INTERIORS Getting a good deal


In the trade

Interior Design
Niamh Tuohy

Getting value for my money, especially these days, is important when dealing with tradesmen – and if you don’t ask, you don’t get. So, here are some tips and tricks to getting the right tradesman at the right price:

  • Get several – at least three – quotes. It may sound obvious, but it’s the leverage with which you will get your prices down. Let each builder/electrician/carpenter know that they have competition so that you’re not wasting their time and more importantly, they’re not wasting yours.
  • Be friendly. If you come across as too pushy from the beginning, the tradesman may well decide to add on money in anticipation of having to work with a difficult person. So, smile and try to have some fun.
  • Do your research. There’s no point in negotiating over something when you’re not sure of the different models/sizes/colours/finishes and their cost. Let the person you’re talking to know that YOU know your stuff.
  • Get references. As the saying goes – ‘You’re only as good as your last job’. Make sure to talk to people who have used these tradesmen before. Go to see their previous projects if possible.
  • Pay as you go. Never pay anyone upfront. ’Tis madness. As the job evolves and work gets completed, then pay in instalments. If this is not possible, always leave a little owing at the end, just to make sure that you’re happy with the finished product.
  • Stand up for yourself. If you think you’re being quoted a ridiculous price, say so. I recall asking a plumber “Do you really think I came floating down the local river in a bubble with two oars, one called ‘stupid’ and the other called ‘gullible’?” I’m still waiting for his reply…

Naoimh Tuohy is an interior designer based in Westport and working countrywide. Originally coming from a property background, she made the jump from valuing buildings to redesigning their interiors. She has worked freelance for the last six years and specialises in show houses, home-owner renovations and investment-property fit-outs. She can be contacted at 087 7625539.