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Estimating and Bidding Mistakes

Estimating mistakes are made during the takeoff process. Bidding mistakes are made in the summarization and submission of the bid. An incomplete estimate and incorrect estimate are not the same. An incomplete estimate has omissions. An incorrect estimate maybe complete, but it could be based on an incorrect labor column and incorrect labor mix.

The following are common mistakes:

Estimating Mistakes

  1. Missed takeoffs on the drawings
  2. Failure to highlight items as they are taken off
  3. Missing documents
  4. Duplication of items
  5. Failure to visit the site
  6. Failure to understand the buildings construction
  7. Failure to get your material counts to suppliers early.
  8. Using branch wiring averages
  9. Using square foot pricing
  10. Failure to set material and labor units the same – E, C, or M.
  11. Rushed takeoffs
  12. Delegating part of the estimate to another
  13. Assuming
  14. Disorganized
  15. Office and co-worker interruptions
  16. Incorrect material prices
  17. Failing to ask questions
  18. Scope of work omissions
  19. Measurement errors
  20. Incorrect scales
  21. Application of incorrect labor column
  22. Last minute changes
  23. Project duration misunderstood
  24. Padding too much for the “What If’s”
  25. Failure to use a checklist

Bidding Mistakes

  1. Voluntary price cuts
  2. Incorrect wage rates
  3. Ignoring obvious risks
  4. Labor factors ignored
  5. Improper bid forms
  6. Forgetting to sign the bid documents
  7. Vague scope letter
  8. Chasing a competitor’s price
  9. Too much optimism
  10. Failure to review a previous similar project
  11. Insufficient overhead & profit
  12. Unrealistic labor class ratio

Remember, estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, and quality estimating is profitable.