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Take a closer look at your Estimating Department

Providing the best working environment for your employees will make your estimating department efficient and productive.  Organized employees usually do not enjoy working for disorganized companies.  A quality estimating department will help a contractor retain quality employees.

Here are some helpful principles that will help your estimating department:


  1. Write an estimating departmental manual – employees want and need structure.
  2. Have a hiring protocol – look at experience, education, potential, assess skill, and how compensation is determined.
  3. Have organized file structure on your server where all files MUST be kept.
  4. Have email policies.
  5. Use Estimate Binders with organizational tabs.
  6. Have standardized reports for estimates, bid summaries, and project turn-over.
  7. Have a weekly meeting with an agenda.


  1. Provide growth opportunities for your estimators.
  2. Provide software training.
  3. Provide estimator training.
  4. Provide solutions.
  5. Plan ahead.
  6. Have a bid schedule.
  7. Recognize achievement and extra effort.


  1. Have an estimating sequence for consistency.
  2. Use an Estimate Checklist.
  3. Use a Bid Summary Checklist.
  4. Complete estimates at least one day in advance.
  5. Have a database manager and a protocol for estimator input to the database.
  6. Say good-bye to your take-off sheets and direct enter and save time.

The time and money invested in organization and training will pay huge dividends for your company.  You must work and invest to make your department into the product that you desire.

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