Negotiating with your Contractor

Do not be afriad to negotiate with your contractor.  Assume that everything is negotiable, but focus on areas in which you can achieve the greatest savings. Questions like “The hauling fees seem high to me. Is there any room in those figures?” can save you hundreds of dollars. Utilizing intelligence from the competing bids you received can also be extremely effective. If the estimate from your second-choice candidate listed a sliding glass door replacement cost that is $1,000 less than your contractor’s price, confidently state that you know it can be done for less. Unless you’ve already signed a contract, your contractor will recognize that you are still free to pursue other alternatives and should be willing to work with you.

The key thing is not to be shy about asking for price breaks. To the contrary, the average contractor has already incorporated some padding into his proposal and is expecting you to ask him questions about his estimates. As long as you are respectful in your discussions, and not squeezing the profit out of every excruciating detail, he should demonstrate a certain level of flexibility. On the rare occasion your contractor is unwilling to negotiate, thank him for his time and move on.

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