To ALL the CONTRACTORS out there in Hometalk land: I've always suggested the Fall and Winter months are the best times

to get a good contractor at a "GOOD" price. Is this myth or fact?
  18 answers
  • Depends on the type of contractor. Those who are good are usually working all year round and do not offer any special deals on what some people think is an off season for them as they are always working. However if you go to a HVAC contractor or those who sell some sort of product they often have fall deals to rid themselves of extra inventory. But most general contractors do not. Same thing happens in the spring with some, such as landscaping types. They purchase bulk quantities of products such as seed, fertilizer and often there are product sales that go on during the spring. So the deals seem better because the product costs are lower simply because of volume buying and selling at the vendor level. So the myth is sort of true and sort of false.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 08, 2011
    There is more to just the availability issue....check out this article I wrote on "off season" remodeling.

  • LandlightS LandlightS on Dec 08, 2011
    Kimberly..most of my current & previous customers always considered my prices very fair.....below market so I have no problems any time of the year. Example: my usual price for an outlet over a fireplace for a flat screen panel is $150 or less. Last year while in Mexico, a national electrical franchise charged my customer, whose s/o couldn't wait 5 days, paid $300 for the same service. Bottom line, stay away from contractors who quote prices based on zip codes......and always check references Have a great holiday season Gary

  • Rule4 Building Group Rule4 Building Group on Dec 08, 2011
    At Rule4 we are committed to a fair price all year round for the professional service we provide,. The cost to provide that service does not fall during the winter months and consequently we do not discount our services. What does happen during the holiday season is that homeowners have less time to spend on getting their next project started (design ideas, deciding on contractors etc) which means that the quantity of inquiries we get can fall a little. Our sales and design team have a little bit of breathing space - just for a month or so!

  • I agree with Rule 4 and Woodbridge, definately myth, as any quality contractor is always busy, regardless of season. Also, when you consider the tight margins we are forced to work within in this tough economic climate, as a homeowner I would be leary of contractors offering "discounts". I will say though that Fall/winter months do limit the type of projects most contractors can do, especially in our area of the northeast where weather is a major consideration. So if you have an in door project you are more likely to get in the schedule quickly during the fall winter months.

  • Kimberly Lacy Kimberly Lacy on Dec 09, 2011
    Very interesting information Gentlemen! I appreciate your feedback. I'm sure you guys get asked this a lot.

  • My busiest time of year begins when the kids go back to school in Fall and escalates to CRAZY by Xmas. Everyone wants their home pretty for the holidays. For me, the price is the price. . . it takes the same amount of time and product no matter when it is done. In my case, it is more a question of availability rather than price.

  • That is a common misconception. A properly staffed and properly priced company usually stays consitantly busy year round. That being said many of the "deal sites" like Angies List or Kudzu offer great specials geared to attract new customers this may be a place to get a better price point.

  • As with anything.... you get what you pay for. I had a potential customer tell me he was going to take the lowest price, and I thanked him for his time and told him it was nice to meet him. He seemed a little taken back, and when he asked me to elaborate, I told him I will not be the cheapest price. I have built my business on integrity, trust, servicing my customers, and providing great quality, and for those things, I do not charge the "lowest" price. I charge a "fair" price for the work to be done, always using industry standards to keep my prices in "check". References are worth their weight in gold when hiring a contractor, especially for the larger jobs.

  • I may be able to get to you a little sooner during the winter, but the prices don't change because the prices of materials, labor, gas, insurance, etc don't go down.

  • The first contractors to run short of work are the low ballers and price cutters, so they might need to cut prices in the winter or some other season, but good people who charge fair value prices never really seem to run out of work. I've been in this game since early seventies and can't remember ever needing to chop prices to get work. So from my POV, I think you may have been perpetuating a myth Lacy. But that is an understandable assumption. The thing that would be bad is encouraging people to seek out the lowest bidder. That very often results in sorry workmanship and unsatisfied customers. Like Straight Nails above, I know I am not the cheapest before hand so there is no need of me wasting time on an bid when that is what a potential customer is looking for. Instead, advise your customers to look for contractors with good reputation for quality, value, and good attitude and communications skills. Talking to friends, co-workers, and neighbors can be a good way of doing this. I think some folks call it Networking. If they are new to a house and neighborhood, the selling realtor can often be a great help.

  • I get to use one of my favorite lines when a prospective customer says, for example, "Well, XYZ company offered to do the job for $6,500" My response is "That's a fair price for them...that is all they are worth"....

  • Hewitt.... I'm going to steal this one from you the next time I get a customer that offers a lower price. LOL... the one that I love is Quality.....Speed.....Price. Pick whichever TWO you want... cause you can't have all three!!!!

  • SNC. we have used "Good, Fast and Cheap" as the selection criteria for many years. I really like Hewitt's comment and will steal it, fer sure....

  • LandlightS LandlightS on Dec 15, 2011
    While employed at a big box, running their flooring dept (they took me out of fans/electrical for my selling expertise(?))* and I had a customer complain about the cost of I told him that I know some laborers that would install carpet at $2.00 per yard, BUT I would never let them in my home.... * I also cut my first rug at 13 in Niagara Falls, NY at my cousins flooring store. Back them(so many years ago) there was carpet and vinyl for general use. My,My--how times have changed

  • Pam Y Pam Y on Dec 29, 2011
    The reason we give a better price in the fall and winter is because were not working. When the holidays hit no one is thinking of room improvements their thinking about presents so of course if somethings come along in those months the price is always better but good quality is the same. I love you on that show, I think you have a lot of talent. Pam

  • BTW, we do not drop our rates in the "slower" seasons. The economy has us at a wisper thin margin. Dropping below it is counterproductive and non-profitable. If we live in a "discount" world, you are asking the contractor to also discount the value you recieve. Less material, watered down materials, less prep, less detail, etc. If you work with a qualiy contractor, the value you recieve will last much longer than "winning" on a cheap deal. Here in Atlanta, a portion of of our annual business comes from fixing "great deals" that wound up in ruined home improvements.

  • Touche' Amazing....well said. This year has been very difficult whereas I have had the best year in my six year existence (biz up 28%) and my profit is down (8 percent). People don't realize how tough it is in this sector. I am sticking to my guns and providing "fair" prices for my work. Once we get through the holidays, things will pick up again. Happy new year everyone.