Although not all tradies are out to rip off their customers, there will always be a few who are. Here are the two most common strategies they use and how you can avoid falling for their sneaky tactics.
The problem – Extending the Price
Tradies frequently extend the price by ‘creeping the scope’ of a job. Although you might have started out with a good idea of what you wanted done, by the time the tradies finish quoting, the job has changed. When the first tradie quotes, he suggests a few things you hadn’t thought of. When the second tradie turns up, he also adds a few different options to your original idea. By the time the third tradie quotes, you’re second-guessing yourself and the scope of the job has gotten bigger. Of course, the quote has also gotten higher in line with the size of the job.
Before you get any tradies in to quote, ensure you know exactly what you want and can articulate it. You might get someone like Hotspace to create you a Renovation Design Plan or you might decide to do it yourself, but it is essential that you have a precise and well-articulated document before you get quotes. We go room by room, articulating every single thing that will be renovated or affected by the renovation. This includes things like exterior colours, products and features/landscaping etc, interior flooring, wall colours, lighting, kitchen layout and cabinetry design/colours/bench-top/splash-back/appliances, bathroom decisions such as layout, tiles, vanity, shower, bath, window dressings. And the list goes on!
When the tradies come to quote, remain firm and don’t change your mind based on what they suggest unless they come up with legitimate options that suit your purpose. If you do decide to incorporate their ideas, adjust your scope and spec and get them back to quote on the new scope and spec. Ensure subsequent tradies also quote on the same thing.
Get prices on the products, fixtures, fittings and appliances you intend using and then get the tradies to quote for installation based on those exact items.
The problem – Overquoting
If you’re new to renovating, tradies might take advantage of the fact that you may not know how much things should cost. They pad out the quote so that it’s higher than it should be and you are none the wiser.
Ring a few tradies or retailers or jump on the internet to get an idea what things should cost before you get a quote. If a quote comes back well over what you thought it should be, you can ask the tradie to justify his/her pricing. If they have a valid reason for quoting so high, you may have to compromise on your initial ideas. They may also have priced high because they aren’t keen on the job or are trying to inflate the price. If you have done your research and you know what things should cost, you will be less likely to make a costly mistake.
Having a common contact is also a good idea, so ask for referrals from friends, family or retailers. Human nature being what it is, a tradie will generally try harder to look after you with the price if you have contacted him because someone has recommended him. If he thinks you have just found him through Google, there is a good chance he will charge more because there’s no one in the background to answer to, and therefore no risk of losing other business.
If you are still feeling daunted by hiring tradies or you need some help with your renovation action plan, we would love to help. Check out our Before and After photo gallery here.