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Negotiating A Home Window Bid
Just because a contractor or local company swings by your house and gives you a formal window replacement bid doesn't mean you can't try and negotiate the bid down. Home window quotes and bids are negotiable in 95% of the cases and this can save you a lot of money -- money that can be spent on some other part of your house. :)
At the outset, let me say this; I get a bit nervous negotiating myself. It isn't in my nature to try to get the lowest possible price, I assume that the price a contractor gives me is their best one (which it isn't). So for me, I tend to use email or even text as the medium to contact the contractor or local companies. It's much more faceless and I can negotiate based on reasoning, instead of the more emotional "face-to-face" of a phone call or a second visit.
When I write to them (or call them on the phone if you feel perfectly comfortable with this approach), I try and play the role of "struggling husband whose budget is stretched incredibly thin." Sometimes I see if my wife will do it because contractors and companies seem to have a soft spot for women, which is probably a double-standard, but that's a subject for another time.
Anything you see in parentheses below are simply my comments, so do not include them in your email or phone conversations.
When I call or email the contractor or local company, I say something like the following...
"Dear -----, thank you so much for coming out and giving us a bid for the replacement windows, we really enjoyed meeting with you and absolutely appreciate all of the time and effort you spent explaining the windows and the installation process." (...most people want to do nice things for people who are nice, as opposed to people who are rude, pushy or inconsiderate...) "We really want to go with your company, but the price is out of our budget. We received another bid from ----- that came in $1500 less." (...the amount you want to put here is totally up to you and depends on the overall project cost. My wife, who likes to negotiate, always puts in a number that feels ridiculously higher than I feel comfortable with and she always gets a better deal than I would have in the long run...) "I'm wondering if there is some wiggle room on this price. I know that if you could match their price, or come close, that my wife and I would be willing to go forward on the project and get something in writing today." (...pretty short, simple, and sweet...)
Send your email or end your conversation and then give the contractor or local company a few days to let it marinade. In 95% of the cases, you will get a better price. You may have a little back-and-forth beyond this that may get into some features or upgrades that you may be willing to forego in order for the rep to give you the price you want.
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