Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quotes v. Estimates (Or: Are You Sure About That?)

As you start gathering prices for your kitchen or bathroom project, you'll come across both quotes and estimates for the work.  There's a big difference between the two:

Estimating is equivalent to guessing.  It's like saying "We don't know exactly what the project will cost, but here's our best guess.  Oh, and by the way, if we're wrong we'll be adding to your final bill."

Quoting is different.  Quoting is offering a specific price that will be charged for the work in question.  It's based on facts and experience, and a mistake in the quote comes out of the contractor's pocket, not the client's.

I quote whenever possible.  The kitchen I design for you will have specific cabinets, handles, countertop and installation requirements where we can be almost 100% certain of the cost.  Even with renovation elements like plumbing, lighting and painting, I can quote with relative certainty.  All items included will be listed on the quote, and items we haven't specifically chosen (e.g. handles, countertop material, etc.) will be listed with the allowance I've included.  The final price may or may not change depending on what you select and how it compares to the allowance.

There are some instances where estimating is required.  Areas where the work to be done is not visually apparent (e.g. behind walls yet to be removed) will be estimated based on what my trades and I know for certain.  These items will be identified and the amount I've allocated will be noted. Once my trades can get in and actually see what needs to be done I can quote on the work.

In order to properly compare competing prices, it's important for you to know what you're comparing.  When doing so, remember that it takes an expert to stand behind their price.

Source:  James Dibben (Blue Collar Coaching)


Decor Girl said...

Interesting. I do use the words quote and estimate interchangeably when it comes to getting something in writing. I try my hardest never to estimate (guess) what anything costs because there are so many factors which could effect the actual number by hundreds or thousands.

We never proceed on any project without a costs in writing. Amen, a good contractor will stand behind their numbers.

Good information!

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