Estimating that pays for itself
Frequently Asked Questions
We know that you’ll have questions before choosing Residential Estimating Service as your estimating partner. We’re glad to answer any questions that you may have so that we can ultimately deliver the best estimate possible for your job.
If you don’t find the answers you need on this page, please give us a call at 832-377-7203 or email us at email@example.com.
What do you mean by saying your estimate will pay for itself?
Answer: It’s pretty simple, really. Accuracy yields efficiency, which means better anticipation and use of your resources.
If it’s true that a hundred extra studs will cost about what you will pay us for an estimate that covers the entire house, then consider the cost of other materials that are needed, but not ordered, or ordered and not needed. We can all agree that no estimate is perfect, but that should never be good enough. We believe that an estimate is more an “audit” of the requirements to build a job. The more we know about how you build, the better the potential outcome. The better you review the estimate we provide, the greater the opportunity for improvement will be.
Consider this: The estimator’s job has a number of facets – our job is to consider them all. Ultimately, a builder wants to know three things: How much should I budget so that I can secure the right amount of financing and how much material will I need so that my workers aren’t sitting around waiting for “short loads” to finish the job, and how much material will be left over for the builder to manage at the end of the job.
At Residential Estimating Service, we believe that the better the communication is from the builder, the better the estimate can be. On top of that, we believe that the better we communicate the material needs back to the builder, the better the estimate will be implemented.
So, an estimate from Residential Estimating Service will pay for itself when we work together with the builder and their staff to “close the loop” and minimize and, if possible, eliminate the opportunity for failure.
Won’t My Framer do my takeoffs for me for Free?
Answer: Whose profit is your framer concerned with – his or yours?
The fact is the framer has no incentive to help control material costs and won’t. In fact, his job is to get in and out as quickly as possible with no delays. Time is money! If your framer did your takeoff, he would likely pad it to make sure he doesn’t have to wait. You would most likely end up with extra material when the job was done.
Also, today’s framer rarely understands estimating methods that will be needed to determine accurate quantities. They often lack understanding of the technical details associated with the many engineering issues found in construction requirements. Once again, this will likely mean that you will base your budget on nothing more that the framer’s best guess.
My lumber company offered to do a frame takeoff for me for Free.
Answer: That depends on what you consider “free”. A “free” lumber takeoff always costs you something (and you get what you pay for).
Sure, some lumber companies can provide a basic frame takeoff to get you started and they might not directly charge extra for it. Why do you think they do it? To lock you in. Ask yourself: ‘Where do they make their money – by doing frame lumber estimates or by selling lumber’. By the way, they’ll be quick to tell you that you’ll have to order more materials later – so don’t count on their basic takeoff as a budgeting tool.
Remember that they are in the business of selling lumber – NOT providing accurate material estimates. By doing a basic frame lumber takeoff for ‘free’, they are locking you into doing business with their company and not taking competitive bids. Based on that, you will never know how much that ‘free’ takeoff is really costing you. Also, they won’t show you the detail – because they don’t produce detail. That is why this is called a ‘basic takeoff’. Whose profit are they concerned with anyway – theirs or yours?
What is included with a Frame Lumber Estimate from Residential Estimating Service?
Answer: A Frame Lumber Estimate (Lumber Takeoff) includes materials from forms through shingles and brick, stucco or stone – basically through a “Dried-In” home: Form Lumber, Framing Lumber, Sheathing, Cornice & Exterior Trim, Roof Decking, Shingles, Brick and Masonry Materials. Some builders have additional estimating done that may include items like foundation concrete and steel, sheetrock, interior trim and more (see our expanded estimate for more).
What is required before we can start?
Answer: That Depends.
If you are a Custom Builder, or an ‘average’ Production Builder, we will review your material needs and develop you company’s ‘profile’. Once that is done, we use the same material specifications until you tell us to change them. If every house is different, simply tell us the material requirements when you bring your plan. There is no set-up fee for this type of setup.
If you are a Production Builder or a Lumber Supplier that needs to have your own cost codes and item codes (SKU#s) embedded within the estimate, we can accomplish that as well. Although it tends to be a bit ‘time-intensive’, it is an excellent option and makes computer input of the estimate much easier for the Builder’s staff. There is a one-time setup fee for this type of setup.
What type of floor plan do we require?
Answer: We can work with virtually any format: Hardcopy, Adobe Acrobat, or Autocad.
The main thing is that in order to do our best work, we need a complete set of ‘full working drawings’. This means that we need a compete floorplan with exterior elevations, joist and beam engineering – including layouts if possible, roof engineering – including layouts if possible. Your plan becomes the tool which you will use in order to control the material on the job.
Can we estimate a preliminary drawing?
Answer: Absolutely. We’ve even estimated from builder’s ‘renderings’. Just remember, the better the plan – the better the estimate.