Lets talk about estimates

Lets discuss estimates, let me start by saying I don’t think customers know how much time and money a good estimate takes. So lets walk through the process for a typical renovation. Usually contact is made via the internet and the customer asks questions about doing a renovation. We give the customer advice on his ideas and discuss the methods of construction used here. Usually customers ask if we can open up walls or add a second story. We tell them for that, we would have to go see the house in question to know if it is feasible. We set an appointment to meet at the house, so we can see what we are dealing with. We meet the client on site and discuss the clients ideas and give him our opinion on what will be required to make the renovation as per our discussions. We also will give the client a ballpark number so they know roughly what their ideas will cost them. Here is when the client usually says OK or that is more than my budget. If it is over the budget we suggest ways they can reduce that amount, if it is possible on that project. This process so far takes 3 or more hours and fuel.

If the client says OK can I get a proper estimate this is were things get more complex. We need to send someone to measure the existing building as we need to know things like M2 of wall areas, areas of flooring, existing electrical, plumbing and all the other details we need to have on hand to do a proper estimate. This takes more time and involves 2 people. If it is a renovation that requires an architects drawings then that has its own costs. But for this article we will say he is not needed. Depending on complexity this can take some time, so lets say 8 man hours and fuel.

We need to take all the information and dimensions back to the office and calculate all the materials required and the man hours. We also need to calculate cubic meters of rubble that has to be trucked away and determine all the latest costs for the dump trucks, as they change by location. For example, in Merida centro they will not let you load during the day. So the trucking costs change. Our office staff has to contact suppliers to get pricing on all the sub trades like granite on counters or the aluminum window maker.

Once we have all this information gathered, we then need to have it all put down in a line by line spread sheet so we can produce a simple 2 or 3 page estimate. Getting the costs and doing a proper estimate takes 2 days or more of office time

This all takes time and money. All too often customers say can you give me 3 different estimates for a bathroom outside, a small casita and the main renovation and we will maybe do it in stages. Well, an estimate is only good for a certain period of time. No point in doing and estimate for things you may build 6 months from now, when prices have changed.

Sometimes the customer gets the estimate and then takes it to shop around for a better quote. In other words using our effort to get an advantage over us. The fair way is to ask other contractors for an independent estimate of their own and see what you get.

Remember we do not charge for estimates, but they are far from being free at our end.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: