houseGetting a roof replaced, your house painted, windows installed, or a dead tree removed from your yard? Be sure to get multiple quotes and negotiate your price.  This is one tip that can save you $100’s if not $1000’s of dollars over the course of your home. Let me give you a couple of examples of when I negotiate.

I myself had a dead tree in my yard that had to be taken down. My neighbor kindly suggested a person to me she knew that would do the job. She told she had two small trees removed by them for $1200 (I think $1200, to be honest I can’t remember the exact number, but whatever it was – it scared me). Being a new homeowner I thought – there is no way it can really cost $600 or more for a single tree!

I got on the phone and got 5 quotes from local tree removal services – $1100 (Should be arrested), $800, $800, $750, “can’t say for sure but at least $700.” Gasp.

At this point I look like Charlie Brown getting hit by the baseball after he pitches.

I think to myself – time for Craigslist. I get two people interested – both shooting for around $500 (but would have to see to be certain.) I decide to give it a couple of days to think about it.

Meanwhile I get an e-mail interested in an air conditioning unit (window unit) that I have on craigslist. I go to sell the window unit, and when I meet the person – He just so happens to be a landscaping professional. I think to myself – should I negotiate the A/C or sell and then negotiate. I decide to sell first – ($200 cash). I turn the to guy and say,

“So do you cut down trees as well?”
“Yeah I do”
”Bonded in Insured?”
”Yes I am”
”Cut down a Tree for $300? that is only 2 miles from here?”
“I don’t think I could do it that cheap unless it was small, lets go check it out”

Get home – Sure enough he starts saying how large the tree is and how dangerous it is to do the job. I ask him how much to cut it down and haul it away – $500 he quotes me. “How much just to drop it?” I ask – “$350” – “how about $300” I reply. Deal. I had intentions of simply posting “Free Firewood” on Craigslist to get the tree removed by someone in need with chainsaw and a truck, but my neighbor wanted it instead. $300 and it was done. Far less than half the cost of the initial quotes and the guy gave me a copy of his drivers license (returned at end of job) and insurance and bond information.

Another time I got quotes for installing an air conditioner into my home – I had quotes all over the place from $1,900– $2,500 (All for the SAME UNIT!) – Until I found a guy willing to do it for … get this, $1,600. Had all of the paperwork and licenses to do it and also agreed to giving me a copy of his drivers license and company information.

It pays to get multiple quotes and to flat out tell them you need a better price. Even if they give 5% off, on some of these large items for homes – that can be $100s of savings.

People like heating and cooling professionals, roof installers, and other services often have huge margins – and are often desperate for work (especially in this market). Everyone has to make a living, but trust me when I say – A lot of them over-quote you. If a job costs you $1,500 to do and takes 1 day and the price is $1,750 (Net $250/day), that is relatively fair. What happens though is the job costs them $1,500 and they quote you $2,250 (Net $750/day) – which nets them 3 jobs in 1!

Let me be honest right now, if I was a heating and cooling or roofer – I would over-quote my customers a little too – What’s an extra $200 on a quote that is already $2600.

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE WITH PROFESSIONAL SERVICES.

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