You can read about my quest to get the lowest possible price to have someone come in and paint my kitchen, family room, downstairs hallway, and dining room here.
The first rep was 20 minutes late for our appointment. A snippy unfriendly guy who snarkily (is that a word?) told me that NO the economy was NOT affecting him at all - he had seven crews working and they were busy busy busy. His estimate was broken down by room and was bizarre. For example, my family room is only 17 x 21, one wall is 3/4 fireplace, a second wall is a large double window and a sliding glass door, and the third wall is two extra wide doorways. There is no trim and I do not need the ceiling painted in that room. The price $525!! Oh, and they don't move furniture?! This guy sat out in his truck for 30 minutes, apparently with a computer, quote software and a printer, and handed me a fancy-schmancy folder with a photo of my house printed onto a fancy-schmancy detailed quote. The quote? $1900!! No wonder the quote was so high - they spend way too much money on portable computers and fancy-schmancy folders! I did not like this guy's attitude and I certainly didn't like his quote of $1900. I didn't even bother to negotiate with this one. Buh bye now.
The second rep was much nicer. A middle-eastern man who was a bit difficult to understand, but we managed to muddle through. However, his cell phone rang literally every 15-20 seconds -- and he either answered it or texted in return, without so much as an apology. Hello?? I was OK with the first call, but after that I was quite put off by his lack of attention to the task at hand - ME! His quote came in at $1200 (and they don't move furniture either!) and he negotiated with me down to $960. Better, not great. However, he was in too much of a hurry to give me a written estimate (huh?) AND I have not received one in email as he promised. Oh, and he told me to call the office if I didn't get the estimate. Sorry, not my job. Buh bye.
Last came this great guy by the name of Dave. A nice smile and a willingness to listen goes a long way when you're trying to sell your services, believe me. No snippy attitude. No cell phone ringing or beeping every 20 seconds. We walked through the downstairs, he asked intelligent questions and gave intelligent answers in response to my questions. He stood at my kitchen counter and wrote everything down (after putting on his cute little fold-up reading glasses - I need a pair of those!), and said he'd email me the quote. WHICH HE DID. I have since counter-offered a price and he responded and accepted. He gave me a firm date of next Tuesday for beginning the work, and says it will take just one day to do the painting. In the quote a statement that they MOVE AND REPLACE ALL FURNITURE. Yay!
The final price? Right on target - $750. I'm a happy girl. If Dave and his crew do a good job, I will come back and edit this post and tell you his company's name. If they do a bad job, I will come back and tell you the company name in FULL CAPS with photos and my letter to the BBB - after I've ranted a bit, of course!
The moral of the story? You can negotiate price by at least 25%. And if the company you're dealing with doesn't want to negotiate? move on... there's someone out there who will.