6 Tips for Negotiating a Work Estimate

Are you planning to build or renovate your home? Think about your budget! Because between materials and craftsmen’s labor, the bill can quickly climb. However, there are solutions to negotiate your work estimate and reduce the bill. Choosing your materials, and getting involved, among others, are interesting options to consider. This article gives you 6 tips on how to lower your estimate.

The essentials

To save money, remember to choose the right time to carry out your work while taking it in advance.

Be precise in the description of your project, and don’t hesitate to ask for information beforehand: choice of materials, price, the performance of products, etc.

Always ask for several quotes to compare the rates of professionals and to make the competition play.

Tip #1: Choose the right time to do your work

The best time to do work is in advance: the more urgent the situation, the less leeway you have to negotiate the price with the craftsmen.

Moreover, certain periods of the year are more favorable than others for undertaking work. For example, if you want to install a swimming pool, early spring is often recommended. On the other hand, hiring a heating engineer at the beginning of winter may be less relevant since they are in high demand.

When craftsmen are in high demand:

They are less available;

And less inclined to offer discounts on their prices.

The seasonality of the work is, therefore, to be taken into account to hope to negotiate your work estimates and obtain a significant discount.

Tip #2: Be specific in your renovation or construction request

This may seem obvious, but it is! To avoid ending up with an excess of supplies, plan for the right amount needed for your work. Indeed, the dormant stock, after the realization of the work, has a considerable cost and takes place unnecessarily.


For a painting job, measure the surface to be painted and calculate the number of pots needed according to the product yield. The same advice applies to the installation of your tiles or wallpaper.

The more precise you are in the description of your work, the more the estimate will be adapted to your needs. On the other hand, if the project remains rather vague, the craftsmen will not hesitate to ensure a margin of maneuver which will be reflected in the estimate. And if, in spite of everything, the difference that you notice is too important with the proposal, do not hesitate to discuss it with the professional.

Tip #3: Be flexible: know how to modify your project

6 Tips for Negotiating a Work Estimate

If your work is substantial and your budget is limited, it is better to focus on quality than quantity. This way, you can avoid the following:

Bad workmanship;

Rushed work.

You may not be able to save money on every item of renovation or construction work. But you can choose to do the ones that are needed first.

For example, if you want to redo your bedroom, focus on the floor and walls. Some furniture and decorative objects can be bought later.

This way, you remain in control of your budget, and you leave yourself room for negotiation with your craftsman.

Tip #4: Be aware of market prices to know the negotiation margins

You know the saying: “everything is negotiable”! It’s best to have an idea of market prices for materials as well as for craftsmen’s labor.

You can find out the following:

By calling on your friends and family. Have your neighbors or friends already done some work in their houses or apartments? They may know trusted contractors and already have some idea of the price.

By searching on the Internet: the big brands indicate the price of products, equipment, and materials in their catalogs.

By playing the competition: precise estimates will allow you to compare accurately and get the best value for money.


Aggressive commercial practices are often misleading. Nevertheless, with good arguments and depending on the work to be done, a professional who listens to you can offer you discounts of between 5% and 15%.

Tip #5: Use the competition by requesting several estimates

With a minimum of 3 estimates, you can put several professionals in competition. This way, you can rely on comparable information to get an idea of the budget needed to complete the work.

Thanks to this overview:

You can be vigilant about the material considered. For your facade restoration work, is it necessary to use a forklift, or can a simple scaffold suffice?

You can also ask the selected craftsman to use the product or materials of your choice instead of the brand he will propose. For example, if you are considering insulation work, perhaps a thicker mineral wool will work just as well as a very high-end thin insulation with equivalent properties.

If you don’t understand the amount of money quoted in your work estimates, don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification. Being properly informed and putting all the odds on your side always makes for a wiser choice!

Tip #6: Do some of the work yourself

Finally, the last tip for lowering a work estimate is to do some of the work yourself. This will save you a few dozen or even hundreds of dollars on labor.

To save time and money, don’t hesitate to turn to product lines that are easy to install. For example, you can:

Install tiles or clip-in flooring;

Paint baseboards;

Remove wallpaper;


If you feel like a handyman and you are not afraid of the work, get some patience and elbow grease and get started!