Construction Estimate

Monday, October 31st 2022. | Sample Templates

Construction Estimate – The truth is that if we want to stay in business, we have to estimate projects regularly, but it is the most neglected part.

We are busy attending work meetings, ordering materials, coordinating teams and a million other things. Who has time to estimate?

Construction Estimate

Construction Estimate

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Engineering Construction Cost Estimate Sheet

The truth is that contractors don’t have time to focus on making estimates because demolition and construction estimates usually take a lot of time and you’re busy executing your projects.

Remember… we are in a numbers game. There are many things you can do to improve your success rate, but ultimately, the more jobs you offer, the better your chances of winning the job.

They send plans to their subcontractors on their main bid list and hope they get the right price in time

They sit at the kitchen table and estimate the work by hand. Sometimes they prepare a bill of materials and send it to their piece workers and suppliers to get a quote.

Construction Estimator Template

The problem with this is that it is very slow and you are very reliant on your subcontractors, piece workers and suppliers for pricing.

Subcontractors are usually busy and usually do the actual work in the field. So they literally estimate nights and weekends. How right do you think these people can be?

If you’re a GC, do you really want to assign success to getting a job based on your number of Followers? Think your frame rate is too high and you’ve lost track because of that ONE SUB? Most of the GC managers I work with send their estimates to members to get a price and don’t know how to estimate construction projects.

Construction Estimate

If you really want to speed up your estimates and be more accurate, you should start doing your estimates using the pricing method.

A Guide On Construction Cost Estimating (how It Works)

For example, if you are a painter and you know you are asking $1.00/SF for painting, that is the unit price.

The first step of any projection is to start digitally. We use Planswift here in our office, but you can use Bluebeam, OnCenter, and several others. Please do not estimate by hand. If you print plans and use a scale and highlighter, invest in digital software. It will be more accurate and faster to measure the amount.

We then use unit pricing to calculate our direct labor and material costs FIRST and then add management, overhead and profit and markup later when working with subcontractors.

By doing it this way, you can see your actual costs versus “as you always have”. It allows you to be more competitive with your numbers and negotiate better.

The Boring Construction Estimate Transformed Into Something Magical

I always say when you make an offer it is more than the “original offer” because your customer is always asking for a discount or saying your competitor is “cheaper than you”.

Imagine being able to easily see all your expenses on your “Dashboard”. You see all your costs, so you can easily make adjustments during the negotiation phase.

That’s why we encourage our customers to submit as many bids as possible so you can get feedback from your customers. This will eventually lead you to learn how to win construction bids.

Construction Estimate

It is the concept of Ready, Fire, Aim. That’s a business term that basically means you should send us your bid as soon as possible and you can ‘target’ and adjust your prices based on your customer’s feedback.

Free Construction Estimate Template

As a construction estimator, I highly recommend investing in a cost database such as Craftsman-Books’ National Construction Estimator or RS Means.

Companies like Craftsman-Books have a team of researchers and consultants who prepare prices for thousands of constructions and update their prices regularly.

In our office, we use the National Building Estimates Database as a starting point. This gives us an average cost as well and allows you to adjust the price based on your postcode. Then we make adjustments according to the conditions of the field of projects.

For example, if the wall is 15′ tall and you need a scissor lift, we will adjust the labor and production rates as production will be slower.

Construction Cost Sheet

For example, if you are a contractor, you would normally spend a million hours organizing your materials and then sending them to your supplier. Then you “guess” the delivery yourself by saying “5 boys x 4 weeks”, etc….

And then you have to do it again and again for all your different wall types, ceilings, columns, beams, etc.

This is time consuming and inefficient. You also have to increase the cost to “kiss” your number because you can’t trust it.

Construction Estimate

What if you spent ONE hour calculating your actual unit prices so you could bid faster and more accurately?

Construction Cost Estimation

Here is a real example. I made a mural. If we were to calculate our cost per SF for the steel frame of this wall, this is what I would do.

In this example, we have a wall 100 LF x 10′ high with studs at 16″ OC.

So moving forward, we can confidently say that creating a wall will cost us $0.79/SF. Then we add about 10% for waste and productivity. After estimating the entire project, we can add time and calculate things like management, profit, overhead, equipment, etc.

If you are a general contractor you should invest in one cost database and create your own template. It takes a long time to build your own.

Writing An Estimate In 5 Steps: A How To Guide For Small Businesses

One of the strategies we teach is to find time during the concept phase of projects to gain experience with architects.

Architects always design over budget and have to go back and redo most of the work for free.

As a general contractor, if you walk into an architect’s office and say, “Hi, I’d like to work with you. I can budget for your projects at the design stage for free.”

Construction Estimate

There are times when you have a last minute opportunity to outsource work to a GC or architect and you don’t have time to estimate in detail.

Steps On How To Write Construction Estimate

Since we already know that they will ask us for a discount or lower our price, we can raise the price a bit, meaning we don’t have to be as accurate with our first number.

Consider that you can present a “Budget” version. Think of it as a hook. If they bite and start talking about price and scope of work, you don’t have a real viable project on your hands and you can spend time investing in preparing the final cost.

If you spend 16 hours doing an estimate, and they say, “Thanks, but we went with someone else…” that’s bad. Or you can spend 1 hour and have equal chances to land the track……. And at the same time send 15 more bids.

If you look at your historical data from the past few years, you can spend a few hours with your team and do some analysis to determine your average cost per square foot.

Perfect Construction Estimate Templates (free)

If you’re looking to buy a home, your real estate agent will pull historical data from the area and find homes that are similar in size, finish and age to estimate what the cost should be.

For example, let’s say you go back to your previous jobs and you list all your jobs and assign each one a “type”.

In this example, our average for all our projects is $165.68/SF. The more projects you add, the more patterns you’ll see.

Construction Estimate

For example, I can see that an apartment building can cost $130-170/SF depending on the level of finish. I know the 20 Unit Apartment project was the most expensive project and therefore the cost was higher (I estimated the work for the client).

How To Write A Construction Estimate In 8 Steps

So the next time I find an apartment building I can open a similar project and determine the cost per SF “closer” to where it should be.

Now in terms of estimating labor costs versus material costs: about 40-50% of construction costs are labor.

So if the average cost per SF is $165.58/SF, we can confidently say that about $82/SF is labor, and $82 in materials +/- a few dollars.

But remember, the goal here is to provide work quickly and accurately, leveraging contractors leads. They don’t have to be very accurate, because we already know they will charge a low price.

What Does A Construction Estimator Do?

If you’ve been in business for a long time, you probably have a good idea of ​​how much work it takes without using a cost database.

Most contractors I know price labor for “3 guys x 5 days”. And put the project together that way. You will get to know that in the field.

Knowing that labor is about 50% of the cost, if we can calculate a rough idea of ​​our labor cost, we just need to multiply that number by 2 and add it up.

Construction Estimate

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