When you’re under a deadline to submit a bid for a project, it’s important to get a good estimate from a firm you can trust. If you do your homework and research a company’s background, including its experience, clients, and specialties, you’re more likely to find the right construction estimating firm for the job.
Experience Is Key
Find out if the estimator-for-hire is an established industry member.
Research how long the construction estimating firm has been around and if it’s had repeat business over many years.
Also, check out whether the company is simply “moonlighting” as an outsource-estimating business or if it’s a full-time, dependable, and reputable firm.
Ask them how they estimate and to show you samples of their work.
Check the References
Before choosing an estimator, ask for the names and contacts of their existing clients. Has the estimator worked with clients you respect and trust?
Think about where you found the construction estimator’s name. Was it in an industry directory or through a contact?
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Check to see what the firm’s specialty is before hiring it for outsource estimating work. You may find an experienced mechanical estimator is a good fit to prepare an estimate for a particular bid, but an electrical estimator is not the best match.
A good estimator in one trade may believe he can provide you with an accurate bid in another trade, but do you really want to find out whether he’s right?
Ask About Rates
Chances are you will save money over time by hiring an estimating consultant rather than having a full-time estimator on your staff, as you won’t have to pay for his or her health insurance and other benefits.
Be wary, however, of an outsource estimator with very low rates. Sometimes you have to pay a little more to get the quality estimate you desire. A consulting firm with talented, experienced estimators that pays its taxes and follows all the rules will have rates that reflect those costs of doing business.
The Devil’s in the Details
Ask the construction estimating firm if it will share information with anyone other than you. The answer should be “no” because their loyalty should be to you, the one who hired them.
Another question to ask is if they provide back up with their calculations. In this case, the answer should be “yes” as you will need to see what pages and other information were used for the take-off.
Finding the Right Fit
The bottom line is you need to do your research and check out more than one company before you hire a construction estimating firm. Estimating service firms are the way of the future in the construction estimating industry. One way to review many estimators-for-hire is to enlist the help of EstimatorLocator.com to find the ideal firm when you need it most, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.