Getting quotes and estimates
Before hiring a service provider (tradesperson, motor vehicle repairer, etc) you should ask for a quote so there is no dispute later about the costs.
What is a quote?
A quote is a statement of the price for which goods or services will be supplied. When a quote is accepted, a contract is formed which binds you and your service provider to the details contained in the quote.
The quote should always include:
- the cost of materials;
- the cost of labour;
- the cost of extras such as consumables, or an environmental disposal levy; and
- a description of proposed work.
What is an estimate?
In some instances, your tradesperson may not be able to provide a firm quote until further examination of the work needed is made. In these situations you should still ask for an estimate.
An estimate will provide you with an approximation of the cost of the work.
Unlike a quote, the price contained in an estimate is not fixed and the final price may be more or less than the estimated price, depending on the circumstances.
The service provider may wish to offer to investigate the problem first, particularly if it is something out of the ordinary. After this, they will be able to provide a firm quote on exactly what will be required.
Call out fees or charging for a quote
If a service provider charges for a call out fee or for providing a quote, you should be told of the cost beforehand. If you are not made aware of the cost, you do not have to pay.
Put it in writing
Wherever possible request a written quote. Relying on memory sometimes causes problems if you and the service provider have a different understanding and recollection of what was discussed.
Before work starts
We strongly recommend you sign a quote to acknowledge you accept the price to do the work. This will ensure there are no misunderstandings about the terms of the agreement.
What if extra work is needed?
Sometimes, extra work or materials are needed due to unforeseen circumstances; you may be charged extra but the service provider should contact you before continuing with the work.
You have rights under the Australian Consumer Law for any service you use. The supplier guarantees their services are:
- provided with due care and skill;
- fit for any purpose; and
- provided within a reasonable time, when no time is set.
More information is available on the service business guarantee page.
We provide a free telephone advisory service to consumers and business people on their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. You can call our contact centre on 1300 304 054 or send us an email.