I have recently started work for a company and we are constantly evolving. My question is we are very thorough when it comes to wording in a proposal, possibly too much. We estimate 90% Commercial projects and per each elevation giving all cabinet sizes etc. This becomes very time consuming on the write up and I would like to see or hear how much everyone out there includes in their verbiage. Do you think calling out an elevation is good enough or should we continue with the paragraph per elevation and hire a typist? Thank you in advance.
I don't do commercial, but I do get into quite a few details with my proposals. However, 99.9% of what I have to say in the Proposal I have said hundreds of times before and will say hundreds of times again. Boilerplate, I hear it called. Learn to use it, write it once, then use auto text or other methods to bring it into your docs and save time. Let your machine be the typist.
We do all residential but we don't put a lot of wording in our quotes. We have standard stuff like it states frameless box blum runners and hinges stuff like that. We don't even do drawings we estimate completely off plans unless its a remodel for a home owner we might do a kitchen drawing. We don't leave measurements on there because then its easy for them to take your drawings to another shop.
Your write up should reference architectural drawings (plan, elevation, details), and be bid per plans and specs. GC will force that issue.
In the absence of clear specs, you should qualify all materials and hardware, etc in your bid.
As for write-up, for each elevation (or room) something like xx LF base and wall cabinets, xx SF countertop and backsplash, xx SF wall paneling should suffice. Mabye a bit extra for odd ball stuff (1 ea. tall storage cabinet, etc.)
You should also list EXCLUSIONS (appliances, etc.) and be thorough here.
I am often asked, "what arent you including?" "Do you have the metal base?" "Do you have the glass wall panels?"
If you just call out the elevation, you will end up owning everything shown there.
I really helps to call the GC and talk to them on what thier expectations are. Then there are the other items like LEED materials, MBE requirements, Bid Bond (?), job schedule, etc. These ALL can affect your price dramatically.
Most commercial contracts are per plans and specs.
Some GC's ask for a scope letter prior to bid.
Some GC's provide scope letters and ask you to use their bid form.
If you are only doing certain items then what size or what elevations is relevant.
We prefer to be explicit on what we aren't doing, and just list elevations, sections, finishes we are doing.
We were "high" but the GC wanted me to do the job, he sent me the scope from the other two bidders and it was impossible to tell who was doing what, all 3 of us used a different format, 1 bidder listed lf of top, base, and wall, the other listed lf in some and per elevation in other.
So I went through each bid and did the who had what spreadsheet.
Click the link below to download the file included with this post.
Thanks everyone. We pretty much follow everyone recommendations already but we do get in my mind at least too specific when it comes to sizes of each cabinet. Thank you all for the responses. Have a good day
I do mostly commercial work and have learned not to be specific in terms of linear feet , cabinet size, or even cabinet quantity.
I've found more often than there being adds to casework elevations there are deducts for appliances or wall size shrinking, not having linear foot or cabinet size gets me away from having to offer deducts in price for a 6" smaller cabinet or the like.
I also have moved to a more per box pricing model, the material is so insignificant compared to the fabrication and install labor that box size doesn't matter much versus box quantity.
I'm on a deadline and don't have time to write a lot but I wanted to post a de-identified copy of my estimate format. I do this every day, all day for millwork only. This is a 'hybrid' document, with the body being generated by my estimating software and the cover being done mostly by hand.
Feel free to reach out with questions as you like.
Click the link below to download the file included with this post.
Your proposal should include great detail. This is how you protect yourself and how your potential client understands exactly what they are getting from you. So I would recommend being as detailed as possible.
Job Quote is an agreement for the job being offered, therefore cannot be changed once accepted by the customer. The final invoice and associated costs will match that of the initial quote provided to the customer
Includes more detailed information relating to the project requirements
Due to potential fluctuations in material costs, a completed job quote form is only valid for a finite period of time, after which the quote expires
Often preferred by customers, who will know what to expect in terms of cost, time, and materials
Is a legally binding contract between you and the customer
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