top of page
  • Writer's pictureTom Ryan Builders


Recently a friend asked us to give them a rough quote to build them a small timber deck. After checking out the proposed site and talking through their requirements we gave them an estimate of $30,000 for all labour & materials.



The friend: That’s seems really high. Us: What do you think is a reasonable price for this job? The friend: $20,000 maximum Us: Ok, then why don’t you give it a go yourself. That way you you’ll save money on the labour costs & will only to budget for the materials etc. The friend: But I don't know how to build a deck? I wouldn’t even know where to start! Us: Ok, so how about we do it together and instead of bringing the whole team over, it’ll just be me and you, so you’ll only need to cover my labour costs. That way I can teach you how to do it as we go and besides saving money, you'll also be learning valuable skills that you can use in the future. Bear in mind though, that with only 2 of us working on the job and me teaching you as we go, the project will take substantially longer and potentially end up costing more in labour because of it. The friend: Okay! Let’s do it! Us: Great! To get started, you’re going to need some tools. A circular saw, drop saw, cordless drill, bit set, router, jig saw, nail bag, hammer, etc… The friend: But I don't have any of those tools and I can't justify spending all that money to buy all of these for just one job. Us: Ok. Well then for an additional $300 per week, how about I rent my tools to you to use for the duration of the project. The friend: Okay. That’s fair. Us: Great! Let’s start on Monday. The friend: I work Monday through Friday so I’m only available on the weekends. Us: If you want to learn, then you will need to work when I work which is Monday through Friday. This project will take 4 weeks full time, so you’ll need to take that time off work. The friend: That’ll mean I’m going to have to take my annual leave or leave without pay. I can’t afford to do that! Us: Unfortunately, that’s the only way we’ll be able to get it done. And in fact, you’ll also need to allow additional time and money for other things too.

The friend: Like what? Us: Doing a job completely from start to finish includes time spent to plan and design the project, submit council approvals, source suppliers, get quotes, place orders, pick up materials not to mention travel time, set up time, clean up time, fuel and waste disposal etc. That’s all-in addition to the actual project build time & your material costs. Us: Speaking of materials, that’s where we will need to start on Monday, so I need you to meet me at the Hardware at 6:00am. The friend: At 6am?!! My workday doesn’t usually start until 8am! Us: I know, but before we can even get started, we’ll need to source all the materials, then arrange to have them loaded and delivered to the job site ready for us to start work at 8am.

The friend: You know, I’m starting to realise that a lot more goes into a job like this than I originally thought. Tell you what, leave the quote with me and I’ll get back to you. But I think it’ll just be smarter to get you and the team to do it after all.



When you pay a Tradie for a job, you’re not just paying for all the materials and the labour, you’re also paying for:

So the next time you get a quote from a Tradie, bear this in mind and try to be respectful by not expecting them to lower their costs to suit your budget. Remember, you're paying for experience, knowledge, quality and a whole lot more!

If the quote exceeds your budget, have a look at adapting your project plans to suit or reach out to other Tradies for a quote comparison. But whatever you do, don't trade down...because you always get what you pay for.

TRADIES: Know your worth and be confident in it. We are!

CLIENTS: Recognise a Tradies worth and be respectful of it.



Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page