Whenever you're haggling over someone's work (rather than a mass-produced product, such as a car or flat screen TV), find a way to ask for a lower price without any insult suggestions. Tell the contractor what you need from him. Then ask them to give their best possible estimate and they will know how much work it takes before giving an answer. Remember to treat the contractor as an ally that can help you reduce costs if any number is too high.
They want your business as much as you want their help. So, if you're open with them about cost concerns, they should try to meet with you halfway. I didn't want to imply that I wanted to haggle. I just received the quote yesterday and, before responding to the contractor, I would like to know if it is not professional to ask for a price reduction.
As far as I can determine, contractors often accumulate a bit of lint in their estimates. It so happens that I can't afford the fluff. Of course, I could find another contractor, but I would like to work with this group and I would like to give them my business. I'm spending a lot of money on the project.
They are a small company and I think they could use the business. But, like John, they might prefer that I also be my business somewhere else. I'll have to think about it a little more. Interestingly, what I ask myself as a consumer is how to differentiate between someone like brooklyndecks and someone like deckman 22 who can see me as a fat cat.
Anyway, thank you very much for the entry. If you want, I'll let you know the result in a future post. I hope to have news for tomorrow. At first, you may not feel quite confident negotiating with a contractor.
When your choice narrows down to two contractors, you can make a final negotiation. You can call one or both, say that their offers are very close, and you just want to know if they have room for maneuver. You don't have to tell them how much to lower the price. They'll know where they can have space.
You just need them to understand that they're not likely to get the job unless they drop in price. Getting the right contractor is better, because what happens while the work is being done is accountable to the contractor and it is you who will use what the contractor fixes or works, and it must be according to how you want it to appear. But no contractor should give away their work for free because there are low-level contractors, they get the job no matter how happy to be able to pay for their motel room either. When it comes to outsourcing a home improvement project and, in turn, negotiating with contractors and merchants, here are 12 homemade tips to keep in mind.
A problem I'm encountering right now in these post-Sandy times: If there are enough businesses in the area, contractors don't negotiate, they just move forward. One way to successfully negotiate with general contractors is to focus on the supplies needed for a project. Have a current list of qualified contractors and company numbers ready; this will be useful for future housing projects. Ask the contractor to agree, as part of the bids, that the change orders will be quoted at the subcontractor's price plus perhaps 15% for the general contractor's administration of the change order and then another 5% for the general contractor's profits.
If the contractor is unable to purchase the material without a deposit, I suggest that owners do not use the given contractor. If you've prepaid a contractor (more than 10-20%) and it hasn't burned, you're lucky. For large jobs, I would create an escrow account with the contractor so that they**know that** the money is there and that it is reserved for them. Most contractors offer to purchase the supplies you need for the project and include your cost estimate in the contract or bill you for them later.
Consider having your architect make a simple one-page layout that you can take to a contractor for a rough quote. Trust is a two-way street and any smart contractor should NEVER work too hard financially with a customer they're not familiar with. In my experience, being firm in your budget but being honest from the start about what you're willing to spend, lets contractors know that you want something just for them and for you. .