Written by Jake Brady

How Does An Estimate Differ From A Quote?

Assuming an estimate and a quote are the same is a common mistake, and easy to make—however, the difference is significant to your project. Learning how these terms are used will help guide your approach to a new build or renovation.

We know that everyone prefers a builder that is upfront about cost. As the South Coast’s architectural custom home building specialist, Smartbuild always offer realistic and trustworthy estimates and quotes. As a transparent builder, we want to empower you to make the most out of your build by understanding the terms used – keep reading for our breakdown of the difference between an estimate and a quote.

What is an estimate?

An estimate can be viewed as a calculated guess. The figure is designed to give an initial idea of the total cost, but could differ from the final amount. While this may sound impractical, it does serve a purpose.

The estimate is a base to work from, and can be obtained while still deciding on final details. This allows you to consider the financial viability of possible fitting choices, or potential design changes for your new home.

When meeting with a client to discuss a project, we use decisions you’ve reached, in terms of size and design, as well as additional features, to create a detailed estimate for the project.

Perhaps your vision exceeds the budget. Or you may have underestimated, and an additional bathroom, bedroom or both is on the table. Providing an estimate will help with these decisions, allowing you to move forward with an understanding of where your budget can take you, and set the foundation for an informed quote in the future.

Sourcing a quote

While the only quote worth getting is one that you’ve paid for, don’t let this initial expense put you off – think of it as investing in peace of mind through financial clarity. Receiving a quote from a reliable builder will provide you with an outline of every cost, granting you a transparent insight into the expenses of your new build or renovation.

A free quote differs from a fixed price quote. A free quote may include low estimates that prove unattainable for your project, as the builder attempts to lure you in with deceivingly low prices. If given early on, a free quote likely won’t factor in detailed specifications or the entire scope of your build.

This approach leaves the budget open to unforeseen adjustments. With a free quote, you risk paying more as the project unfolds, leading to unexpected financial stress by the end of your build.

What does PC and PS mean?

Sometimes the cost of certain materials or trade services cannot be definitively predicted, especially if you haven’t yet decided on aspects of the build. These appear as Prime Cost Items and Provisional Sums.

Prime Cost Items and Provisional Sums can prove a hiccup to carefully maintained building budgets. And when a free quote is given, there is a possibility they could blow the budget out beyond your expectations.

A quality builder will focus on an informed price prediction, rather than presenting an unachievable budget designed to secure a sale. Be wary if the amount of PC and PS figures seem overly excessive or unrealistic.

Interested in a consultation?

With your questions answered clearly, the estimate and quote process should reassure you of your builder’s honesty and integrity. If you’re still struggling for clarity, it may be time to reconsider.

At Smartbuild South Coast, we’re upfront about the financial reality of your project, with transparent quotes and hands-on project management from the get-go. You deserve a stress-free building journey, and a premium quality custom home within your budget.

Ready to discuss your building vision? Reach out to our friendly and experienced team.