2. Do your homework.
Even if it's something you can't fix DIY-style, Google around and become an expert about your problem. If you can speak the lingo, you'll be better informed and less likely to get taken.
3. Work around the repairman's schedule.
Once you find a good contractor, ask him if he has a hole in his schedule. He might be willing to give you a discount if you book an appointment during his slow time.
4. Get several quotes.
The experts suggest at least three. By asking around, you can Goldilocks your way to an honest company that is going to provide quality repairs. If you predict that your bill is going to be more than $10,000, hire an independent home inspector (ASHI.com is a good place to start) to figure out exactly what's needed and avoid hidden costs.
5. Buy materials yourself.
This is a great tip if you've got a flexible contractor and some time: Find out what materials your repairman's going to need, then shop around online and at home stores for the best deal.
AND ONE WAY NOT TO SAVE MONEY:
Don't ask for discounts if you pay up front.
We hate to generalize all home repairmen this way, but we've known more than a few paid-up-front homeowners that were left without their money or their contract work done.
(Oven image: Kitchen Tour: Dale & Adam's Slick Exterior)
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