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What to Ask a Builder When Getting a Quote

Knowing the right questions to ask a builder when getting a quote is essential before approaching anyone. There are many intricate details that you might not think about initially. Missing a crucial point can sometimes result in a quote that’s off by a certain margin, or even completely invalid for your current project. Here is a list of questions to ask your builder to get you started.

How long will the project take?

One of the most important things to verify is the expected duration of the project. It’s okay if the builder can only provide you with a rough estimate on this, as long as they don’t extend the project beyond the upper limit they’ve given themselves. If you’re hiring builders for a more complex project, it can also be worth asking if it can be split into milestones to simplify organization on both sides.

What’s included in the cost calculations?

rear bi fold door house extension

Pay attention to what exactly the builder is including in their quote cost calculations. Sometimes you’ll be expected to pay for certain materials yourself, but that won’t be immediately obvious in your initial discussions. This can lead to some unpleasant surprises down the road.

What are the payment terms?

Make sure you understand the builder’s payment terms as well. You should both be on the same page with regards to how the project will be financed. Are you going to pay in instalments? Is there an initial deposit? Most builders won’t ask for a deposit unless they need to order specific materials. Understanding what the builder will expect from you in this regard will help you plan your budget properly.

How does the builder handle unanticipated problems?

Problems can always crop up here and there, and it doesn’t necessarily say anything negative about the builder’s quality of work. What’s more important here is to find out how the builder handles those situations and what kind of reassurance they can give you that they will minimize unexpected issues. This is especially important for issues that could block the project from moving forward entirely.

Has the builder worked on similar projects before?

large blue modern kitchen extension with skylight

While it’s not mandatory, it’s always good to work with a builder with specific experience in the area of your project. If they’ve done something similar before, you should ask them about that project in more detail before getting your quote. This will help you verify that you’re working with the right builder in the first place. If it seems like the builder won’t be a good fit, you can skip getting a quote from them entirely and save time on both ends.

Is the builder fully insured?

Insurance is important. Not all types of builder’s insurance are mandatory, which can make it tricky to ensure that your builder is properly covered against all potential problems. Because of this, always ask about their insurance and what it covers specifically.

Will they issue a proper invoice for their services?

Wooden sunroom at the back of garden

Finally, ask if the builder will provide you with a proper invoice for their services. Some builders might attempt to work under the table to avoid VAT and income tax. It’s highly unadvisable to enter into such contracts, no matter if you are planning to deduct those expenses from your own taxes later or not. You should always stay on the safe side and work with builders who can invoice you in a legally compliant manner.

Those questions should be a good starting point in your search for the ideal builder. Some of them may not be relevant to your specific project, but having this list will still help you figure out what issues to prioritize in your discussions.


Clara Annesley

Clara Annesley is an interior design and construction content writer. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology from the University of West London. Clara specialises in residential construction for topics like health & safety, architectural design and writing cost guides for renovation and remodelling projects.