The Real Cost of Cheap Estimating

How a short-term saving could cause long-term headaches for your next construction project


Let’s be honest, your primary goal with any construction project is to keep costs low and profits high, all without compromising the quality of the finished product.

So, when it comes to that all-important cost estimate, it’s no wonder that you’re keen to spend as little as possible. It’s for this reason that the lure of using low-cost estimating software can be pretty tempting.

The ability to crank out estimates quickly and cheaply whenever you need them?

What could go wrong?

As it happens, quite a few things.

You see, whilst software packages may be able to offer an immediate, short-term saving on the cost of your estimates, they lack one vital ingredient that often makes all the difference between a successful project and one wrought with hassles, headaches, and hidden costs.

That ingredient?


The Human Touch

Software can be useful for churning out a bunch of figures based on the data you input, but there’s lots that it can’t do.

For one thing, it can’t tell you whether the data you input is accurate,  up-to-date, or even the best possible price you could get for a particular material.

For another, even the most advanced software in the world can’t factor in those variables that only an experienced online estimator with an expert insight into the unique nature of a particular project would be able to consider.

What kind of variables? Well, take the location of your project for one thing.


Location, Location, Location

Most cheap estimates, particularly those churned out by a computer, come up with their numbers based on data averages and what it “should” take to complete a project if all the conditions were perfect.

Yet as we all know, conditions are rarely, if ever, perfect.

So, whilst it may be possible to say that a project should take X-amount of man hours resulting in a certain number for labour costs, that doesn’t take into account the fact that the project’s location presents some pretty unique challenges such as there only being one lane of traffic or other obstacles that make site access difficult.


The Experience Factor

This is where the experience of a professional estimator really prove their worth.

Sure, you may know that access restrictions are going to cause you a problem, but do you know, realistically, what kind of costs they are going to incur or how to keep those costs as low as possible?

Working with an estimator means working with someone who’s been there and experienced first-hand similar problems to the ones likely presented by your upcoming project.  As such, they can offer unique advice on not only the kind of otherwise-unforeseen challenges you might face in your project but also the most cost-effective way of overcoming them.


How Cheap Estimating Costs You More in the Long-Run

Let’s say you know all this, but decide to forge on ahead anyway.

After all, you’re convinced that your estimate has got everything covered and will allow you to achieve those three conditions for a successful project:

  • Solid profits
  • Reduced, realistic costs
  • Quality work.

In the short-term, you may be able to save as much as £100 off the price that you would have otherwise paid to a professional estimating service. Hey, £100 is not to be scoffed at, no matter what the size of the project, so at first it seems like getting a cheap estimate is going to pay off.

Then work commences, and it turns out that a certain material you normally use on most projects isn’t going to be suitable for this one, and now you’re going to have to shell out an extra £1,000 or so to get the right materials.

Suddenly, £100 doesn’t sound like such a good deal, does it?

Or let’s say that you know about certain access restrictions and dutifully entered them into your estimating software, only to find out that you’ve grossly underestimated the impact of those restrictions, an impact that a seasoned, professional estimator could have well known about.

The result? Not only added costs, but added time, added complications, and plenty of added headaches before you can get your project back on track.


Affordable, Error-Free Estimating from Experienced Industry Professionals

At My Build Estimate, we don’t do ‘cheap’ estimates. Instead, we believe in combining our years of industry experience with a contemporary working knowledge of the latest challenges and innovations in the construction industry to produce accurate, effective estimates that help our clients to win more work and increase profitability.


Call us today on 01604871803 to find out more about how we can help with your next project, or order your estimate online now.


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