Know the difference between quotes, proposals and estimates

There’s no one size fits all approach when providing a quote or proposal within the building industry, all builders do things a little differently. Some may provide a quote for their services after a quick chat and understanding of works. On the other hand, some builders may take significantly more time preparing a proposal and offer a detailed outline of works, processes and what to expect with specific project goals in mind.


Proposals and fees

Experienced builders will often charge a fee for providing a proposal, due to the level of precise information and accurate estimations of the project in discussion.

Unlike a simple scope of works, the level of detail you will expect to find will cover all bases of the project, including materials, labour, lead times and will ensure no hidden costs down the track.

The proposal fee is an investment to ensure the project runs smoothly and the professional builder delivers on the brief discussed prior. It also covers communication with external trades and consultants, discussions with you and other interested parties and the detailed outline.

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You can expect an outlined brief of your project, along with recommendations, an itemised list of specifications and inclusions, including full cost breakdowns.

The proposal you can expect will be anywhere between 10 and 30 pages long, possibly more.


Free quotes

While a quote might provide you with a pricing estimate, specific details which are essential in any building project, won’t be included. Where a quote may indicate the bare minimum, it leaves room for error and hidden costs as the project proceeds.

Some may say less is more, this rule simply does not apply in these circumstances. Going into a building project with a two-page quote is almost equivalent to going in blind, as it will often lead to unnecessary variations, disputes during construction and pesky hidden costs that weren’t budgeted for to begin with. Then comes the disappointment, and quite a bit of regret when you add up the out-of-pocket expenses which could’ve been avoided with a fee-based proposal.



After a brief discussion of the project at hand, a professional builder will be able to provide you with a rough estimation. This is generally a verbal, ball-park figure which will be based on a small amount of detail. This will give the client an idea of what kind of budget you might be considering.


The Emerald approach

By providing full transparency to clients from the initial consultation, it avoids the big question mark looming over our clients head, ‘how much is this going to cost?’ We are open and honest about our proposal fees and the reasoning behind them, we are here to provide the best possible service, and with that comes our time. After initial discussions and consultations with our clients and trades, our proposals are thoroughly drawn up to perfectly suit your custom project, there’s no cookie cutter approach here.

Our clients are educated throughout the process and the detailed proposal will outline the steps and keep you informed and in the loop for the duration. Our approach is simple, to the point and exceptionally comprehensive to ensure that you get the best results for your investment.

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