Why do builders charge for a building or renovation quote?






Getting the best value for money is something we all aim for in a transaction so, when it comes to building a new home or a major renovation, the idea of paying for a quote may feel uncomfortable.


A quote is a detailed financial plan for a build. It can avoid unnecessary changes, disputes, extended timeframes and cost blowouts, making it quite a valuable document.


A builder’s quote can be more than 30 pages long and can include the cost of materials, labour and compliance requirements. To complete a thorough quote can take days, depending on the scope of the build.


“It’s from their concept all the way through to construction,” says builder Craig Millar of Millar Projects in Whittlesea, Victoria. “If they choose not to engage me, they’ve bought that information.”


What’s wrong with a free quote from a builder?


If a builder is continually building a very similar product, such as a granny flat, they would have a good idea of what’s involved and how much the project would cost.


For smaller projects under about $50,000, an experienced builder could usually quote this quickly for free.


But for larger projects such as renovations costing more than $100,000, more materials and specialist tradespeople or consultants are needed. If the renovation is for an older house, surprises may turn up.


If a builder hasn’t quoted correctly and a contract was signed, someone falls short.


“Unfortunately, and we’ve all been in that spot, you find out there’s not enough money,” said Millar. “I’ve done a renovation and quoted $50,000. Then I find out, instead of $12,000 the kitchen costs $16,000.”


If this happens, a builder could either take the loss from their profit, complete the work more cheaply or the tradespeople don’t get paid.


Taking the time to create a detailed quote reduces the chances of a shortfall, minimising the risk of problems for builders, tradespeople and clients.


Don’t be surprised if the builder asks you to pay for a quote

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