Okay, so you’ve shortlisted five quality builders and prioritised them in order of preference thus far. From this shortlist, some will not be available to quote, for one reason or other, and by the end you will want in your hand three quotations – no more no less. Three gives you sight of where the market’s at. Now comes the time to invite the builders over to provide a quotation. Here’s our guide to getting quotes for your extension – what to look out for and what to ask.
A builder’s chat can be a profusion of information, if you know what to listen out for. In fact, the in-person visit is more revealing than the quote itself and should go a long way to informing your decision on whom to hire.
Here is a useful list of things to look out for when a builder comes to visit and helpful questions to ask. The trick to squeezing the most out of this vital stage is to be consistent in what you look for and what you ask of each visiting builder.
Things to look out for when a builder comes to quote for your project
- What impression did you get of them on the first call, were they friendly? Rushed? Brusque?
- Did your initial call follow a noticeable fact-finding structure, or was it more casual?
- Did the builder ask you to send across the plans in advance of the visit?
- Was booking a site appointment straightforward or was there a lot of to-ing and fro-ing?
- Did they arrive on time?
- What was your first impression when you opened the door?
- Did they offer to remove their shoes before entering?
- Did they pull up in a liveried vehicle?
- How were they dressed and generally presented?
- How were their body language and overall demeanour?
- Did they speak more or listen more?
- Did they ask insightful questions?
- Did they measure stuff, open access hatches and ask to see the location of utilities?
- Were they taking notes and pictures?
- Was their phone constantly ringing? Did they take other calls during the visit?
- Did they offer up a quote verbally then and there?
- Did they voluntarily offer you to see past and present work?
You can discern the tangible or intuitive value of each point yourself, and the results will help you form an opinion of the candidate alongside the actual quotation when you get it.
In addition to the above, here are some helpful questions to ask as part of your fact-find when the builder comes to visit. There will be time for fuller due diligence on the company and the quote later. For now, these questions are to help you gain further insights into the builder’s setup.
Useful questions to ask a builder when they come over to quote
- Are you familiar with this area?
- Are you busy at the moment?
- Are these a good set of plans in your experience?
- Are you okay to speak with the architect or engineer directly if you spot any issues on the drawings?
- Do you use subcontractors / external contractors, or are your team employed by you?
- Are you hands-on yourself, or do you manage the team?
- Will you be working to a set schedule?
- Will all payments be made directly to you?
- Will there be a team on my job from start to finish?
- What measures will you take to protect the areas of the home unaffected by works?
- When would you be available to start?
- Thanks for coming. Where are you off to now?
Now you know what things to look out for and what questions to ask when getting builders’ quotes for your project. So that you are best able to compare, it is very important to be consistent with what you look out for and what you ask. Next we’ll take a closer look at the actual quotations builders will provide.