correct estimate

I only missed (2) light fixtures no big deal, right?

The overlooked estimator

As estimators, we will never be perfect and from time to time we will miss something. We do our best to get it right and weigh our time spent VS cranking out enough estimates to please the boss.

Not everyone understands the importance of the estimate. After all, if the estimate isn’t right, nothing else matters. The estimate is the foundation of the entire project. Your company will fail or succeed in its ability to estimate.

Estimators seldom get the credit they deserve. Moreover, it is the Project Manager and Superintendent over the project that has the day-to-day control of the outcome, after the estimate. Subsequently, their face will be the face that is remembered as the estimator will be onto other projects.

Consequently, the estimator is forgotten, that is until something goes wrong.

In short, the estimator seldom gets a pat on the back when it all goes right, but let there be an issue and then you are quickly back in the picture.

It all starts with the estimate

For instance, it all starts with the estimate. Without winning the project there is no job to worry about.

Without the estimate, you have no real schedule of values to track the job. Also without a correct estimate, you are guessing at what material to provide for each phase of the job or how long it should take. Your profit and overhead are built into the estimate. In the same way, the foundation of a building is the strength of the building the estimate is the strength of the project. Thus, nothing matters if the foundation fails and nothing matters if the estimate fails.

In fact, there is a lot of weight on the estimator not to let this happen. For the most part, if a job goes great and profits are flowing, the project managers and lead men get high praise for doing such a good job. They may even get a bonus for doing such a great job. In contrast, let the job go south and all fingers point to the estimate.

Win or Lose

Many things can make a job go south that do not pertain to the estimate.

A bad General Contractor, weather, sickness, jumps in material prices, lack of manpower, just to name a few. As a result, this is all the more reason to get the estimate right.

Missing a few items on an estimate is no big deal, right? Just missing (1) light fixture on the takeoff is not just missing (1) light fixture as it may seem. As a result of missing (1) light fixture, you miss the supporting items as well. In addition to the (1) light, you missed the labor to install the light, the box, cover, flex, flex connectors, conduit, couplings, connectors, straps, conductors, supports, seismic hangers, wire nuts, etc. You missed the cost of that material as well as the man-hours for all of these items. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Simple is not always simple.

As the job ends and the lead man is missing (1) light fixture, the real cost start.

The superintendent has everyone looking for the missing light. There is a call to the Project Manager. Then the Project Manager has to search through the orders to find all light fixtures that have been ordered have been shipped and signed for. Now the search begins again on the project and back at the shop now involving even more people. The Project Manager spends even more time and uncovers that the light was never ordered.

Phase two of this issue is, the owner needs to occupy the building by the end of the week and you can’t get your final inspection until you install the missing light.

Coupled with, a very unhappy customer is the cost of having a light shipped overnight.

In reality, you know the fixture want show up for a long time so you are forced to install a substitute fixture to get your inspections, etc. Furthermore, don’t forget the cost of a special trip to replace the substituted fixture when it arrives. If you are lucky this project is not out of town.

Try to do your best

To summarize, needless to say, missing just (1) fixture will most of the time end up being more than missing just (1) fixture. For this reason, this is why we teach you to count your fixtures until you get the same results twice.

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