• Dave Strang

How to Write a Contractor Quote & Estimate for a Client

If you’re an experienced contractor, you're probably able to provide clients with a “guestimate” over the phone. However, taking time to prepare a formal contractor quote not only gives your customers peace of mind, but it will also protect you. Here’s what to consider when you prepare your next contractor quote.


Why prepare a contractor quote for your clients?


A written quote is an important component of running a successful business. It outlines the full scope of work and what is expected from you as the contractor. Being transparent with regards to the work and all associated costs helps resolve disagreements that could arise later down the road when a project has already begun. This is especially important if your client has never done a major home renovation before. In short: It’s protection for both you and your clients. Dryden Pauls, President of Blackburne Inc. in Lethbridge, Alberta, also says when done right, a quote adds to professionalism and, therefore, could help you land more and better jobs.


What to consider in your estimate


For clients, price is a critical aspect of any renovation job they are planning. Therefore, it’s important to get your quote right. Pricing out a job like replacing roofing is reasonably straightforward, but more complex jobs will require more effort.


1. Break down the costs

While this doesn’t mean accounting for every nail, it does mean breaking down larger renovations by room and trade. For instance, for kitchen renovations, include a line item for demolition, kitchen flooring, drywall, millwork, appliances, countertops, fixtures, and labour. Make sure the costs for each are clearly outlined.


2. Completion of the job

Outline whether cleaning the site afterwards and disposal of old materials and garbage is also included in the cost. This way, clients will know what to expect when you’ve completed the work.


3. Factor in sub-trades

For renovations that require skilled trade workers, such as an electrician, make it clear in the contract who will be responsible for the costs. If you need to subcontract work, factor that into your pricing. If the client is responsible, make sure this is stipulated to avoid a dispute.

What not to do When preparing a contractor quote

A quote is an opportunity to stand out from other contractors who may be bidding on the same job. With that in mind, here’s what not to do:


1. Sending a text

Sure, it’s faster and easier to fire off a text with your price, but it may not protect you when it comes time for your client to pay. Texts can be deleted, so put your quote in writing. Even if you send a quote as an email attachment, you can save a copy for your own records.


2. Underbidding

While it’s tempting to nudge out the competition with a competitive price, underbidding could leave you short-changed and without enough money to pay for supplies, labour, or sub-trades, resulting in a job half done, or you losing money.


3. Forgetting to include a timeline

Your quote looks great. The price is right, and you have a solid portfolio to showcase your work. But not including a timeline with the completion date and schedule for the work jeopardizes the customer experience – and your reputation.


How do I write a contractor estimate?


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to preparing a quote. Pauls says it’s important for your customers to see exactly what they’re being quoted on, so clients know the services provided are above and beyond what other contractors offer.


Here are some things you should include in your construction quote:

  • A thorough description of the project with details of the work to be done from demolition to cleanup

  • Clarify types of materials used in the renovation, such as quartz countertops, engineered hardwood flooring, or porcelain tile

  • Description of any warranties on products and services

  • Provide details of all sub-trades that will be contracted out and clear guidelines on who is responsible for payment to them

  • The work schedule, including start date, milestones and completion date

  • Breakdown of payment, including line subtotals and any applicable taxes

  • A payment schedule, which includes the initial deposit and payment milestones

  • Methods of payment accepted, such as cash, cheque, credit cards and Renoshield

Make it professional


Finally, professionalism goes a long way in the contractor-client relationship and can help you win more jobs. From the quality of your work to your website to the comprehensive quotes you provide for your work. Stand out from your competition even more by ensuring your quotes look as professional as your work. Create a logo for your company and include your business address and a professional email address.


When it comes to home renovations, clients want to work with contractors that demonstrate professionalism. Preparing a proper quote modernizes your business and helps win trust early on with prospective clients. Once you’ve won the job, demonstrate even more professionalism by paying the modern way with Renoshield – a payments app designed exclusively for the construction industry in Canada


Want to be added to the waitlist? Sign up for Renoshield today and get added to the waitlist so you can be the first to find out when we’ve fully launched.



This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.