E607: 2016 Year End Review

How did your sales, marketing, and estimating fair in 2016?


  1. It’s year end review time
    1. Let’s review our performance for 2016
    2. Did we accomplish what we wanted to?
    3. What’s in store for 2017
  2. Take a look back at 2016
    1. Did you have goals set for the year? Did you reach them?
    2. Did you win enough work?
    3. Did you generate the necessary leads?
  3. Where are you headed in 2017
    1. What are your new goals for 2017?
    2. What is your target revenue?
    3. What are the necessary targets to reach that goal?

E582: Organizing Your Estimating Process

Create systems to organize your estimating and avoid errors.


  1. Estimating is a complex effort and it’s easy to miss some details
    1. There are many aspects to every estimate
      1. Contract
      2. General Requirements
      3. Project Management
      4. Work Scope/Tasks
      5. Closeout & Warranty
    2. We can miss things and scope gaps erode profits
    3. Create a system to help avoid omissions
  2. Guides and templates help cover the details
    1. Many of you already use templates – add guides to help the process
    2. A guide will help the estimator check on common issues / costs
    3. Break your guide into parts as outlined above
  3. Create the estimating playbook
    1. A series of guides and templates to help the estimator check the details
    2. The guides can be a simple as a series of questions and checklists
    3. Create one for each group and individual ones for each scope/task section
    4. Examples:
      1. Contract: what are pay terms? Schedule? Insurance? Bonds?
      2. General Requirements: Trash removal? Testing? LEED? Reporting? Software?
      3. Project Management: Onsite Staffing? Temp Facilities? Oversight?
      4. Work Scope/Tasks: Create a guide for each scope with questions related to the scope – Concrete Mix Design? Winter Protection?
      5. Closeout / Warranty: Special closeout requirements? Warranty? Warranty bond?

E572: Qualify Your Quotes

Review your quotes before submitting your proposal.



  1. Part of our estimate includes quotes
    1. Supplier quotes
    2. Subcontractor quotes
    3. Equipment quotes
  2. During estimating we reach out to vendors for quotes
    1. We typically provide them with the information
    2. Some review that information and some don’t
    3. They provide us quotes and sometimes for the wrong thing
  3. Protect you estimate by qualifying your quotes
    1. Qualify each quote you plan to plug into the estimate
    2. Call the vendor to review and ask questions
    3. Have them revise and quote what is correct

E562: Creating Accurate Estimates

Accurate estimates help us win the best work.


  1. We want to bid less and win more
    1. Bid to the right clients
    2. Bid on the right projects
    3. Create accurate estimates
  2. Good estimates start with accurate take-offs
    1. We need accurate quantities for good estimates
    2. We need to capture all the proper materials
    3. Include the full scope
      1. Including overhead items
  3. Next be sure to get full pricing on everything
    1. Get quotes on all the materials
    2. Request prices from all subcontractors
    3. Be sure to review and clarify all quotes
      1. Ask for scope/quote sheets ahead of bid day to have time to review

E557: Bid Less to Win More

Bid strategically to win more work.


  1. What’s your bidding approach?
    1. Bid a lot of jobs in hopes to win some
    2. Bid strategic jobs knowing you will win
    3. The best approach is to bid less
  2. Bid fewer jobs so you can win more of your bids
    1. In racing they say slow down to go faster – the same applies here
    2. If you bid too many projects at a time then the numbers are not accurate
      1. You often win when you make a mistake
    3. Take your time and bid fewer projects to have more accurate estimates
  3. Start winning more of your bids
    1. Bid on the right projects with the right clients
    2. Invest the time in each estimate to be accurate and realistic
    3. Be strategic about what bids you entertain

E552: Chase The Right Work

Landing the wrong project can destroy a good business.


  1. Not all work is equal
    1. Different project types, sizes, locations, etc.
    2. Different Owners, clients, managers, financing, etc.
    3. Different requirements placed on the contractors
  2. Determine what is best for you
    1. Start with your vision – what types of projects support it
    2. How do you want your business to run
    3. What are the skill sets you have now and in the future
  3. Use the Go / No-Go process
    1. Create your ideal project and create a score
    2. Score each potential project should be scored and compared to the ideal
    3. Use this scoring to determine which projects / clients you should chase
    4. Don’t be afraid to walk away

E542: Scope Clarifications In Contract

Review your contracts with estimating to clarify the scopes.


  1. Most estimates have them
    1. Clarifications to the bid
    2. Exclusions and inclusions
    3. Discussion items in negotiations
  2. Problems arise if not in contract
    1. Often happens when the project is on-going
    2. The project team is expected to perform per contract but contract is wrong
    3. Items are missed in the scope and now there is a cost gap
  3. Establish procedures to protect yourself
    1. Contract review procedures with estimating involved
    2. Check the proposal versus the contract and construction documents
    3. If there are questions or interpretations get them clarified

E537: Buying A Job To Win A Client

Dropping prices to win over a new client can be a good strategy.


  1. Buying a job is a common strategy
    1. We target a client and give them a low price in order to start a relationship
    2. We get in with them in hopes of future work at our normal pricing
    3. Does it really work?
  2. My successes and failures
    1. A developer – we did a job at their typical pricing in hopes of showing them they should pay us more – it worked
    2. An industrial plant – took a low price job in order to get in and later found that everything was based on lowest price regardless of value provided
    3. A city – took a project to get in and put the wrong team in place, didn’t provide value – never got shortlisted again
  3. This strategy can work but takes some careful research and understanding
    1. Know the customer – are they right for you?
    2. Know the projects – does value matter over price?
    3. Make sure you have value to add – if not they will never pay more for your services on the next project
      1. This is the key part – you must be bale to prove the values you offer in order to get the pricing you want in the future

E522: Estimating The Contract

Review your contracts carefully during the estimating process.


  1. Contracts are the basis of all projects
    1. Contracts = risks / deliverables = cost
    2. Contracts can be simple or complex
    3. Review the clauses and account for them in your estimates
  2. Risks & deliverables cost money
    1. Depending on the risk / deliverable the value will fluctuate
      1. You can break them into Actual and Potential
    2. Actual: reporting, scheduling, manpower, supervision, security, etc.
    3. Potential: Acceleration, change order mark-ups, delays, hold harmless, etc.
    4. Account for them in the estimate
  3. Review and add to your estimate
    1. Treat like a contingency – have adds/deducts
    2. Review each clause to determine what time / effort is required
    3. What are the possibilities on the project