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The “Ins and Outs” of Estimating

New Orleans contractor, Hal Collums, reviewing a completed estimate

New Orleans contractor, Hal Collums, reviewing a completed estimate

The first step in the construction process is usually producing an estimate. When a potential job comes to Collums Construction it is given straight to the estimating department. The estimators then go through the plans and specifications doing takeoffs to determine pricing. Some items are given a general square foot price, such as sheetrock, wood flooring, and painting. Other items will require pricing from sub-contractors or other vendors such as plumbing , electrical, and glass. The more specific the plans are, the more accurate our numbers will be. For instance, if we know a client is going to be using a specific model of Baldwin hinges or doorknobs, we can make a count, get a price and plug it into the estimate. But if a plan does not specify what type of hardware is to be used, we will simply put a per door “allowance” which is just a sum of money that the clients can use as a budget when later choosing their items.

The Estimating department hard at work!

The Estimating department hard at work!

Depending on the size of a job, number of details, and requirements of the client, an estimate can take anywhere from 1 week to several months. At Collums Construction, we pride ourselves in providing as complete an estimate as possible. When a big estimate is due, you will often find the estimating department working long into the night, checking every detail to ensure our numbers are as accurate as possible while remaining competitive. When an estimate is complete it is then presented to the client. If we are competitively bidding the client will then compare the bids that they have received and choose who they would like to work with. Of course, when a client chooses to work with Collums Construction we are very happy and in the end the client will be very happy as well!