It would be an extremely rare person that could fully understand your process, your machinery capability, and work rates of your employees, and then tell you what the bid should be. As roughly quoted from Dumb and Dumber, 1 in a million? You're saying I have a chance?
You're missing the bigger picture. Of course there is a certain percentage of work that I do that only I can properly bid. But there's also a certain percent that is either pretty standard commercial millwork or residential cabinets that go out to bid to multiple shops. There is a market rate for that work. And since estimating is just one of the hats I wear, I would gladly pay a full time estimator to estimate some of those jobs - particularly larger jobs with contractors or designers I've worked with before. But I'm not a big enough shop to employ a full time estimator. I would think there must be a lot of shops in my position.
There is a market rate that every shop will work for? Sorry, I don't agree. A hundred man commercial shop surely has an advantage of volume over a 5 man shop. You say that both their quotes will be identical?
Hey I get it! I owned a shop for almost 30 years doing custom work. 6 million in sales and over 50 people. I understand the issues that everyone has to deal with. The problems are the same, just add a decimal for your size. We estimated over 50 million and came up with some software that we used which is now called ST-Mate. We designed it and used it as we grew it grew, when we bought a new piece of equipment we added to the software. The nice thing with this is you use your numbers and your people.
ST-Mate will save you 20% in your estimating time.
The comment about outsourcing estimating is correct, they don't know you or your shop, what floor it is on or the equipment that you have. These are all factors that need to be included in your final number. You and you alone are the only one who knows what it takes for YOUR shop to produce that work.
Don't sub our your estimating that will get you into trouble right away and you may not be able to survive it if the job is of any size.
St-Mate is for small shops $350K - 20 Million in size.
Estimating, Project management and Scheduling.
Check out the videos
St-Mate also does consulting if you need some insight.
Not sure why the insults are flying on such an innocuous topic. Dumb and dumber? WTF?
My goal is to maximize my profits. I typically gross a little under $1M in sales yearly. I do a LOT of different things. I'm not just banging out kitchen cabinets. I do a lot of radius work, some technical furniture, awards, fixtures for a medical device company, as well as residential and commercial cabinets.
The residential and commercial work I do amounts to probably $300k to $400k annually. And I'd like it to be more. Given that volume of work, I can't go out and hire a full time estimator. At the same time, I want to make sure I'm maximizing the price I'm getting on the jobs I do get.
It seems to me like a sensible thing to do to hire someone on a contract basis to double check my estimating numbers on these jobs. For every job I win, I know I'm leaving "X" dollars on the table. For shops like mine who don't bid a ton of this work, it seems to me like there is money to be made by paying some who DOES bid this type of work regularly to help in the bid process.
Now, why is that dumb to want to make more money?
Maybe what I'm looking for doesn't exist. I don't know if there are P/T estimators out there that do contract work.
But if you've got nothing better to do than hate on me for asking that question, then maybe you should get off your computer and clean up your mom's basement.
Let us imagine you find someone who does part time estimating. Let us also assume you have an opportunity to bid for production of 30 widgets.
This estimator is a freelance operation.
He has many customers. One of his customers is a garage shop that makes a similar widget. Since this customer only has a jointer and a planer everything takes longer. When he builds this widget it takes him 90 minutes per item for S4S processes.
Another one the estimators customers has a Weinig Moulder that is set up with Tersa Knives for S4S milling. He could mill each widget in 15 minutes.
According to the estimator the average labor for production tells you to bid for 26.25 hours. The estimator's method is empirically based and reasonably scientific.
How comfortable are you estimating 26 hours for this project?
I agree with you that haters gonna hate but scientists gonna use math.
I'm on board Trent. If you're asking the estimator to bid things like kitchen cabinets then it seems reasonably easy to come up with a figure per job. If it's 10,000 boomerangs that fly a left handed course it's not so easy.
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