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What is a reasonable length of time to ask a builder to deliver a quote?

(27 Posts)
FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 05:45:43

In the new year we are going to ask a few local builders to quote for an extension/renovation job on our house.
We have already had a couple of quotes and they took forever to get back to us.
Now we are almost at the new year I would like to decide on a firm and get a start date booked in. So once the new builders have been to view our house and have the drawings they need, is it reasonable to ask for the quote to be submitted in two weeks time?

lovelearning Tue 27-Dec-16 05:50:03

is it reasonable to ask for the quote to be submitted in two weeks time?


Wombatron Tue 27-Dec-16 05:50:49

Christmas aside, I would be expecting a quote within a week to 10days. And I would and have expressed that when they visited. No harm in chasing if it's been 2 weeks. But I hope that isn't a premonition!

FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 05:58:15

I would be starting in the new year so ruling out bank holidays etc, just two regular weeks.

Glad that seems reasonable. It just seems so inefficient and disorganised when a builder takes weeks and weeks to get back to me - makes me wonder how they would be when they were doing a project.

InfiniteSheldon Tue 27-Dec-16 07:23:51

The problem is that quoting is expensive and time consuming for the buulder, if they know you're getting several they may make a judgement call that the chance of getting the work is slim and they won't bother to do the quote. Or won't bother until chased.

indecisivedoctor Tue 27-Dec-16 07:30:58

We've just been through this.. We had 6 builders round ( hadn't set out to have so many but got a few strong recommendations late into the process).

At the 6/7 week point I had had 3 quotes in. Had been chasing the others every 7-10 days beyond the 2 week point. One guy- at 4 weeks told me that I needed to just "be patient love", at which point he was struck off the list anyway.

I appreciate it's hugely time consuming for them, and often not their favourite part of the job but they are essentially pitching for in our case £80-100k worth of work so it's surely a necessary evil?

We ended up going with the first builder who submitted- not only for that reason but I do think it's a good indicator.

Good luck OP.

PigletJohn Tue 27-Dec-16 08:01:09

Remember that quotes are unpaid work.

Then most punters will get three to six quotes, and half of them will change their minds and not have the work done anyway.

If they can spend their time doing paid work instead, they will.

Builders are usually a bit better at building than they are at running an efficient businesslike office. The ones who are good at both should become millionaires.

YelloDraw Tue 27-Dec-16 09:02:16

Remember that quotes are unpaid work.

Not really! Just a cost of doing business. Almost all business have to spend time on quotes/pitches/proposals to keep their pipeline healthy!

Of course you may decide that you're quite busy and willl prioritise quoting for someone who has had you personally recommended to you and you've got a v good chance of winning the work rather than for someone whose just called you up to make up the numbers.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 27-Dec-16 09:20:28

I also think 2 weeks is not very much time depending in what work the builder has on. I also think when you're talking about a 6 figure quote, it is quite detailed (I think ours was about 8 pages) with prices for individual items / labour involved for specific jobs so you (and the builder) know exactly what's included. Its not something that's knocked up in an hour.

I think the relationship and being on the same page, plus a personal recommendation is far, far more important than being able to provide a quote within a 2 week deadline - as long as they are upfront about their commitments - they'll get it to you by the end of the month or whenever they know they can do it.

And in terms of a start date, good builders are booked up months and months in advance - I think we waited about 9 or 10 months from getting the quote and agreeing to go with him before he could actually start.

NotMeNoNo Tue 27-Dec-16 15:08:42

A couple of weeks is reasonable (although 3/4 better) but accept you may have to chase. DH runs his own business and most quotes are finished in the middle of the night. He has simply turned down quotes in the past as he's had no realistic time to do them to the quality he maintains. He's good at paperwork but there are only so many hours in the week and unexpected things come up too.

It's not inefficient and disorganised, it's just that they will be working on their current jobs during the day, planning the next one, snagging the previous one, and they will have the next client pushing them for a start date. If a builder is in the middle of an 8 week project, the client won't appreciate him disappearing for 2 days to do a quote for someone else, so it has to be squeezed in. It's the world of small businesses.

Also running up to Christmas is very busy as everyone wants their extension finished for the holiday. There's often a lull in the New Year.

FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 15:26:16

It's a six figure job and we know we may have to wait a bit (and anyone who told me I would 'just have to be patient love' or referred to me as a 'punter' (wink) would also be immediately struck of any list) Whilst I appreciate doing quotes is 'unpaid work' I think that delivering a quote in a timely and professional manner gives a great first impression and visa versa. Having said that, if I didn't take to someone on the first meeting, I would contact them and let them know I'd changed my mind so they wouldn't waste their time putting together a quote. Having had building work done before, I couldn't have someone in my house who I didn't like.
I hate this bit of getting building work done. The mess etc when it is ongoing is a pain but this bit is stressful and worrying. Hoping you make the right choice and don't get stuck with the dreaded 'cowboy' builder.

namechangedtoday15 Tue 27-Dec-16 16:42:50

I agree that delivering a quote in a timely and professional manner gives a good impression - its just that your expectation in terms of timely may not be the same as a builders! As Notme says, builders don't have an army of admin assistants or a steady workflow, so maybe ask the builder when they come round to see you how long it will take them to provide a quote instead of setting an arbitrary 2 week deadline.

Badhairday1001 Tue 27-Dec-16 17:09:25

I think 4 weeks for a big job is more reasonable. Quoting for work is time consuming and it needs to be spot on so it is competitive and accurate, it needs to also consider every aspect of the job so you are not stung later on for additional costs. I would definitely say the fastest quote is not necessarily the best or most detailed.

FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 17:16:50

I'll see what they say, if they want four weeks just to quote then I think we won't be working on the same sort of timescales.

specialsubject Tue 27-Dec-16 17:34:24

A builder who turns down a quote because he is too busy is fine - at least you know where you stand with that. I wish more tradies would do it!

NotMeNoNo Tue 27-Dec-16 17:40:20

Has your architect provided a bill of quantities/schedule to price or is it literally just drawings for the builder to measure from? It could be two days work doing the quote, and there may be specialist suppliers to get prices from and wait for them to come back which can take a week or so.

FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 17:52:12

YY agreed specialist subject. That would be fine.

Notme - it's just drawings. TBH if they had the quote except for (for example) windows, I'd be happy to receive the quote and then an additional item later or at least have a phone call to explain what they are waiting for.
However, if I'm having to chase them up and hassle them for quotes I'm going to assume they aren't that bothered about the £100k + we are going to pay for the work. Whilst it's a big job for them to price it, it's an accumulated lifetime of savings/equity from previous houses/mortgage etc we're paying for it with so it's a huge deal for us too (same as everyone else undertaking a building project!)

Stillunexpected Tue 27-Dec-16 18:06:36

However, if I'm having to chase them up and hassle them for quotes I'm going to assume they aren't that bothered about the £100k + we are going to pay for the work - or they might be busy working 40 hours a week on their current 6-figure job for a client who is not too impressed that they are missing approx a day a week because they are being asked to do so many quotes for prospective jobs by people who want the quotes within 2 weeks? I think there are two sides to the coin here! Obviously, they will have to do some work on quotes in the evenings and weekends and visits in the evenings as well but there's only so many hours in the day and some stuff has to be done during the working day - at this time of year it would be very difficult to price jobs accurately if you are trying to view someone's extension site by torchlight at 5 in the evening!

pithivier Tue 27-Dec-16 18:34:49

May I ask how much time you spent with your builder. I would expect to spend a couple of hours discussing materials, architects plans etc. If it was a quick look at drawings and a general idea, it is possible the builder may be wasting his time quoting, until you have a more specific idea of what you want.

He needs to work out quantities, labour, any possible problems on site, and prices. This is extremely time consuming and he may have other clients requesting quotes. I have had some work done recently costing under £20,000. There were three visits to discuss our needs, before the quote was given. It then came in a few days but with a 4 month wait before the work could begin. We were told of the wait time at the first meeting.

A quote in two weeks for a job your size, seems more like a rough calculation on the back of an envelope.

FlowersandFunk Tue 27-Dec-16 19:05:35

I wouldn't expect the time for the quote to be compiled to run from the first meeting but from when everyone who needed to be on site has been. So for example one firm who quoted had their plumber and electrician make separate site visits and then quoted after that.

I understand builders have existing clients but in my experience the person who does the quoting isn't needed on site every second of every 40 hours per week. Some time on site is waiting for one trade to finish before another can start or visa versa. In previous works we had done, our whole site was shut down for two weeks due to the roofers not being able to get on site due to bad weather. Two weeks to do quotes in! Yes there are two sides and I appreciate the amount of time it takes to do quotes but also, that is part of the job of being a builder. Not sure quite why I am defending myself here. It's up to the builders, either they want the job or not. If they can't quote in the time I ask for they can ask/explain why they need more time or they can move on to other quotes. As it is, we have always been very fair employers. Don't change our minds about what we want, pay on time, are polite and friendly to the people working on site etc.

pithivier Tue 27-Dec-16 19:40:52

I don't think you have to defend yourself. No-one is making a judgement about you because you wanted a quote in two weeks for a job costing £100,000. You asked a question about whether that was a reasonable time and posters have answered from their personal experience to try an answer that question.

indecisivedoctor Tue 27-Dec-16 22:37:36

Personally I think it's about managing expectations and being realistic. My frustrations stemmed from being told it would be two weeks and then being told to "be patient" at six!

For us- we were planning way ahead ( started getting quotes Oct for March start) as we have a new baby arriving in the interim. I would probably have been ok with a 3-4 week wait but just stand the "few more days" I got from some.

Agree with OP- this bit has been a PITA. Am sure our actual build ( with a newborn and a toddler) will be a breeze confused

FlowersandFunk Wed 28-Dec-16 10:03:55

Ha! Indecisivedoctor, having been through the building process before, it is a PITA but at least you can see progress each day and you know each day is nearer finishing. One thing I really appreciated with our old builders was that on day one they set up a portaloo outside and their own tea making area in part of the house they working on (what was going to be the utility) so they weren't in our space and I wasn't having to make endless cups of tea.

InfiniteSheldon Wed 28-Dec-16 10:04:47

Why aren't you using them again?

FlowersandFunk Wed 28-Dec-16 11:09:24

They weren't interested in the job. They've moved onto bigger and better things (£1m plus new builds) sad

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