When it comes to getting quotes from tradespeople, customers often (wisely) get quotes from multiple different businesses, which is a great way to get a feel for the amount you should pay for a job you want done.

However, the difference in the prices quoted can at times cause confusion and lead customers to ask why there is a (sometimes significant) difference between the quotes they’ve received for seemingly the same job.

As someone who runs a trade business as well as engaging tradespeople for jobs at my own property, I’ve discovered that unfortunately, sometimes the cheapest quote can end up being the most expensive. But how can this be? Surely picking the cheapest quote is a good way to save money? Not always, as you’ll find out below. Here are some of the reasons why a quote can be substantially cheaper in the beginning, but cost you more in the long run.

  • Low overheads. Some businesses are cheap to employ because they have low overheads – often meaning they are not insured, not paying their staff appropriately, or are avoiding paying GST and income tax. My suggestion here is to ensure that your tradespeople are insured, registered with the appropriate governing body and qualified in their trade, not just a backyard ‘handyman’. A warning sign that they are evading their taxation responsibilities would be if they ask for cash payments only or offer to do the job “cheaper for cash”.
  • Underquoting. In this scenario, the quote may be cheaper because the scope of works included is not the same as what the other businesses have quoted on. They may have left out key aspects of the job (either intentionally or unintentionally – some businesses intentionally come in low to win the job) and will later try to bill you for variations which you weren’t aware of, causing your budget to blow out substantially. This is where you need to check that you’re ‘comparing apples with apples’, get a detailed written quote from the tradie and ask plenty of questions about what is and isn’t included.
  • Quality. They may be cutting corners on either the quality of materials used or the standard of the work they complete, meaning that you end up paying double when you need to get someone else in to fix the poor quality work they have done. This type of business often stops answering your calls when you try to get in touch about an issue with the work. To avoid this scenario, I would suggest doing your homework by getting in contact with previous customers and/or checking out work that has been done by the tradesperson in the past. Asking for recommendations for tradespeople from friends who have recently had work completed is another way to ‘vet’ the tradies you engage to complete your job.

Something I read recently which resonated with me was “we work up to a standard, not down to a price”. Remember this when choosing the businesses that you allow to work on your most valuable asset – your home. As in many areas of life, you get what you pay for!



Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information.