5 Reasons Your Builder's Quote is Higher than Expected

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5 Reasons Your Builder’s Quote is Higher than Expected

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Jeffery and Wilkes are London’s leading Building Contractors.

5 Reasons Your Builders Quote is more than expected

Your friends tell you a house extension in London is going to cost you about £50,000, you call in the builders and have decided to ask three to quote. They come around and visit, one really impresses you and you can’t wait to receive the quotation, as they seem exactly what you are after. You open your email and are flabbergasted. The quote has come in at £70,000 a whole £20,000 over your planned budget. You are annoyed, frustrated, do they not know they are going to lose out on your business?

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Many people find themselves in a similar situation, the builder they connected with the most on the site visits price is well over what they had expected. One of the others builders quote is coming in much nearer to the price that they originally expected, should they just go ahead with this builder even though they don’t have a good felling about them. Its £20,000 difference after all?

In this article we will explore 5 reasons why your builders quote may have come in higher than expected.

  1. The information you have provided is flaky

Did all three builders coming to see you have a clear and precise brief of what you wanted? Do their quotes match in terms of individual items?

For example, when you look at your quote have you been specific on the types of doors, window, tile etc that you want. One builder could quote for UPVC doors and windows and the other for aluminium, there will be a big price difference with these.

Even down to small things like electrical points, make sure each of the builder specifies the amount and type that they are allowing for or your prices could easily creep up.

If the builder has to make a lot of presumptions then this may be the reason why the price is so high or perhaps when you inform the cheaper builder on our specific requirements you might find their price hikes up too, and either you pay more for these finishing touches that you like or you make amendments to your quote and go for something more simple.

  1. Your designer has overdone the design

Has your designer got carried away with ‘ideal’ wants and ran well over budget? This often happens.

Let’s say for example, you give your designer your top budget and ask them to create your drawings for a house extension. Then you see on the design that there is not enough light coming in so request an extra window, then you need an additional door etc. By the time your amends are done,  have they been updating you on the additional costs this might incur along the way? Every time you make any change to your project you need to revisit the budget and check you are still in line with it

  1. Your budget was not realistic

Could it be that your budget was never realistic enough and Julie down the road might have paid £50,000 for her extension but that was 5 years ago and is not of the spec that you are asking for. Sometimes budget are unrealistic.

    1. Good builders are not the cheapest

Good builders do not come cheap. When you find a cheap builder, you will usually discover later in the project the reason that they were so cheap in the first place. Some go in low and then hike their prices up with extras, others produce a cheap quality job.

      1. You are not factoring in labour and materials

“Builders must be raking it in, earning £60,000 for a 7-week job. I should be a builder!” Do you really know how much of this actually goes into a builders pocket?

Obviously, each builder can charge what they like, it’s their business and you either accept or reject a quotation. However, it is good to know how most builders calculate their costs.

Most companies’ quotes are based on 40% labour 40% materials and 20% profit. If two quotes come in at £50k and then one at £40k you need to ask where those savings are being made, as can be seen on the comparison below:


£20k materials

£20k labour

£10k profit

£16k labour

£16k materials

£8k profit

Is the £8K being saved on cheaper quote mean less skilled labour and inferior quality materials possibly?

If you want as much transparency as possible when getting a quotation, why not consider having a quantity survey.

What is a quantity survey and how much do they cost?

A quantity survey specifies all the materials that have been included in your quotation and even breaks down the cost of the labour. It is very transparent and allows you to see if any costs have been inflated so you know exactly what you are paying for.


If you are surprised at a builder’s quote you have received, weigh up the various points we have discussed in this article. Ensure your quote is on a like for like basis, see if there are elements you can tone down to shave money off the job and remember that you get what you pay for – so cheap is not always cheerful!