Politely turning down a devis

I’ve received a devis from an electrician and he obviously does not want the job and has priced accordingly. I wondered if there were any polite French phrases I can use that explain I am turning him down this time, but would be happy to use him in future. I’m aware that my French literal translations sometime are less than ideal, gracious French. I may need him in future, so would like to keep him sweet.

Grateful any suggestions. Thanks.

Have you had another devis for the work Sue? I was just thinking that, because material prices have rocketted in the past year or so, his quote may not actually be that far out. Just worth checking?


I honestly don’t think it works like that. If he has priced for the reason you suspect, it could be for multinodal reasons unconnected with his wish to work for you in the future.
Not accepting the devis is often enough; generally, no explanations are required nor expected.

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From past experience… I receive a devis, if I’m interested I send the payment demanded (sometimes 1/3rd) and this confirms my acceptance… on the other hand, if I want to query something specific and/or maybe the timescale… I contact direct and discuss.

However, if it is simply that the price it too high for my pocket… I don’t send the payment and leave it at that. The devis price is usually “set” for a period of weeks/months after which it expires anyway.
On the other hand, if it is from someone I know and see regularly (or if I see by chance) I might well simply thank 'em for the devis and smile timidly, saying it is too expensive and “whatever” will have to wait…

This has worked in the past so that we always part as friends/on amical terms … and sometimes the price can be negotiated (but not often).


Thanks for the comments everyone. I will let him know, because we were already talking about possible start dates.

This has nothing to do with material costs but entirely his time. I watched his face as he looked at our old stone walls - he doesn’t think they are beautiful, but just a pain in the a*se. Some artisans react like that. The job will make him miserable, so not worth using him this time.

That makes sense, Sue! We had someone do some work in the house and his “solution” to stone walls was the suggestion that he built an entire wood-and-plasterboard shell inside them :rofl:

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We had that with the stables, we asked about getting some of the front repointed as it was built in the late 17th century and his reply was don’t bother just cover the whole front with Crepe :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Good grief!

They had already done that with the whole front of the cottage and garage :confused:

It’s hell to get off, isn’t it?

It’s not coming off :laughing:, it’s too big an area and we have the loft and stables conversions, all the outhouses and a barn conversion to contend with :slightly_smiling_face:

Well you’re going to be kept out of trouble for a while then :smiley:

Hello @SuePJ,

Oddly enough, I only have had this experience with the English and dutch​:face_with_monocle::face_with_monocle::face_with_monocle:

But, I responded to (overpriced devis) kindly and said (honestly) this was outside of my budget. And while no reconsideration was offered… I soon thereafter found VERY reasonable french artisans at reasonable rates.

Maybe it was the kindness paid forward? Or ? But it has really worked for me.

The work that I have had done:

1000 meters of gutters.

All prep, Digging, leveling, geo textile, rock tamping, then sable for main garden alleys.

Movement and placement of large (village) stone fontaine.

Plumbing and wiring fontaine from well and house mains respectively.

And kitchen remodel to 19th c style.

With the Local French artisans I have had much better rates.

I did have to search around a bit, but have been fortunate in that one has referred another and neighbors have been kind also in referrals.

Profitez bien!

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts. In the end I used @anon19463920 's suggestion and just said that unfortunately it was above our budget. I also thanked him for his speedy quote and said he came well recommended by our local brico, so hope to use him in the future.

I am now thinking of splitting the tasks - a stone mason to prepare the holes in the walls and then an electrician just to install the units themselves and connect the power. I think it will be less daunting.

Maybe this electrician didn’t want the work. But I can’t see it being a problem with the stone walls after all a serious electrician / plumber etc would have serious tools to cut through them unless you’re the only house with stone walls for miles around.

Anything but! Most of the villages around here have 18th / 19th century stone and colombage properties that are falling apart at the seams. :grin:

Interestingly, having sent the email mentioning he was well-recommended by our local brico he has come back to me saying “well in that case I’ll do the job for 25% less”!!! Still too expensive, but looks like he might want the work after all and was just trying it on - usual thing, British incomer living in old house, must be wealthy (NOT). Anyway, I’ll continue to be polite to him. If I can get the holes drilled he might finish up just doing the electrics after all. We’ll see.

You need artisans who are in sympathy with your style. It has been a delight to work with my masons, who are so into vernacular architecture we were swapping notes on buildings I had to see and craftspeople I had to visit, but I think they are an exception to the rule.

I agree Andrea and we had just that when our original restoration was done. From his comments and the recommendation of the brico I’m certain this guy is a good electrician. I just need to take the masonry part of the job away from him. :slight_smile: