The Biggest Obstacle for Women Renovators

The podcast for women who want to create income and a life they love through renovating

Join serial renovator Bernadette Janson as she explores the ins and outs of renovating for profit!

Bernadette has over 30 years of experience in the renovating for profit business. She’s a registered nurse, a renovator, a mum, and a teacher.

153 – 10 Ways To Manage Your Reno Costs

Minimising your costs in a renovation project is critical. It doesn’t matter whether you are renovating your family home, an investment property or a property you are planning to flip for a profit. If you lose track of your costs, you could end up spending significantly more than you  had planned to.

There are three types of costs involved in a renovation project:

  1. Holding cost
  2. Labour costs
  3. Material costs

The goal is to produce a quality renovation for the best price possible. The labour costs are by far the biggest costs involved in renovations, followed by the cost of your materials. These are my ten tips to help you keep your labour and material costs to a minimum.

Watch the Episode on Video:

10 Ways To Manage Your Reno Costs


  • [01:11] The three types of costs with your renovation
  • [01:37] Your best tools for managing your costs 
  • [03:05] Train your trades
  • [04:36] Get a good handyman to help you in the project
  • [05:43] Retain what you can 
  • [7:09] How to manage the kitchen process really well
  • [9:10] Design for standard sizes
  • [10:06] Build up a repertoire of Reno hacks
  • [12:13] How to maximize your budget using a flat pack
  • [14:21] Tactic for kitchens

Organisation is one of your best tools for managing your costs. You want to allow enough time to be able to source your labour and materials. Because if you try to do that under pressure, you don’t have the time to compare prices to negotiate and to really brief your trades to do the job.”

#1 Be Organised to Cut Costs

Organisation is one of your best tools for managing and minimising your renovation costs. Allow enough time to be able to source your labour and materials without feeling pressured. In order to get the best price, you need time to compare and negotiate with your suppliers. It also allows you to check out the sales and get more than one quote.

#2 Train Your Tradies

Set up a formal tender process. It makes sure there is a written record of your agreed job specification and price. If you can, you should try and agree on a fixed price to avoid any pricey surprises along the way. Your tradie will factor in a buffer for unforeseen expenses. You can negotiate out at least some of that.

#3 Get A Good Handyman On Board

There are lots of bits and pieces that need to be done. Costs can climb significantly if each and every job is quoted for separately. I like to engage a handyman on a daily rate to do all of the small jobs that often slip through the cracks.

#4 Retain What You Can

There is often no need to completely strip out a property. There are usually things you can retain or reuse. For example, I have sometimes taken the oven out but used it in the new kitchen, saving me the $900 I would have had to spend on a new one. It is a renovation cost saving exercise that helps to maximise your profit.

#5 Manage The Kitchen Renovation Very Well

To save money on a kitchen renovation it is best to subcontract the various components of the kitchen. When you use an all-in-one kitchen company you end up paying for their expenses such as a fulltime designer and the cost of having a showroom. They will also put a markup on all everything they had to subcontract for such as making the cabinets and the trades they engage to build your kitchen. It pays you to source the cabinet maker, plumber and electrician yourself.

#6 Design For Standard Sizes

Using standard sizes for mirrors, doors, fencing, wardrobes and curtains will save you money. If you have to have anything custom-made it will cost you more. There are some variations in standard sizes that will allow you to achieve the look you are going for while minimising costs.

#7 Reno Hacks to Save Time and Money

Make a note of everything you learn when you are working on a renovation project so that you don’t have to learn the same lesson again in a future project. I wrote a little eBook that lists fifty five reno hacks that help save you time and money.

#8 Use Flat Packs

Flat pack cabinets in the kitchen may not save you time and money, but they are useful in other areas of the house. There is no waiting time. You can go to the store, purchase what you need and go back to your renovation and install it straight away. If you need some help installing a flat pack so that it doesn’t look like a flat pack, have a listen to the podcast episode I did on the topic.

#9 Be Clever About Sourcing Products to Minimise Renovation Costs

Not everything you need for your design needs to come from a traditional store. They don’t even need to be brand new. I have sourced many products from renovation auctions or Facebook Marketplace. These are great places to find statement fittings. I have even managed to pick up some brand new appliances. This is a great way to minimise your renovation costs.

#10 Upcycle

You can reuse any number of items, either from the original property or salvaged from somewhere else. I find this to be an interesting tactic to use in kitchens in particular. It can considerably cut down your reno costs.

When you take the time to think, plan and do your research, minimising your renovation costs is so much easier. You will save yourself a lot of money, without compromising on the quality of your renovation. It’s definitely a win-win.

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    If you loved the episode, I would be so grateful if you shared it on social media or left a review! 

    Amazing Free Content!LeaLea707 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/22/22
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    “I have been listening to this Podcast for a few years now. I love how Bernadette freely shares her experiences and knowledge of renovating and how to create wealth through property. There are many people out there doing a similar things but Bernadette is the real deal. Her down to earth approach reasonates with me and I’ve learned lots from her. I’d highly recommend She Renovates!”
    Just brilliant!fbegeng via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/16/22
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    “I've been binge-listening to this podcast for the past week and it's absolutely brilliant. Bernadette has amassed so much knowledge and wisdom about renovating and she shares it generously and in a really easy to understand way that's inspired me to give it a go. Her advice is practical and I love that she approaches renovating in a really ethical and open-hearted way. Every episode honestly is gold. I also love that each episode is quite short and addresses a specific topic without any waffle. Thank you so much for this podcast!”
    Practical and honest adviceLuke Marland via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 05/12/21
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    “Hands down best renovation podcast there is. There’s no scams or tricks here and Bernadette provides honest and practical advice that you can actually apply to your life. There’s also great insights into the property industry (not just renovating) and Bernadette’s simple approach gives you tools to mitigate risk and fuels confidence to start your own projects.”
    Amazing insights and adviceJennaBrad via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 03/22/21
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    “Bernadette is an inspiration. Warm, open and a fountain of wisdom and advice. I’ve learned so much about everything from renovating to selling to creating an independent future from this podcast. Look forward to every episode!”
    Practical Magic For All RenovatorsJames’ Inspiration via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 12/15/20
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    “If you need to break through any of your limitations to find the joy and success in renovation, Bernadette is your inspiration and advisor with decades of experience. Her down to earth, practical style of sharing what works and how to keep control of any renovating project is worth tuning in for - week after week. I have done a few renovations in the (distant) past and now feel motivated to go again, this time for a change of pace and new horizons. This podcast shows the way. Thanks Bernadette, James Burgin”
    My Guilty Pleasure..Tanned Greek via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/26/20
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    “Just dropping by to show my support for your podcast Bernadette. I look forward to each episode and I am never disappointed with the content. It’s such a generous offering and compared to many of the other property podcasts I subscribe to, yours is the clear winner. Perfectly suited to people embarking on a new renovator journey but equally suited to more experienced folk like myself - there’s something for everyone. Keep up the great work. Your honesty is so refreshing! I look forward to future learning and hearing more student success stories. Best, David Michos (And yes... a bloke) 😉”
    You would have to be crazy to miss this !!Lifestylepp via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 10/15/20
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    “If you have any interest at all in renovating, you would be crazy not to listen to every episode! As someone who has done many courses and a project manager by trade, i learn something every time. Bernadette is so genuine and generous and totally relatable. Do yourself a favour and subscribe now !”

    Want more?

    If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

    The only membership you need to grow your renovation business…

    Wonder Women is a combination of live sessions and pre-recorded content to help you get what you need, when you need it. I know that you’re the expert and you’ve got all of your subject knowledge nailed – now it’s time to build the business behind your renovation projects and stop being the worlds best kept secret. 

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