5 recommendations for developing better estimates

Streamlining the cost estimation process will help you to be quicker and more efficient with your project bids.
Having a process in place will ensure higher accuracy while cutting down on review time and mistakes. A systematic approach to making estimates puts a series of steps in place that are easy to stick to and include the proper checks and balances to make sure your bids are as accurate as possible. Your streamlined estimation process will reduce internal review time because team members won’t feel the need to double or triple check all the calculations. A streamlined process will also lead to quicker turnaround on bids, which makes your firm look more professional in the eyes of potential clients. Getting a bid in well ahead of a deadline is much better than getting it in on the day of the deadline (but it has to be accurate, first). Here are five recommendations for making better overall estimations.

1. Thoroughly examine all blueprints, drawings and specifications. An inaccurate measurement or specification can seriously impact a bid. Better to catch these errors ahead of time before the client sees them.

2. Have a quality control system in place. This system should be more formal than just having someone look something over. You should designate a peer to check your work. Proofread all written material and check all calculations. Don’t be your own proofreader and work checker. Your mistakes can easily become invisible to your eyes. Once you have a process established, follow it so it becomes a procedure you can systematically follow.

3. Be consistent with your estimates. This doesn’t mean all estimates should be the same. Rather, it means make sure everyone is using the same estimating software and that they all know how to use it. Although every job is going to be different, try to establish procedures you can follow to make the entire process flow smoothly every time.

4. Ask if you need to know something. It’s a much safer bet to ask if you’re not sure about something rather than guess or make assumptions. A bit of digging will likely give you a satisfactory answer. Record your findings so you have them available as a reference if you need to ask the same question again.

5. Keep your software and processes up to date. Outdated software and procedures that you stick to just because they’re familiar can hamper your estimation process. Plan for an annual review of your software and your estimation procedures so you can update them as necessary.

Some of these might just seem like common sense and they’re all easier said than done. But you should see results by implementing and sticking to them. It will probably take a while to establish the proper processes, but once you do and you get used to working that way, it will become the norm.

Having professionally designed estimating software that is specific to the construction and related industries will greatly help you to establish these systems. By implementing a software-driven strategy like ProEst, you can easily establish these time-saving processes and streamline your estimating procedures to the point where they are done swiftly and also accurately. Get more with ProEst and our products, like our RS means cost data bases.

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