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Take offs and estimating

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Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 23 total)
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  • #548144
    Dedmonds
    Pro
    Walden, CO

    I was wondering what programs you all use for doing take offs and estimating. I just started out so my budget is very small. What would you recommend?

    Thanks

    #548260
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I do everything with excell templates. I have made templated for decks, garagees, houses, all types of jobs. by entering basic data about the project, I can generate most of my costs and material lists.

    Unique aspects of projects end up getting added seperately, but the templates can do most of the work for you.

    For examle, you can set up a cell where you enter the LF of an exterior wall and the height and have it calculate the following in your estimate:
    LF of footing under the wall,
    block for the foundation
    wall plates,
    sheeting
    studs
    housewrap
    siding
    insulation
    vapor barrier
    drywall
    and anything else you may need.

    #548281
    Dedmonds
    Pro
    Walden, CO

    What calculations do I use for footings and cinder block?

    Another question since it has to do with estimatin and take off. In bathrooms, what requires blue rock?

    #548306
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    With drywall I end up masaging the results a little to account for differecnces in sub sosts and heights of walls and ceilings.

    As for the “blue rock” or special things like that, I figure everything in the program as 1/2″ lightweight then add a line for the cost difference of the Moisture resistant or things like that. So if I have 300 SF of MR rock at say 15 cents more that 1/2″ light weight, I would have a line in my spreadsheet to calculate that. Iat is much easeier to do it that way than to try to collect all of the data in a formula.

    There is definately some hand work with the spreadsheets because every job has some quirks, but moist of the meat and potatoes work can be handled fairly easily with a spread sheet.

    #548333
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    Because I’m a small, one-man show, I still do small remodels by hand.

    For larger remodels and additions, the lumber yard will do take-offs. I still double check them, but it sure saves time.

    If I was a lot bigger, I’d look into a program, but if you’re just starting out and/or a small shop, doing it by hand is a perfectly acceptable way to do it. And you’ll get a ton of experience doing it.

    As far as green board goes, honestly, I don’t use it that much. I make sure that my bathrooms are very well ventilated, which is the most important thing. But if you want to use it, it generally goes everywhere in the bathroom other than behind tile, where you would put Hardi-Backer.

    Delta

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #548430
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    I use the Home Tech Estimating system it costs about 125.00 Book- 600.00 software, depending on what you want.
    They will give you data based on where you live. Great system!

    #548456
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I was wondering what programs you all use for doing take offs and estimating. I just started out so my budget is very small. What would you recommend?

    Thanks

    Program? My brain and a lot of research at this point. I’m not sure if I’d trust software to be honest. Each project is unique and by the time I manipulate the software to represent that uniqueness, I may as well do the whole thing myself and feel confident in the numbers.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #548475
    WoodsConstruction
    Pro
    Sudbury, ON

    Just about everything I do where I have to do take offs and all I estimates I just do all by hand. I really mean to get o this whole excel thing, but just never got around to it.

    #548545
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    In reality , the Quantity take off and material pricing is just a process, how you do it does not really matter, whether you put it on paper with a pen or on the computer, you have a record of what you are doing.

    The science (or VOODOO as it may be) of pricing Labor and overhead, is where you make or break you estimate. It takes a real knack to get that correct. In many cases the labor is just figured on a wing and a prayer hoping everything works out in the end.

    #548568
    Dedmonds
    Pro
    Walden, CO

    I’ve been told that labor should be about the same as the materials, in your experience has this been true? I know there are several factors that would make that not true, but on average is that the case?

    #548569
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    I’ve been told that labor should be about the same as the materials, in your experience has this been true? I know there are several factors that would make that not true, but on average is that the case?

    This is very dangerous, but, IN GENERAL, yes, that is overall how it tends to works out. But……

    Do not EVER bid like that.

    If the final ends up being 55% labor and 45% materials, and it was a $50,000 kitchen upgrade, and you bid it 50-50, guess how much money you just lost?

    Some jobs are very labor intensive, with cheap materials. I was on a job once, where it took 2 electricians all day, to get 2 new receptacles added to a kitchen. Overall material cost was probably 50 bucks.

    I also installed a $5,000 tankless water heater in a workshop. Only took one day, maybe two with all the other stuff I did there, and I’m good, but I prolly couldn’t get away with charging myself out for $2,500 a day. 😮 I work for a living, I’m not an attorney, banker, or politician. 😆

    Delta

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #548768
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    In many cases the labor is just figured on a wing and a prayer hoping everything works out in the end.

    Very true. Very difficult to quote labor without a lot of experience. So much can go wrong and take way more time then you figured. Not to mention delays in deliveries and trips to go get stuff you forgot.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC
    (and also the World's Fastest Poster)

    #548792
    MrFid
    Pro
    Sudbury, MA

    Some jobs are very labor intensive, with cheap materials. I was on a job once, where it took 2 electricians all day, to get 2 new receptacles added to a kitchen. Overall material cost was probably 50 bucks.

    I also installed a $5,000 tankless water heater in a workshop. Only took one day, maybe two with all the other stuff I did there, and I’m good, but I prolly couldn’t get away with charging myself out for $2,500 a day. 😮 I work for a living, I’m not an attorney, banker, or politician. 😆

    Good points here. So if you’re on a job like those, either high material or low material, how do you figure labor? Calculate an hourly rate you think is fair and go from there? As a woodworker I do the same, however mostly I am doing smaller scale stuff. Good post, Delta.

    #548842
    Seven-Delta-FortyOne
    Pro
    The Emerald Triangle, Northern California

    Good points here. So if you’re on a job like those, either high material or low material, how do you figure labor? Calculate an hourly rate you think is fair and go from there? As a woodworker I do the same, however mostly I am doing smaller scale stuff. Good post, Delta.

    I have an hourly rate for service work, which includes all my overhead and profit, then I just multiply that by how many hours I think it will take.

    On a small, bid job, it’s pretty much the same. X number of man-hours requires so much in overhead and profit, plus labor rate and labor burden, and you come up with a figure.

    The hardest part is deciding how much labor to allow. Give yourself plenty of cushion, where nothing could go wrong, and you’ll price yourself out of the market. Go low enough, and you’ll end up paying to go to work.

    One very important thing I like to remind people just starting out is, change orders are not dirty or dishonest. Big companies on PW jobs routinely abuse them, but us little guys don’t usually have the opportunity to do the same.

    On remodels, there is so many variables and hidden conditions, that you should absolutely have a hidden conditions clause in your contract. And this is where experience will be invaluable. Knowing what is normal, and what is unexpected, and what is a fair change order, and what is something you just plain forgot to put in the bid.

    I could go on and on, but breaktime is over. 😆

    Delta

    Goin' Down In Flames........

    #548950
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I’ve been told that labor should be about the same as the materials, in your experience has this been true? I know there are several factors that would make that not true, but on average is that the case?

    I can not think of many projects that I would have bit like this. I always figure my materials and labor separate then add them together. I can honestly say I have never used this “rule of Thumb” I tend to avoid “rules of Thumb” in general. they can steer you wrong in a lot of cases. the best is the old fashioned way of counting and adding to determining materials or Labor.

    #548951
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    That’s the truth Delta. Labor pricing is not easy and is the difference between making money and barely paying a for fuel.

    As for the 50/50 split…that’s a farce. Build an estimate based on the job at a hand, not and equation and you’ll get more jobs.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #548961
    Rob
    Pro
    Birmingham, Alabama

    A software system is only 85% accurate that other 15% is pure artistry!
    Work on the skill of pricing, you can do it!

    Our bids are annually accurate within .06% I lose $6.00 per thousand and our system shows us where that $6.00 was lost.
    Develop your own system but use some of the tools that are out there to save time.

    No you can’t just take materials and double it !??? what if you are doing a drywall patch?
    Hmmm lets see 50 cents for the material and so 50 cents labor-‘ I won’t do that job for anything less than a Dollar!’

    #549186
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Our bids are annually accurate within .06% I lose $6.00 per thousand and our system shows us where that $6.00 was lost.

    Man that is fantastic, sounds like you have the estimation process really down pat.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC
    (and also the World's Fastest Poster)

    #550771
    Dedmonds
    Pro
    Walden, CO

    Thanks all for your feedback. What are Change orders, and how do they work?
    As for the bidding 50/50, i know that its never a good idea to do it this way, I’ve bid enough jobs to know this. i was just asking to see if there was any validation to it.
    Going back to the program, I was just looking for something to speed up material take off, and get me close. then i can go over it and make sure there is nothing funky about the job that would throw it off. Basically i would want it to get a rough count for rafters and a minimum length on the rafters based on the pitch. Right now that’s the only thing I’m having trouble figuring out, the length of the rafters. i could figure it with a square, but i don’t want to have to get my square out every time I need to bid rafters.

    #550780
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Change orders are a document that a contractor and owner would sign when the work that was bid is changed in some form. It could be an addition or deletion from the work or even a change in time to complete the work.

    For material takeoffs, there are “Rules of Thumb” you can use like taking off studs spaced at 16″ o/c figuring them at 1 / ft to cover corners and trimmers, figure sheeting through the windows to have a waste factor. If I use these , it is more for a quick estimate and not for a firm bid. there are factors that can be used for base, drywall and many other things, but every project will vary somewhat. Most of these things are in your head, not in a program.

    You can program then into an estimate template on excel or in an estimating software. I have my excel spreadsheet set up to figure the length of rafters and sheeting on them by entering the roof pitch. I also keep a pricing binder on my desk with supplier pricing and estimating guides in it. In that I have a sheet for Roof Pitch multipliers for everything from a 4 pitch to a 16, just so it is handy. Things like that can really speed up the estimating process.

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