How to compare design quotations?

After sending out the design brief and other necessary documents to various collaborators for a price quotation, the next step is to start comparing the received quotations. It may seem logical to compare them based on price only, especially since the same information was sent to everyone. However, it’s not appropriate to make the final decision based solely on price.
Here is a list of aspects to consider when comparing design quotations.

Content and conditions of the quotation

Analyze the compliance with the design brief. When comparing the quotation and the design brief, it’s crucial to ensure that all tasks, deadlines, and conditions set and provided in the design brief are mentioned. For example, the size of the area, number of concept design variants, desired design scope and stages, timeline and deadlines, start date of the work, payment terms, etc.

If there is any ambiguity in the quotation, you should definitely seek additional information from the proposer and suggest amendments. If the quotation includes services that seemingly aren’t needed, it’s important to ask why they have been included. Often, the quotation can be corrected if it’s a mistake, but it could also reveal that the proposer anticipates a problem that the client may not have considered.

Additional costs and additional work. If the proposer does not offer all the requested services, these will need to be requested additionally and paid separately. For example, additional services might include topo-geodetic base plan, woody plants survey, utility network design, etc.

It’s also crucial to note which services and to what extent are included in the quotation and when they are considered as additional work. For example, certain service components like construction supervision by designer are often presented with hourly rate because the extent of this work is unknown at the time of quotation preparation. It’s important to specify the number of sketches and concept designs included in the price and the scope of changes that can be made. Also, determine under what conditions changes are considered as additional work. For example, if changes are needed due to unexpected additional data or information after the completion of concept design phase, it’s typically interpreted as additional work.

Communication and cooperation

The best design is born from cooperation. It is always best to choose a partner with whom you enjoy communicating, who listens and understands what’s most important to you, can offer solutions, approaches problem-solving promptly, and is willing to collaborate. Effective and frequent communication is the key to the success of a design project.

Experience and qualification

It’s important to investigate the service provider’s competencies. For designing, it is often necessary to involve a chartered landscape architect (EstQF Level 7), although in some cases, this may not be necessary. You can inquire about professional qualifications from the service provider or check the relevant competences from the databases (The Register of Occupational Qualifications and The Register of Economic Activities). A portfolio provides a good overview of experience, showing whether they have experience with similar projects.


A portfolio generally gives a good overview of a company’s experience. You may already have personal experience with the company and previous cooperation experience, but maybe not with a new service provider. Feedback from previous clients can be an excellent additional source of information to determine the company’s reputation, so could be their portfolio.


Increasing attention needs to be paid to resource efficiency. If this is a priority for the design, it’s necessary to inquire about the sustainable practices the service provider uses in their daily work and how and to what extent they could be applied to the specific project. Common examples include on-site rainwater infiltration systems and using local native plants in the proposed solution.


The presence of insurance indicates that the service provider has thought through their activities and responsibilities. It’s good to be ensured that the service provider has liability insurance.


When comparing design quotation s, it’s essential to check whether the quotation meets the design brief – if all necessary tasks, conditions, and deadlines are mentioned.

Be attentive to additional costs and additional work, and ensure a clear understanding of all expenses. Communication and willingness to cooperate are also critically important – choose a partner with whom it’s pleasant to communicate and who understands the goals of the designed project. Ascertain the service provider’s previous experience and qualifications to ensure they have the necessary expertise for the project.

Ensure that the service provider has a good reputation by reviewing their previous work and, if necessary, asking for feedback from their clients. The sustainability of the proposed design is also important, ensuring that the service provider adheres to these principles. Finally, check if the service provider has insurance, which provides assurance of their responsible conduct.

These steps will help in making a final decision to select a design service that meets the requirements of the design brief.

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