by Dan Derkum
Rough estimates . . . How does DAD’s do it? First, it’s important to understand the life cycle of a projects cost. It has 3 parts: (1) Rough estimate (2) Final estimate (3) Final cost. It’s also very important to understand that every project is unique and different. There are no standard industry averages regardless of what anybody says. No two customers have the same unique style, tastes, preferences or way of seeing and doing things.
DAD’s rough estimates are averages driven primarily by the customer and their requirements - not DAD’s. These can be increased or decreased by the customer. Rough estimates provided by DAD's reflect customer driven projects actually completed over the most recent 2 years. These reflect reality and what people actually did and are doing using high quality and durable products, materials, and people. These illustrate pricing of materials and labor across economies including building code changes.
The final estimate is completed after the plans are finished and approved. This is very detailed and comprehensive. It includes all materials, parts, labor, installation and sales tax mid range, not at the bottom.
The final cost of the project is known after the job is completed. This typically represents the sum of the final estimate and changes after the plans are approved. Changes include items such as things the customer adds or subtracts and unforeseen issues (e.g. open a wall and there are wires, pipes, etc. that are in the way and must be moved; insect and/or water damage).
Many contractors, in order to get your business, provide unrealistic estimates employing scenarios and allowances tactics; only to use the change order process once the project is well under way to jack-up the price. Perhaps even worse, they do the job for the quoted price but the final product falls apart in a few years because of poor workmanship and substandard materials. Every year, people and their loved ones needlessly die because they wanted to save a few dollars on quality. Why?
DAD's has a simple philosophy - Always be honest and up-front with the customer and never pretend a project can be safely and correctly performed at any budget. DAD’s takes your trust very seriously and will never comprise the health and safety of you and your family simply to make a few dollars. If the job can’t be safely and correctly completed, DAD's won’t do the job. If the budget is too low, you’ll need to scale the project down or wait until you have the funds. Remember the golden rule of construction: If it’s too good to be true, it’s not! Surround yourself with people who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
The rough estimate process used by DAD’s is the most reasonable and realistic method available. DAD’s final estimate is completely open and honest. There are no surprises, tricks, gimmicks, or hidden up-charges. You know exactly what you’re paying for and how it’s going to look. Isn’t this what you would expect from your DAD?
About the Author
Dan A. Derkum is the owner of DAD's Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor.