Sharing Construction Estimates that Make Sense – 1build Blog
Backed by the power of construction estimating software
You may have expertise in a specific construction trade, but the real business of construction is clear communication. How do you communicate the expectations of your client and how they will come to life in the real world? We’ve all been there—you are handed a quick sketch and a few rough measurements, and now you need to take that information and create an accurate construction estimate. Or maybe you have detailed engineered drawings, but now you have to communicate price increases, labor shortages, and supply chain hold-ups to a client that needs everything NOW.
The 1build team has seen a little bit of everything across the construction sector, so here are our best practices for communicating with your potential client and sharing a cost estimate that makes sense.
- Clarify before you plan
- Set realistic expectations
- Communicate early and often
- Showcase professionalism
Clarify Before You Plan
Long before you start building a construction estimate, make sure you have all the details for the project. Some details will be offered up front from the client or owner, like overall square footage and general design. But good contractors always dig deeper.
If you are a subcontractor working with a GC, get specific about your trade, tools, materials, and timeline. Ask in-depth follow-up questions that not only get you the detail you need for an accurate estimate, but also show your expertise. If you are working on a larger commercial project, these clarifying questions may take the form of an RFI, or Request for Information. Compile all of your questions about finish level, scope, specific brands of equipment, and scheduled deliveries.
Set Realistic Expectations
Especially in today’s market, there can be large gaps between designs, ideas, and client input, and what is realistically within budget and schedule for a project. Your team can keep an eye on costs for products you regularly use by searching the material library in 1build construction estimating software.
If you work in glass and glazing, tracking the price of windows can give you real-time insight into the market. For framers, tracking stud cost may be high priority. With this specific industry knowledge, you can share week-by-week cost fluctuations in your county, even before you submit your construction estimate. This can help your client form the initial scope and budget, and come to rely on your company for detailed cost knowledge.
Communicate Early and Often
Put yourself in the shoes of a client—would you rather work with a contractor who clearly communicates and checks in with you to understand the project, or a contractor who simply shows up to do the work? The 1build team knows the value of quick communication, even before you’ve won the bid.
Once you complete a cost estimate in 1build construction estimating software, you have the option to share either a summary or detailed view of the estimate with your clients using a custom link. There is also the option to receive a notification email when someone views your estimate, so you can immediately follow up while your bid is top of mind. You can also export your finished estimate to PDF or Excel, so no matter the bid package requirements, you’re covered on the communication front.
Building client trust also means that every interaction should be consistent and professional. The 1build team had this in mind when we added a branding feature for any construction estimate you share. You can easily add your company’s name and logo, as well as direct contact information, at the top of every estimate—whether it’s shared with a custom link or an exported PDF that will accompany other requirements in your bid package.
Another way to showcase your experience and professionalism is to use the real-time, local cost data from 1build’s material library. Rather than guesstimating based on past projects, you can show your clients the real data that backs up your construction cost estimate. 1build cost data is updated each week for every county in the United States, so even during turbulent pricing shifts and supply chain complications, you can rest assured that your numbers reflect material and labor costs in your area.
When you share your 1build estimate with a client, you have the option to either include only the total costs for your groups of items, or a more detailed version showing each line item cost with labor and materials. These summary and detailed views give you the flexibility to provide the client with a proposal that meets their needs.
Getting Started with Construction Estimating Software
Ready to level up your estimating game with a professional, shareable estimation platform? You can try 1build construction takeoff software with a free trial. Create an estimate, add your takeoff measurements, watch the real-time costs populate, then share it with a client! And if you need help, our Customer Success team is here for the life of your account.