If you've ever watched a home renovation or house hunting show, you've probably screamed at your TV in disbelief at the proposed budgets that the folks on these programs have. "Hi, I'm a part-time raccoon technician and my husband gifts murals to the homeless. We have a budget of $1.5 million." On the flip side, you see clients receive total home renovations for an insanely low price. Take Maine Cabin Masters for instance. How do the contractors work for so cheap?
So, how do the Maine Cabin Masters work so cheaply?
According to the show's official web site's Frequently Asked Questions page, the budgets that they're working with on the program are entirely legitimate.
The following question was posted to the site: "Are the budgets real? (aka how do you possibly get so much done on these budgets? … what you are doing is impossible … we don’t believe you can do all this for those prices … our kitchen cost more than these whole cabin remodels, how can this be?)"
The response is one that ultimately answers the question, but also leaves a lot of room open for interpretation. "The short answer is yes, but it’s a great question that deserves a detailed explanation so we have decided to give this discussion its own web page. (We’re working on it.)"
Wait, so what does the "detailed explanation" bit mean? Well, if other home renovation or construction shows are any indication, it's probably something like this.
If you've ever watched Fixer Upper or Home Town then you'll know that the budgets can seem a bit sparse for the type of service that the clients ultimately receive. There's no way in heck that these folks are going to end up getting an incredibly renovated house for next-to-nothing, right?
Well, yes and no. In Fixer Upper, for example, we know that the services of the lead personalities on the show are covered by their on-air talent fee.
So, you're basically having HGTV foot the bill for the "labor" cost of a job. It could be that the Maine Cabin Masters cast is actually having whatever they would charge for a job already covered by what they're getting paid by the DIY Network. Those "savings" then get passed onto the client.
The clients themselves might be getting a small stipend from production pay on building materials as well, meaning that the entire budget comes from the client but may be supplanted with a combination of labor savings and if production gives them a little bit of extra dough.
The same probably applies to another popular DIY network show: 'Barnwood Builders.'
If specific types of "off the beaten path" construction shows are your jam then you're probably really, really into Barnwood Builders as well. The show primarily centers around renovating older or dilapidated barns, or turning unconventional pieces of building equipment, like shipping containers, into charming West Virginian dwellings.
You can catch new episodes of Maine Cabin Masters on the DIY Network Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, and Barnwood Builders on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.