Project Estimators: Don’t Forget About These Commonly Overlooked Costs


It’s the end of a long, tiring day and all you want to do is go home, kick up your feet and relax. Out of the blue you get a call from one of your accountants, informing you that you are more than $1000 short on the estimate for your most recent project. Panicked, you begin flipping through receipts, spreadsheets and other financial records, trying to desperately to find the mistake (and hopefully another grand).

Every construction firm owner or contractor has been there are one time or another. From payroll to equipment, overlooking costs on your estimate happens sometimes, especially when a job hits unexpected snags. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be better prepared next time around. Creating a checklist helps you slow down and really examine the costs of a project, saving you two precious commodities: time and money. Here are five commonly overlooked costs you want to make sure are on there:

Wage rates for labor

Skilled laborers and experienced tradesmen all charge different rates. Your HVAC professionals aren’t going to make the same hourly rate as your electricians. You need to itemize your specialty workers so you have a firm understanding of wage rates for your next job.

Double-check your units of measure

Estimating $10 per foot can break your budget if you meant to calculate in inches. Be sure that your estimates for all your building materials are in the correct units.

Visit the construction site

Sure, you only needed one backhoe on your last basement dig, but when you arrive on the scene for the first day, you realize this soil is basically rock. Now, in order to get the job done on time, you need to bring in another backhoe and maybe even a jackhammer. These additional costs can be prevented if you visit the site before you complete your estimates.

Omitting small costs

You don’t have the time to estimate for each and every little cost, so usually some of the minor materials go without calculation. However, these minor costs can add up to major issues. Be sure to create a financial cushion that catches these little costs.

Equipment maintenance

Eventually equipment wears out and if that happens during crunch time you could find yourself out of a lot of unexpected cash. Be sure to figure in equipment maintenance and other costs when estimating for a job.

When making your estimates, take the time to avoid “guestimates.” As one of the leading staffing firms in the construction industry, the experienced recruiters at CCS Construction Staffing know just how often a quick estimate can turn out to be completely off. We also know that many construction owners are often too busy to handle all of the details. That’s when partnering with a staffing agency can help you consider factors including employment, environment and economics when creating an estimate on a construction project. Give us a call and find out how we can help you prepare for your next big project.

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