How to Get Quotes from Tradesmen

A trademan

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November 20, 2023

When getting quotes from tradesmen the only real way to go about this is to give each individual or company the exact same specification for the job. Tell them what you would like them to do and give as much reasonable detail about the job as possible.

Read this article to find out how to get an accurate tradesman’s quote each time, and how to select the right worker or company for your job.

Why You Should Get Multiple Quotes

It’s important, when getting quotes from tradesmen, that you have more than one. That way you will end up with an average cost and a realistic idea of what you should be paying for the job. Typically, it’s good practice to get at least three quotes for any one job. Don’t just go with a particular tradesman because they are recommended by a friend or work colleague and seems like a person to be trusted. Do your own research.

Getting a number of quotes allows you to meet tradesmen with different experience, skills and knowledge about the project you’re currently hiring for. You might even pick up ideas along the way. It also gives you the chance to meet and get to know the tradesmen – something you are otherwise unlikely to get the opportunity to do.

Meeting face-to-face allows you to ask them questions on the spot and to know instinctively whether or not you can ‘work’ with them. You can also ask them about how they work and decide whether that’s the right way of going about the job for you.

An electrician getting into his van

Preparation for Getting Quotes

Before contacting a tradesman for quotes, work out – and write down – what you want done, and how. Add in timescales for when you would like the job completed and, ideally, how long you would like the job to take.

If the job is big then it will help to provide a detailed specification (ie with measurements, if possible), and even professional architectural drawings. That way your tradesperson can get a clearer idea of what they are quoting for.

Be prepared for some tradesmen to knock the job back – or quote such a high fee in the hope you will end up choosing someone else.

This is because they don’t want to do the job, either due to the fact it’s so small, it’s in a location that will cause them problems to get to, or they simply don’t like that type of work. In fact, there can be a myriad of reasons for a tradesman rejecting work. You may find that some of the very good tradesmen won’t have the capacity to take on a job for several months. That’s a sign they are much in demand and that they can pick or choose their customers. Showing you are organised and willing to wait will put you in their good books.

Once you have let the tradesmen know what you want, it’s recommended you then ask them how they’ll achieve this and whether or not they’ll, for instance, clear up after themselves. You can then compare and cross-references all the quotes you have managed to obtain.

Know Exactly What You Want

Try to be as specific as possible with your job ie if it’s for a new bathroom, is the shower area to be zoned off with tiles? Will there be a double or single vanity installed? Your typical tradesperson can only give a fair quote if they know what they’re quoting for. Just saying you would like a quote for a new bathroom doesn’t cut it – it’s simply too vague.

List What is Required from the Tradesman

Is the tradesman expected to source the furniture for the bathroom, kitchen, new extension etc or will you supply it? Do you expect them to project manage the job, or will you be in charge? Perhaps, in the case of an extension, your architectural designer can recommend a good project manager anyway. It may be that you want your tradesman to tidy up at the end of the day and remove old furniture, broken concrete etc to the dump. If so, is this included in their quote?

Have a Budget

You should always have a price – or at least a rough estimate – for your project, in mind. If your chosen tradesperson comes in with a cost that’s slightly higher than you expected then let them know and work with them to see if you can make any cut backs to the project. It may be, for instance, that you are prepared to swap the designer tiles for your kitchen splashback to a more affordable, off-the-peg range. It’s fine to tell your preferred tradesperson that you have received a less expensive quote but be prepared for them to walk away from the job if you aren’t prepared to pay what they ask.

How to Get Quotes

When getting quotes from builders and other tradesmen, work out what you want in a detailed fashion and write it down so there’s no ambiguity or misunderstanding.

Find Suitable Tradesmen

A plumber fixing under the sink

To locate the tradesmen in the first place you can let the team know here, at The Page, what your project is and we will send you suitable tradesmen in your locale. All will have been personally vetted and checked.

Otherwise, you could listen to word-of-mouth recommendations from family, friends and colleagues. You can also look at online review sites but be aware that you can’t be certain the reviews are genuine.

Create a Shortlist

Once you have a shortlist of candidates’ ring round or email them to ensure that they will be available during the planned timescale of your project. This will also give you a chance to check references and accreditations. Be suspicious of any tradesperson that can turn up ‘immediately’ and ‘do the job tomorrow.’

Arrange Visits & Quotes

Once satisfied that they meet your conditions, meet face-to-face with the tradesperson. That way you can get a feel for whether or not they’re the right person for the job. At this point they should be able to offer you an estimated figure for the job and, once they have done some research of their own, firm up the price. It’s worth remembering that an estimate isn’t legally binding, whereas a written quote is.

Getting quotes from tradesmen should result in a detailed breakdown of costs, as well as timescales and other issues that could potentially arise, such as Building Regulation stipulations, and whether or not there is any fee involved here.

Review the Quotes

Once you have all the quotes look over each thoroughly and decide which suits you best. Getting quotes from builders and other tradespeople doesn’t always mean opting for the cheapest quote. That’s because the reason it’s cheaper may be because the job can’t be done for several months. Or, it could be that it doesn’t involve the removal of the old kitchen or bathroom. It may also mean that the tradesperson or firm doesn’t have that much experience.

Choose the quote that fits best with your plans and your budget. Are you happy with the way the tradesperson intends to approach the job, and with the materials they intend to use? If not, that’s a red flag too.

Make Your Decision

Let the tradesperson you choose know your decision as quickly as possible so that they can book the job in their diary and start ordering any materials that may be necessary.

Tips & Advice

Most people don’t have a lot of experience in hiring a tradesperson. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re about to have an extension, new kitchen or bathroom etc built:

Check Qualifications

Always check that your chosen tradesperson has the qualifications and accreditation they say they have. This can be achieved by calling the organising body to ask if the person in question really is a member of the organisation. Often you can find a list of accredited traders on the membership organisation’s website.

Make Sure They Have Insurance

It’s not only qualifications etc that you need to check, make sure that the tradespeople have Public Liability Insurance and preferably Professional Indemnity Insurance. The first means that if anyone gets hurt on your property and sues, the insurance will cover it. The second ensures the builder will be able to pay if anything goes wrong with the project itself. You will find that most accredited tradesmen need to have cover anyway before they are allowed to become members of reputable trade organisations.

Have a Contract

A person signing a contract

If your tradesperson doesn’t provide you with a contract then produce one yourself. These can be downloaded from the internet and your own detailed specifications of the job, filled in. With small home improvements a letter of agreement to set out a contract, signed by both parties is sufficient. For bigger improvements a contract, with a 14-day cooling-off period is necessary.

Check Past Work

Before hiring your tradesperson always ask to see examples of previous work they have carried out for others in a similar vein. Ideally this is something you can go and see. It’s especially important if you’re getting them to carry out major work for you, such as building an extension or a garden room.

Be Courteous

Your tradesperson may be doing work for you, but they are human – so treat them with respect. Be friendly and offer to make tea or coffee and supply them with biscuits. If they are going to be there for a whole day then offer them lunch in the form of a sandwich or soup etc. And don’t hover over them watching them work the whole time. That’s off-putting and would make anyone nervous. If you feel obliged to check their work then do this at the end of the job.

Be Realistic with Timescales

That means putting in contingencies ie admitting that supply difficulties or problems with the weather or workmen’s ill-health may delay your house extension etc project by a week or so.

Prepare for the Worst

Leaks happen, roofs collapse, and contractors don’t turn up – so as well as preparing for delays, set money aside for just such emergencies.

Keep Communication Channels Open

Keep communicating with your tradesperson throughout a project such as a new kitchen, house extension etc. That way you can keep up-to-date with what’s happening and, at the same time, answer any questions they might have quickly, ensuring no time is wasted. Decide beforehand how you will communicate e.g. by phone, email or WhatsApp etc and when this will be. You may, for instance, want to set up specific meeting times.

Agree on Payment

Agree on how you will pay for the project prior to its commencing. If it’s a large job you can expect to pay a deposit, an instalment halfway through and then a final payment at the end. BACS transfer is one of the most popular payment methods these days. If you pay by cash, then do get a signed receipt.

At the Project’s End

If you’re not happy with some of the work at the end of a job then tell the tradesman in writing and ask when it would be possible for them to come and fix the issues you have listed. In house building terms this is known as ‘snagging’ and it’s very common with large projects.

Find a Tradesman on The Page

If you are based in the Greater London area, simply send an enquiry to us here at The Page and we’ll send you a curated list of skilled and experienced tradesmen equipped to carry out the work you need done.

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

All tradesmen who appear on our site are personally met, and vetted, and their previous work is assessed on an ongoing basis.

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We started The Page because we both had terrible experiences with tradespeople in London and were adamant we would help others to avoid this.

We also know that things can go wrong sometimes, so our promise is to be here to sort things out when they do.

As a result, along with our strong relationships with all our tradespeople, we have our good deed piggy bank, which we give out at our discretion if something goes wrong.