When putting together Bid/Quote/Estimates, do most of you itemize all materials, subs, hours or do you use the (un) handy quote books that are available. The reason I ask is that I try to get all the details of a job first, and then put together an estimate.
In the past I have just gone to the local yard and priced out what the customer wants, but I have a larger job coming up and don’t want to be a PIA asking for a million different prices. Are there yards out there that list their prices in books or online? Or should I just go list in hand and hope they don’t get annoyed.
if you're a regular customer, why should they be annoyed?
how often do they bid on being the supplier on different jobs for their customers?
edit: just for kicks i did a search on lumber yards, picke one, looked ar theirsite, and they had a place registered contractors can get quaotes.
bobl Volo, non valeo
Edited 8/4/2004 12:22 pm ET by bobl
Edited 8/4/2004 12:24 pm ET by bobl
If you're doing much work then you should have a contact with an inside salesperson at a good lumberyard. Type up a list of all the items and quantities you need prices on, and fax it to them. It should come back within a day or so as a quote.
Yeah, it's such a PITA to sell more materials than to sell less...
If they are worth doing business with at all, they will be more than happy to quote from your list.
Now, for your first line in this post - Three slaps across the knuckles with a rusty calculator. Do not mix the terms BID and ESTIMATE or I'll have to find you a good bankruptcy lawyer... The terms are as closely related as Judger and File Clerk.
itemize? Yes for my own scratch pad on a bid but if bidding, my customer only sees the bottom line number.
I do most cost plus work, so yes I itemize on the bill, but I have learned to not itemize on the estimate, other than to break down to general areas. Reason is that too many custooers will try to manage your business for you then, having no idea what X does to Y when Z is no longer present.
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I clearly understand the difference between a bid, a quote, and an estimate. I am still starting off and so far have been doing trim and built-in jobs, so materials have been straight forward. I have a new customer that wants a portico over his front door, so the number of different materials has increased a bit. I'm not even sure if I'll get the job so I didn't want to have to bother a sales rep for something that may become nothing.Jim
They know that going in - go ahead and bother him.
About every three months, I shoot them a pricing request for my most commonly used items so it is on the desk handy for the quickie estimates that I can do at night when they are closed. They know it is a generic and may never come to much specifically, but it's all pat of the job.
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Thanks for the encouragement. I will have to go in tomorrow while it rains.Jim
I worked for a lumber yard for about 8 years and we used to do bids for cantractors all the time. On small projects the contractor would submit a materials list and then we would quote him the prices, on large projects like a new house,the contractor would give us a set of the prints and we would do a take off from that. I don't know if the big boxes will give you service like that ( i don't think i would trust them too any way), but a real lumber yard should.
>>I don't know if the big boxes will give you service like that ( i don't think i would trust them too any way)
Everything is dependent upon the person... not the lumberyard vs big-box.
We happen to be lucky to have a sales manager at the local Lowes that is a retired builder. He is great to work with, and unlike most Lowes; they do take-offs. He has trained his guys well. Perhaps this is why they are one of the highest volume Lowes in the system... maybe the whole chain will learn from it and upgrade staff.
Conversely, we have a couple of lumber yards in town that I wouldn't trust to do a take-off on a doghouse. The staffs are soooo lacking in training and experience.... pitiful.
Bottom line... the sales rep needs to meet your "experience and skill" needs. A good take-off, materials quote accuracy, availability of product, and vendor services are all factors to a profitable job.
Call the lumberyard, tell then what you've been doing (walking the yard and surveying prices) and ask them if they'll print you up a list of their lumber prices.
All they need to do is a couple of keystrokes on the office computer and you'll have the price per stick or sheet of everything they sell.
Not so easy is to then sit at the your computer and figure out how to use Excel. Once you get the hang of it it really is quite simple to make a spreadsheet that will help you in figuring your costs.
Thanks for the pribt-up tip. So far I have been using Excell with the prices that are known (I add new prices every receipt I get).Jim