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Estimates versus quotes – what’s the difference?

Our latest consumer education initiative explains why quotes are sometimes more expensive than estimates.

The latest topic tackled as we seek to educate consumers is that of estimates and quotations. It’s an important subject, as consumers often feel taken aback when presented with a quote exceeding the estimate they were initially given.

The discrepancy arises because an estimate is based on the mechanic’s first assessment of the vehicle when the exact issues causing problems with the car, and their scope, are still unknown. In contrast, a quote is a more formal costing presented once the mechanic has had a chance to review what needs to be repaired, what this will cost, and how long this will take. 

Often, the costs that need to be included in a quote aren’t evident on the mechanic’s first examination of the car. For instance, if a car won’t start, it’s not until the mechanic is able to get it to start that he will be able to tell if there are any parts that need to be replaced. He may well find latent defects that need to be fixed during this time, and this is why the cost of a quote is often higher than the initial estimate.

That said, it’s important that, once the quote has been put forward and both parties have signed their acceptance, it cannot be changed. Any additional work that is carried out cannot be charged, even if it is only remotely associated with the initial repair. 

Our advice to car owners? Make sure that you understand the quote entirely; don’t be afraid to ask questions or get a second opinion, and don’t feel pressured into paying before you are satisfied.