Improve Your Steel Building Project Estimation Techniques

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People in our society want everything as fast as they can have it. Your new car most likely accelerates faster than older models (unless you have some 1960’s American muscle). Athletes of today are leaner, quicker, and more agile. I bet you felt some mild frustration if your computer didn’t load this page fast enough! It should make sense to you when your customers expect a quote from you. Don’t lose out on a job because you’re running on old estimation techniques, or you don’t know where to turn in the beginning of a steel building project.

Prepare the perfect steel building project plan

Communication is everything. The only way to actually know what your customer wants is to sit down and go over the plans with them. Be sure to ask questions to ensure there aren’t any assumptions or misunderstanding between you and the customer. let them know exactly what they are getting! If you don’t talk about the project or go over the plans, you may have two very different concepts of what this job entails. Be clear and concise, communicate and ask questions! Many first time builders don’t know exactly what they want, and might not know the technical terminology of everything involved in a steel building project.

Don’t use old techniques

Estimating by the stick still has support and, if done properly, can be the most accurate technique to estimate a project. The problem with this old technique is that it is very time consuming and involves many steps. This technique requires you to list the various parts of the job, the hours it will take someone to complete each portion, all the materials that will be used on each part of the job, each subcontractor you’ll need, not to mention all the other items you will need to purchase or rent. On top of that, you’re trying to determine an accurate quote for your client! After you list everything, you’ll need to go back through and put a cost to each item. After all of that is done, you should have a knowledgeable partner read through and double check your math for errors. Along with being time consuming, this style increases the chances of error due to all the extra steps.

Unit cost estimating

When you apply the unit cost estimating technique, you’ll list all of the line items, attach a unit cost to each line item, total up the numbers and have them checked by a trusted source. Once you apply your markup, you’ll have your steel building project quote for the customer. A knowledge of past labor costs of your crew will help you accurately figure out what you need to add to your item cost. Don’t forget that a steel building can be your secret weapon. If you lock in your steel price with a reputable company, you may be able to get a reasonable price and pass the savings on to your customer. A pre-engineered steel building will also decrease your labor time because its possible to erect a steel building in as little as a few days or a weeks. Get to the next job quicker without taking any shortcuts!

Embrace technology

Spreadsheets and other programs can allow you to prepare an estimate quickly and efficiently. These programs reduce the chance for errors. If you were to only use a pen and paper, not only open yourself up to an unnecessary risk of errors, but you also are wasting time writing when a few keystrokes could be all it takes to write up a quote. I’m sure most of you already use lots of helpful technology geared towards general contractors, so be sure to update your programs routinely and read blogs for other tips on improvement.

Let us do it for you!

Save yourself from a headache on every steel building project and let us do the estimating for you! If your customer is interested in a steel building, we have estimators, detailers and drafters in house to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. There aren’t many instances in life that allow you the comfort of a helping hand. If you let us do the hard part, you can focus on just the erection of pre-engineered steel building. You can’t make a calculation error if you aren’t the one calculating, right?

By keeping your techniques up to date and embracing technology, you could greatly increase the amount of jobs you win. Increase the speed and accuracy of your project estimation techniques, and let us help!

Photo courtesy: photosteve101

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