over 22 years of experience in the construction industry. He set up Renovation Junkies in 2015 to help renovators get independent advice, and also hosts a successful YouTube channel called 'Our Build'.

Get more from Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site