Five Common Estimating Mistakes

Home / Best Practices / Five Common Estimating Mistakes

Five Mistakes Remodelers Commonly Make When They Write Estimates by Remodeling Magazine

Read the article here

Creating estimates for remodeling & construction jobs can be difficult because even though some jobs can be similar to eachother, they almost always have differences that can cost signficantly more or less. Here are the 5 most common mistakes made when estimating, and advice on how to avoid them using Clear Estimates.

  1. Using Square Foot Pricing
    • Problem: There are too many variables (such as existing conditions or access) for different projects to use a simple square foot pricing model.
    • Solution: Build each estimate piece-by-piece to arrive at a final cost
    • With Clear Estimates: With a database of 10,000+ parts, Clear Estimates provides the line items you need to build your estimates from the ground up.
  2. Estimating for Subcontractors
    • Problem: Without seeing the job site, it is very difficult for a subcontractor to come up with an accurate estimate.
    • Solution: Bring your subs to the job site to walk-through with you, making sure you get an accurate estimate from them.
    • With Clear Estimates: After your walkthrough with the subs, use one of our pre-existing “Subcontractor Budget” line items to enter their estimate (don’t forget to set the markup on their budget as well).
  3. Lack of Clarity in Scope
    • Problem: Owners will not take responsibility for extra expenses, they assume you are the expert in the field.
    • Solution: Take the time to write out what you do / don’t know and clearly define what you are going to work on (not simply the plans).
    • With Clear Estimates: When you build your line-by-line estimate you are building a scope of work, then include additional exclusions and other project definitions in the description of the project for great clarity.
  4. Uninformed Scheduling
    • Problem: Additional time on a project (or inefficient scheduling) leads to higher costs for the same job done.
    • Solution: Carefully plan out the schedule and take into account lead times, permit reviews, and other milestones.
    • With Clear Estimates: Use the labor hours built into Clear Estimates to make an informed scheduling plan for each trade.
  5. Fring Expenses
    • Problem: Little expenses can add up that aren’t obvious when estimating a project (ex: paint touch-up after hardwood floor refinishing).
    • Solution: When creating your estimate, step back and look at the big picture of the project to make sure you include all your costs.
    • With Clear Estimates: Setup a template for “fringe items” that has the additional project costs that you’ve forgotten in the past, remove the irrelevant items based on the project but at least you’ll have a list of things you won’t again forget.


With all the complexity of construction and remodeling, creating an accurate estimate can be difficult. Use some of these best practices and the right tools to create accurate and reliable estimates every time.

Related Posts