Writing Detailed Estimates
I give detailed estimates because It helps me justify the price to myself My estimates serve several functions :
- It is my way of figuring out what I need to do on a job
- It's a record of the Job Details
- It's my Job Plan
- If it's in the computer, I can find it later.
- It helps me to make sure that I'm charging for everything
- It tells the client exactly what I'm going to be doing...
My Estimates serve a lot of functions
I admire those who can give estimates off the top of their head, and not have to write everything down. I'm not that talented. If I don't write down what I'm going to be doing, I forget. I give detailed estimates because It helps me justify the price to myself I'm often inclined to price jobs to cheaply. As I think out the details and price out all the components ofs the job, it helps me to verify to myself that I should be charging the price I quoted.
My estimates serve several functions : It is my way of figuring out what I need to do on a job It helps me to think out each part of a job. I think slower than some people, and I need time to think out a job. So I write out all the details on the estimate as I think out the job.
It's a record of the Job Details: It's the main record of the details of any job. Anything that I will need to know about a job will be on the estimate record. I don't really keep any of the other paperwork for jobs.
It's my Job Plan: By looking at the estimate, I can plainly see what I need to do with a job.
If it's in the computer, I can find it later. I've lost estimates and work orders in the past. Since everything is on the estimate/work order, and the work order is in the computer, if I loose my estimate or work order, I can just print out another one, and everything I need to know will be on that.
Make Sure I'm charging enough: I detail each "$2 charge" because it helps me to remember to charge for that $2 item. When I don't charge for all those nitpicky little items, then I usually don't charge for them and I loose money. It helps me to make sure that I'm charging for everything ... that I'm using
My Estimate is my job-plan: When I do the job, I have a detailed work order (my estimate) that tells me just what to do. As I write out the estimate, I'm examining what I need to do, and why. I'm validating my charges to ME. As I write out the estimate, I'm also planning out the job, and what I need to do the job. When I'm estimating something I haven't done before, or am unfamiliar with, I'll write a more detailed estimate to plan out just what all is needed. Yes, I know some people may use a separate details sheet, or may just work it out in their heads, but I put it on my work order.
It tells the client exactly what I'm going to be doing... .....so there will be no misunderstanding. The client won't be coming back and say, "you said it included everything, but you didn't give me....." Everthing is detailed on the work order. If it's not on there, they are not getting it.
My Estimates serve a lot of functions: I put a lot of detail into my estimates because my estimates/work orders serve a lot of functions. Yes, it takes me extra work up front, but it saves the potential of so much misunderstanding down the road. This article was inspired by the responses I received to my question here: Estimating Dental Chairs