Estimating Material Costs

When you are figuring the cost of a project, one of the biggest items on the estimate is the cost of materials.

There are two challenges with materials. Actually, one of my biggest challenges with materials is using them correctly, but that’s another discussion.

Like labor and the discussion in one of my earlier emails about labor production rates, you need to treat materials in much the same way. Everything needs to be measurable. For example, when you’re building a 2X4 wall with drywall on both sites you have 16 Square feet of drywall per linear foot of wall, plus top & bottom plate, plus stud, and so on. You can even get down to how much mud, nails and screws, etc.

Obviously, unlike labor, there needs to be some wasteage added. When you estimate the project and everything is measurable you know exactly how much of each of the materials you will need for the job.

This benefits you in a couple of ways:

  • It reduces the number of trips to the store for forgotten items. I don’t think you will ever eliminate this entirely 😉
  • It allows you to get prices for the materials while your estimating

One of the big differences between calculating labor cost and materials costs is that labor costs are relatively stable, but material costs fluctuate a lot. As I was writing this I was thinking about the hurricane that hit the East Coast last week. I’m sure material costs have gone up dramatically since then because of all the demand for the repairs that are needed.

When you have a list of all the materials you need for a job you can go to your suppliers and get exact prices from your vendors. Using those prices you can finalize your estimate knowing that your material costs are going to be exact.

One of the features of LiteningFast Estimating is the ability to print a material list to send to your suppliers and then when they give you the prices you can easily update the estimate with exact pricing. Get more information about how LiteningFast Estimating will improve your estimating by clicking here.

Nick Hurd
Litening Software, LLC

P.S. Getting exact material pricing is just one of the many features of LiteningFast Estimating that will reduce estimating stress and uncertainty and put you on the road to profitability. Click Here for more info.

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