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Question DetailsAsked on 10/21/2015

Negotiation for Window Replacements

I'm getting bids for replacing windows from Pella, Marvin, etc.. My question is, once I receive a bid how much room is there to negotiate a lower price even if they are not running a special. Any thoughts or tips around this would be appreciated!

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Dear Guest, I wish there was a way to do what you are asking. But, each manufacturer and each company carrying a product, have their own margins that they go to market with. So, there is no magic amount that you should ask for as a discount. More importantly than that is that you find a contractor that you can trust. Truthfully, the contractor who installs is much more important than the manufacturer of the product. The manufacturers of products like Pella, go through an immense amount of expense in marketing dollars for TV and Radio and Internet, to get the homeowner to request their product in a project. But, the devil is in the details. There are many great manufacturers of Replacement Windows that will perform admirably for you, but only if they are installed correctly. Do your research on the local company's in your area who have been around 10 years and have a great deal of past happy customers. This will end up paying off 10 fold for you in the performance of your new windows. I believe the installation is more important than the product, once you choose to buy a good to very good product.

Exterior Upgrader is owner of

Euro-Tech, Inc.

Servicing much of Illinois and Wisconsin


Answered 5 years ago by ExteriorUpgrader


This called "bid shopping" - getting bids, then trying to get competitive reductions by playing one bidder against the other. NOt fair play, and you are likley to get bidders back away and void their bid i they catch you doing this. Basically, by asking for bids you have asked for the price they are willing to do the job for - then by going back to them (without any change in scope) you are saying either I think you were gouging me, I want youu to meet the lowest bidder's price even though you felt your fair price was higher, or that you are just wanting to cut into his compensation for your own benefit - either way, NOT a good way to start off a contractual relationship, and certainly not going to make him at all inclined to cut you any slack on any change orders or minor additional work that might before have been included, but he will not charge extra for.

Practical number - contractors figure their direct cost and overhead, sometimes put a 10% or so contingency on top for unexpected delays or materials price increases or such, then 5-15% profit - so if you are trying to get a 5-10% reduction that is either his contingency or profit down the drain, so he would be looking at a break-even contract even if everything goes well - so it is an invitation to change orders if anything goes less than perfect on the job.

Manufacturer materials prices - generally they adhere to their price lists (which are different for consumers, contractors, and "preferred providers" who order a lot of materials thorugh them), unless a big job (say over about 12-15 or so windows and doors) in which case they will commonly bump the price to a better price schedule, but they are not very flexible because doing so sets a precedent if the word gets out, and also ticks off their regular contractor clients who did not get that sort of a deal.

I remember one case like this on a MAJOR remodel/expansion ($1 million range) in Beverly HIlls where the entertainment big name homeowner tried to get an arbitrary 10% reduction from the verbally agreed-upon price at the contract signing. The Architect/GC team went along with it, but then, figuring that was the way she wanted to play the game, immediately started documenting every single change of conditions or even very minor changes in scope or delay and every rainy or windy day, and the final bill (there were no "major" changes which would have mandated a change order) more than doubled because of it. Just a word of caution - that sort of attitude can end up stabbing you in the back.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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