Act now on home improvement plans to get a good price

Act now on home improvement plans to get a good price

Homeowners are ready to jump back into home improvement in 2011, and their timing couldn’t be better. In a recent poll, contractors on Angie’s List say they’ve been willing to cut prices to get more business.

When Angie’s List surveyed contractors in 2008, only 43 percent were willing to drop their price. In a poll conducted near the end of 2010, 80 percent reported they were willing to drop their prices last year to get a job — a trend that’s sure to carry over into the early months of 2011.

The key for homeowners is to plan their project soon. As demand for home improvement increases throughout the year, contractors will likely become less open to negotiating price. Although a contractor should never be selected based on price alone, price is a factor in the hiring decision and definitely worth exploring.

Results of the poll indicate that more than half of the companies who offer discounts said they would reduce their price up to 10 percent, but nearly a quarter of others would push that up to 20 percent.

Angie’s List members who have home improvement plans for 2011 said they'll spend an average of $17,500 on those improvements and repairs. Of those homeowners:

  • 59 percent want to update or improve their home;
  • 22 percent plan to make repairs; and
  • 9 percent are looking to increase the resale value of their homes.

Do you have plans for home improvements in 2011? Start by checking Angie’s List for highly rated professionals in your area. Follow these five hiring tips to help you in your search:

  1. Avoid door-to-door solicitors and those who only accept cash payments, offer discounts for finding customers or pressure you to make a quick decision.
  2. Verify the business is licensed to operate in your area.
  3. Ask the contractor you want to hire for several references from happy customers who’ve had worked completed — and check them. Visit the job sites if possible.
  4. Never sign a contract containing blank spaces.
  5. Get at least three different estimates for your job — and get it in writing. Documentation is often the best ammunition you have if things go wrong. If you have to pay for an estimate, be sure the fee would come off your final bill. Also, ask for a guarantee on an estimate.  A good contractor will be willing to guarantee their price for 30 days.

Leave a Comment - 5


Dan Bauer


I agree that the cost of doing business does not go down just because the current market place has driven down the prices out there. As a plumbing contractor in Cincinnati I have been under bid by other unlicensed(side job) contractors that don't carry insurance. It doesn't take insurance and a license to get business cards and a sign on a truck! All I can say is Buyer Beware because if something goes wrong with the work being done you are up a creek when it comes to having recourse to get the job rectified or even finished in most cases. I also stress that all homeowners should make it a pont to ask for their contractors license and insurance certificates and get a copy of them. Angies list does a good job of asking for this info and if a contractor is on the up and up they should have no problem displaying this info in their profile.



I've worked with a couple of contractors in the past year. The first one came highly recommended and did about $150,000 worth of work. He offered to do certain exterior painting and patching work for 18k. I found another contractor who offered to do it for 10K and then came down to 7K when I didn't bite. I was more satisfied with the second guy's quality of work and attitude than the first one.



I agree with above, I am a contractor, trying to compete with others who insist on lowering prices. I don't know how they can do it, I can't afford to go on vacation or anything else this year, and that's without lowering my prices. I think people have a lot of misconceptions about contractors, I work hard everyday and take a lot of pride and care working on people's homes.


Dan Sweborg


Contractors can not simply lower prices - do you think the cost of business gets lowered for the contractor? Liability & workers comp insurance certainly doesn't get any cheaper; cost of materials usually does not get cheaper; cost of vehicles & fuel to get to the job site definitely doesn't get any cheaper. Point is, contractors are small business owners, many of whom struggle to make ends meet. Trying to leverage their scarcity of work only enhances the probability that you will get what you pay for: uninsured, unlicensed, unqualified "contractors"

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