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Why Your Builder Should Charge For Quotes

Why Your Builder Should Charge For Quotes

About this time last year, as our business was rapidly expanding, we did a stocktake on the time the Builder was spending on quoting. While it varied due to the nature of the jobs we quote on, lets just say it was a LOT! This was the kick up the butt we needed to take a look at how we quoted, and introduce a fee for our quotes. It is a hotly contended issue and not for every client, but there are some really valid reasons why your builder should charge for quotes and today we’ll look at how it benefits you.

Why Your Builder Should Charge For Quotes


If you want your quote to be accurate, its going to take time and time costs money. When quoting a full house or a large renovation/extension your builder can spend up to a whole week of their time working on your quote. This is especially important for fixed price quotes, as if your builder doesn’t allow enough time they will need to over quote to ensure they cover themselves and are not out of pocket, but who could this then leave out of pocket? You, the client.

It is impossible for a builder to allow enough time for a comprehensive quote without being compensated. Afterall if a builder was sending out even one comprehensive quote a week, there would be little to no time to do any actual building works. That time needs to be compensated some how and financial remuneration is the right way to do so.

Pro Tip, you should expect your quote to be at least 5-8 pages long and very indepth!

Invested Client = Invested Builder

When a client is prepared to commit to a small cost to have their quote prepared, you are providing your builder with a commitment, and therefor they are then also committed to you. You are already a client, your relationship has started and you are both invested in the outcome. This situation creates a sense of investment for the builder, to ensure that their quote is not only comprehensive, but sharp. If the builder is being paid to put together the quote, being that it is a nominal fee, they will be invested in ensuring they do all possible to secure your business.

Pro Tip, You can expect your quote to cost from $250 up to but not limited to $1K

Prices vary for quotes, but nearly all will offer that money back when you sign up with the builder.

why your builder should charge for quotes

Knowledge = Savings

In order to gather the information required to complete a comprehensive quote, the builder will need to attend site, and be provided with plans, specifications and engineering. Some of what you are paying for when paying for a quote, is the expert knowledge of your trade professional, gathered over many years.

In the same way you pay to see a Doctor, for them to share their knowledge with you, a builder will provided their expert knowledge as a part of the package. For some builders, for example us, we no longer do preliminary work for free either. We have consultations in which the Builder and myself attend your site, and talk through your proposed plans. In these meetings, we have opportunity to share our knowledge and are very often able to save clients thousands of dollars, simply by having more practical ways to plan the works.

All other professional charge for their expert knowledge, you will find that tradespeople are now doing the same thing.


For far too long, trades have been pigeon holed as an unprofessional lot, however this is a generalization that is less and less true. Sure like every industry, we still have our cowboys, they are though diminishing and far from the norm. I feel it is time that we learn to respect the hard earned knowledge our tradies have, and respect them and their knowledge as we do any other professional. Paying a reasonable fee for a comprehensive quote is just one way to do this. As clients when seeking out builders, and actively choosing builders who charge for quotes, you are encouraging the continuation of professionalism within the industry, and guess who benefits, you!

I understand there will be many who don’t agree with me on this issue, and I would ask those of you who do not, when you take your car to the mechanic, are you happy to pay for them to look and your car and find out what is wrong? When you take you appliance to the repairer, are you happy to pay for them to look at your appliance and find out what is wrong? It takes time and often money for us to build our knowledge, and it is more than fair that tradies like every other profession, are compensated for those skills.

Have you been asked to pay for a quote? What are your feelings on paying for quotes?

Nicole xxx




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  1. What if you invite this builder to give you a quote and he gave your a rediculous quote, say three times the amount it should be, you still pay this guy a quoting fee?

    1. Fair question Nancy, I’d ask you though, what are you basing your figures on? Did you have a previous quote, are they apples for apples? Or are you working on a figure from an estimate, V’s a quoted figure? Without knowing the details of your personal situation, I’m sorry I can’t give you an informed answer. Feel free to email me with the specifics if you need help though. ?

      1. Having to pay for a quote is ridiculous. We asked for a ballpark amount based on a very detail email and attachments. The amount given was our cap, so we requested a formal quote, expecting that he almost for sure would be our builder based on that ballpark amount. When we met to get acquainted, he came up with a the scandalous amount of $2,500 for a quote. We had gotten other quotes, never having to pay. It is like charging for a job interview. The thing is that he said the quote could go higher, which we cannot afford. So, at the end he would be paid for something he is supposed to do for free, because it a bidding, and we wold be at loss, with a quote that does nothing for us, because each builder do their own quote. I like this paragraph I found on a website, written by a contractor himself:
        “Is there ANY industry where you can expect to get paid to propose your services?” he asks. “… An architect or an engineer or a design/build contractor, at least in this area (the Midwest) who would expect to get paid to spend their time to develop a proposal? Either a megalomaniac or a complete idiot. Finding, scoping and bidding jobs that you hope to win is part of the business. Most understand this is overhead.”

        1. Something to think about is that bidding takes hours of time to complete. Every home I’ve built has been different from the last because each client wants something different. Not everyone wants high quality or low quality. With things that people find on pintrest and such or DYI TV, it makes a contractors life tough. Everyone when we first start wants the moon, only to figure out its not in their budget, or my neighbor has it, why can’t I? (Well maybe they have deeper pockets!) All of that takes time . If everyone could just have the same old shit it would make it a lot easier to do pricing for free! I ask do you work for free at your job. I highly doubt you do! Again trying to figure out what every customer wants and can afford is time consuming.

  2. From the cobsumers point of view I see one reason and one reason only why tradies want to charge for quotes and that is to jack the price up to whatever they think they can squeeze out of the customer, knowing the customer cant afford to fet other quotrs if they have to keep paying for them. Its anti competitive and should be banned. Quoting is part of the cost of doing business and the cost should be built into your pricing. I handle tenders and quotes every day for huge amounts. Those quoting put in a huge amount of work but we dont pay them for it and they are not guaranteed to win the tender or quote. They want the work, they put in the tender or quote and the cost of running this part of the business is factored in to the costs of the jobs they do get. Why should tradies be any different, umless they are trying to stop consumers from comparing prices. If this is the case, you have to ask why they dont want you to shop around? Because they are over charging and they know it! No one who wants to charge me for a quote is ever going to get my business! Neither is any tradie who doesnt turn up. My time is as valuable as theirs and time is money to me too.

    1. Thanks for your comment Angela, love your email address! While I understand your opinion, I do disagree. Rather than re-explain my opinion as I have done so in my blog post, we can agree to disagree. If paying for a quote isn’t your thing, I am sure you will find plenty of tradies who will do so. Thanks for visiting.

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