If the builder says "I can do the project really cheaply for you" be careful. Something done cheaply will likely come with trade-offs (David).
If you get five or more quotes you might accept the cheapest quote thinking that you will save money. The builder, however, might later try to make money by charging you for every little ‘variation’. I’d always go for the middle quote (Duncan – builder).
We are very fortunate to have a contact in the timber industry. So, our builder told us what timber was needed and we ordered the timber direct to get a discount. We never expected this, but because the builder was not paying directly for the timber, he didnt pay as much attention and ordered far too much. This meant that we had lots of timber left over, including 4 massive beams, and it ended up costing us more!
Here is my tip to get around this. Ask the builder to buy the items from your supplier (you don’t have to explain why, you can always say you’d rather give the business to a friend, neighbour, family). Then the builder is responsible for the order, and later the supplier can pass the discount on to you (Geoff).
Don’t try and save $1 by doing things yourself, it usually ends up costing more. You might want to reuse old windows or old doors. If there is any problem, however, like rotting wood or a crooked door, you will probably end up paying more to solve the problem (Warren – builder).