A Simple Tip for Negotiating with Contractors
The overloaded orange hand truck was filled high with ceiling fans, light fixtures, door hardware and faux wood mini blinds. I made my way slowly from the Home Depot pro desk to the parking lot, careful not spill any of the precious cargo.Yes, I could have made two trips to the car with my stuff. But that’s not how I roll. I’m a guy and guys get it done in one trip, not two.I loaded the items into my chariot, a 2004 Chevy Tahoe with the back seats folded down, like a master puzzle solver. Each box was arranged so that not a spare inch of space went unused. Just as I was about to put the last piece in place (the light bulbs because they are delicate), a man approached.I wondered what anyone would wonder when a total stranger appears out of nowhere in an empty parking lot at 6:30am. Is this random person going to shoot me? Ask for money? Jumper cables? Directions to Lowes?Instead he asked if I was going to install the ceiling fans, light fixtures, door hardware and faux wood mini blinds myself. The thought crossed my mind I said. The man told me he was an electrician and could do all of the work in 3-4 hours. Naturally, I asked what he would charge. Without hesitation this parking lot solicitor said “$400”.Wow. $400. For 4 hours of work. I know doctors who don’t get paid that well. When I broke down the math out loud the man quickly revised his quote. “I’ll do it for $150”, he said.I learned valuable lesson in the Home Depot parking lot that day. While material costs (i.e. cabinets, countertops, windows, doors, ceiling fans, blinds, etc.) are pretty much fixed, labor costs are very negotiable.