Estimating can be an extremely time-consuming part of your job. It adds to your overhead — meaning, you’ll work more to make up those costs. Yet it’s also one of the most important parts of your job, because it generates more income for your company. When you work in concrete, the estimating process can be a bit different than in other contracting specialties. If you’re unsure how to estimate concrete jobs, you’re not alone.
Here’s a quick look at the process and how to make it work for your company.
Is It a Good Match?
To begin, create a list of all the materials you’ll need so you know how to estimate concrete jobs. Start by carefully assessing the job and figure out if it’s a good match for your skillset. If you’ve only done residential slabs or driveways, a 10,000-yard commercial project is probably above your current experience. If the project is a good fit, look over the plans to perform your takeoff.
Count It Up
Your takeoff should include all the materials involved in the project. Start by determining how much rebar, reinforcing mesh, anchors and other hardware will be needed. Also, calculate how many cubic yards of concrete will be required by multiplying the length and width to get the square footage, then multiplying the square footage by the depth (converted from inches to feet if needed) to determine the cubic feet. To get your total cubic yardage, divide the cubic feet by 27.
Beyond reinforcement and concrete of the proper strength, there may be other aspects to consider. Will there be stain or color? What about air entrainment? Do you need to have reinforcing fibers added at the ready-mix plant? If the temperature will be hot, you’ll need fly ash or retardants. If it’s cold, you’ll need a straight concrete mix, possibly with hot water or accelerants.
Should the concrete be pumped or otherwise require a specialty ready-mix truck to place? All of these aspects will impact your material costs. You’ll then have to take your overall materials and price them. If you’re not good at pricing a project, consider outsourcing it.
When you’re not sure how to estimate concrete jobs, one great option as you grow your concrete company is using takeoff software.
PrebuiltML’s PROtrade software provides you with all the necessary tools to quickly and accurately finish your takeoff process — reducing your overhead and getting you back on the job. Get your 14-day free trial today!