We spoke to Danny Pettiona from The Reno Mentor to get tips to help you from going over budget on your bathroom renovation. Danny is a husband, new dad and owner of 3 separate businesses in the construction industry, one of which has completed nearly 400 renovations, spent close to $20,000,000, which has translated into yearly profit into the 7-figures! He has some fantastic usable tips and information that anyone who is about to embark on renovating their bathroom needs to read first.
Why did you start The Reno Mentor?
I’ve perfected this thing we call renovating – I had to, to be able to grow the business how I did. For me it’s all about systems, if you can implement a great system, you can deliver a renovation without the fear of going over budget or time. What throws a ‘spanner in the works’ is when we let our emotions get in the way of our logic… I won’t hold that against you, because I did this exact thing when I first started in the industry. One of my own personal renovations went 13% over budget and also 3 months longer than expected, this took a massive tole on my family, my finances and my stress levels. During this renovation was probably some of the most stressed out, depressed and darkest days I’ve had in my life.
BUT thankfully, I changed all that, the moment I realised I can’t keep reinventing the wheel for every renovation. If I followed a system, I’d be massively limiting any chances of failure.
What’s the first step to budgeting for your bathroom reno?
Budgeting your bathroom renovation is like budgeting any other type of renovation in your house. There are a number steps you ‘should’ to go through to be able to get the most accurate budget!
Why is this important? Did you know nearly 50% of Aussie renovations go over budget, most by 10% or more… If you’re just doing a single bathroom an extra 10% might not be a deal breaker, but snowballed across a full renovation, a number of bathrooms, or even a large, highly spec’d bathroom, can mean A LOT of money.
Most people, when renovating rooms at a time, do it out of their savings. If you’re saving all of your pennies to do your bathroom renovation, spending all of your savings, you need to be sure that you have enough money to finish the job… Otherwise you might be maxing out your credit cards, calling up mum & dad, or putting in some serious overtime to pay for the extra costs.
So, what is the first step to budgeting for your bathroom reno?
Know EXACTLY what the maximum amount you are prepared to spend is!
How do you actually budget?
It might sounds simple, but to budget, you have to know:
- EXACTLY what you want
- Have an idea of what issues ‘could’ arise
- Then either get it quoted or estimate it ourselves!
How do you know EXACTLY what you want?
Well, there are a few different ‘layers’ to knowing what you want. Firstly you have to do a bit of homework in relation to the overall space design. Is the layout changing at all, are you removing any walls, moving any plumbing points, etc. Think how the space will work functionally.
Then once your general space planning is done, you will get into more of the aesthetic design elements. Are you tiling the walls to the ceiling or is just the shower walls being tiled? Is the vanity going to be a floor mount or wall hung? Is the toilet going to have a concealed cistern?
Once this is decided you’re onto the final step of actually choosing the products and determining what we call in the industry ‘the specification’. What do I mean by this, with tiling for example, tiling a wall is not just tiling a wall, you want to nominate the tile size, the grout thickness, the tile layout, the grout colour, the silicon colour, tile edges or mitred… all of these things have an impact on cost, so you should be CLEAR on these to fully understand your budget.
How do you know what issues could arise?
In any renovation you have to account for the unknown… and there is an art to this that often only comes from experience, BUT, I am going to give you some tips on items that may arise during your bathroom renovation:
- Moisture damage to wall framing and sheeting: most people discover during demolition, after you already committed to renovating the bathroom. Most people also don’t budget for this because it was an unforeseen issue they encountered. Before you start you get a fairly good idea of whether you will encounter any moisture damage by
- Hiring a professional to do moisture testing
- If tiles are loose or drummy in a showerc.
- If there is any issues with swollen timber of cabinets that may back onto the bathroom
- Termite damage: again most people may discover this during demolition. If the termites are no longer there but have caused the damage it may be harder to pick up but there are options:
- Hiring a professional to do a termite inspection
- If there are any timbers that are chipping after, hollow or the like, it may be a sign of termite damage.
- Asbestos: it’s often too far into demolition when we discover that the wall sheeting may be asbestos or the dreaded black jack under the tiles. How do you know if you might have asbestos?
- Hiring a professional to do asbestos review and testing before you start
- Non-compliant or aging services: what do I mean by this? You might find that all of the plumbing in the wall needs to be upgraded or the previous owner might have considered themselves handy and wired up the bathroom incorrectly.
- Have your electrician and plumber do a quick review before you start
These are only some things that you may encounter. But what I’d suggest is looking into these before you start because the cost of repairing these might totally blow your budget. You should always allow a ‘contingency allowance’ in your budget. For example, if your budget is $10,000, then maybe you should budget to spend $9,000 and then leave $1,000 in the kitty for any unknowns or cost-blow outs.
What are my options for figuring out the total cost?
As I see it there are 3 real options:
You engage a licensed builder to complete the whole reno for you – they give you a fixed price.
– They have experience.
– They should get it done quickly.
– You have a warranty on completion.
– You don’t have to invest so much of your time.
– You pay more in the form of a builder’s margin.
You project manage it yourself as an owner builder – and obtain quotes from each of the trades and add them all together.
– You might save some money engaging trades directly (no builders margin).
– You might not have the experience.
– You have to invest your time (which you should account for in the amount your likely to save)
– You have multiple different warranties instead of just one.
You use a system to estimate the cost.
– You can do it yourself without needing to contact trades or builders.
– It gives you a good base-line to work off.
– It’s not what it will actually cost, instead an estimate.
How do you stick to your budget?
Firstly, you need to know your budget exactly, then you need a system to properly track your costs. Excel is sufficient, you just need to basically use the following method. This gives you a good snapshot of exactly how you are tracking on your renovation at any single point in time.
To find out more about Dannys systems, how they will save you or if you just want to get in touch, you can join his Facebook community. The Renovation advice by Experts only.