Dealing with contractors is notoriously challenging. They tend to be more rigid in their prices than some other professionals – it’s not like haggling over the price of a car or some used furniture. These jobs are complex and labor-intensive. But there are ways you can create savings. With the following home improvement projects, put on your game face, because it’s time to negotiate:
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Projects that you aren’t particular about. Feeling less picky about the details? If so, you’ve got more flexibility for negotiation. If you aren’t fussy about the specifics, you can save money. When haggling, you have to give something to get something – this might involve relinquishing one part of the project that you aren’t as attached to so that your contractor will lower the price. You may settle for materials that are lower quality or that some rooms will have fewer electrical outlets. Be careful with losing too much, though – you want to make sure that you’re still happy with the outcome.
Consider barter pay. Did you know that it’s possible to receive services without paying cash? You can use something called barter pay instead. Look for a b2b bartering network; it’s the ideal platform for negotiation. A bartering network will allow you to find contractors who are willing to accept barter pay for their jobs. You can exchange services or goods for repairs that will improve your home. Better yet, no cash will be used. If you need someone to stain your deck or fix your stairs, try bartering.
Work that you can refer to others. Sweeten the deal by promising your contractor a referral. If you know a friend, family member, or neighbor that needs similar work done, then you can tell your contractor they’ll have another job lined up if they agree to your price. The lower cost of your job will be compensated for by the referral. This might persuade them to reduce the expense of your bill.
Projects where you’ve received multiple bids. Shop around when it comes to home improvement. Try to receive at least three estimates before you settle on a price. If there is a particular contractor that you’d prefer, show them the lowest bid that you received and see if they’re willing to bring down the cost. The more estimates that you have, the easier this will be.
Plumbing work. Improving the pipes in your house? Try to seek the most reasonable fee possible. You want the water work in your home to be done by someone who’s professional but affordable. Here are some tips for choosing a plumber (or a contractor, for that matter): Read online reviews, ask friends for a referral, and check that the plumber has the proper licenses and insurance. A job done at a suspiciously inexpensive price will most likely result in repairs and headaches. The point of negotiating is to receive the best bang for your buck – not to compromise on Make sure that your plumber is insured and reputable before negotiating the price of the job.
Expensive projects. When you spend a pretty penny for a contractor’s work, you have more room to bring down the price. It’s also less likely that they’ll turn down an offer when it’s still a substantial amount of money. You can feel comfortable negotiating since you know they probably won’t walk away from a sizable project. A job with a bigger payout will make contractors more willing to compromise, so take advantage of that.
Home improvements during slow seasons. Every business picks up speed at some parts of the years and slows down during others. If you’re seeking home improvement during the winter, then you might find a contractor who is short on work. In that case, they’ll be more willing to accept a lower price. Contrarily, if you try to negotiate during the summer when everyone is looking for a new deck, then you may be out of luck.
Projects that could be a partial DIY. Maybe you don’t need the contractor to perform every single step of your project; you’re handy enough that you can complete some of the work by yourself. By offering to finish some of the tasks on your own, you can bring down the price significantly. Just make sure you’re up for the task before you volunteer to do it yourself.
Jobs where you already have the supplies. Do you have leftover materials from your last home improvement project? You can put them to good use for your next one. Tell your contractor that you have some supplies and/or tools on site. Whether you’ve got a pressure washer, extra buckets of paint, or spare sheets of drywall, make sure to mention this. With less cost for materials, the overall price will be lower.
House improvement projects are rarely inexpensive. But many homeowners feel intimidated when it comes to haggling prices. Knowing your vantage points in negotiations are a big help, giving you the confidence to potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars.
This is a contributed post.
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