Posts Tagged ‘Contractors’

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.


Checking Contractor References

July 26, 2009

When hiring a contractor, I recommend treating every aspect of the “recruiting” process the same way you would if you were hiring an employee at the office. Just as you would at work, never overlook the critical step of checking references.  Following are  (more…)

Finding a Contractor

June 26, 2009


Your choice of contractor is the single most important decision you will make during the course of your home restoration or remodel. You will essentially be recruiting the person who will enter into your private living space and serve as your right hand for several months. 


At worst, a contractor will take your deposit and never begin work on your job. At best, a good contractor will at least perform the work according to the direction you give him and finish the project. Unfortunately, the majority of contractors will err on the side of low follow-through. It may take several months to find a contractor who shares the same sense of urgency that you do.


The Contractor Interview

June 12, 2009

A reader commented that the recently-posted reference screening questions were helpful to her. So I thought I’d follow up with a recommended list of questions for the actual contractor interview! As mentioned in earlier postings, you should treat the contractor hiring process as seriously as you would if you were recruiting to fill a position at work.


Negotiating with your Contractor

May 15, 2009

You wouldn’t enter into an important business deal without a contract. It is absolutely imperative that you finalize a written agreement with your contractor, sometimes referred to as a work authorization, prior to beginning construction. Although contracts of this nature can vary greatly in terms of lengths and formats, there are a number of key elements that should be included for your protection.


Share your Contractor Story

August 18, 2008

Every homeowner boasts a contractor story, from the unscrupulous character who disappeared with his deposit to the remodel that lingered forever. Post a comment here if you’d like to share your story.

Greetings from Harvard to Hardhat

August 17, 2008

Greetings from the author of From Harvard to Hardhat: How I Hired, Managed and Survived my Contractor. As a former flood victim, I lost my home and had to rebuild it from the ground up (literally)! My MBA may be from Harvard, but my contractor’s license is from the prestigious School of Hard Knocks. If you have a question about hiring a contractor, managing the construction process, surviving the experience or haggling with the insurance company, I will do my best to help. Just send a comment. New to blogging? Check out this excellent video at: