Chances are that in the time you live in your home you’ll want to get at least one home improvement project done where you’ll need to hire someone. Whether it’s a new roof, new floors, new windows, paint, or a complete gut rehab, you’ll want to find a contractor at the best price to do the best work. Here are some tips to save you money and get a great deal.
1. Get at least three estimates. You really won’t have a great idea of how much your improvement costs until you speak with at least three people. And by talking to more people, the better idea you’ll have of what goes into the project and how much it really does cost. On that same note, don’t go with a bid that’s way below what everyone else is charging, especially if it’s someone new or an amateur. You could end up with poor work that needs to be redone. So make sure the contractor you choose is licensed and bonded and gets all the appropriate permits to do the job.
2. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. They’ll know from personal experience who to hire and who to avoid like the plague. Also, it’s common when you mention that you got their name from so and so that the contractor may be willing to work out a discount, especially if you pass their name along in the future for a job well done.
3. Negotiate. Let’s say you hire the contractor that came in at the highest. Tell him you got two other bids lower than his but you went with him because of his reputation. Is he willing to match the lower bid? Will he go down in price if you pay in cash? Let’s say you went with the contractor that did have the lowest bid. Did he know that you chose him out of 3 contractors because you liked his estimate the best? Would he be willing to finish 2 days earlier than you were planning? It never.hurts.to.ask. This is not someone you plan to become best friends with. It’s a business arrangement.
4. Make sure everything is in writing and know what it says. True story: My relatives had hired someone to fix the roof and had a written contract. Fast-forward one year later when they had a bad rainstorm and they now have a huge hole in their ceiling because the roof is leaking. So they contact the roofer who specifically states in his contract that he is not responsible for interior damage. Um, red flag? Does he do this because of a previous problem? My relative is an attorney and even missed this clause. So make sure you thoroughly go over the contract and understand it before signing anything. Now they have no recourse and have to pay for fixing their ceiling on their own.
Do you have any other great tips for getting a good deal? I’d love to hear them. Please leave me a comment or visit me online.