I’ve written before about how to hire restoration contractors, and things to watch for. Now, here are a few tips on how to get the best prices for the restoration work you need to have completed.
• Make sure that the scope of damages is correct. You can usually get a copy of the scope of damages from your adjuster. The scope of damages lists the necessary work to be performed, not the prices.
• Make sure you get at least three estimates from three separate contractors. Inform the contractors that they are competing against other contractors.
• If any contractor finds needed repairs that are not listed on the scope of damage, insist that these repairs be listed on a supplemental estimate separate from the main estimate.
• Make sure that the general contractor bids include Overhead and Profit.
• Negotiate your claim with the insurance adjuster using the highest contractor bid. Many times, adjusters will use estimating software that has unit pricing far below market pricing. This is especially true after a major disaster such as a widespread hailstorm, tornado or hurricane.
• Once you have successfully negotiated the claim amount, go back to the three contractors and suggest that his contractors or suppliers offer better pricing. Economic times what they are today, some companies will drastically shave profits just to have the work.
• Ask your contractors to offer their professional input on ways to get the job done at reduced prices. He might recommend different floor covering, or different cabinets, or different countertops or light fixtures.
• Make a discounted offer to a contractor. Then shut your mouth. The first one who speaks loses.
• Tell the winning contractor that you prefer paying subcontractors and suppliers directly. This can be a win-win situation, since the contractor won’t have to front the money for materials. You can pay for materials out of the insurance proceeds. You can win because you won’t have to pay his overhead or profit for just paying bills.
• Don’t forget to have all vendors sign a Lien Waiver before receiving payment. No signature, no payment.
These strategies can save you thousands of dollars if you’re careful.