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How many quotes should you get for construction?

Learn how to get the right quotes and help protect your build.

4 min read

Home design? Sorted.
Planning permission? Nailed it.
Building regulations? Don’t even worry about it.

It looks like you’re all ready to go into construction, there’s just one problem: you don’t have a builder. But how long can it take to find the right one?

This stage is worth taking your time on to make sure you've approached enough contractors that you're satisfied with who you choose in the long run.

So, how can you avoid this? Follow this advice from our Connect team…

How many quotes should you be getting from potential builders?

We recommend 3

By having at least 3 contractors, ideally from different sized companies, you’re giving yourself enough scope to get an accurate idea of what is reasonable for your project. It should let you paint a picture of what the average price might be and whether or not one contractor is offering dramatically more or less.

For instance, if you’re creating a rear extension in London, you might see quotes for…

  • £80,000
  • £75,000
  • £134,000

or you might see...

  • £75,000
  • £68,000
  • £44,000

In each of these cases, two of these quotes are pretty evenly matched, but one stands out. One is very cheap and one very expensive.

Quotes that come up a lot higher could be from a larger construction company. Though the price might be off-putting, these kind of businesses do typically tend to offer more security, so it might be worth asking what the money gets you. And then there's the cheap quote. Before you sign on the dotted line, do your research and find out just what it includes.

And then there's the cheap quote. Oh, how tempting it is! But before you sign on the dotted line, hold on just a second. Cheap quotes aren't always as good as they seem...

Picking the right quote

Once you've been presented with a quote for your works, it's really important to ask the following questions:

  • Are they pricing for every element? A big giveaway that they’re not will be if their quote is vaguer than the others.

  • What about the payment plan? A good contractor should have the capital to fund your construction upfront and receive payment either at the end or at certain milestones. In order to protect your finances, we always recommend getting a JCT contract.

  • Are they following your designs correctly? Have your architect check to make sure.

  • Are they including the work of hired labours or subcontractors? Remember, no one person can complete an extension on their own.

  • Consider the timeframe the contractor has advised, is this comparable to other contractors? If one is notably longer or shorter than your other quotes, make sure you query why. / At Resi, our Connect service introduces our customers to vetted contractors in their area. To understand how this could help your build, book a call with our team. We offer free advice calls so every homeowner can build with confidence.

  • If you’ve got the sleuthing power, try to find out if the company has any other projects on the go. Often cheap quotes are only possible because the builder is taking on side projects to compensate.

  • Ask if they’re part of any quality scheme. TrustMark is the best one, as its the only one to be government-endorsed, but FMB (Federation of Master Builders) is also a good sign. When part of these schemes, the contractor has to hold up a certain set of standards.

  • How did you get on with the contractor? The rapport between you and the contractor will be just as important to them as it is for you. A lot of our contractors are busy and if they are offered two potential contracts of similar value and start date, their decision will then be based on the relationship with the client. This is simply because it’s not uncommon for projects to encounter potential complications and a proactive relationship is the strongest factor in resolving these for the best outcome for the project.

And, most importantly of all, don’t forget the references!

References, references, references

At Resi, we recommend keeping the rule of three. Meaning, for the three (or more!) contractors you've approached, and you want to be visiting at least three references before committing.

When it comes to checking references, ideally you’ll want to talk to previous clients away from your considered professional. This can either be done over the phone or ideally done by visiting the site to see the work for yourself.

Make sure you see both something recent, and a project that was completed at least a year ago. This will give you the best idea of their current skill level, and show how their work stands the test of time.

Protecting your build

Even if you follow all these rules (and especially if you don’t) you’ll want to make sure your home is properly protected from foul play.

The easiest way to achieve this is by getting the right insurance in place. Some of the best to ensure are included in your contract are…

  • Public liability
  • Product liability
  • Employer liability
  • Contractors all risk
  • Professional indemnity
  • Structural warranty
  • Home renovation insurance

Learn more about construction and insurance.

And don’t forget to take out life insurance, if you haven’t already. Should the worst happen, at least you know the rest of your family won’t be saddled with debt from this project.

Want to learn more about picking the right contractor? At Resi, we run a complimentary Connect service for our customers, introducing you to vetted contractors in your area. To understand how this could help your build, book a call with our team. We offer free advice calls so every homeowner can build with confidence.

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