What’s in a price?
Australian Owner Builders Factsheet 18 AOBFS18
When asking for a price it is important to spell out the responsibilities of both parties. How do you know you have a good price for materials and services for your project. It does not matter if the project is a new home, extension or renovation, the right price for the job is essential. The cheapest price is not always the best, but then again neither is the most expensive. A little investigation will go along way to identify which is the most cost effective price for labour or materials.
When asking for pricing it is essential to spell out the responsibilities of both parties. Ensure all the relevant details are clearly spelled out in the quotation. A good tradesman can usually anticipate possible problems and it is best to discuss the potential difficulties. The experienced tradesman should be able to give you an indication of the cost, should the problems occur.
Any renovation project should have some extra costs factored in to take care of the unforeseen problems, which may be encountered. What can look like the lowest price is, sometimes, not what it seems to be. Some essentials may have been left out, so, always compare the quotations and make sure they cover all of the works discussed. Ultimately it is you the owner who will pay to have the extra works completed.
If a tradesman has overlooked an obvious problem in the quote or contract, he can be reasonably expected to fix the problem, at his cost. However the reality is that this could result in a dispute which is both stressful and unproductive. Take care when comparing quotations to ensure none is missing a major item included by the others. You will find that minor problems, such as replacing a few bits of timber, will be covered by the tradesman.
The tradesman is expected to provide a materials list when quoting. This will outline, in detail, what is expected to be used during the project. Without the list it is anyone`s guess as to what will be used. The list needs to be specific, outlining the price for each item and include the timetable and payment schedule.
Some tradesmen prefer to use a system based on allowances. That is, placing limits on generic items such as carpets, tiles or fixtures and can be the cause of some disputation. It is far better to clearly identify the exact product to be used in the project, after all you are the one choosing what you want. Some tradesmen have been known to substitute cheaper or inferior products, and while they may look the same, the difference in quality soon becomes evident when they fail, chip or stain.
A good estimate is more than just a list of materials and labour costs. A good estimate will outline the entire scope of works including the timetable, payment terms and warranty for the completed works. Most important is the complete estimate will allow you to compare each tradesman against the other. Make sure all you want included is and if any quotation is missing a crucial item included by the others, query the tradesman as to why. By comparing three quotes you will be able to make an informed judgement as to which of the tradesmen will be able to complete the project best.
You are also within your rights to ask for some recent references from tradesmen. The professional tradesman will be able to provide you with three to for recent clients. Follow them up and ensure the client was satisfied with the works carried out as well as the punctuality and professionalism displayed by the tradesman.