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When the fix is in: The importance of getting 3 quotes

Almost every week I am asked by a buyer or seller to recommend a tradesperson or supplier who can help with a repair, installation or renovation.  The goal is to connect them with someone who can complete the project properly at a fair price.  Throughout the years, I have developed a trusted list of suppliers and tradespeople who I know will provide great service to my clients. However, I always recommend that people get at least three quotes prior to moving ahead with any  project.  This has become especially important in recent years as the value of Westboro real estate has escalated.

Based on anecdotes from my clients, neighbours, and friends, and based on my own experience, it has become apparent that some suppliers are escalating their prices based on the fact that we live in Westboro.  It’s disheartening to think this is going on, but I guess no big surprise.

This past summer one of my clients who lives in a very large home in the suburbs had the entire exterior of their home washed (siding, windows, eavestrough) prior to listing their home.  A team descended on the property and did an excellent job prepping the house prior to the photos.  Shortly after, the same company was called to clean the outside of a Westboro home, which is smaller, has fewer windows and less siding.  When called to line up the quote, the owner was asked for the address and the response was: ”Is that in Westboro?”  The quote received for the work was double what my clients had paid.  Double!!  When asked why the work would be twice as expensive, no good reason was provided.

A recent furnace replacement story sounded very similar.  An owner contacted three suppliers for quotes – two companies I would typically recommend to my clients, and a third supplier because it’s important to get three quotes.  Upon arrival at the home, the sales representative from the third company spent most of his visit chatting about the neighbourhood.  He regretted that he hadn’t bought a home in Westboro when he had a chance.  He loves all of the shops along Richmond Rd., etc.  Very little time was spent discussing and assessing the heating needs.  By the time he left, he had recommended that not only was a new furnace needed, but that the humidifier needed to be replaced (it didn’t) and that the (new) a/c unit would likely not be a good match for the new furnace. ”We’d be happy to come back in the spring to give you a quote to replace that,” he said. When the furnace quote was received, it was 60% higher (not including tax, various unnecessary materials, etc.) than the prices proposed by my trusted suppliers.

The lesson? Do your due diligence!  While it takes time to get three quotes, spending time to find out what each supplier offers, and how they would tackle the project, goes a long way towards understanding what is involved and what, in fact, is a reasonable price.  Even if the first supplier you talk to seems competent and professional, you won’t know if they’re price gouging until you have spoken to others.