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Worst Estimates

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:56 AM   #1
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Worst Estimates


All right lets hear about how badly you screwed up estimates/contracts. How much (little) money did you make on your worst mess up. I will go first.
My first "real" "official" deck total cost to homeowners: $8,587 Material cost $7,019. Money for me: $1,566 Time spent: approx 6 weeks of November/December some delays due to weather but I would say approx 140 man hours in the deck. So I made $11 an hour. Can anyone beat me?

BTW to see pics of this deck I am talking about look at this thread
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:04 AM   #2
 
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Re: Worst Estimates


do you want to be tied up before you get beat or do you enjoy it lol
when i first started subbing,almost 30 yrs ago worked by myself roofing and siding,slow but got it done made good money
hired two guys and lost my azz the first couple three jobs cause i didnt take them into account,finish the job get the check and cash it,pay the guys and left scratching my head about why didnt i get to keep any of that
still manage to screw up now and then but luckily not too often

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Old 05-04-2006, 06:16 PM   #3
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Re: Worst Estimates


I just shot myself in the foot the other day! More like I blew my whole leg off, but.....Total job $3395...total materials/labor $2,500. $895 left for me working about 75 hours @ $11.93/hr.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: Worst Estimates


Ok small contractors beat this one. About six years ago was into my second year of business and had been doing lots of 1200 sqr ft jobs (insulation, boarding, taping, painting, finish carpentry and some add ons like decks, siding etc...). Made out great at that size (my comfort zone).

A guy who had seen my work hounded me until I agreed to do his 2500 sqr ft place. I finally agreed, added one more helper, got it done but made a little less per foot than doing the smaller jobs. Still ok I guess. By the way all 8' ceilings...

One of the last jobs I did on my own was for another guy who heard about me and wanted me to do the interior of his 4300 sqr ft retirement home. I said I was too small to handle the work but he insisted I give a price. There were two 8' ceilings in the whole place (everything else was 12, 14, 16, and even 20' high). I figured out my normal price per sqr and doubled it because of the height. I should have taken my normal price and at least multiplied it by 4. All the scaffold rentals, extra time, extra helpers, etc... killed me. I lost about ten grand .. Because of my inexperience at quoting...

That was in a cottage area where I lived with my wife. Folded my company, lost my wife, walked away from my second house, and moved back to the city (where I'm from and work for a commercial GC).

Here's a crappy pic of the guys living room (28' wide, 60' long, and 22' on the high side of the vaulted ceiling). Dohhh!!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:33 PM   #5
 
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Re: Worst Estimates


Aw man! You lost it all Worx? Wow.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Worst Estimates


Now there's a good reason to realize were all not supermen. It says nothing about your manhood to walk away from something that makes you think twice.

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Old 05-04-2006, 10:28 PM   #7
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Re: Worst Estimates


I dont care to remember details to often since it hurts to think about it LOL. Was building a home/wood shop for a guy, his stoorage area he wanted a regular OHD, was out at homecenter getting something else and figured I'd place the order to get it coming and ordered a uninsulated door. 2 weeks later on site and owner asks where's the insulation? I happened to glance at contract and notice I had quoted an insulated door...it's still sitting in storage waiting for a place to go LOL. $45? down the drain

Was building 3 garages at once, same thing only this time I quoted a 16' insulated door and for some reason was thinking about one of the others and ordered an 18' insulated OHD...was'nt until job was done and I got to thinking about inital layout we'd discussed where man door was gonna be on same wall as OHD but we did'nt put it there?? Took this guys contract out and seen why since it was supposed to have a 16'er instead; $600 down the drain

Bid new replacement windows and new jamb extensions/casing to cover bullnose trim. Somehow transposed something wrong and they ended up getting 100% free labor on the interior trim job...luckily it was only 10 windows and a days labor.

I've missed measurements and transposed measurements wrong at least 5 times that I can remember at my cost of about $225/ea.

I'm done with this topic, getting sick since there are a few others I dont wanna mention
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:43 PM   #8
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by IHI
I dont care to remember details to often since it hurts to think about it LOL. Was building a home/wood shop for a guy, his stoorage area he wanted a regular OHD, was out at homecenter getting something else and figured I'd place the order to get it coming and ordered a uninsulated door. 2 weeks later on site and owner asks where's the insulation? I happened to glance at contract and notice I had quoted an insulated door...it's still sitting in storage waiting for a place to go LOL. $45? down the drain

Was building 3 garages at once, same thing only this time I quoted a 16' insulated door and for some reason was thinking about one of the others and ordered an 18' insulated OHD...was'nt until job was done and I got to thinking about inital layout we'd discussed where man door was gonna be on same wall as OHD but we did'nt put it there?? Took this guys contract out and seen why since it was supposed to have a 16'er instead; $600 down the drain


Bid new replacement windows and new jamb extensions/casing to cover bullnose trim. Somehow transposed something wrong and they ended up getting 100% free labor on the interior trim job...luckily it was only 10 windows and a days labor.

I've missed measurements and transposed measurements wrong at least 5 times that I can remember at my cost of about $225/ea.

I'm done with this topic, getting sick since there are a few others I dont wanna mention
I think you need to hire a salesperson/estimator if you mess up that often.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:35 AM   #9
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertCDF
I think you need to hire a salesperson/estimator if you mess up that often.
The few salesmen I talked with wanted 50% of the profit...not happenin

that's why I'm always thinking to myself it'd be much easier to be a sub conctractor and specialize in one thing/aspect....whooole lot less to worry about instead of carrying every aspect.

Cheap azzed homie dont help matter either when you have to cut estimate close to get the job....work'n on changin that as we speak...guess I'll go belly up this year (and am prepared for it) by naming my price from now on instead of having to bid it close just to get the job...
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:04 AM   #10
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by AAPaint
I just shot myself in the foot the other day! More like I blew my whole leg off, but.....Total job $3395...total materials/labor $2,500. $895 left for me working about 75 hours @ $11.93/hr.
Question:
Are you working on the field not part of your
labour and material total?
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:00 AM   #11
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Re: Worst Estimates


I once bought a 12 inch stainless steel toilet feed line when I needed a 16.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:06 AM   #12
 
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley
I once bought a 12 inch stainless steel toilet feed line when I needed a 16.

Wow Mike!

Have you recovered from that yet?

Rich
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Old 05-05-2006, 12:36 PM   #13
 
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Re: Worst Estimates


Haven't really had any huge issues in estimating yet. It's one of my favorite parts pf the process. I love looking at all the numbers and watching them add up! Anyway, it's still early in my business, just been about a year now. So, I gotta mess up soon, right?
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Old 05-05-2006, 03:29 PM   #14
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Re: Worst Estimates


A very close builder friend of mine quoted a two story home. He felt sure he made a mistake but couldn't find it. So he sent the quote. After he had the lumber delivered he realizied that he never added the second floor to the estimate. The homeowner wasn't very understanding. The compormise was that the builder supplied all the labor and the homeowner paid for the the materials.
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Old 05-05-2006, 03:53 PM   #15
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Turley
Wow Mike!

Have you recovered from that yet?

Rich
Don't feel too sorry for me, I'm kind of being over dramatic about the whole incident, it wasn't really that bad of an experience...

Luckily I had kept the receipt, so they took it back and refunded me the money for it. But it could have been a close one if I couldn't have located the receipt.
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Old 05-05-2006, 05:56 PM   #16
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Finley
Don't feel too sorry for me, I'm kind of being over dramatic about the whole incident, it wasn't really that bad of an experience...

Luckily I had kept the receipt, so they took it back and refunded me the money for it. But it could have been a close one if I couldn't have located the receipt.
Thank goddness for the good lords help, or this could've really turned out ALOT worse than I think any of us coudl've imagined...one of those times you get a second chance and live every day differently because of the fact.

If you ever wake up with night sweats or have an unexpected panic attack during the day, know my phone line is always open for a sympathetic ear to clear your mind

Any lesser of a contractor and you'd a been doing chapter 11 fo sho
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:02 PM   #17
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Re: Worst Estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by George Z
Question:
Are you working on the field not part of your
labour and material total?
Yes, my salary is part of every estimate. The problem with this one...grossly under estimating the time the job would take to complete.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:43 PM   #18
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Re: Worst Estimates


Seriously though, I don't want to make light of the subject. It's a pretty serious one and sooner or later we might all get bit by it.

I've been lucky and only ran into one incident so far where I had problems. It involved a granite bathroom vanity, a less than desireable, virtually unpleasable customer and a language problem from the granite suppliers.
To this day I still have no idea really where I ended up, I think I really just have no desire to know for sure in case it turns out worse than it was, but I think at worst I about broke even. If I ever really examined the numbers I might really hate myself so I am just moving on... luckily it was only one part of a larger project and the rest of the project was profitable.
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:49 PM   #19
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Re: Worst Estimates


IHI, sounds like you either have too much on your mind or you should get rid of the rubber tape measure. My boss had a rubber tape measure (damn thing stretched when he took measurements). I learned very quickly to go to the job site myself and take my own measurements !!
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:58 PM   #20
 
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Re: Worst Estimates


The worst estimate is the one that my gut says no and my mind says yes. When the mind wins it is a bad estimate.

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