The following is a step-by-step procedure for processing a job-cost estimate that has proven its worth on countless jobs over several years.

1. Job registration (name, address, phone, etc.)
2. Study plans and review specifications.
a. Site Plans
b. Architectural
c. Structural
d. Mechanical
3. Determine approach to take-off.
4. Count, measure and list all items.
5. Write up.
6. Recheck.
7. Price, extend and subtotal.
8. Transfer subtotals to bid summary.
9. Apply overhead and profit.
10. Make necessary adjustments.
11. Total bid summary, and have it checked.
12. Reasons for errors:
a. Hurry - too little time allowed.
b. Improper estimating forms.
c. Failure to read specifications and plans.
d. Inaccurate or incomplete determination of jobsite conditions.
13. Results of error:
a. Forget major time.
b. Omit section of job.
c. Forget to include special equipment.
d. Forget to include quotes.
e. Forget labor, job expense, and overhead.
f. Forget typical floor.
g. Assume all floors to be the same.
h. Assume standard grade devices are acceptable.
i. Failure to include outside or underground work equipment or connection.
j. Forget addenda.
k. Forget changes to original specifications, plans.
l. Incorrect extensions.
m. Errors in multiplication or addition.
n. Using wholesale take-offs.
14. You should:
a. Read every word of specifications.
b. Study and check all plans.
c. Clear up any doubts.
d. Don’t estimate when you are rushed or tired.
e. Refuse to enter bid not properly prepared.
f. Check all quantities, price and extensions.
g. Estimate in an orderly sequence.
h. Use proper forms.

NOTE: This is the second of two newsletters on Estimating Procedures. For other closely related topics, be sure to review the sections on Job-Costing (#51 & 52), and Estimating (#65 & 66) in this series of articles on Financial and Job Management.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter was extracted from my Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we encourage your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. Please respond to

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