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When you’re dealing with contractors, it might be tempting to throw your hands up in frustration and say you’re not going to be able to get the home improvements you want without spending too much money. Many contractors are pretty inflexible with their costs, and you generally don’t want to go with disreputable contractors to save a few bucks. The last thing you want is shoddy work that you still have to pay for.

If you’re looking to save money on home improvement, then you’re in the right place. Let’s look at some tips to keep you from breaking the bank while you’re updating your home.

Be Ready to Negotiate

Many contractors look to get work in any event and are always happy to negotiate a bit on the price. Don’t feel bad about asking for deals or even asking to roll multiple jobs together into one contract to get a discount. Contractors are usually happy to see repeat customers, too, so consider discussing some loyalty discount whenever you go back to a contractor for repeat work.

The trick to getting a good deal when you’re negotiating is being firm but polite. If you know the work you want to be done is worth a certain amount and your contractor is insistent that it should cost more, don’t disparage them or get into an argument. Just look for someone who will do the work at a price you find fair.

Get it in Writing

Make sure you get any work you and the contractor agree to in writing. Don’t sign off on anything that looks fishy in a contract. And, no matter what you do, don’t let anyone convince you that a handshake is as good as getting it in writing. If you agree to specific work and a certain limit for the time that work should take, don’t just shake on it. A handshake won’t hold up in court if it comes to that.

Most contractors are reputable and will do the work they agree to. However, when you get a bad actor, you need to take them to account if they fall short of their responsibilities.

On this same track, make sure you keep any records regarding pay. If you’ve already paid the contractor for work and they claim you haven’t, you’ll want to have receipts on hand to show that you have already paid.