Looking for the right person to provide a service you need? Before you sign the contract, you can find out in advance how much it will cost by asking for an estimate.
What’s an estimate?
An “estimate,” also known as a “quote,” is not a final price. It’s an honest assessment of the approximate cost of the service to be provided. Before entering into a contract, the service provider has a duty to give you all the relevant information about the nature of the work to be performed, the materials used, and the time required.
For example, your accountant should provide you with a fairly accurate estimate of their fees before starting the work. They should also inform you of the possibility that their fees may change or that other professionals may work on your file, which could result in an increase or reduction in the total price of the service requested.
Is the price final?
If the service provider prepared an estimate when the contract was entered into, they cannot increase the total amount of the invoice without a good reason. They must justify any price increase and can only charge you extra in two situations:
- If you ask for more work than was originally planned.
- If the service provider is faced with extra work or expenses that were unforeseeable at the time the contract was signed. In such a case, the service provider must inform you of this promptly.
However, you could be entitled to a price reduction if the actual cost of the service at the end of the contract is lower than the price quoted in the estimate.
What’s the difference?
“Estimate” and “quote” are two different terms that represent the same thing: details of the work to be done and the price asked to complete it.