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The Estimating Process...

Building An Estimate To Create An Accurate Remodeling Proposal And Contract

Before any job can begin, there are routine steps which typically take place... over a period of time.

These steps are necessary in order to take your idea... your vision... and turn it into a reality.

They usually start with an introductory conversation.

Whether in person, or by telephone, this conversation is intended to accomplish several things...

1) To get a basic idea of what kind, or scope of a project you have in mind.

2) To inquire about your anticipated time frame. In other words, "When were you thinking you would like the project to start?"

3) Depending on the scope of work, sometimes plans or drawings are necessary, so I'll inquire if they're already available. Drawing plans can be very time consuming, and needs to be considered when estimating the hours required to prepare for the job, as well as to prepare for any permit requirements. In addition, it's often impossible to accurately estimate a job without the proper drawings.

4) Finally, to inquire about your budget for the project. I need to know if you're being realistic in your expectations regarding the cost factors to complete your project.

That last question is usually the tricky one. Some folks have no idea. Others don't want to share that information because they're afraid if the number is unusually high, every contractor they talk to is going to generate a price to take advantage of their expectation.

In reality... more often than not, that expectation is usually low...

...and although I can only speak for myself, I promise any estimate I write will be based purely on the specifications agreed on by you, the Owner, in combination with the requirements to do the job right, and according to building code requirements.

The next step requires making an appointment, to do an on-site inspection and measure.

If drawings are available, this is the time to do an initial review.

It's during this appointment time I like to spend considerable time listening to you describe your vision of how the finished product will look, listing any product choices you may have already made to be included for estimating and pricing purposes.

Once this step is completed, the actual estimating process begins.

Now, before going any further, there is something I should probably explain.

Right about this time, many prospective clients will ask how much the job will cost...

...and I'll usually tell them "I can't say for sure at this time".


For two reasons.

Number 1 - Even though I can probably give you a ball park estimate based on past experience, too many people take that number and cling to it. If the final estimate comes in at a higher cost, the typical reaction is..."but you said it would cost..."

Right away, this becomes a stumbling block that affects the level of trust and credibility that we have already started to build between us.

Number 2 - Eran Building & Remodeling Co. has never done the same job twice. Every job is different in some respect. All are basically custom jobs, done to your specifications. Every house has different plumbing requirements, or different electrical requirements, or something else that makes it unique. EB&R doesn't do a production line type of job where every move, and every piece of material is duplicated over and over again. The cost factors aren't repetitive from job to job.

As a result, the final, proposal price, based on that estimate, is going to depend on the specific requirements of your specific job.

Sure it might be similar to another job, but there are always some differences which will affect pricing.

Now that we've cleared that up, we can start the estimating.

Every contractor has his or her own methods for estimating. Some are very accurate and possibly time consuming to complete, and others, perhaps not.

I'm not going to find benefit, or fault with anyone else's methods. We all have to work in the manner we feel most comfortable, and hopefully, is the most accurate.

I'm personally most comfortable with building the job on paper, figuring the materials requirements as close as possible, pricing the products you've specified where applicable, and relying on the trade affiliates, or specialty suppliers I work with, to properly estimate their respective portions of the job, all taking into consideration prior specifications, and of course code requirements.

All of this can take considerable time. I might take 4 to 5 hours, 10 to 20 hours, or even more, depending on the size and scope of required work.

Once the estimating is complete, the final step is to write the "written proposal / contract".

Here again, accurate information is important. Every step of the job needs to be spelled out, and specifications need to be noted so there aren't any questions regarding what's included in the stated price.

This entire process is what I refer to as "The Estimating Process".

I hope it will give you just a little insight into what's involved in generating that estimate that you want. The one that's necessary to write the "written proposal or contract", for that job you're thinking about having done.

If you're in the Portage County or Summit County, Ohio area, please give me a call at (330) 678-5787. If you prefer, you can also reach me using the Contact page on this site. Either way, I'd like to hear about your ideas for your upcoming project.

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