Skip to main content

Enjoyable sustainable renovations

How to reply to sole traders' quotes for home renovations: start right with ALEC

14 February 2024
sole traders quotes

As homeowners or renovators, receiving a quote from a sole trader is an important step in the renovation process. It's a moment that can set the tone for the entire project. A clear and considerate reply sets the scene for smooth communication and successful outcomes.

Read below, I am sharing with you one of my renovation project management secrets : a no-nonsense working method I have put together over the years. It taps into the power of human relations and aims to prevent problems and conflicts from arising further down the line. I call it the ALEC method and it simply will revolutionise the way you start your renovation journey.

A - Acknowledgement: say thank you and clarify

Acknowledging and being thankful for the time and effort the sole trader has invested in preparing the quote is a simple, free and effective way to establish communication. Sole traders spend a lot of time visiting homes and putting estimates together - for free! That is no simple feat.

Acknowledging the quote also involves seeking clarification and ensuring you both have the same understanding of the work involved. Don't assume that everything discussed during the initial home visit is automatically included in the quote. Take the opportunity to confirm the scope of work, materials, and any additional services or challenges you may have discussed.

L - Logistics and design: planning for success

Discussing the logistics and design aspects during the quotation stage is crucial for a well-organised renovation.

Consider the following points:

  • Stages of the project: Understand the timeline and key milestones of the renovation process.
  • Booking dates and working hours: Ensure that the proposed booking dates align with your availability and any specific scheduling requirements you may have.
  • Coordination with other trades: If other trades are involved in the project, clarify who will be responsible for managing the coordination and ensure a smooth workflow.

Avoid making the mistake of thinking these issues can be sorted at a later stage. This could delay the completion of your project.

E - Environment and eco-consciousness: making sustainable choices

Planning sustainable renovations starts at the quotation stage. It is your responsibility to make sure the sole traders and building professionals working on your project use products and methods that do not harm the health of members of your household or the environment.

A key piece of advice is to ask about products and working methods and make relevant suggestions straight away : at the quotation stage. Also discuss waste management strategies to ensure responsible disposal practices.

The Place Between's FREE e-book "Green Home Renovations: it's a thing!" offers a wealthy list of empowering big and small moves you can make to improve your home eco-consciously. It can be downloaded here.

C - Contract and legal: clarifying terms and conditions

The home renovation sector in the UK is not immune to conflict and legal disputes. According to the Consumer Association's Which? Consumers' report, approximately 53% of homeowners who had a major renovation project between 2018-2021 faced a problem.

This could range from delays and substandard work to disputes with traders.

Unfortunately, a significant 7% of these issues escalated into legal disputes. This data underscores the importance of careful planning and vetting contractors before embarking on a home renovation project.

Discussing contractual aspects early - right from the quotation stage - is a great way to prevent misunderstandings and legal disputes. Inquire about the sole trader's terms and conditions, including deposit requirements, changes to the project scope, and any guarantees or aftercare services they offer.

Using a simple contract can ensure a clear understanding of the project's parameters. According to a study conducted by Federation of Master Builders FMB, around one third of homeowners in the UK are opting to renovate their homes without a formal contract. (

Similarly, research from the HomeOwners Alliance underscores the frequency of this issue, revealing that up to 50% of home renovation projects proceed without a legally binding agreement. (

Furthermore, a Citizens Advice Bureau report found that a staggering 80% of disputes about home improvements were due to either a lack of contract or a poorly specified agreement. The absence of a clear contract leaves homeowners vulnerable to potential issues such as cost overruns, delays, and substandard work. (

Conclusion: Building a Solid Foundation

I created the ALEC method to go through the many sole traders quotes I deal with in my work. It reminds me of the main topics I want to cover in my response: Acknowledgement, Logistics, Environment and Contract. I find that this can set the stage for a efficient communication, a corner stone of any successful renovation journey; establishing good communication and clarifying goals and expectations from the beginning is essential for a smooth and satisfying renovation experience.

For more resources and inspiration, follow @theplace_between on Instagram. The Place Between is a social entreprise thriving to creating eco-conscious spaces that reflect your vision and bring joy to your home. Learn more about our services here.