When a church decides to begin a new construction or remodeling project, sometimes members will step forward to offer their expertise, or suggest that money can be saved by the church doing some of the work itself.

As we wrap up our series on saving money on church building projects, let’s address this issue and help bring some clarity about whether or not doing it yourself really is a good idea.

Quality Finishes Make a Difference

One area that often seems logical for do-it-yourselfers involves the finishes of the church building. People will frequently offer to gather a group together to paint the building, or recommend some painters they know.

There are two issues to be mindful of in these situations: quality and timeliness.

If you let a group of people handle the paint job, you may find that, because they aren’t professionals, some folks paint better than others. As a result, your church building could end up looking uneven or tacky in some places, fine in others. This could give a very poor first impression to people in the community—exactly the opposite of what you want from your new church building.

Also, if you don’t end up with enough people on your painting crew, it may slow down completion of the entire project, which can often result in financial consequences.

Warranties and Licensing

Sometimes folks will say they know someone who rewired their house or knows carpentry, and that they would be happy to help out. Here, the two major issues are warranties and licensing.

If the work hasn’t been done professionally, you probably won’t receive any warranty to cover it if issues arise later on. Essentially, the warranty is you—which can get very expensive if, say, an electrical short causes a fire.

Licensing is another critical component for receiving reliable work. Multiple trades   require permits to complete their work; contractors must show their licenses in order to pull permits and pass inspections in order for occupancy of the building to be granted.

Getting a Good Deal on Church Building Work

Another common situation is when a member turns out to be a professional, licensed contractor and offers to give you a deal.

Obviously, you want to make sure they are qualified, licensed, and experienced—in the same way you would investigate any contractor you hire. But there are other considerations as well. For example, you’ll want to make sure they have enough staff to handle a church building project (which can involve a very different scope of work than a standard residential project).

Also, you’ll want to carefully consider whether their offer might hurt their company, or their relationship with your church, by giving such a generous discount that it harms their business economically.

Balancing Savings with Your Church Vision

Finally, and perhaps most important, you want to ask whether getting your church members involved in your construction project is going to distract and wear them out to the point that by the time the work is done, they are grumpy and lethargic as they welcome guests to the big opening celebration of your new church building.

Balance is key—not just when considering self-performing work to save money on your church building, but with every aspect of the project. You don’t need to choose the most expensive materials, but you want everything to look good and to fit with your vision. You begin a church building project to meet your ministry needs—be a good steward and make sure the final result meets those needs well.

We’ll be back in 2018 with a new set of free i3 webinars—you can find out more about them by visiting our website. We look forward to sharing more of our insights with you in the year ahead!