Because of the vast potential for variation, it is not possible to define landscaping costs precisely. The right contractor will assist you by explaining where the money will be spent. To be able to quote a landscaper will measure the area to be developed and discuss with you the various materials that are available. Always check how the landscaper is proposing to complete the work, this is especially important as it will have an impact on price as well as longevity. For example a patio laid on a foundation of MOT Type 1 and a bed of mortar will last considerably longer than one laid straight on to a bed of sand.
Bear in mind that a larger contractor may have to charge you VAT on top of the price of the work. The contractor is not benefiting from this extra money as it has to be collected from you and sent on to HM Customs and Excise.
Don’t ask for cash discounts to avoid VAT and don’t expect to be asked for cash. Keeping the transaction on an official level is a safeguard for you as cash payments and a lack of paperwork may make it difficult to enforce a warranty or guarantee. It also reflects poorly on the contractor if payments are made via a brown paper bag.
Do expect a full set of paperwork from a contractor. You should receive a typed quotation (or estimate) that reflects your brief or specification. Supporting information should include a set of terms and conditions, a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate, and potentially a schedule of works so that you can understand how long the work will take.
Quote or quotation. This is a fixed price and is binding by law. The cost may only vary if you ask the contractor to provide services or materials not included in the quotation.
Estimates are supplied in certain circumstances where a project might not be clearly definable. If you agree to receive an estimate, be aware that price variation might occur.