The Minimalist Guide to Negotiating a Fair Remodeling Price

From on March 01, 2012 in Tools and Tips


You have a remodeling project in mind—perhaps it’s been nagging at you for months and even years—but you’re worried about the cost of bringing in contractors and buying new materials and appliances. You know that a contractor is necessary, but you’re unsure how to negotiate a fair (and for you that means cheaper) remodeling price.

You’re not alone.

There are several decisions and strategies you can adopt along the way to help you lower costs without compromising the quality of your home repair or renovation. Take a look at how to lower your remodeling costs.

To get exact pricing on your remodel, click here.

1. Know your estimated costs beforehand

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning your project before you begin. This can mean gathering a lookbook of dreamy bathroom remodeling pictures, making a list of appliances you want to replace in your kitchen remodel, or pricing out materials yourself. You need to know approximately what you’ll be spending.

If you have yet to get estimates for your project, you can get several quickly by clicking here.

2. Choose the right time

Be strategic about when you want the home remodel done if the project isn’t urgent. Exterior work, such as siding and window replacement, is less expensive in the fall. Indoor jobs typically cost less during January, February, and March. Which means that now is the prefect time for that kitchen or bath remodel.

3. Take time to find the contractor

You want a great balance between high quality and low price. Take time to ask around for referrals, or search for contractors through databases. CalFinder offers a database of thousands of pre-screened contractors—and you can find an experienced, licensed, highly-recommended contractor in your area.

4. Know how to negotiate

Tell your prospective contractor what you need, then sit quietly. Let them name a price. If your budget is $5,000 and he offers to do the job for $6,500, then tell him simply that you can’t afford the work. Often the company can lower their price to get the job. This is a negotiation on both ends, after all.

5. Creative incentives

Often you can get a fairer bid by thinking outside the box. Offer to pay the contractor’s supplier or subcontractors yourself. This is often appealing to the head contractor, who doesn’t want to bother with payment or to pay out of pocket. That way, you can work directly with subcontractors and know all of your costs exactly.

6. Be willing to balance

While some jobs—most jobs—in home renovation require a professional, consider what you can do to balance the job and the cost. While you may need a pro to put in that new commode, do some of the stripping and prep work yourself, or have a weekend painting party with friends who are experienced DIY painters. You can find a great balance.