Pay a Contractor Less

by Tom Skinner


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It really is not hard to get good help for less, but it will take a little time and patience. The first thing is to go to your local phone book and look up the names of builders, contractors, or installers you want to use for your project. You can also call retail stores to find out who they recommend.

Lets just use a floor tile installer as an example. On another occasion when we decided to change our kitchen floor covering, I called tile stores in the area and got names of installers they recommended. We did this to save time because a professional can do a satisfactory job faster. Just by asking "who do you know" and saying I need to find a good floor tile installer, most of the time they will give you several names. I then called them all and gave the dimensions of our kitchen floor. They were happy to give estimates and that helped us know about what it would cost to have a professional install the floor tile in our kitchen.

Some names will be given over and over again and those are the ones you will want to call to negotiate the best price. We accumulated a list of about a dozen names. I called them and found out what they "normally" charge for the square foot area we had and the type of tile we would be using. Most of them gave "bids" for the job on the phone. Some wanted to come out and see it first. We then had a list of the names and bids for the job.

By the way, we called around to find the best price on floor tile too. We found a wholesale supply house that was having a special sale on tile that had been discontinued and had a much lower price. Just look in your phone book; you may have a wholesale supplier in your area that will allow you to purchase from them. We got enough tile for the job plus a little bit more just in case it was needed. The money we saved was substantial. We figured it was about half of what we would have paid if we had purchased them from a retail tile store. It does pay to do your homework.

Now the next thing you do is very important. You will know which ones are more reliable, do good work, and charge a reasonable rate when the same names are being recommended over and over. You then call all of them back and tell them that the lowest bid you have been given is $___. Ask them "would you be willing to do the job for less then that amount?" You will be surprised that some may say yes and give you a lower bid if they want your business. They will want to see your kitchen before they commit, if they haven't already, to doing the project for a lower price. But, the point is you can get a lower bid by using this technique. We did!


Reprint courtesy of Tap Home Improvement Secrets and Tips Newsletter. Additional help can be found in a book called "Kitchens." "Kitchens" also contains information about construction basics; gutting and building walls; finishing drywall; installing roofs, windows and skylights; kitchen plumbing basics; wiring and circuits and range hood installation.

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