We’ve all heard it a thousand times, “ … mistake due to human error.” And we’ve all made our fair share of errors — but if you’re a professional estimator, mistakes are your worst enemy.
In the business of construction estimating, the slightest error can do serious damage to a construction budget … not to mention the potential for lawsuits it creates.
Accurate bids are the backbone of all successful construction projects, and the best way to ensure accuracy is through an estimating system. Gone are the days of handwritten forms and longhand calculations fraught with costly errors.
There might be some estimators who are reluctant to embrace the tools available to them today, but is it worth the risk?
Let’s take a look at some of the common errors made in project estimates:
1. Mathematical Errors
Even the most detailed estimator can enter a wrong number, omit a zero or hit the wrong key on a calculator. Hence the importance of having a systematic process that double-checks the math. Construction estimates must balance the art of compiling data with the science of mathematical calculations. It’s a tricky dance without the right tools to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Overlooking Hidden Costs
The cost of permits, inspection fees, dumpsters, scaffolding — the less obvious costs — can add up quickly. A good set of plans with detailed specifications is a good start, but a construction estimating checklist is essential. Nothing is left to chance when a detailed checklist is in place.
3. Using the Wrong Measurements
This mistake can bring a cost of materials estimate to its knees. Again, check and double check to make sure all dimensions and measurements are correct before diving into material estimates. This includes keeping an eye on the units of measure, such as square feet versus square yards.
4. Underestimating the Cost of Labor
Of all the tasks that an estimator must tackle, this may be the most challenging. The number of man-hours, local wage rates and fringe benefits, experience level and potential overtime all add up to a sizeable portion of the final bid. Experienced estimators will look to technology to get this one right.
Today’s business culture demands speed, quality and accuracy. If you can’t deliver, the customer will move on to the next hungry competitor.
Thanks to advancements in technology, estimators don’t have to rely on slow, out-of-date processes that result in errors and other inefficiencies.
Working with a software application that keeps track of schedules, quotes, completed tasks and bid analysis reports is like having a virtual backup team for any professional estimator.
Estimator Locator has such an application, and it’s available now.
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