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How to estimate and cost your building project more effectively

Let’s face it, calculating the costs for a job can be a pain.

Just one wrong decimal place and you could end up losing your hard-earned profit. And nobody wants that.

So maybe you turn to estimating providers, who save time and hassle by compiling costs for you.

This can definitely free up a lot of your time down the line, however for the estimate to be accurate you need to have quite a lot of input early on in the process. On top of this, the level of service between each provider can vary.

So, we’ve listed a few things you’ll probably want to check before accepting a quote. Don’t say we’re not good to you guys…

  1. Turnaround time – If you need your bid in a hurry can they provide you with the figures you need in a matter of days?
  2. The depth of the estimate – That said, all the speed in the world can’t rival an estimate that includes everything: materials, labour and tool hire…Can they include your labour rates and profit margins to provide you with a comprehensive overview of exactly what you need and when? This will not only make things easier for you when you start the work, but it will also provide more insight and transparency to your client, which will really impress them (we promise)
  3. Are you being asked to supply architectural drawings or a specification? If not, then you’re getting a rough estimate. The more detail you can provide to an estimator the greater the accuracy of the report.
  4. Are they using market rates or a live product database? Market rates are commonly used in estimating software systems, but these prices can vary drastically depending upon the merchant and how often the rates are updated. A service that uses a live database will give you a far more accurate price for the materials. Makes sense
  5. Product availability – You’ve got your estimate of costs and then you take a trip to your local merchant to discover they aren’t in stock – total nightmare! Especially as product substitutions can impact the original specification and therefore may need to be run past a SAP assessor. Find out if the estimator is providing you with products that are available locally, to avoid delays
  6. Client report – There’s nothing like seeing your name in lights (well, on a client report…). So, when you’re using an estimate, it’s better to have a report with your own branding on the documentation, rather than the logo of the estimation service you’ve used. Some estimating providers – such as Build Aviator – are able to customise your report at no additional cost
  7. Will you have support on hand? It’s good to have someone there for you – especially when you get your estimate. You may have various questions around it, or find you’ve forgotten to inform the estimator about an important element that will affect the overall price. If you don’t have a dedicated support contact, or you only have an email it could prove difficult to get the answers you want quickly. Check that the estimating service has a contact number and find out whether you’ll have a main point of contact, so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself every time you ring up to speak to someone. Sometimes you just can’t beat speaking to a human…

For an estimation service that ticks all boxes above, visit www.jewson.co.uk/buildaviator or speak to your local branch about the Build Aviator estimating service now available through Jewson.