7 Tips For Negotiating With Contractors For Lower Prices & Better Terms

When you hire a contractor, you've done so because they obviously have the skills and experience to take on your home project for you. You hired them for their expertise, but that doesn't always mean they know what's best in terms of the finances. They are running a business and want to make money, obviously, but if you don't negotiate with them, you may end up paying for more than you bargained for.

We're not saying all contractors are scamming you out of money, but there are materials and terms they may default to, and you can either accept or deny their offer. You are investing in your home after all, and you should be able to get a fair price. We have some tips for negotiating with contractors to get better pricing and better terms, so you get exactly what you want for your home while staying in budget.

Tips For Negotiating With Contractors

Do Your Research

Do your research on contractors as well as what to expect in terms of pricing and costs of your home improvement project. Contractor negotiations don't have to be intimidating if you plan and know what you're getting in to. Make sure you find a contractor who is known for working well with their clients and offers financing and other deals to help clients stay within their budget.

Get a Few Quotes

Follow the rule of three—get three different quotes from three different contractors before you choose to hire one. You can get a good idea of which contractors are trustworthy and honest by how they quote the same project, using the same materials. When you get these quotes, make sure to ask the contractor what brands and types of materials they will use, and do your research to find out how much those material run at cost. This can help you determine if it makes sense to purchase materials yourself or pay the right contractor that will give you the best price even with labor.

Check References and Read Reviews

As you do your research and get your quotes, make sure you read through reviews of those contractors thoroughly. Look for clients who call them out for their relationship skills, negotiations, and other important factors that you're looking for. Also, getting references from family or friends can be one of the best ways to find a reputable contractor. By asking people you know and trust who they used and if they recommend them can give you precious insight.

Build a Relationship With Your Contractor Long Before the Work Begins

You can get a good idea of a contractor's character pretty quickly. In those first few emails or phone calls, you should pay attention to how kind they are, how attentive they are to your needs, and how well of a communicator they are. If a contractor goes days without following up or they say one thing but do another, they may not be the best person to go with.

It's essential to pick up on those vibes quickly and build on the good relationships. A contractor who gets to know you before they ever discuss the project in detail is a good one to go with.

Don't Sign Anything Before You Gather Documentation and Credentials

Before you sign any contracts or make any payments, make sure the people you hired are who they say they are. In that, I mean ask for credentials, certifications, up-to-date documentation that shows their track record. You want a contractor who has been proven safe, that doesn't have any poor clients reviews or remarks, and who has passed all inspections. If they aren't willing to offer up those items for you, move on.

Don't Share Your Budget Numbers

During negotiations, hold your budget firmly. Don't reveal the actual numbers of your budget, as this could sway a contractor to negotiate higher than your budget. They may attempt to convince you that a few extra thousand over your budget would be worth it because of x, y, z.

You could say you have a budget you're trying to stick to but will be flexible, depending on what they can offer. Don't show your cards right away until you have a better idea of how you can negotiate the price they are offering.

Offer to Pay Subcontractors Directly or Buy Your Own Materials

Labor is one of the most significant chunks of what you will be paying a contractor in the end. Labor combined with materials, clean-up, and subcontractors all add up to your final bill. You can save a lot of money if you pay the subcontractors directly, rather than through your hired contractor. You can also purchase your materials, if you are able and if the contractor allows, to save a lot of money.

The contractor is just the middleman, and they will add on time, labor, and paperwork costs to those add-ons. As you negotiate your price and terms, make sure to ask about these workarounds to save some money. They may be willing to work with you.

On top of negotiating prices and terms, it's also a good idea to get pre-approved for financing. Yellowfin Roofing offers FREE estimates and makes financing pre-approval easy—fill out the form here to qualify. Before you start your next project, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns. We are happy to help you!

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