Anyone who has designed, built or developed a property knows that there’s a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not just about laying the foundation or getting the frame up, it’s about sourcing suppliers and trades and building a community of people around you to get the job done.

Builders, designers and architects have a certain negotiation power when it comes to sourcing the best price for materials, products and trades. They’ve spent time establishing relationships with suppliers, pre-determining stock quantities and purchase pricing so that when you engage their services, you not only benefit from their expertise but also their established network. In this episode, we talk about what you can do to leverage your negotiation power on your own projects.

Rebeka and Kribashini chat about the different types of leverage and how it all comes down to relationships. They talk about recommendations and referrals and the importance of being upfront and transparent, even when something goes wrong.

You’ll also hear about some of the amazing benefits of becoming a BuildHer and how there is some serious cost saving when the Little Black Book is involved. Rebeka talks about one of our superstar BuildHers who hired a builder and used her own sourcing power to save big on trade costs.

Rebeka and Kribashini also discuss volume builders (which is a whole other podcast altogether) and talk about the benefits and savings involved when engaging with this type of builder. You don’t get the choice as with a smaller builder, but you do get the cost-saving and Rebeka and Kribashini chat this out as well.

If you have a topic or question you’d like us to cover, contact us here.


  • [1:38]: How when you engage with a builder, you’re also paying them for the trades and suppliers they have already negotiated with
  • [2:00]: How builders, architects, project managers and developers all have negotiating power for different factors such as ongoing work and volume of work.
  • [4:20]: A builder knows where to source things from and lean on their knowledge and experience to complete a project, which is why they’re specialised.
  • [5:16]: Having a community like BuildHer where you share contacts, the hard work of establishing relationships has been done. Recommendations go a long way.
  • [7:00]: If something goes wrong, it’s important to give honest feedback in a measured way to maintain the relationship.
  • [8:20]: It’s all about relationships and picking your moments to make sure you’re not taking advantage of people.
  • [10:15]: Give someone a reason to feel good about helping you.
  • [10:55]: When you’re using a small builder or contractor, you might need to help them leverage by using your own sources because they don’t necessarily have the negotiating power.
  • [12:20]: The BuildHer little black book and how it includes a variety of trades and suppliers and the cost savings is considerable.
  • [14:38]: Volume builders with prepacked designs have pre-negotiated the rates at which they can buy certain materials, which is why they can offer the lower price.
  • [15:40]: Smaller builders can’t build at the same rate as a volume builder because all their materials are purchased in bulk and there are designated teams focusing on ordering etc.
  • [16:50]: Architects can negotiate to specify and get good products, especially if they have the promise of photographed work that they can add to a portfolio.
  • [17:10]: Use the community you operate in to leverage your purchases. Be ready to give a referral but be fair and transparent.


We have several Facebook Groups at BuildHer Collective.


BHC DevelopHers Circle and BuildHer Collective Members Only – these are closed groups for women who are doing our Build Like a BuildHer course or who have joined our DevelopHers Inner Circle.


Anyone is more than welcome to join our Women who Design, Decorate, Renovate & Build group. You will note that it’s a closed group but ask to join and if you’re into building and renovating, this is such an amazing and supportive FREE community, so come on and join in the building goodness!