1. Reduce Your Need for ContractorsContractors add 18% and more--usually more--for their services. For big projects, this is a staggering amount of money.
No, I'm not proposing ridding the world of contractors. They provide immensely valuable services for complicated, multi-stage projects. But you should carefully examine what you're using the contractor for--and question whether it's worth adding another 25% for that service.
Are you paying them to perform easy work? Let's say the contractor is building your addition, and you want a brick patio outside the addition. Instead of having the contractor do it, consider waiting until the addition is done and then find someone yourself to do the work. You can get three estimates for the brick in one or two evenings after work. And it's very much a "turn-key" kind of project: pay the mason and set him loose, little or no supervision needed. Now, wasn't it worth saving $600 for that?
What about materials? Is the contractor supplying materials that you can easily get yourself? That $100 set of towel bars costs $125 in the hands of a contractor. Instead, swing by the store yourself and pick it up.
Is there simple, non-building work you can do yourself? Things like site cleanup when they're done. They have to pay someone to clean up the site, and they'll charge a commission on top of that. Is the contractor going to spend all day in the permitting office and charge you for it? Who knows, maybe you've always longed to spend a vacation day in the permitting office.
There are many avenues to saving money with contractors. But first get their estimate and then start knocking off items.