How To Plan A Project
While starting small projects it's always good to have a clear idea of what you need, what you want to do and how you need to do it, but this is so much more important when you've got a big project - like a home or garden renovation - you want to complete. Bigger projects take more time and planning and preparing right from the very start ensures it can run as smoothly as possible. Here's a list of things you should do and be aware of when planning your own project:
Create a mood board
Start with a whole host of images, ideas and inspiration. A physical mood board - using a sketch book or journal - is great for taking with you, jotting down notes and thoughts, and for keeping photos you find in magazines. Digital boards on sites such as Pinterest are also an excellent way of keeping track of anything you see online, especially from sources of inspiration like Instagram and interiors blogs. Once you have your mood boards, you can start to see the schemes and designs you tend to go for, narrowing down what you'll finally decide on.
Do your research
Look around at all possibilities of designs and materials. Contact a professional who will be able to advise you on what materials would work best for your design or help you come up with something that is better suited to your needs. Finding one contractor - like the Handyman - who can cover all the jobs required, rather than multiple individual contractors can save you money and time in the long run, as it's less likely you'll be let down by one contractor which will have a knock-on effect to others scheduling-wise.
Set a goal
Once you have an idea of what you want and how you want it to look, be clear when explaining it to your contractor/s. Being unclear or changing your mind part way though the project can make things much more expensive than originally estimated.
Set a budget
And be realistic! Consider the cost of materials, as bespoke will cost more but choosing cheaper materials may compromise their reliability and longevity. The skill level of your contractor will also affect the price too. Allow around 10% extra safety net on top of your budget for unforeseen costs, as things can (and most likely will) go wrong.
Get an estimate
Actually, get a few estimates! This does link back to doing your research, as sometimes you would have spoken to companies already to ask for advice. Once you've settled on the specifics, shop around. Bear in mind that although some may be cheaper, they may not be as professional or skilled as a more expensive contractor.
Whether it be yourself, an architect or a project manager, appoint one person who will be the main port of call for the duration. If you are using different contractors, it gives them one port of call and avoids any confusion or miscommunication among all the different parties during the project. If you do choose someone like the Handyman, the scheduling of the different teams is done in-house so there is already one weight off your mind!
When do you expect each stage to be completed by? How often do your contractors need paying/do they require a deposit?
Most contractors can deal with the ordering of the materials for you and include it all in the price (remember, some of the larger companies can get good trade discounts which they may be able to pass onto you, saving you some money.) But if you want to do it yourself, you need to remember the schedule and ensure anything you ordered is delivered in time for the contractors to start working. Bespoke items can take weeks or even months to build. You don’t want to waste money on workmen hanging around or needing to leave for their next job due to bad planning when ordering materials.
Although it's always best to have a clear idea of exactly what is wanted right from the very start, there may be times when you change your mind or decide a different approach. Let the project manager or contractor know immediately to ensure it can be sorted easily, but do be prepared for further costs! It may cost more in labour or materials than originally estimated or may mean that some work already carried out needs to be changed.
Here at the Handyman, we love working with customers to create their dream homes and gardens. From single room redecoration to full home refurbishment and garden landscaping, we've worked on projects big and small, and all our teams are experienced. If you have a project in mind, give us a call or e-mail us and let us know how we can help!