It's time to paint your living room and build those custom bookcases that you just can't live without, and you're so excited. You need to hire a contractor who can get the job done, and your decorator wants to hire someone off of her preferred list of service providers. But beware -- sometimes using your decorator's favorite contactors can be pricier than finding a contractor on your own. You might get charged more, only for the markup to be given back to the decorator as a referral fee.
For example, if a contractor normally charges $400 to build out a custom bookcase, he might charge you $500 only to pass along the extra $100 to your designer as a referral fee for hiring him. However, don't automatically become suspicious if your decorator wants you to use people he or she has worked with in the past. Chances are, those contractors are ones that the decorator trusts and can rely on.