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Mrs C

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We are getting quotes for a garden room which will be sandwiched between the garage and the house. We have got two quotes but one is literally twice the amount of the other!

Can someone point me in the direction of a decent calculator so that I can get a ballpark figure?
 

sunnybob

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Go with the guy who CAN NOT start next week :shock: =D> I expect that will be the dearer of the two :lol: :lol:
But usually you should get at least three quotes for anything, 2 will only ever give you the extremes.
In building work though, you want to go view and talk to previous customers of the firms. 8)
 

Lons

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What Bob said. It could be the cheap one really needs the work and the expensive guy has overpriced because he doesn't want it. I'd go so far as to say even 3 quotes isn't enough but really you should be doing some research around your area asking for recommendations and then check those out yourself.

I had a small building company and was lucky in that I could pick and choose as I quickly built up a reputation and every job I undertook was via recommendation, works both ways because as the builder I was also taking a risk of non payment. I certainly wasn't cheapest but never ripped anyone off and always said up front if I didn't want the job. As Bob said it's very unlikely you can get a decent company at short notice unless someone has let them down but in these current unusual times you never know.

Get the estimate in writing and make sure it's fully detailed and covers all you want but also be fair to the builder and make sure he's 100% clear on that, poor communication is the most common reason for disappointment and friction. Terms of payment should be part of the estimate and a deposit, stage payments or money for materials is in order but don't pay the full amount up front.
 

Richard_C

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I occasionally had to get quotes for small building jobs where I worked. Rule of thumb, if the 2 are within 10% choose one on reputation, availability or whatever, if they were more than that apart one of them has got the wrong idea about what the job was so get a 3rd.

Always check they are proper people with insurance.
 

Woody2Shoes

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It's a really tricky question at the best of times. I'd strongly recommend 'the housebuilders bible' by Mark Brinkley if you want to get a better understanding of what's involved and some inputs to a costing exercise. There are so many variables: do services need re-routing, what is access like, what are ground conditions like, who's specified the job and who will supervise/manage it, what fixtures/fittings/finishes/materials will be used, what bespoke items might there be etc etc
And that's before the question of how busy they are or want to be plus what kind of customer they think you might be.

A ballpark guesstimate might be around £2,000 per sq m +/-£1,000
 

Woody2Shoes

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Woody2Shoes":3ekqtbbk said:
It's a really tricky question at the best of times. I'd strongly recommend 'the housebuilders bible' by Mark Brinkley if you want to get a better understanding of what's involved and some inputs to a costing exercise. There are so many variables: do services need re-routing, what is access like, what are ground conditions like, who's specified the job and who will supervise/manage it, what fixtures/fittings/finishes/materials will be used, what bespoke items might there be etc etc
And that's before the question of how busy they are or want to be plus what kind of customer they think you might be.

A ballpark guesstimate might be around £2,000 per sq m +/-£1,000
PS be sure to get the latest edition of the book last summer I think
 

MikeG.

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Lons":24ftfezg said:
.......... I'd go so far as to say even 3 quotes isn't enough.......
It's a difficult one, this. I generally ask builders beforehand if they want to tender for a job, because it actually costs them quite a bit of money to price up properly, and I am sure to be asking the same guy again in 6 months time if he wants to tender for another job. They'll soon give up bothering if there are 4 or more pricing each time and they never get it, particularly if it costs £500 in QS fees to produce the price. So I stick to three, and tell them they'll be one of three. Obviously from a client's viewpoint, they'd like 5 or 6 prices to compare, but I don't think that's fair on the builders, so three strikes me as a fair compromise.

You'd be amazed how many of my clients don't ask for a price at all, and have their own pet builder lined up, sometimes working on a cost plus basis, sometimes just on a day rate, but generally on an estimate.
 

Doug71

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A friend of mine is converting a barn in to garages and entertainment area etc.

2 quotes came in about £60K, a third thought around that but would not commit to a price as thought there were a couple unknowns, a fourth came in at £150k :shock:
 

Lons

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MikeG.":2q9ivy6v said:
Lons":2q9ivy6v said:
.......... I'd go so far as to say even 3 quotes isn't enough.......
It's a difficult one, this. I generally ask builders beforehand if they want to tender for a job, because it actually costs them quite a bit of money to price up properly, and I am sure to be asking the same guy again in 6 months time if he wants to tender for another job. They'll soon give up bothering if there are 4 or more pricing each time and they never get it, particularly if it costs £500 in QS fees to produce the price. So I stick to three, and tell them they'll be one of three. Obviously from a client's viewpoint, they'd like 5 or 6 prices to compare, but I don't think that's fair on the builders, so three strikes me as a fair compromise.

You'd be amazed how many of my clients don't ask for a price at all, and have their own pet builder lined up, sometimes working on a cost plus basis, sometimes just on a day rate, but generally on an estimate.
I wouldn't argue too much with most of that Mike it is a cost and has to be factored in somewhere although with small jobs it's just a little time and some fuel, I usually did mine after dinner while watching telly :) In my own case I had loads of repeat work that never got an estimate and I only ever gave a verbal ballpark but that was from customers who trusted me and I trusted them. If I was asked and didn't or couldn't do the job I always said so up front but you''re right about builders not bothering if they get turned down too often, I would have viewed that as being something wrong with my pricing or approach however.

The OP will probably need to ask for 6 or 7 quotes to get even 3 unless times have changed.
 

MikeK

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When we bought our house, the garden was still a construction site as the owner/builder ran out of money before she could fund the landscaping. She also didn't finish the garage or put the final external paint on the house. I was okay with that since I saw the potential and she accepted our reduced offer based on the work required to make the property nice.

I had three quotes for the house painting and two for the garage work. The bids for each project were close, and the difference was attributed to the grade of material and schedule time. All of the bidders were local, busy, and advertised when working on properties, so I could see examples of their work.

The landscaping was a lot different. I asked five landscaping firms to look at the property and give me an estimate. Two politely refused since they don't touch residential work for less than €100K. Of the three that did give me a quote, one was two blocks from my house and walks past my house every day with his dog. The second was on the other side of the same town, and the third was two towns away. The quotes were €15K and two weeks to complete, €55K and eight weeks to complete, and €70K with ten weeks to complete.

Each of the three bidders received the same tour and requirements. This was not my first rodeo, so I knew what I wanted at a minimum, but was open to options beyond that. It wasn't until I read the details of each quote that I understood the wide difference in price. The low bid, from my neighbor, was based on what he wanted to do and not what I asked him to do. He missed every major feature I wanted and was essentially applying sod to the existing landscape.

The other two bidders captured all of my requirements, but the third bidder recommended a couple of features that I had not considered. We accepted the third bidder's offer and once work started, they kept to the schedule. Our final cost was €75K because we asked for some changes during the renovation.
 

Just4Fun

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MikeK":39dr2die said:
It wasn't until I read the details of each quote that I understood the wide difference in price.
Even if you understand why quotes are different it doesn't always help. We had 2 quotes to paint our house, which is large and wooden so it needs a lot of painting.

One quote included materials whilst the other firm quoted a price plus materials. One firm supplied their own scaffold whilst the other expected us to rent scaffold for them. One gave a time of X weeks to complete the job whilst the other said they would do half the job in the first summer and complete the job the following summer.

It was impossible to compare the prices they quoted. In the end the painters we selected were excellent and we have since used them for other jobs but it was pure luck. We could easily have accepted the other bid. Of course they might also have been good but I have no way of knowing that.
 

RogerS

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Our builder was chosen on recommendation. He came up and we talked about the project...basically a gut and redo. He talked about doing the one room and see how we got on...it works both ways..he doesn't want a customer continually questioning etc . We agreed a day rate for each of his guys and himself. He set me up an account with the local small builders merchants taking advantage of his discount ( it was a good deal).

When we started, I was a little bit apprehensive as I'd asked our surveyor to go out to tender to replace the water tables before I'd met our builder and I wasn't sure how he'd take to another team onsite. As it turned out, our surveyor went OTT and the various quotes came in 4x what a local specialist, that my builder had used before and recommended, charged me.

It worked out very, very well. We all rubbed along together ...well, we had to, I was working on-site alongside them ! The added benefit also was that he has been around the area all his working life and so when I needed someone to do this or that...such as drill a very large hole through 4ft thick stone walls, he knew exactly who to get.

When the shooting season starts, I'll get many brace of wild duck and pheasants from him.

It's all worked very well. I trust him implicitly and he has been very fair.

Bottom line...go by recommendation and also gutfeel when you meet the builder.
 

DBT85

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Doug71":az29tmio said:
A friend of mine is converting a barn in to garages and entertainment area etc.

2 quotes came in about £60K, a third thought around that but would not commit to a price as thought there were a couple unknowns, a fourth came in at £150k :shock:
Sensible business the last one. I don't want the work but if someone wants to pay me double time I'll do it.

Don't say no to a client, give them reasons to say no to the thing you don't want to do!
 

Phil Pascoe

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:lol: I remember many years ago a sparky friend saying he'd got a job he didn't want. He'd over priced by 3x, so everyone else had obviously over priced by 4x.
 
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