Can I Ask My Contractor for a Revised Estimate?

Yes, revised estimates are possible, but be ready to compromise and collaborate

Living room with doors and room view before renovation

So you’ve received a remodeling estimate from your Sweeten general contractor. What if the total exceeds your budget—can you ask for a revised estimate?

Short answer: Yes, with limitations.

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When can I ask for a lower or revised renovation estimate?

You can generally expect a single round of minor revisions for free. If you need major scope changes or multiple versions of the estimate, expect your contractor to ask for money up-front. This is because calculating estimates requires substantial work. If you hire the contractor, this fee will typically be treated as a deposit and will count toward the total renovation cost. You won’t be out-of-pocket unless you ask a contractor for extensive revisions and then decline to hire them.

What revisions are considered minor? Minor revisions involve eliminating part of the project or making simple substitutions (switching from custom imported tiles to standard subway tiles, etc.).  

When you negotiate for a lower price, you must always think in terms of reduced scope or lower-priced materials. Don’t just ask for a discount! General contractors don’t leave room for discounts in their estimates. 

Definitely ask your contractor for advice on how to meet a lower budget. Their experience can be invaluable in strategizing where to cut costsand where not to. 

Ballpark quote vs. formal remodeling estimate

Keep in mind the difference between a contractor’s initial ballpark quote and their formal estimate. That first quote may be based on your posted Sweeten project and a brief conversation. The formal estimate will come after a site visit, a longer discussion, and hours of behind-the-scenes research and calculation. 

When you receive your initial quote, this is the time to discuss your budget limits and to be clear about your must-haves vs. your nice-to-haves. Giving your contractor the important information up-front will help you avoid major revisions entirely.


  • Discuss your scope and budget with your contractor before they draft an estimate
  • After your site visit, feel free to postpone requesting an estimate. If you need time to think about your budget, ask for it.
  • Ask your contractor for advice on reducing the scope to meet your budget
  • Expect to pay for major estimate revisions
  • Expect to wait a few days for major estimate revisions


  • Ask for a discount without a change in scope or materials
  • Ask for a formal estimate before you’re clear on your budget
  • Expect major revisions for free
  • Expect major revisions quickly

Questions? Email [email protected] to schedule a call with a Sweeten renovation specialist.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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