Archive for the ‘Managing contractors’ Category

Negotiating with your Contractor

November 8, 2009

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.


Selecting Materials

October 27, 2009

Once you’ve defined your project, making decisions about flooring materials, colors, hardwood styles and appliance models early on can pay great dividends. There are several reasons for this. First, this preliminary research will familiarize you with not only the decorative and functional options available, but also the expense associated with each of your choices. You will enter into negotiations with your contractor having a much better handle on the true cost of your supplies and materials.  (more…)

Construction Time

May 30, 2009

There is a big difference between regular time and “construction time.” It’s not unusual for a component of your project to take a month when it was previously planned to require a week. It is imperative that you ask your contractor up front for a detailed timeline and make sure there is plenty of padding built into the schedule for contingencies. Following are just a few examples of factors that can throw a construction schedule completely off track.


Resolving Contractor Disputes

December 10, 2008

When resolving contractor disputes, I recommend tossing your frustrations aside, taking a deep breath, and having a calm, but firm, conversation with your contractor. The last thing you will likely want to do is talk to him, however, it is typically the most effective — and least expensive — approach. (more…)