Beginning to Advanced Estimating Solutions and Training for Builders, Remodelers, and Trade Contractors

If you’re just starting out as a contractor and are looking for basic estimating help or an experienced mid-sized contractor looking to really buckle down and improve your estimating accuracy where it counts we can develop a program to assist you that will put you on the path to improved profitability.

Estimating at it’s core is for the most part a process of counting or Taking Off Open Common Cause Variation in a new window‘bricks & mortar’ and the gauging the labor requirements to place or install those items. That sounds simple enough but what makes it tricky and much more complicated than bean counting is gauging elements that effect those numbers such as Common Cause Open Common Cause Variation in a new window and Special Cause Variation Open Special Cause Variation in a new window which we think of and deal with in terms of Contingency Open Contingency in a new window and Risk.

Not thinking of and dealing with those elements correctly can lead a contractor to a produce a bid that is over priced or on the other end of the spectrum one that exposes their company to too much financial risk.

We work with our clients to help identify and spot those elements in their estimates and Buffer Open Buffer in a new window for them accordingly.

Paradigm-360 Estimating Consulting Services:

We provide a variety of different services that are designed to work with contractors who have differing levels of estimating expertise and/or needs. They are:

Basic Basics: Building a foundation of good practices

We’ll take you through a estimating “boot camp” to:

  • Estimating Basics – A basic overview of the different types of estimates and their appropriateness for different types of contractors and/or different types of projects.
  • Estimating Skills. There are certain skills and disciplines that all estimators need to develop. With this part of the program we will discuss each of these skills and provide some guidance on how to develop them.
  • A review of the “Estimating Tools”, from paper based forms and systems to software, digitizers, guide books, references and other estimating tools.
  • Different Types and Levels of the Estimate. You will learn how the amount of information available to you and the time you are allowed to prepare the estimate affects the quality and accuracy of your work.
  • Organizing the Estimate Selecting the correct structural format for the estimate; Uniformat or a Schedule-Based WBS format. How you organize your estimate is almost as important as how carefully you prepare your quantity take off. We will teach you about the common organizing methods.
  • Estimating Materials , we’ll teach you about quantity take-off procedures, waste factors, and pricing methods for materials and the proper use of material allowances.
  • Estimating the Cost and Quantity of Labor. Perhaps the trickiest and most intimidating part of estimating we will teach you about using and developing production rates and how to adjust your estimate for a wide variety of factors that can affect those production rates.
  • Estimating Equipment. We’ll teach you the correct quantity take off procedures, pricing, and estimating techniques that will correctly tie your production rates with equipment rental costs. Learn how to choosing the correct equipment for the job can also possibly reduce your overall production costs.
  • Contingency Estimating. The how, when and why of planning and estimating contingencies. Adjusting the estimate for risk, inflation, and geographic location will be covered.
  • Estimating Errors. Learn about common errors estimators make and how to avoid making them.
  • Determining and Using Unit Prices. How to use unit prices effectively. The crew method, what it is and how to use it. Using unit prices for conceptual estimating and for detailed estimating will be covered.
  • Estimating Overhead and Profit Markups. An introduction to the basics of determining and applying the correct mark-up

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Evaluation & Analysis (the Estimating Tune-up)

For the company that already has an estimating system that just want to reduce errors or just get a tighter reign on their estimating procedures we can review your methods with you and formulate a plan of action to improve your estimating speed and accuracy. We’ll look over your current estimating processes and techniques to see both where they’re strong and where adopting some new or different techniques can bring about more accurate or more precise estimates.

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Outsourced Estimating Solutions

Paradigm-360 can provide or review detailed construction cost estimates for both lump sum and unit price assignments, which reflect material requirements, labor, quantity takeoffs, construction equipment requirements, and indirect cost items. These estimates or estimate reviews can range from an entire project to specific project elements

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Software Recommendations

We can review and evaluate you company’s requirements and work with you to help you select the right estimating software for you operation or even create custom solutions specifically for you and then train your personnel in its operation for any platform (Windows, Mac, and or Web Based)

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Some of our book recommendations on Estimating:

Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profit

Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profit

By William Asdal

Price: $29.95

Not a book about the bricks, boards and nails of estimating but instead one one the philosophy and strategy of estimating.

Estimating Building Costs

Estimating Building Costs

By Wayne J. DelPico

List Price: $29.95
Amazon Price: $19.77


Estimating for Contractors: How to Make Estimates That Win Jobs

Estimating for Contractors: How to Make Estimates That Win Jobs

By Paul J. Cook

Price varies from independent sellers.

Hard to find but still an excellent reference.