How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off on Your Remodeling Project

We call those guys “predators…”

Frustrated Construction Worker

…said the receptionist at my HVAC contractor. Our AC unit broke down in our third floor condo as we were renovating (and living in it) with several 90+ degree days in the forecast.

Our usual contractor was booked solid and recommended we use someone else to fix it.

The quote? $11,536.17.

They said our AC unit was old and they don’t make parts for it anymore so we’d have to get a new one. And new ones are expensive…nothing they can do about it.

That sounded fishy—and WAY, WAY out of our budget—so we checked the info with our usual HVAC company. They said there are a number of “predators” in the area who take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners with inflated quotes and outright lies to justify them.

They also said it’s the law that AC manufacturers have to provide parts for discontinued units for 10 years after they cease production (good to know) and ours is well within the timeframe.

What’s the moral of the story? Get multiple quotes.

Whether the job is as large as building an addition or as small as renovating a guest bathroom, it’s important to get several quotes. Here are a few more tips from the show This Old House about choosing a general contractor for a remodeling job:

1) Look at their recent work. Ask for references and focus on the most recent jobs. If other people have been happy recently, you probably will be as well.

2) Check their work for yourself. See if you can visit one of their other jobs in progress. Larger operations can have several jobs moving at once and there’s no substitute for seeing their work with your own eyes.

3) The best general contractors are very busy (just like in our situation). This means you may have to wait to get your job done but it’s well worth the wait to get a quality contractor for a large home improvement job.

Save BIG Money

A report by CBS Money Watch found that getting multiple quotes and negotiating the best deal can save up to 42% off the price of a large project.

In the example they gave, that meant a savings of $56,000 on the project—roughly the average ANNUAL household income in the US!

Thanks to the internet, getting up to four quotes is quick and easy. Just fill out the form below and you’re on your way to big savings on your next project.