Tips for Negotiating with a Contractor
Before negotiating with a contractor, it helps to map out your project, set limits for how much you intend to spend and know where the money comes from. Then, follow these tips to get yourself the best deal:
- Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations – and research each contractor’s experience and references.
- Get bids from at least three contractors that show detailed costs for both labor and materials.
- Negotiate based on the season. If your project isn’t urgent, try to take advantage of off-season rates.
- See if you can do some of the work yourself or buy the supplies needed for the job.
- You may also be able to save money by paying sub-contractors directly instead of through the general contractor.
Negotiating is about finding a middle ground both parties are happy with, so treat your contractor as an ally. Always sign a contract to protect yourself in the event of a misunderstanding, or worse yet, a sub-par end result. And, no matter what, never issue final payment to a contractor until you are satisfied with their work.