Times are tough yes?
If you are in charge of the household budget then you have to make savings wherever you can nowadays, but there are other ways you can save money on house maintenance and upgrades WITHOUT choosing the cheapest quote because this often ends up costing you a lot more than you may think!
Here are 5 suggestions as to why choosing the cheapest quotation or estimate will cost you a lot more money in the long run!
What we will discuss is based on real life scenarios, after all we also live in houses and have to get work done on our own properties from time to time, and yes, by all means you need to get at least 3 quotes to make an informed choice as to which contractor you are going to take on, but choosing the cheapest really can end up shooting yourself in the foot, so to speak.
Saving money and cutting outgoings is a good thing to do, why waste money?
However, in the UK today, at least ever since the recession kicked in, time and after time one can read all the horror stories about people losing their jobs, having their wages cut, coupled with the rise in fuel, household bills etc, but wait I don’t want to depress you here, I want you to carry on reading and get some valuable advice from this!
The UK economy is getting better!
Yes it’s true!
UPDATED: The country has voted to leave the EU since I wrote this article back in 2013. Despite all the doom and gloom, brexit has not meant the economy has fallen off a cliff. Read on.
From what I can see on the news, confidence is returning to the UK after many pretty awful years, in fact one quick look at the business section on the BBC news website we see headlines like;
“Manufacturing sector surges in June: …….UK services growth at six-year high: ………UK construction ‘at three-year high'”: Source BBC News
Which if you reading that from the BBC they at least can’t be making it up can they?
Regardless of that, the signs are there that things are on the up, including the housing market so it’s an ideal time to get some work done on the house, especially the outside, now, and then site back and watch the value of your home rise!
So if you need work doing to your home, here is why the cheapest quote is nearly always a grave mistake that you may regret later on.
Getting quotes for home improvements.
Getting quotes for home improvement seems, in theory, a doddle, but in practice, the whole exercise can be riddled with problems and issues that you never thought of. This article predominantly looks at everyday prices, rather than special deals or offers which many companies offer from time to time, especially during quiet periods like the summer holidays.
Be aware that a quote is fixed price for the work, which should be in writing, and an estimate is a guess and is often avoided.
It’s tempting to choose the cheapest quote or estimate, but this is improvements to your home, NOT a quote for car insurance, and the most economical quotes are often from companies or contractors who can be economical with the truth too!
Five reasons why you should NOT choose the cheapest home improvement quote.
Reason 1: You get what you pay for.
This is true with most things in life but time and time again people get conned, swindled or scammed because they are GREEDY and think they are getting some real bargain and therefore one over on everyone who paid full price. Wrong!
Things are usually full price for a reason, the main reason being THAT’S WHAT THEY COST!
Recently in the news, a woman on the Gumtree website in Australia answered an advert for, and I quote ”
A 21 year old woman in Brisbane, Australia who was trying to buy two iPhones was conned into buying a pair of edible apples.
She placed an advert on the Aussie Gumtree looking for two Apple smartphones and got a response promising the woman ‘two apples’ for sale…………………….After meeting in public at a McDonald’s in Brisbane, the Herald Sun reports, the woman handed over AU$1,500 and got two shiny new iPhone boxes in return, but she did not bother to look inside………. when the woman opened up the iPhone boxes there were apples inside. Source: Techeye.net
The woman thought we was getting an utter bargain, but her greed and stupidity made her forget to do any checks at all and she ended up with 2 edible apples instead of 2 products from the Apple store!
To translate this back to the topic of home repairs, If you get 3 quotes for, let’s say, a new driveway as yours is all cracked with grass growing out of it, and 2 driveway companies are quoting you around £2,000 and then someone else comes along and his quotes is £500, do you honestly think you will get a good job?
Well, you won’t! I know it sounds obvious, and you are thinking “Yes I know this, I’m not daft”, you would be surprised how many very sensible people get conned in to paying next to nothing for what is essentially a load of rubbish.
Your house is the most valuable thing you own and it deserves more than just a cheap load of rubbish. Don’t be greedy.
2. Cheap quotes lead to cheap quality
This once again refers back to our first point. If you get 4 quotes from roofers to fix up your chimney, and 3 of them are around £1000 and then one is £400, do you choose the cheapest? NO!
The reason the first quotes were around the same price is the fact that THAT IS HOW MUCH THE WORK WILL COST!
The people who quoted the greater price will almost certainly have the correct tools and equipment to carry out the work correctly and safely, plus they will have clean modern vans, have insurance, and pay tax on the earnings too, as opposed to the cheap quote who will be cash in hand, probably no insurance and sub standard work and materials.
Which brings us nicely along to the subject of under the counter payments.
3. Cash-in-hand payments are ILLEGAL and you could be prosecuted into the bargain!
“…….fifteen hundred including VAT, or A grand for cash love!”
Yes, this is a little know fact, but if you think it is harmless in paying your builder cash pounds notes, you are helping not only to keep the black economy going, you are also setting yourself up for a shock.
We sought advice on this potential grey area and the chartered institute of taxation said ………
“……….People may offer a cash discount to help with cashflow – and of course discounts get offered for other reasons too, such as bulk purchases. However, if someone offers a cash discount to hide the money from the taxman, then that is a different story. Hiding takings from the taxman is tax evasion and it is illegal. If the payer is aware this is the case they could actually be colluding in tax fraud. ……….Source: http://www.tax.org.uk/media_centre/blog/Media%20and%20Politics/cash%20in%20hand%20QA
So there we are. If you pay cash in hand and the builder or contractor does NOT disclose this, and then the tax man comes knocking, and then slaps a bill for VAT and a fine too, don’t blame me, as i told you so.
4. A warranty? for cash? Yeah right.
Do you honestly think that paying the cheapest price for work like wall coatings, roofing, rendering or any other type of home improvement will get you peace of mind with a warranty?
Quite simply if you pay cheap, and in the future something goes wrong, it is unlikely that you will have any genuine guarantee, or if so, it could be worthless, especially if the company or individual has vanished.
It is very important to choose a contractor who offers a guarantee, coupled with a 3rd party insurance policy. Our contractors, for example, now all issue insurance with their warranties.
It is what our customers expect. Of course that policy has to be paid for by the contractor, so it goes without saying that the cheapest quote will not offer this, and if it goes wrong, it can end up costing you a small fortune to get it put right as you are going to have to find someone else, and of course pay them.
Pay cheap, pay twice.
5. Pay the right price and get full backup and support along the way
It doesn’t matter WHAT thing or service you buy, if it’s bargain basement, you will miss out on customer service and backup, which can be important if you plan to part with a considerable amount of money.
If you have a large house that needs exterior work, something major like a full re-render like we did for the client above, you would be parting with a few grand to get the job done, so it is in your interest to make sure that the company are capable of doing the job, and are experienced and competent too.
If you plan on getting quotes this year, hopefully this article was of some use to you and if you need any advice at all, just drop us a line or call us on 0800 970 4928, all advice we give is FREE
(C) Guy Alexander Bell for NEVER PAINT AGAIN UK. August 2013