Top Tips for Getting a Quote

A quote is a statement or document outlining an agreement between 2 parties. In effect, it says, “If I do this and this and this for you, you will pay me this much in return for my services.” An experienced and reputable tradie will provide you with a detailed quote in writing, making every effort to make sure there are no grey areas that may cause dispute in the future. As a client, the quote you get is a good indicator of the quality and level of service you are likely to receive, but you need to know what to look for in order to make an informed decision.

What Should a Quote Include?

Every quote should clearly state all the business details of the trade or service providing you with the quote. Details must include the name of the service and full contact details. After that essential information, quotes are structured more around the specific products and/or services provided. A good quote will begin with the total cost of the job and include notes about what materials and services are included in the quote as well as those that are not. This cost breakdown is to enable you to get a quick overview of the quote, but if the quote ends there, it is not a complete quote.

A complete quote will include an itemised list of all the materials, labour and related costs included in the total price. Following that, it will contain details about any cost variations that may occur in the course of the job. For example, if you get a quote for a lawn mowing service, but don’t specify that you want the clippings gathered and removed, the quote may contain a sentence that mentions the extra cost of removing the lawn clippings. Details like these help clarify the terms of the quote as well as alert the customer to services they may have overlooked.

The larger the project, the more complex a quote becomes. For instance, if a home renovation project costs more than R100,000, the building contractor will have to take out home warranty insurance. Is the cost of that insurance included in the quote? If it is not, ask why and make sure the builder does have this insurance. It is required by law and protects you in case the builder does not complete the job for any reason.

The Small Print

There are other costs a contractor may be unable to anticipate, but will not want to be responsible for should they occur. Many quotes include extra clauses designed to alert the consumer to these eventualities and protect the contractor from liability for them. For example, a roofing contractor may not be able to see if there is damage to the roof support structure until they begin removing the old roof. If they have included a clause that stipulates they are not responsible for those repairs should they be needed, disputes and disagreements are avoided.

Another important part of a quote is scheduling:

  • The timeframe of the project should be outlined in the quote, with beginning and completion dates included. If the completion date is unclear for any reason (such as weather), this should be included in the time schedule.
  • A quote should include a payment schedule. You may be asked to pay weekly, fortnightly or upon completion of stages of the project. Final payment may be due upon completion or within a certain amount of time after completion. Whatever the payment schedule may be, it should be clear and in writing.
  • Finally, every quote should include an expiry date. If you ask for a quote for window installation and then decide to put it off for a year, it’s not fair to expect the price to remain the same. An expiry date makes the time conditions of the quote clear to everyone.

Look for these details whether you get quotes yourself or do it the easy way with the get quotes service. If you do join the thousands of others who have made use of this free service, remember that the initial quotes you receive will only be as accurate as the information you provide. While it’s the best way there is to get comparative quotes from trades and services fast, in many instances, the services will not be able to give you a final quote until they have had an opportunity to inspect your property firsthand. Nevertheless, the information the tradies provide you with in their quotes will be enough for you to choose the best service for your needs at the right price.

To see more ‘price of’ guides visit the ‘Cost of homes services‘ page to see a full list.


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