How Hire a Contractor for Less Without Sacrificing Quality

Posted in Spending by Smarter Spend

contractor paintSome people have the skills and knowledge to complete any job around their home – no matter how big or small. Are you one of these people? If not, you may find yourself in need of professional help from time to time.

Hiring a contractor is not as simple as it sounds. You may think that this is as easy as calling around, setting up a few appointments for quotes, and making a final decision. While these steps are all part of the process, you need to dig deeper to ensure that you are on the right track.

Your goal is simple: Hire a contractor at a reasonable price without sacrificing the quality of the work. If you can successfully do this, you will be happy with the completed project.

1. Receive at Least Three Quotes
The worst thing you can do is hire the first contractor who gives you a quote. Even if you think the price is reasonable, you never know for sure until you actually compare it to others.

Earlier this year, I was in the process of hiring a contractor to refinish a fireplace and install built-in cabinets. It was not an overly difficult job, meaning that it was simple to find several contractors who claimed they could handle it with ease.

After receiving three quotes, I was surprised to learn that none of them were remotely close. The first contractor quoted a price of $1,200; the second contractor quoted a price of $1,550; and the third was out of the ballpark at $2,100.

All three quotes were for the same level of work. If I would have selected the first contractor without speaking with others, I would have gotten the best deal in terms of price. But how could I know that?

Note: I actually ended up hiring the second contractor – the one that charged $1,550 – because of his past experience.

2. Get Referrals
While price is important, it is far from the only detail that you need to consider. What good does it do you to save money if you are not happy with the end result?

As noted above, I did not hire the cheapest contractor for my job. His team was probably more than capable of completing the task, but he came up short in one key area: referrals. Rather than take a risk, I opted for the slightly more expensive contractor who gave me three referrals. The icing on the cake was that two of the people had similar jobs completed within the past year and were very pleased with the results.

3. Negotiate a Cash Deal
Every time I hire a contractor or somebody to work on my home, this is something I do. Most contractors are more than willing to offer you a lower price if you pay in cash. In short, this allows them to take all of the profits and not have to report it to the IRS as income.

Remember, your job is to pay the contractor the agreed upon price, not to offer tax advice. It is at the discretion of the contractor to determine whether or not they should report the income and pay taxes on it.

In general, I receive an average of 10 percent off the quoted price by paying in cash.

Final Thoughts
It is a common misconception that hiring a contractor has to be expensive. This may cost more than doing the job yourself – if you are capable – but it can be well within your budget if you know how to go about hiring one.

By following the three tips above, you can hire a contractor for less without sacrificing quality.

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