Estimate or Quotation?


They are different!

An 'estimate' can range from:

  • a rough number a sales representative gauges you can afford,
  • a low price offer with the aim to use variations once committed, &
  • a realistic ball-park figure based on experience and recent work.

An 'estimate' is:

A verbal or written opinion. The feasibility and cost of similar installations are the major factors.

Estimates are not charged for.


A 'quotation' is:

A formal written itemised statement of the costs for a particular job or service. The total price may be set or conditional.

A quotation takes time to do and time costs. There are many aspects to address from compliance issues to costs and scheduling.

A quotation usually states a fixed price. It may also have a few conditional 'outs' to protect both the client and the installer.

Detailed quotes are important to allow comparisons of:

     *   scopes of work, and

     *   materials.

A quote requires:

     *   price checking with suppliers,

     *   an intimate knowledge of material and labour costs, margins and timings etc.

Quotations are charged for.


The vast majority of skylight installations are trouble free. Repairs on opening model motors and sensor issues do occur, albeit rarely.

Your installation warranty is only honourable if the installer is still operating. Be wary of quotes with low margins! Many installers jump ship once they realise their underpricing doesn't cover costs.


Gain and Compare Several Quotations (at least three)

Quoting is a major part of getting work. Quotations take time. Time is money. You will pay for both yours, and several other quotes, buying from anyone offering 'free quotes'. 'Free quotes' are a marketing tactic, as is this blog post!

A roof space inspection to determine the feasibility of the installation is essential. Photos, measurements, obstructions and structural issues are all noted.

Do your research and know what you want. Explain your vision in exactly the same way to all that are quoting.

Get at least three quotes so you can make a valid comparison.

My tip is to compare prices and see if the:

     *   highest price is within 20% of the middle price, and

     *   whether the lowest price is within 20% of the middle price.

Then compare the written quotes.

Low priced quotes lack detail except the clauses on variations and revisions. These are price 'jack up' mechanisms. 

A high quote lacking detail may signal overcharging.

A detailed quote with itemised details and prices is less likely to have overcharged. Viewing reasonable and realistic details shows due diligence in quoting.

The important thing to look for here is whether the quote has enough detail. This way you can see where your money is going and whether it is reasonable or not. If there are huge discrepancies ask for an explanation, or get another quote.


Roof Space Survey

Be very wary of accepting a quote from anyone that does not get into your roof space. In these cases there will be costly 'revisions’. These will be for structural, electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning works.

Get another installer to quote. Of course this takes time, yet it will save you from headaches later.

Tube type skylights are basic. Most installers use set fees for these for standard installations.

There is a lot more to window type (Velux) installations!

It is also worth knowing about the person providing the estimate or quote. Are they:

  •    the actual installer,
  •    a company estimator / quoter, or
  •    a commission only estimator / quoter, &/or
  •    do they have a trade background?


Basic topics on most quotations would include:

1.   The Scope of Works

The exact work to be undertaken and what is not included.


2.   Proposed Schedule of Works

An outline of what works will happen in chronological order with timings.


3.   Variations

Variations are changes to the ‘scope of works’ &/or 'schedule of works’ usually at the direction of the client. Variations are common.

Variations can be used to charge above a quoted price due to meeting building code requirements. Discuss and document your agreed policy for these.  This is why it is so important to have someone that knows the building code inspect the roof space.


4.   Revisions

These are changes to the ‘scope of works’ &/or 'schedule of works’ due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’.  These occur through no fault of the client or installer. Again discuss and document your agreed policy for these.


5.   Exclusions (Potential Extra Costs For The Client)

Exclusions differ from ‘variations' and ‘revisions’ as they're identified during the survey phase.

Exclusions are for works beyond the scope of the installers and may include:

  •    electrical modifications, 
  •    plumbing modifications, &
  •    air conditioning modifications.

6.      A Building Contract

Required in Western Australia for works over $7500.

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