If you’re planning a siding, roofing, decking or replacement window project in the near future, you likely have started to call around for quotes on services. This is wise, as you can get a better idea of what to budget for. There are certain things you should see in your estimate. But first…

What’s the difference between a quotation and an estimate?

It’s tough for contracting businesses to give out across-the-board prices for goods and services, as the skills, timelines and materials needed for each project will vary with each customer’s needs. In this case, they need to give a quote or estimate instead. There’s a difference:

  • A quote is a fixed price offer that generally can’t be changed once the customer accepts it.
  • An estimate is an educated guess at what a job may cost but it is not a binding contract.

To work out a quote or estimate, fixed and variable costs must be known, includingcost-per-hour of manual labor, materials, etc. When you call around for estimates, you are essentially gathering pricing information from each contractor which you can then use to make your decision.

Your contractor should provide an estimate in writing, which includes a detailed breakdown of what materials will be used and what the job entails, as well as how long it will take. An expiration for the estimate should also be included, which means the price quoted won’t be valid after that period of time.

What Should I Look for in a Written Estimate?

When your contractor prepares an estimate for you, you should receive a written copy that includes a full breakdown of costs. Your estimate should include:

  • Overall price
  • List of all the components of the price
  • Schedule that details when work will be done or products will be delivered
  • Terms and conditions
  • Time period the estimate is valid for
  • Payment terms or schedule
  • Materials needed
  • Full business contact details
  • Full customer contact details
  • Payment information

There should be a disclaimer that states clearly that the price is subject to change. You should have a conversation with your contractor in advance regarding how any variations will be costed, which may arise if the contractor can’t find stated materials, you change your requirements or a job turns out to be more complicated than first expected.

If your contractor is a good one, they will supply a number of estimates based on different scenarios to cover various price complications, which will help to avoid any disputes that may arise as the work progresses.

Once you have reviewed the estimate and find it to your liking, you will sign it and return it to your contractor.

Want a Complete and Honest Estimate? Contact Hi-Tech Windows & Siding

To get a quote or estimate on siding, roofing, decking or other home improvement work, contact us in Methuen any time.