Anyone who’s ever had to manage a home repair or—if they’re ambitious—take on a house renovation knows the stress of hiring a contractor. It can be completely overwhelming to try to figure out who’s most qualified, adequately insured, does great work, and fits within your budget. Especially when you realize there are different types of contractors for things like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, etc., it’s easy to throw in the towel and sign a contract with someone who might not be the best choice. Keep reading which home projects tend to go over cost.
That’s how so many people wind up at the end of their home projects holding an invoice that reflects a cost that’s nowhere near the original estimate. It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare: getting started on a big improvement project only to realize, halfway through with your house covered in tarp and half of your water fixtures disconnected, that you can’t afford to finish the job.
There’s very little that can totally erase the complication of home projects, but one study by the home service software company Housecall Pro might be able to clear up the confusion just a little bit. After analyzing over 1.1 million project invoices and comparing them to their initial estimates, the company identified which types of projects go over budget most often and by how much.
According to the study, one in every three projects goes over budget. So if you’ve hired out for more than three jobs, the probability is that you paid more than you wanted to on at least one of those projects.
Of the various fields of contract work, moving jobs went over budget the most often, with a whole 67 percent exceeding their initial estimate. The second and third most frequent offenders were flooring (53 percent) and water heater repair (51 percent).
The study also charted which types of projects exceeded budget by the highest dollar amount on average. Heating and A/C ranked highest by this metric, with the average over-budget amount clocking in at a shutter-inducing $3,130.32.
In other words, if you’re having HVAC work done, the chances of going over budget are lower, but for those unlucky few that do, it’s more likely to be over budget by a lot.
The study also figured out which types of projects come in under budget most often and found that those who hire for sewer & septic projects, handyman tasks, or pest control are the most likely to be pleasantly surprised when the invoice arrives.
If you’re planning a project of your own, you can use the data above to figure out which types of projects you need to be most careful with when hiring. This is also a good way to decide what projects make the most sense to DIY, if you’re capable.
For instance, you can probably hire a handyman with relatively low anxiety, knowing that statistically, handymen are the second-most likely to deliver results under budget. On the other hand, a flooring project is a good one to try to figure out on your own, since it flooring projects rank in the top three most frequent over-budget and the top three highest over-budget amounts, meaning you’re more likely to overpay for flooring, and the final number is more likely to make a large dent in your savings.
Of course, there is something to be said about the price of peace of mind. Unless you’re truly capable with your hands, attempting to DIY a complicated project will probably wind up costing you more than if you’d just paid a professional to do it. Contractors also come with insurance (or at least, they should—this is definitely something you should check for when you’re hiring!) so you’re covered in case of an accident in ways you won’t be if you’re attempting a project solo.
Regardless of what you decide, the most important thing going into any project is to be informed. Learning about which projects overcharge the most can go a long way, not just toward saving you money, but also toward helping you feel confident and relaxed when it comes time to get started.