So, the time has come to undertake something major in, on or outside the home. You know your budget, you have a solid idea of what you want, and you want to ensure your latest investment in your biggest ever investment – your home – is going to be worthwhile.
However, unless you happen to already have a reliable, cost-effective, multitasking tradesperson on hand to complete the job, you’re stuck with choosing from a purgatorial list of reviews and recommendations online – so, how do you make the right choice?
Ask the people you love
Perhaps it should be put another way: ask the people who love you. While Google, Facebook and other online reviews, such as those on the likes of Checkatrade, can be useful, there’s no guarantee that they are, genuinely… well… genuine. So, if you receive advice from someone you know would only ever have your best interests close to their heart, and is providing advice based on their own experience, you’ll be much closer to finding a reliable tradesperson or two.
Still, this article is about getting three quotes, right? Correct. Even a personally recommended, professional friend of a friend might not actually be dishing out the most cost-effective quotes – so, in the same way you may shop around for something online, don’t worry about doing the same when it comes to home improvements.
Secure the information you need
Hopefully, you’ve managed to get at least one recommendation from a friend or member of your family. Even if you haven’t, though, by following several simple tips, you can quickly acquire enough information to make an informed decision. The information you first need to understand is the difference between a quote and an estimate.
If you do a little ringing round or send out a number of emails, such as to Durham roofing companies, you’re likely to receive a combination of both estimates and quotes. An estimate is a non-binding cost that could be subject to change, while a quote is a fixed price for the work… usually.
While tradespeople won’t generally go out of their way to trick you (they certainly don’t want anybody leaving negative reviews of their business), there’s a chance that the odd quote you receive could be an estimate in disguise. Before any work commences, feel free to ask for a detailed cost breakdown, including materials and labour.
Don’t worry about the differences
Finally, the reason that three quotes are better than one is that you can work out what the average cost of the work is, and also ascertain what sort of company you’re dealing with. You may receive an unusually high quote, which could be from a particularly busy contractor. In this instance, they can afford to quote high, and either make a tidy profit or go about completing their already busy work schedule.
You may also receive a very low quote, which may appear wonderfully cost-effective – but could also be from a contractor that is merely estimating, in order to secure the work and potentially add a few extra costs along the way. By securing three quotes, you’re unlikely to see two matching costs, and you’ll always have one that’s somewhere in the middle – and be able to work out an average for the entire project.
With this average figure, if you’re still not sure which contractor to choose, you can approach another two, three or more, and compare their prices to the one you’ve identified. Then, depending on how close this figure is to the budget you have in mind, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which contractor will work on your home. Hopefully, you’ll also be recommending your chosen contractor to others in the future.