How to produce accurate and professional estimates

Step By Step Guideline To Producing Accurate Estimates

  1. Read the specifications and review the drawings
    1. The specifications have important information inside that you must be familiar with
    2. Read the scope of work and deliverables
    3. Read the specs for your portion of work
    4. Review the drawings and get familiar with the project
    5. Review the drawings and match up important information from the specifications
    6. Take notes, highlight important information to refer back - create a reusable template
  2. Use a digitizer software to markup the drawings and gather quantities for your quotation
    1. Good digitizing software will speed up your estimating process
    2. You can use your digitizing software to mark-up your drawings
    3. Scale your drawings to get missing dimensions
    4. A digitizer will calculate totals and quantities much faster than you
    5. It keeps all your data in one file that you can always refer back to
    6. Using software eliminates the use of extra paper
  3. Use a checklist or a template to itemize your quotation so that you don’t miss any items
    1. Do a google search for project and trade checklists
    2. Create a checklist based on your job tasks
    3. Create a quote with all the important items that you consistently use on a project
    4. A checklist will help you from missing items on you quotations
    5. Save all you quotes and reuse them as a template for simulate projects
    6. Save all you quotes for historical data
  4. Use estimating software to prepare your quotation
    1. Using a combination of a digitizer and estimating software will speed up your process dramatically
    2. Good estimating software will help you to prepare professional looking quotations
    3. Using estimating software equipped with a cost book allows you to prepare accurate estimates
    4. You can reuse your quotes for similar projects
    5. Estimating software eliminates the mistakes that may occur when using a spreadsheet
    6. You can easily add profits, mark-ups and overhead percentages and adjust them with ease
  5. Add a percentage for profits, overhead expenses, indirect expenses, and markups
    1. Importance of adding profits, overhead and mark-ups to every quotation
    2. Adding profits
    3. Overhead expenses
    4. Indirect costs
    5. Mark-ups
    6. Contingencies
  6. Review your estimate for completeness
    1. Ensure that you have not missed any important details such as materials mentioned in the specifications
    2. Use your checklist to check the items in your quote
    3. Double-check all quantities and units of measurements
    4. Review your profit, overhead, and mark-up percentages
    5. Make sure that the customer information is correct
    6. Print/Export you quote to send it off

These are the steps that we consistently use to prepare accurate estimates and quotations, do you have anything to add? Or do you have a system or process that you follow?

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