The 5 Biggest Estimating Mistakes

If you are not an estimator by trade, working out prices and quoting for jobs is not necessarily part of your skill set. It’s easy to make costly mistakes if you get an estimate for your next project wrong. Here are a few of the pitfalls you need to avoid and overcome if you’d prefer to price your own jobs:

  1. Not totalling correctly

Maths is often an achilles heel for construction professionals. It’s easy to make a pretty catastrophic mistake if your estimate is not totalled correctly. Don’t forget, one zero can be the difference between one million and one hundred thousand!

  1. Have you allowed for preliminaries?

You could seriously impact your profit margin if you don’t make allowances for preliminaries such as: staff, welfare provisions, site offices, plant, site waste clearance, water, electricity, site offices, furniture, consumables, parking, licenses etc. This part of the works can often be approximately 10% of a project’s value. Can you afford to lose 10%?

  1. Not checking the inflation of materials

Prices of materials change regularly, so you really need to keep your eye on the ball and ensure that you’re not using outdated rates for materials- else you’ll get a shock when you need to pay for them!

  1. Rushing (lack of time)

The last thing you want to be doing at the weekend or after work is writing out estimates, so it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to get them done as quickly as possible. Rushed work tends to lead to mistakes which can cause problems down the line and cause a huge headache.

  1. Allowances (what if?)

Put in the right qualifications, assumptions and exclusions. It is often easy to be drawn in to wanting to win a project, but you must consider the facts. If you are unsure about specific requirements then it is best to clarify or qualify, if you don’t do this, it could lose you the job or leave you in a position where you have a difficult conversation with a client or even lose money.


All these things and many other mistakes can lead to a lot of stress, so why not speak to the professionals; speak to My Build Estimate. We have a team of highly skilled in-house Estimators that can provide high quality, fast and accurate estimates at an affordable price. Call us today on: 03304 048 516 for your free 30 minute consultation.

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