contractor's estimate

How to Negotiate a Contractor’s Estimate

A kitchen remodel; construction of a new in-law apartment; finally putting in that in-ground pool. No matter your home renovation and project ideas, you know that, aside from securing the funding to do them, one of the key pieces to achieving your ideal results is hiring the right contractor for the project. 

From search engines to local businesses, there are plenty of options to help you get the job done. But how can you ensure you’re getting the best deal? Read on for our tips on negotiating an estimate to get the best value for your next project.

Be Realistic about Your Budget 

Nothing causes sticker-shock quite like not being upfront about your budget. Before you even begin sourcing estimates, set a realistic budget (ie: something you can 100% afford) and stick to it. Inform potential contractor’s of your budget from the start, so you can weed out those that aren’t in your price range, as well as hold potential contractor’s accountable to your budget from the start.

Do Your Research

Hiring a contractor to work on your home is a big commitment, and no one should go into any financial commitment without doing some research first.  Before reaching out to potential contractors, spend some time doing the right research for your specific project. For example, if you’re putting in an in-ground pool, research the average price and project scopes to do so, along with the best pool installation contractors in your area. 

And, as part of that research….

Get Multiple Estimates

How can you know what to compare an estimate to if you’ve only received one? After you’ve done your research, contact a few contractors in your area to collect multiple estimates. Be sure to ask for itemized estimates so you can compare and contrast on more than just pricing, including required materials, time to get the job done, and overall scope of work. 

Chat With Previous Clients

In the contracting world, word-of-mouth referrals are often what keeps the best of the best in business.

Either visit the contractor’s website, Google page, or even local apps like Nextdoor to read recent reviews, or ask for referral contact information directly from the contractor to chat with previous clients. This will help you get more background and information on your potential contractor, and hear from others to get peace of mind before investing in a major project.

Ask for a Price Match

After you’ve compared and contrasted multiple estimates and customer testimonials, bring your findings to the contractor you’d like to hire, and ask if they’d be willing to match the lowest bid you’ve received. Contractors are competitive with one another, so if they learn one of their local competitors is offering a lower price, they may be more willing to work with you and lower their price to match it to earn your business. 

Get Creative with Discounts

While some prices provided are firm, some contractors may be willing to negotiate an estimate with you, especially if you get creative in the way you ask for discounts. For example, ask your contractor if they’d be up for compromising a discount for putting up one of their signs on your property as free marketing for those driving by and in your neighborhood. 

Another way to knock a few dollars off an estimate is to ask for a list of the required supplies for your project, and buy them yourself. Just be sure to double check the quantities in advance with your contractor so you don’t run out, which can stall the project. 

The bottom line: when it comes to how much you’re paying a contractor, experience does matter. While not always the case, keep in mind that you could see higher estimates from more experienced professionals who will be able to complete a job faster and can make project recommendations along the way. 

By sticking with your budget and conducting the right amount of research before making a hire, you’ll be sure to get the contractor that’s the best fit for you and your project.

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