If you need building work, repairs, or renovations carried out on your French property, the first step will often be to contact a builder (maçon), architect, or other professional and ask for a quote, known as a ‘devis’ in France. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Devis?
A devis is a quotation for works specified. You can ask any professional in France to provide a devis for their services prior to signing the contract, from electricians and plumbers to contractors, architects, builders, and artisans. You can also ask for a devis from a mechanic to carry out repairs on your car or for any other service in which you would typically be issued a quote prior to agreeing to the service.
Typically, the artisan will come to your property to assess the job, take any required measurements, and speak with you about your requirements. They will then prepare an itemised ‘devis’. This is a free service, and is not conditional on you accepting the devis or choosing to carry out works with that particular company or individual.
It is standard practice (and highly advisable in most cases) to get two or three devis from different companies in order to compare the best prices. In some cases, you may be able to use devis from other companies to negotiate a better price from your preferred company.
What is included on a ‘devis’?
The devis will clearly state the estimated price for the job, including materials and working hours, plus any deposit to be paid prior to works commencing. It should also include the TVA (sales tax) that will be applied to the service.
The devis will also include the business or tradesperson’s SIRET number (business registration number). It’s a good idea to look up the SIRET number (which you can do here) and their relevant qualifications and insurance prior to agreeing to any work, especially if you are contracting an individual that you have never worked with before.
What happens after you receive a ‘devis’?
Once you have received the devis, it is up to you to sign the devis and contact the company to arrange the dates to commence the work. Some companies will get back to you themselves to check whether you want to move forward with the work, but it’s best not to assume that they will.
Once you are happy with the quotation, you sign the devis, and this is legally binding. You have engaged the artisan to undertake the agreed works, and you have agreed to pay.
However, remember that the amount on the devis is an estimate, and the price itself is legally binding only if the work, materials, and working hours are carried out as detailed on the devis. The costs may change if additional building materials or working hours are required – in this instance, it is the responsibility of the company carrying out the work to inform you and issue a revised devis or an additional facture (bill) once these extra requirements become apparent.
Building or Renovating Your French Property?
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