Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Proper Estimate

I admit, in the early days of starting my own business, estimates were sometimes thrown together and scribbled on a piece of paper and handed to the customer.  When you have to wear all the hats, it’s easy to get in a hurry. Today, however, with technology and more educated customers, a proper estimate is critical.  It can make or break a job and a career. 

With hardwood floors, as with most flooring, everything is based on “cost per square foot”.  Materials, labor, sanding & finishing, moldings, everything should be broken down for the customer to see.  Not only is it easy to justify your figures, it’s also much easier to make changes when the customer calls a couple days later and decides to” leave off the bedroom”.

We have written our own spread sheet which calculates cost and materials, provides a separate material list, and is easily changed with just a couple key strokes.  It’s easy to store (and not loose), and can be used for invoicing as well.

Best of all, when we are in front of the customer, we can give them an exact price, not a guess.  If at that time they want to add to or change, it’s done right there.  Once all the details are ironed out, we go to the car and print a very professional and accurate proposal which can be used for a contract, protecting us and the customer.

If you are a homeowner, don’t settle for some scribble on a piece of paper, know what you’re getting, and what you are paying for.

As a side note, special thanks to Michael Luckey for the brilliant program he has written.  We couldn’t do what we do without your expertise.  Hats off for the great job.