Why you shouldn't go for the cheapest quote

Jacqui Simpson

This guest post is from Jacqui Simpson of True Colours Decorating Services.

Your home needs decorating and it is time to call in the cavalry, but you have no idea as to which officer to pick. So you invite different decorating companies round to give you quotes and then you are really confused, as the quotes that you receive are very different in cost, layout and information. How do you know which is the best one to go for? And why don't you just go with the cheapest?

When judging a quote, the first thing to make sure of is that each of them is offering the same level of service and materials. You should always ask for a detailed quote that states what is actually going to be done, how it is going to be achieved and which brand of products will be used. This will then allow you to make a true comparison and make an informed decision. Although you will also want to know something about the kind of knowledge that your potential decorator possesses. So, if you are having wallpaper, did the decorator explain about cross lining and the benefits of having it done? This is not looking for extra work but an essential part of the job if you want your wallpaper to look good. Think how much wallpaper paper can cost and how much time you have spent looking for the perfect paper. Do you really want to be left  disappointed by the finished result due to your decorator cutting corners?

There are more practical points to consider when choosing your decorator too. Do you feel that you can get on with them? Do they have the right kind of insurance? Do they have good references and present themselves in a positive and helpful manner? Do you feel they have enough knowledge to give expert advice?  Don’t be afraid to ask them questions on how they are going to deal with things. After all, you are paying for their expertise and skill, they should be willing to display some of it before you hire them.

Something that many people fail to remember when hiring a tradesman or tradeswoman is that cheapest is not always necessarily best. In fact it is rarely the case. For example, when buying a second hand car the cheaper it is the older it is and the more it probably has wrong with it. Sometimes you are buying yourself trouble by buying cheaply. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. Somebody who has taken the time to go to college for three years to get qualifications, has worked as an apprentice or has time served will have respect for your home and their trade. Therefore they will not belittle their craft or themselves by producing unrealistic quotes that are not cost efficient in order to get the job. In other words, whenever possible always opt for a little quality rather than cheapest quote you can find.

The quality of materials is very important when thinking about having your home decorated. If you think of paint as you would about something like baked beans then you know there is always a difference between the likes of Heinz and Lidl's own brand when it comes to taste and quality. The same obviously goes for paint (although we can't vouch for the taste!). Therefore, when comparing quotes always check that the paint being quoted for is what you requested. You can't compare like with like if one painter says they will use Dulux and another says they will use something from a discount supermarket and if you are quoted for Farrow and Ball then Farrow and Ball is what you should get.

All in all you should go with someone who gives you confidence, will respect you and your home and not cut corners just to win the job.

As the old proverb says: “Good things are not cheap, cheap things are not good!”

If you are a tradesman or tradeswoman who feels he/she has a view to share then please contact us on press@mybuilder.com.


  1. Well said Jacqui. Couldn't of put it better myself..

  2. What a brilliant post, i try drilling this into customers but in the current climate people just want the cheapest deal, customers are coming unstuck by hiring cowboys, i hope customers who log into mybuilder are able to see this post.

  3. Not always true, i am quite new to my builder, and in order to get the feedback that i need to increase my profile rating i have to be wairy of other tradesmens profile ratings and sometimes this means lowering my price compared to what i might usually charge.

  4. Yes we totally agree. At the moment people generally seem to want the cheapest job possible. Sometimes this is not preferable over quality and experience. We have been in the business over 20 years and feel that our knowledge and skill should speak for itself.

  5. This is a great article.Cheapest is NEVER the best.There is a current trend of pricing ridiculously low in order to win the job.This results in decent tradesmen wasting a lot of time looking at work they are never going to win.To state the obvious,the cost of a job is made up from materials and labour time.To cut down on either will ALWAYS affect the quality of the finish.Why people skimp on maintaining their biggest asset has always been something ive never quite understood.There are a few cowboys in my area (you know who you are!) that are turning out absolutely shocking work and funny enough,they are the cheapest.The only problem is by the time someone like me has sorted it out,the overall cost has been the dearest! To all you penny pinchers out there,you arent being shrewd,merely very stupid.

  6. As a customer i would like to to think i would agree with Jacqui ,but unfortunately due to the economical climate i think that customers are going with the cheapest quotes .I know from personal experience of being on the site that some of my customers tell me that they arent going with the cheapest quote they are going with feedback but can appreciate that its very competive out there at the minute and some are cutting throats to get the jobs.Some too cheap that are making customers question their skills.

    My opinion is you get in at your cost and hopefully get the job.If your 100% at what you do the customer will get you back and spread your name about and thats what its all about ,getting the name out there.

  7. At Green Tomato Developments we often come across competitors undercutting jobs with ridiculous prices. I would advise anyone looking to have works in the near future to do their research before employing anybody. If you are not sure why a quote is so cheap then be suspicious. Most reputable firms will price in and around the same area. However, certain circumstances will enable companies to be more competitive on occasions, e.g. cancelled work, keen to enter a new geographical market etc.

  8. I have a trade myself and I know what I get paid per hour. Costing up some work in my home, window fitters are turning their nose up at £200 per day for labour per man. is it any wonder people are forced to use the cheapest quote.

  9. Well this is exactly what we always say. We even say to the customer "that cheapest isn't the best"! We have been undercut so many times, even by half??!! There's no way that would cover all materials or labour! We ask them have they been Quoted or Estimated, have they been priced for everything we have priced and have they seen photos and references etc?!! Sometimes we think they may also be trying to get us to come down in price .....! We even have them asking for the Quote in a few days as they need it asap ....... a week later we ring up and they are still waiting for Quotes, even from people who see the job before us ................. surely that should tell them something too!!?? These posts should be available for the customers to see ........ but is it??? It is very frustrating!! We do try and get the customer to think about why they have really cheap quotes and to think about what they will actually pay at the end of it.

  10. As a highly skilled painter and decorator with 23 years experience, I couldn't agree with you all more. I too get so irritated when I'm expected to work for absolute peanuts AND I'm expected to be grateful for what is thrown my way AND to have a smile on my face about it all!!!

    Because of the cheap cowboys out there (who have a brush or two from the £1 shop therefore they are decorators) that are NOT governed by any legislation when working in residential properties; my knowledge and expertise almost goes out of the window sometimes in this present very tough market.

    I am not the cheapest out there and never will be. I have come to accept that I'd rather be at home making my own home look amazing than take on a job where the client thinks I am only worth paying the same as any cowboy or dodgy trades person you can pick up outside of Wickes, despite my skill, expertise, top of the range sanders attached to vacuums, only using the best fillers, resins and paints available etc.

    Something needs to change in order for us good guys and dolls to survive in this current climate.

    Christina of valentinerefurbishments.co.uk

  11. Sometimes the cheapest can actually be the best. Though it is rare. When I started in business I needed to develop a portfolio and a presence. I did this by letting people know why the work was valuable to me, not for financial reward so much, but for my portfolio. Upstarts who aim for excellence can be a great way to get a cheap but excellent job, but you do run a greater risk of it all going pair shaped.

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