When planning a home renovation, the first crucial step once you’ve got your ideas together is to get an estimation of the costs from professional renovators. That’s why it’s essential to know what to look for in a quote so that you can make an informed decision when deciding which provider to go with. Avoid unnecessary heartache with our insightful tips for assessing a renovation quote.
PROVIDE YOUR RENOVATORS WITH ADEQUATE DETAILS
Before you start assessing a quote, you need to ensure that you provide your potential renovation companies with information about what you want to achieve otherwise it’s easy for a quote to be a big misfire.
If you're unsure on the exact scope of work, any consultation you have with a renovation company representative should give you some creative ideas to consider. Their ability to think outside the box can be a good indicator of how they’ll also approach your renovation.
Contractors are obliged to provide a reasonable estimation of the cost of the work as well as informing you of any limitations. Each renovator should be briefed with the same comprehensive information so they can deliver a quote that is as accurate as possible and ensures you’re comparing apples with apples.
LOOK FOR A COMPLETE QUOTE
We’ve all heard of nightmare stories where contractors “underquote” just to win work. It’s important to have a healthy scepticism of quotes that are not only significantly too low but also those that are significantly too high for industry standards. This is why we would recommend obtaining at least 3 quotes.
You should always look carefully at a quote to ensure that it outlines the scope of work to be completed and lists all the inclusions you’ve requested. Below is a quick list of some things to look out for.
Allowances: For the savvy homeowner, being aware of the difference between lump sum costs and provisional costs for allowances and optional extras can potentially save you a significant amount. The latter are only estimates that provide you with some flexibility based upon your budget. The total cost of the project may end up being quite different from the initial quote. In contrast, lump sum costs are fixed and will not change.
Labour Inclusive vs Supply Only: A common mistake is to assume that labour (or all trades) are included in the quote. Most comprehensive quotes will specifically state whether labour costs are included, but if it doesn’t be sure to ask straight away.
Waste Disposal: Better quotes will include if all building waste will be removed from the site. You’ll really appreciate this inclusion once the project is complete and you don’t have to worry about disposing of everything.
GST Included: Finally, always make sure you check if GST is included in the quote so you are not caught out by having to pay more than expected. Businesses not registered for GST still need to have “no GST payable” clearly indicated so if you don’t see this, and you’re not sure if it’s included, ASK!
Other helpful information that might be included in a quote for your assessment is whether the renovator has adequate insurance coverage as well as a high-level summary of the payment terms. However this information will be more important for you to obtain once you’ve locked in the right renovation company.
If you are still uncertain about any details in the quote, the right renovation company will be happy to discuss with you any points that need further clarification. You may want to confirm if the quote is provisional which may be the case if you haven’t provided sufficient information. It’s also worth checking out if included items, like drawers, meet the standard of quality you expect (cause not all drawer runners are made the same and superior quality runners will cost more but are worth it!).
You may also want to ask the renovator of the price range for allowances and extras as you may end up choosing different products than are costed in the quote. If this is the case, you will want the quote to note the arrangement should you decide on different allowances and extras that are specified. The quote should clearly state if you decide on products that are cheaper than those specified, your money will be reimbursed an equal amount to the difference or alternatively you’ll pay the discrepancy for products that are more expensive than those identified in the quote.
Last but not least, it’s important to ask what the costing process is if you need additional work to be performed outside the original scope.
REMEMBER - A QUOTE IS NOT A SET PRICE
The quote is the price you should expect to pay for the building work and is not set in stone. There may be matters that occur outside the contractor's control that arise during the project which create additional costs, such as if the floor isn’t as level as it should be and extra work needs to be done to rectify it. It’s important that you find a renovator that is a good communicator and ensures that you sign off on any changes that need to be made before they occur.
This is where making an assessment on the quote alone is not sufficient to base your decision on which renovation company is best for you. Remember the renovation team you choose is one you need to feel most comfortable with, as your home is in their hands. Poor communication or any hint of attitude at your initial consultation are both warning signs that the renovation company may not keep you informed of changes during your renovation. Make sure you also check testimonials and/or referrals from previous clients.
Nu-Look understands the importance of our clients receiving clear and transparent quotes upfront. That’s why we include an additional FAQ document to help you understand your quote. We know from experience that a happy customer is one that knows what they are paying for, does not receive “surprise invoices” and one that deals with friendly professionals.