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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on February 15th, 2024

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Negotiating Renovation Costs with Contractors in Connecticut

Commercial | Commercial Remodeling

Remodeling isn't cheap, so how can you control costs? Can you negotiate with a contractor? Which costs are fixed and which ones are not? There's more than one way to save money and control costs when performing home improvement projects. 

Your contractor is a partner in your home renovation process. It's important to find a contractor that is able to engage in open dialogue about your budget and the cost of your project. Ultimately, it's important to hire the right contractor, even if you're on a tight budget. Here's what to know about negotiating renovation costs in Connecticut. 

Understanding Costs When Hiring a Contractor

Contractors must cover a number of expenses during any given home remodel or building project. Costs include:

  • Permitting
  • Labor
  • Tools
  • Materials
  • Finishes
  • Fixtures

Most reputable contractors are unable to reduce their price. In fact, a contractor that is willing to lower their price may be planning to control their own costs by cutting corners.

Using lower quality materials or hiring unskilled labor to complete the work can reduce the bill. While you may feel like you're getting a deal, these cost saving measures could create more problems than they solve. Do you really want to pay a contractor to perform poor quality work on your home?  

Controlling Scope Controls Price

If you're on a limited budget, you can still reduce the cost of your project by controlling the project's scope. By performing a home remodel that only does exactly what you need it to do, you may be able to get what you need for a price you can afford. 

Make a list of goals and stick to them. What do you need your home remodel to accomplish? Make a list of must-haves and a separate list of nice-to-haves. Work with your contractor to design a project that accomplishes your goals. If you have extra money in your budget, you can add in nice-to-have items.

Communicate your budget with your contractor. Be clear with your contractor from the start about your budget and its limitations. If your contractor is unable to accomplish your goals for the amount that you're able to spend, your contractor will discuss your options.

Avoid scope creep. Scope creep is an industry term that contractors use to describe what happens when a project keeps growing beyond the original requirements. Scope creep can inflate the cost of your project even beyond the cost if you had built those parameters into the original contract.

For example, adding a new feature to your kitchen after the work is partially completed can delay progress and may require some of the finished work to be removed and redone. The cost of doing something like this is higher than the cost of performing the work from the beginning.

If you must add to the scope of the project, discuss the cost with your contractor and find out how much the change order will cost. Ask yourself, do you really need to make this change?

Your Project Is Out of Your Price Range? Know the Options

If you've done what you can to control the scope of the project and the cost is still outside your price range, you may be better off saving your money until a time when you can afford the cost of your project. However, you may still have some options. 


Don't forget about financing options. Shopping around is important when you're trying to secure financing for a project. There are different types of loans available to homeowners who want to perform home improvement projects, so exploring those options thoroughly is important. 

Contact different lenders. Be sure you're contacting lenders that you can trust. Do research online when trying to find a lender. There are a number of websites like Forbes and Nerdwallet that regularly publish information online about different types of home improvement loans. 

Understand the repayment terms. The repayment terms including how much you can expect to pay per month and for how long will impact your budget for a while to come.

Secured or unsecured? Secured loans use your home as collateral, so unsecured loans are slightly safer. Know the consequences of default and shop for a loan that makes you comfortable. 

Consider ROI

Are you planning to sell your home sometime in the next few years? Consider the return on investment, which will help cover the cost of the project. Making upgrades can make your house more desirable to buyers, which can help it sell faster and potentially for more money. For some homeowners, this can make the cost of the home improvement project more tolerable. 

Hire a Contractor You Trust

Work with a contractor you can trust produce an accurate bid. Reputable contractors are experienced bidders that can accurately gauge the cost of a project. A less experienced contractor may have difficulty producing an accurate bid. These less experienced contractors may bid low in an effort to get the work, only to realize that they're not charging enough midway through the project. This can lead to disputes, delays and even a failed home remodel. 

Don't put cost before quality. Avoid hiring a contractor that will lower their price just to get your business.

Hire a contractor with integrity and a reputation for doing good work. For more advice about hiring a contractor in Connecticut, download Litchfield Builder's free guide to hiring a home remodel contractor

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.