Estimates and Quotations


[Back to Main Index]

To be fair, there is not much to write home about in here. But I wanted to give a general idea of how the process normally works to place a material order. This is most pertinent to larger orders such as tiles, bathroom fittings, etc. For smaller orders, you can just agree on stuff verbally and make the payment for delivery.
  1. Estimate: You must get estimates from shops for the materials you like and may buy. This requires the most hard work on your part. For tiles, you may go to multiple shops just for selection. But for standard items such as bathroom fittings from standard companies, you may have to comparison shop at multiple vendors to get the best rate. Remember that the more stuff you buy from a single shop, the more discount you are likely to obtain.

  2. Purchase Order: Once you have chosen the type of materials, you send a purchase order to the vendor with the exact quantity you want. Generally, your interior designer will do this part for you. It need not be very formal if you are doing it on your own, as long as all the quantities and rates are clear between you and the vendor.

  3. Quotation: The vendor will send you an exact quotation based on your purchase order. This will include all details such as the actual material cost, and other incidentals such as transport charges, VAT, discounts, etc. This quotation will tell you the exact amount that you need to pay to get you material delivered to your house.

  4. Payment: Most vendors require a full payment before any material is delivered, and this is non-negotiable in most cases. Quite a few vendors will accept NEFT payments that can be made online. Some of the bigger vendors may have their workers come to your place to collect payment such as checks and cash. Most vendors will wait for the payment to go through e.g. check clearance, before the material is delivered.

  5. Delivery Challan: When the material is delivered, a delivery challan is handed over to the person who accepts the delivery. It contains a list of all the material delivered. It is an acknowledgment for the vendor that the material was delivered in good condition as per the order placed. You need to identify right here if there is any problem with the order or the delivery made. We had several such problems including incorrect or missing material, material (such as tiles) delivered in bad condition, etc. Some person has to be present to check and verify all materials delivered, and note any discrepancies with the delivery challan. The delivery is generally handled by the designer's supervisor but some times we had to go ourselves in case he was not available after hours or due to conflicting timings. Checking delivered items can be tedious, especially with large orders where you have to check that everything looks fine as per the order.

  6. Tax Invoice: The tax invoice is the final bill to be maintained for your records. It will show the details of the material and the amount paid for it. Generally, vendors are very lax about giving the tax invoice; you really have to follow up with them to get it for yourself. Since we were trying to keep an accurate track of costs for tax purposes, we spent quite some time tracking down tax invoices.