Estimating…

I do a lot of estimates.

We all do.

We estimate all kinds of things.

We estimate what something will cost, how long it will take, or when it will snow, rain or get warm again.

We estimate how many boxes of crackers, cans of soup, cabbage, or bunches of green onions we need.

But we rarely plan for the unexpected guests, hidden catastrophes, or the dog eating the whole box of crackers.

Sometimes we even write down our estimates, in the form of a shopping list.

How often do you buy just what is on your list?

How often do you buy more than you have on your list?

How often do you forget something, on your list or forget to put it on your list?

Sometimes we change our minds and want more or better stuff than we put on our list.

We estimate how many people will come to the party, reception, wedding, shower, or wake. Sometimes we are close to the true numbers and sometime we are not so close.

We ALL estimate.

We estimate the time it will take to get to work, based on the weatherman’s estimate (or forecast) and plan accordingly. And sometimes show up late. We may change our minds about the direction we want to go. We may get there early and have a few minutes to relax before the day begins.

Estimating is not always dead on.

We estimate how much money it will take to live tomorrow, next week, next month, and sometimes spend more than we estimated. Sometimes we spend less.

Estimating is often a guess. We are sometimes wrong about how many people will like the salmon mousse, the jello shots, guacamole, or the Foie Gras.

Sometimes we do not realize we are estimating, but we do it anyway, like when we estimate how angry off our spouses/ parents/children will be if we do some type of behavior.

Sometimes when we estimate we are WRONG!

Daily estimates of what will happen are usually based on what we think will happen, from past experience. Sometimes estimating is simply a guess of what will happen EVEN if we have no previous history to draw from.

Estimating is not an exact science.

I may call what I send you an estimate, but in reality it is a guesstimate. I have the experience to know what is most likely behind that wall, based on similar jobs, but I do not have x ray vision. I base my estimate on as many facts as I can, but there is still room for error. I gather clues when I look at the project, but have to guess about some things.

I call my estimating process an initial consultation. I am consulting until we reach an agreement on a price.

I can give you a zabouta over the phone on many projects.  It is a way of pre-qualifying, yes, but it values both our time. If you are just shopping price I am probably not your guy, but I still  want you to feel like you got something out of our conversation.

However, If we both  like each other, than the first meeting on site is a requisite. I like to see the project to give you a factual written estimate. I need to have that initial consultation.

Is this consultation free?

Yes and no…

I do not require any money for this INITIAL service, but it is figured into every job cost. It is a cost like marketing, advertising, continuing education, and tools. Any business that has a business plan figures this kind of cost. It is a cost of doing business, yes, but if my business is doing nothing but providing free initial consultations and giving me a paycheck, it will not be around for long.

I will get you something in writing. (Email, Follow-up Consultation, or Snail Mail)  It will give you a dollar figure. In the estimate, my job is to convey to you the approximate price of what we initially discussed. I will also let you know that this is a budgetary estimate only and that the actual price will be based on many factors including the plan we discussed, the cost of the fixtures, changes, and unknowns or hidden damages. 

This is a starting point.

For example:

During the initial consultation we talked about a 42 inch vanity and granite top with an under-mount single bowl. I estimate the material allowance cost for this at $450.00. You decide to knock out a wall and put in a 60 inch furniture style double vanity with vessel bowls.

Do you think that will cost the same as the 42 inch single bowl vanity and top?

Most people will say they understand the changes will cost more.

Changes before work commences do not figure into the initial consultation and the subsequent estimate provided Usually these changes are agreed upon before the contract is signed.

After the contract is signed, work can commence.

Changes after work commences? For that we need to write a change order. ALWAYS get it in WRITING! You can discuss it on the phone, and give your remodeler a verbal okay, but at YOUR earliest possible convenience, MAKE your remodeler WRITE IT DOWN! 

Many remodmares can be avoided if you write a change order. ALWAYS get it in WRITING!

Hidden damages or surprises are never included in MY estimate, but a good estimate will convey the possibility of this in the written correspondence.

Hey, sometimes I may forget a bunch of onions, but I am usually close to how much cabbage it will take to get your  DREAM reMODELING project from start to finish.

Having 20 + years experience has taught me a thing or two.

And that is NOT a guesstimate…

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Posted in planning budgeting dreaming
2 comments on “Estimating…
  1. Mynx says:

    These are wise words and more people should be aware of this process before jumping into things

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