Cash in on contractors’ willingness to negotiate
Home improvement is in full swing and contractors around the country are telling Angie’s List they’re still willing to negotiate prices to win jobs from homeowners planning to repair or improve their homes.
In January, 80 percent of the contractors responding to an Angie’s List survey said they were willing to drop their prices to get a job. In 2009, only 43 percent were willing to drop their prices.
In a May Angie’s List survey, a majority of the surveyed contractors said business was steady or increasing. Still, 81 percent were willing to drop prices to get work. Nearly 30 percent of the contractors were willing to trim 10 percent from their original bid.
Not only are contractors still willing to negotiate, but many are expecting to. Consumers are getting used to bargain hunting and nearly half of the contractors responding to the poll say they expect homeowners to ask for price cuts from the original bids. Don’t wait on those projects you’ve been putting off — use contractors’ willingness to negotiate to help you check off items on your to-do list at a better price.
When it comes to down payments, most companies will ask for one but there is room to negotiate there as well. In a June survey, contractors said that 30 percent or more is the normal asking price but 79 percent of respondents said that was open to discussion.
However, it’s important to remember not to hire on price alone. Before you jump straight to bargaining over price, do your homework and make sure the company meets your standards.
Before you hire, follow these five tips to ensure you’re making the right decision:
- Slam the door on door-to-door solicitors, those who accept only cash payments or pressure you to make a quick decision.
- Verify the company you hire is licensed to operate in your area.
- Ask for several references from happy customers who’ve had worked completed. Visit the job sites if possible to see how the work held up.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces, and understand every word of it. It should spell out expectations, responsibilities, time lines and what happens if something goes wrong.
- Get at least three written estimates that you can compare as you decide who to hire.