Let’s Talk Budget: How to Prepare for and Navigate Budget Negotiations with Your Contractor

Jul 1, 2016 | Blog | 0 comments

Are you starting a renovation and considering hiring a contractor? Are you concerned you will be swindled if you reveal your budget and how much you have to spend?You can save yourself s a lot of time and headache by being honest and transparent with your contractor about your budget.

Carmax Consulting understands that one of the main concerns on a potential customer’s mind is their budget. You worry you’re going to be “taken for a ride” by a contractor and be left with an empty bank account at the end of a major home renovation project. You can protect yourself by preparing before you contact a contractor by ensuring your expectations in line with what you can afford, researching contractors and disclosing your budget for the project to your contractor.

What You Should Do Before Contacting a Contractor

Before making a call to any contractor for a quote, you should take the following steps to ensure your experience is as smooth as possible.

  • You need to make an accurate, realistic list of the work that needs to be done on your home. They can be major projects on the exterior of your home or the remodelling of a single room.
  • After creating your list, you need to categorize the work you want to accomplish and separate it into high, medium, and low priority based on your immediate needs, time frame and budget.
  • You should also think about the end goal of your project. How do you want the space to look after it’s completed? This plan will be a major determining factor in how much you will need to spend.
  • It’s also a smart idea to consider if you have any material preferences before seeking out a contractor. If you have none, then you can save money with the contractors connections.
  • To get a more reasonable idea of what a project will cost you, add 15-20% to your anticipated budget for any obstacles that may occur on a project; this is your “real budget.”

Why Should You Disclose Your Budget to Your Contractor?

You may think you need to keep the price you are willing to pay close to the vest, but here is why it benefits everyone to be upfront about your budget:

  • Disclosing your budget will ultimately save you time and disappointment. Your contractor can let you know if you’re asking for too much on an unrealistically low budget.
  • A reputable contractor such as Carmax is not trying to squeeze every penny they can get out of you. We actually want our customers to be satisfied by always providing a legitimate, professional service for a fair price.
  • You should understand that many “low bids” that contractors send may end up costing you in the end. You may think you are saving money, but surprise recommendations for extra work or an underestimation of materials or labour to win the job can add up quick!
  • Being honest about your budget allows Carmax to provide you with options; we can make recommendations on how to scale back a project, while creating a similar result,which is still well-built and attractive, at different price points and with different materials.
  • When it comes down to it, you don’t necessarily need to increase your budget; we can negotiate the scope of work, and decide what work can wait and what urgently needs attention.


If you are beginning a renovation and you require a quote for a project please call us at (780) 705-0533 or send us an online message and tell us the details.