“Low Balling” the Price & Saying “YES” to Everything

In my series of 19 Secrets to Top Home Remodeling, I’ll discuss two more remodeler practices to be wary of: Low Balling the Price and Saying “YES” to Everything.  It is so easy for homeowners to fall into these traps, especially nowadays when everybody is looking for the best deal.  If any of these tactics sound familiar in your research of potential remodelers, stay away:

“Low Balling” the Price

Homeowners fall for this everyday.  A contractor comes in and gives them a price lower than the competitors and wins the bid.  But by the end of the project the price has been “adjusted” way beyond the competitors’ bids.

One roofer priced his re-roof job $300 cheaper than anyone else.  The homeowner wanted to save money and accepted his proposal.  After the job was completed, all the old shingles and nails were still lying around the yard and the homeowner was having a fit.  The contractor told them that he had not figured the cleanup in his proposal and that was why he could do the job so much cheaper than anyone else could.

One of the most common signs of trouble ahead is someone offering to do work for much less money than others.  Like anything else, you can’t get something for nothing.  Be careful of choosing your contractor based upon the lowest price.

There are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding on a remodeler:

  • Do you really want the lowest bidding contractor working on your dream home?
  • Is price the only thing you care about?
  • Do you care about trust, certifications, references and experience?
  • Does your contractor only compete on price?
  • What shortcuts are being taken and what is being left out to get the lowest price?

Always get a written proposal!  I can’t tell you how many contractors I’ve seen look at rather complex jobs, pick a price out of thin air, scribble the figure only on the back of their business card, and give the card to the homeowner.  Show contractors that do this the door!  You want a detailed written proposal that shows what is included: exact materials, brand names where important, cost, and the payment schedule.  If a contractor only competes on price that should be a big warning flag to you that they don’t or can’t deliver a quality job.

Saying “YES” to Everything

Watch out for remodelers who say yes to all of your ideas and don’t give you feedback.  A contractor that has reasonable experience should be able to:

  • Listen to your ideas
  • Anticipate problems
  • Offer creative solutions

For example, you may want to expand your kitchen space by moving a wall.  A poor contractor would just give you a price and start tearing down the wall.  A good contractor would notice that it’s a load-bearing wall and that you can’t remove it without jeopardizing the structure of the whole house.

A “Yes Man” is out to close the business deal, not develop a long-term relationship with you.  A truly exceptional contractor will begin with your goals (not your ideas), as he leverages his skills and experience, and develops a design that helps you achieve those goals.