Written by Jake Brady

How To Accurately Compare Building Quotes

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and launch into a custom building project. You’ve been speaking to a few builders and now it’s time to gather some quotes, determine how much your project will cost to build and decide on a builder.

Quotes will undoubtedly vary between each builder, but how do you determine who is the best builder for the job and who will provide the best value for money? Keep reading to find out our tips and tricks for comparing building quotes. 

Compare apples with apples

You may come across a builder offering a lower price than others, which they’ve outlined in a free one- or two-page quote. This is a red flag! An accurate quote – which includes a bill of quantities itemising each trade and item included in your quote, and a category breakdown of cost in your build – cannot be compiled for free. It takes time, money and resources to produce an accurate cost estimate, which is why many builders charge for this service.

Generally, a free quote will be based on a square metre rate and won’t factor any of your unique requirements into the cost breakdown. While this can be useful in the early stages of a build when trying to plan your budget, it’s not something you should base your entire build on.

We recommend paying for quotes from your builder. This means the builder is serious about your project and has taken the time to be thorough and accurate about the cost of your build. Likewise, you should compare apples with apples – for example, paid quotes with paid quotes and free quote with free quotes.

Know what to look for 

When comparing quotes, you need to carefully consider all inclusions and allowances. Perhaps Builder 1 has included timber flooring as standard, while Builder 2 uses vinyl or tiles. If you’re looking to include timber floors throughout your home, this will be an additional cost on top of the quote should you engage builder 2. 

Similarly, Builder 1 may allocate $1000 for kitchen appliances, while Builder 2 may allocate $2000 if you’ve made it clear that you’re looking for a luxury kitchen design. Alternatively, a third builder may not allocate any spend to kitchen appliances, which would mean you are responsible from purchasing this direct from the store (and allocating additional funds for this purchase). These are all considerations you’ll need to take into account before proceeding with a particular builder. 

Do your research and speak to past clients  

Before you proceed with a builder, make sure you’re working with someone you trust, someone who has the experience and knowledge required to build your dream home. This can easily be determined by simply researching the builders online and via social media. 

Visit the builder’s website to view past projects, get a sense for their experience and values, and read client testimonials. You’ll also get a sense for what they specialise in, which is important for custom home projects. You want to work with a builder who has knowledge in the service you are looking to hire. If they are experienced in a particular service, you can also be assured that their quote will be more accurate, and they’ll have a good grasp on costs associated with this type of build and how to keep them down. 


Looking for a builder to create an accurate and thorough quote for your custom home build? Our experienced team can help. Get in touch with Jake and the team at Smartbuild South Coast today