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Estimate or Opinion of Probable Costs?

As an estimator, I am often asked what makes up a good estimate. Is it the lowest bid? The lowest bid with the highest margin? Or is it the highest number you can negotiate?

A good estimate isn’t known until after the job is complete and once the labor hours and material costs can be compared to the original estimate for accuracy. If you are not awarded the job, you will never know if your original estimate was a “good” estimate.

Regardless if the estimate is completed by the same estimator or a variety of estimators, an estimate can be completed several times in several different ways and still produce different results. As we often say, “It’s an estimate, not an exactimate”. At Faith Technologies, we strive to provide our clients with the best estimate which is why we continue to invest in our estimating capabilities.

Faith Technologies uses the latest estimating software available which allows us to apply global changes to our estimates with minimal rework. Our value engineering ideas provide our clients with cost saving solutions, while maintaining the quality they deserve.

The days of using highlighters and reams of paper are gone. Today, Faith Technologies completes all estimates “on screen”. Using technology allows us to show clients the exact routes of conduit racks and feeder locations. The ability to accurately measure, layout, and even design our estimates on screen offers several great advantages. We can clearly show the materials required and eliminate the waste or fluff which in turn provides a better, more accurate estimate.

The real keys to a successful estimate are to educate and communicate. Educate your internal and external clients and communicate that you can only be as accurate as the written drawings or specifications that are provided to you. Always define your assumptions and keep an accurate list of your scope of work.

A complete set of drawings and prints will produce an accurate estimate. An incomplete set of drawings will produce an “Opinion of Probable Costs”. Which one of these do you expect from your contractor?