How much can I negotiate with my contractor?

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Q. How open are contractors to negotiation? Does it depend on how big the job is? What’s a reasonable amount to negotiate for?

A. You can safely assume that all New York City renovations are subject to negotiation: There’s no such thing as a final price (like when you buy a ‘packaged’ product), and all contractors know they’re bidding against other contractors.

Still, before you try to negotiate, you want to be prepared. Meet with several contractors and compare their bids (which may differ wildly from each other, so it’s good to see, and understand).

Next, make a list of things you’re willing to give up in order to get what you really want–-otherwise you have no leverage. And in order to develop that list, you need one key thing: knowledge of your project.

What do I mean by “knowledge of your project”? I mean knowing exactly which floor tiles you want, and how many new doorknobs, which type, and how much each one costs. Ask contractors for a breakdown of the prices in each bid, so you can see what the contractor is charging for all materials and labor. That way you can compare bids apples-to-apples.

Read the full post at Brick Underground’s Renovation Qs, where you can find the unvarnished answers to your renovation conundrums.