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  • Andrew Bargen

7 details to look for in a renovation quote.

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Renovations are a great opportunity for you to customize your space. A well planned and executed renovation project will leave little room for error. Don't let your dreams get cut short. Stick with contractors that get the details right.

Once accepted, the quote is the blueprint to your project. Here are seven items that are essential in the makeup of a good renovation quote.


#1: A detailed description of the scope of work.

The description of the project scope is the backbone of a quote. It should clearly define what is and is not included in the bid. Thorough descriptions will outline job specifics, such as the type of materials to be used and installation methods. In addition to a concise project description, certain projects will also require drawings for clarity. These project details should match discussions that you have had with your renovator.

#2: Coverage.

Asking your renovation contractor to prove coverage protects you from becoming liable by default. In Alberta, your renovation company should have the following documents current:

  • WCB coverage. This provides coverage for the contractor and his employees or subcontractors in the case of an injury on the job site. You can request a letter from the Workers Compensation Board stating the status of the company's account.

  • Commercial Liability Insurance. This protects you, the homeowner, and the contractor in the event of a loss caused by the contractor. Your renovator should be able to provide a valid certificate of insurance at your request.

  • Business Licence. Many municipalities require businesses to maintain a license to operate. This gives the local government the ability to ensure a company is following their bylaws and is also required for permit applications by the contractor.

#3: Changes.

Many renovations require modifications to the scope after work has begun. These changes can be the result of unforeseen challenges or design changes. It is crucial that your general contractor provides a framework for these changes to take place. You should have answers to the following:

  • How will changes to the original quote be communicated and approved?

  • How will changes be billed?

#4: Warranty.

What is your renovator's warranty policy? Having their guarantee in writing can help hold your renovator accountable if subpar work is completed.

#5: Timeline.

Having your renovator provide a written timeline can help you plan for the disruption to your daily routine. A schedule is especially important in large projects where you may need to relocate while the renovation is underway. Stick with companies that are able to work consistently on your renovation. Projected project start date, duration, and completion date will vary by the contractor, keep these details in mind when approving a project bid.

Since renovations have a reputation for taking longer than expected, leave a buffer in your schedule. Also, inquire about how each contractor will keep you updated on job progress and any revisions to the timeline.

#6: Payment Terms.

A proper quote will include the payment schedule and acceptable types of payment. It should also include when a payment is due and how overdue accounts will be charged interest. Most renovators are required by the CRA to have a GST number. The GST number should be included on the quote and is necessary to charge GST.

#7: Price.

Though the price is an expected aspect of any quote, it can be misunderstood. Consider these questions:

  • Does the price include the materials and any other potential cost?

  • Is the quote an "estimate" and only an estimation of the final cost?

How pricing is presented is also important. In residential renovations, itemized quotes let you purchase better value than single lump sum quotes. Since every contractor is going to quote your project differently, an itemized quote helps you understand the differences between various quotes and what you are paying for. With an itemized quote it is easier to find and exclude items that have a high cost and low value to you.


Do you know what you are paying for? Once signing a quote, you have entered into a contract with your contractor. To protect you, ensure that your next renovation quote includes the above 7 details.

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