by Richard Catlin
What’s more important – the best price or the best value for money timber flooring?
It’s no secret that in the last three years, there have been less houses built in Perth and as a result, builders and associated trades have found the going tough. It has naturally led to buyers being in a much better position to negotiate pricing on any home improvements they are looking to do. That’s great news for customers but going for the lowest price can often lead to a poor outcome. A better focus is to negotiate the best value for money.
What’s the difference between the cheapest and the best value for money?
In some situations when negotiating a new timber floor (or bathroom or kitchen), we can be guilty of looking first and foremost at the price. If this is all we consider, we are giving the supplier permission to offer products that may be poor quality or installation services that are simply below an acceptable standard. It is more important to understand exactly what the supplier is offering to make sure your negotiation is comparing “apples for apples” and not “apples for lemons”! Home renovations are high cost items for good reason. To complete them properly requires quality products, skill and time to get the right end result.
A good job will add value to your home, a poor renovation will not only devalue your home, it will make it harder to sell in the future.
Comparing Apples for Apples
Projects like timber flooring are high cost items, so it is understandable that customers negotiate, but the prime focus should first be to understand what the price includes.
Recently at Bosch Timber Floors, a customer chose a cheaper competitor compared to our offer. We kindly asked to understand more about the other offer and found that the alternate was a lower grade timber than what we had offered.
Naturally a lower grade product will always be cheaper so the comparison was not “apples for apples”. In terms of “value for money” the difference in price compared to the difference in product grade suggested the offer we presented was much better value for money.
So how do I know if I’m getting the best value for money?
Firstly, negotiate exactly what you want, then the price will take care of itself. In a “buyers market” such as this, it is crazy for anyone to try and sell products for an outrageous profit as they will never make a sale. So, if you are looking at a solid timber floor here’s three main areas to focus on to make sure you get the best value for money.
What grade are you looking for and does the timber come from a reputable mill?
Higher timber grades have less appearance blemishes such as gum vein, insect marks and surface cracks giving the floor a cleaner look. In this situation you will pay more for the timber, but the sanding and coating should be a little cheaper as its an easier job of the sander.
Lower timber grades have more appearance blemishes, more shorter length boards and as a result are much cheaper. On the flip side though, you should allow for more waste on these jobs as some of timber may not be suitable and a quality installation on this floor should take longer meaning that a good tradesperson will probably charge a little more to install a lower grade floor. Lower grades installed and finished correctly though can make a stunning statement in the right rustic décor?
Reputable timber mills kiln dry their timber to specific moisture contents to keep the product stable and work to formal Australia grading standards. Beware of any product where the grade is not clear or the moisture content of the timber not provided.
What are the other characteristics of the timber you are looking at?
The presentation of you finished floor will vary according to the timber you choose. Some timbers are quite soft and therefore not really suitable for high traffic flooring applications, whilst others have considerable colour variation which may or may not suit the style you want for your space. Finally make sure you see the width of the board being offered. Timber Flooring is offered in many widths from 60mm narrow boards all the way through to super wide 180mm boards. Make sure you have a good understanding of all these considerations from real examples in a showroom so you can make an informed decision about your preferred timber.
Is your installer qualified, experienced and being paid suitably to provide you with a high-quality installation?
It’s not uncommon for customers to ask an installer for a “discount for cash”, or can you just take an extra $500 off the price, but that discount may result in cheaper products or less time being available to complete a quality job. Like all professional’s quality installers and sanders work hard to make a living for their families. If you want them to spend the right amount of time on your job using quality products, then maybe your discussions should centre around those aspects of the job rather than the price. Bosch Timber Floors only facilitate work through quality reputable trades. It would be easy for us to provide much cheaper installation prices through other trades but we would quickly lose our reputation for providing quality timber floors. Perhaps consider what you think a professional would earn in a year, take into account the materials and other costs of being self employed and then work out if you think the price they are offering is fair rather then cheaper than an alternative quote.
Understand exactly what you’re paying for before you proceed
There’s no doubt that there has never been a better time to get great value for money if you are building a new home or renovating. But don’t fall into the trap of just choosing the cheapest price. Make sure you work with a reputable company and get all the detail on what is being offered before you go ahead.
For more information and advice on the right floor for your home visit us at either of our locations at Wangara and Myaree.