Many People Don’t Understand The Difference Between Home Estimates And Quotes.
An estimate is just an educated guess of what the cost may be to construct a project. A quote is the time and experience spent listing out all the materials, getting labor costs and outside vender costs (electrician, plumbers, heating and air, etc.), and putting together detailed numbers as to what the actual project will take in dollars to build.
Most builders will give out a free quote when the homeowner asks for it. In actuality, what they’re getting is a free estimate; and that estimate is just that: an estimate of what it might cost, not what it will cost. Homeowners who want to get a free quote are hedging their bets that there will be no charges even after they explained what they want and the scope of work to the builder. They think that the prices that the builder put in are accurate and that the builder understands everything that the homeowner wants in the design, remodel, or new home (see Starting Off on the Right Foot on our website).
What normally happens is that “free quote” the builder gives, and what the homeowner expects, is inaccurate as to the final cost of the project. That free quote that you got for a low-ball price, that you thought you were getting a deal on, now costs you more money during construction for the unforeseen things that were not discussed. This often leads to changing orders that costs thousands of dollars.
In some cases, I’ve heard builders walking off a project or homeowners firing their builder stating that the builder just runs up the price. Where, in reality, both the builder and the homeowner did not do their due diligence before the project began; homeowners need to be cautious when that “free quote” is thrown around or offered them. With construction, in most cases, “free” almost always ends up costing you more money.
Nevertheless, getting an estimate is always the first step. You need to know the general parameters of what you want. For instance, is it new 4-bedroom, 3-bath house about 2600 square feet? Or is it a total kitchen update with a new farmhouse style look? With this information, the builder will be able to give you a ballpark price of the range that you should expect to pay. This will determine if you want to proceed and if the project that you desire is roughly within your budget. Perhaps it is too high, and you may need to save more money or acquire different financing, or if the estimate is within range then you can proceed to getting a quote.
Creating a Detailed, and Accurate, Home Quote Takes Time to Put Together
A new home quote can take more than 50 hours to put together. To quote a job correctly, a builder needs to understand the scope of the project, do a material take-off from a detailed set of plans, contact sub-contractors who will be working on the project, and create a lengthy and detailed job schedule.
A new home project could cost the builder a couple of thousands of dollars in time. This is the reason that a full quote will have a nominal fee attached to it.
“Builders offering a free quote will rush the process and miss out on important details of your project just so they can get you a number first.”
Many times, this number is too low to get you the finished product that you expect. Taking the “low bid” will cost you time and money later with all the items that your builder missed.
At ARC Residential, we will provide you with an initial estimate of what the job will be, based on our experience and past jobs, however, to get to a complete understanding of what it will take to do the job you will need a quote.
Quotes take time and resources to fully research material and labor. Construction material prices fluctuate as well as labor cost based on the season and type of project. Fully understanding the scope of the project will enable the builder to reduce assumptions and better plan so that the quote that is given is not a guess but based on actual research and real numbers.
In the end, when you pay for a quote, you are getting much more information. You are getting true numbers and not a guess. You, as the client, will be much better off making the decision on your remodel or new home by having a quality builder figure up the costs.
If you need help determining the estimate of your home rebuild, give us a call at (678) 941-3672.