When you’re planning a build, you want to get the most bang for your buck. That starts with having a clear budget in mind and an accurate estimate from your general contractor.
The project estimating process can be rather involved and usually requires several honest conversations between you and your GC to ensure all parties understand your goals and expectations. These conversations are vital to drawing up detailed plans and accurate cost estimates. Before you agree to a job cost, use these tips to help you avoid getting burned in the estimating phase:
Get On the Same Page…Fast
Communication is essential before the GC ever gives you an estimate. You have to be clear about your vision for the project, as well as your own internal process for getting an estimate approved. It’s imperative to communicate your budget requirements and project goals upfront so that the estimate falls in line.
Time and budget are the major forces in every project. Avoid striving for unrealistic scheduling goals, and be wary of GCs that give you an unrealistic timeframe and estimate. If the savings seem too good to be true, they probably are. Keep in mind that any change or unforeseen event can also affect the cost down the road – so always be sure to give yourself, and your GC, a little wiggle room.
When you get an estimate, ask for an explanation for each line item, the individual task and its projected cost. Ask about material costs and the likelihood that it will change mid project, as well as labor wages.
It’s not uncommon, although we wish it were, that an estimate would come without a detailed line itemization. If you are ever handed a budget that doesn’t break down where the money is being spent – it’s time to jump ship or start highlighting and asking a ton of questions.
Weigh the Risks
Consider the probability of risks and any issues that could come up, and how it might ultimately affect the cost. For example, if bad weather occurs, how much that will affect the estimated cost and the timeline.
If you’re unsure about what risks to account for in the budget – talk to your GC. If they brush the topic off – be wary about moving forward.
Get Clear on the Method
Talk to your GC about the process for creating an estimate. Whatever the GC’s method, just carefully evaluate the estimate and discuss it with the GC so that you feel comfortable and confident in its accuracy. Just remember that no estimate is perfect.
With over 18 years in the business, we’ve developed a reliable method for creating the most accurate estimates that also adhere to specific project variables such as schedules and budgetary restrictions. If you’re looking to build in South Florida – send us an email or give us a call – we’ll be more than happy to talk to you about your project and see if we’d be a good fit.
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