So, you’re ready to build the house of your dreams and its time to find the right builder – you might expect to get free quotes before you appoint a builder, but read on to discover why this is not a good idea…
It’s tempting to put the job out to tender, but although it feels counterintuitive, you will most likely save money in the long run by going with a builder that charges for their quotes.
Firstly, let’s take a step back. It is, of course, a good idea to speak to a few builders and discuss your project in detail to find out whether your aspirations meet your budget. From your builder’s perspective, this would be an estimate. They will simply be confirming that your top-line requirements (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, construction style and kinds of finishes) are achievable within your desired budget. This should not cost you anything as it doesn’t require any detailed work or calculations form your builder. This is a ball-park estimate and confirmation of your outline budget.
From here, it’s best to work closely with the builder you have established the greatest affinity with and request a formal quotation.
Be wary of any builders who are offering free quotes – projects that start this way almost always end up costing much more.
It takes builders a significant amount of time to create an accurate and detailed quote – probably between 40 and 100 hours, depending on the scope of the job, involving a number of professional third party services, which also come with fees attached, and the compilation of detailed schedules. It can cost your builder thousands of dollars.
Chances are, therefore, with a free quotation, that it will not have had the required amount of time spent to ensure it is completely comprehensive and accurate. That’s when the additional costs come rolling in throughout the project and could put your budget under considerable pressure.
If you find you are handed a one or two-page ‘quotation’, that should set alarm bells ringing. A professional quotation should be a very meaty document – around 30 or 40 pages, fully specifying every aspect of your project, including materials, inclusions, reference drawings, labour, and full project schedule. Free quotes cannot possibly provide you with the accuracy and assurance you really need before commencing a build.
When interviewing builders, ask for their quotation fees up-front to help you make the right decision.
You can trust a professional builder to charge accurately and appropriately for their services and rest assured they won’t be looking for ways down the line to recoup initial losses. You can also rest assured that they will not be looking to make money on the quotation process – simply to cover basic costs.
Follow this process and you will enjoy a strong working relationship with first-rate professionals and you will find the whole project goes smoothly from the outset without any unwelcome surprises.
If you’re thinking of building your own home any time soon, download our FREE Essential Guide to building your dream home and our Pre-Contract Checklist.
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