As a contractor, the last thing you want to happen is to realize towards the end of your project that you have exceeded the budget or that you will not meet the deadline. All these costly eventualities involve estimates mistakes. Knowing common pitfalls during construction estimation is the first step in avoiding them.


Top 10 construction estimating mistakes

  1. Lack of transparency; some contractors provide unclear estimation that does not give a comprehensive view of the construction project and detailed information as well as the relevant costs. Consequently, they are forced to adopt a black-box approach and as such determining value, later on, becomes hectic.
  2. Late changes; last-minute changes can result in mistakes like formula errors and forgotten line items due to cutting and pasting. Such changes can significantly ruin the profitability of a project. Precise, cost-effective systems featuring built-in libraries and formulas can substantially reduce the necessity for such alterations.
  3. Not being clear on the scope of the project; rushing when writing down what you do and what the owner has to can leave your client expecting a lot from you. So, always take your time to build line-by-line estimate that specifies the scope of your work.
  4. Taking tasks that are too huge; do not be in a hurry to accept a new project without finding out if you can provide the amount of labor it requires. Some construction works take a lot of time, yet the profits are low. So, grow smart, stay the course and allocate time and resources accordingly.
  5. Adopting a bottom-up approach; starting the estimation process by inserting number and items into a spreadsheet is both time-consuming and devoid of a strategic view. So, always look at the entire project as a whole. Then break it down and distribute costs appropriately.
  6. Duplicating items; failing to plan well increases your chances of spending twice on some materials with the result that you will waste your money and narrow down your profit margin. So, plan carefully and look at everything through to ensure there is no duplication.
  7. Fring costs; there are small yet essential details that if not taken good care of can have a considerable impact on the outcome. Aspects like logistics costs, insurance, tax, material handling, and wastage need particular deliberation and cautious inclusion.
  8. Failing to plan for the unexpected; some contractors wrongly expect smooth progress at every turn while estimating. Experts recommend accounting for all variables including personnel changes, weather, and budgeting issues. Make sure you know how to respond when the unforeseen strikes
  9. Failing to understand relevant construction schedule; many contractors under-or overestimate costs related to project duration. To avoid this mistake, you need to master the practice of preparing an initial construction schedule and developing duration-related costs according to such plans.
  10. Not using the marginal calculation algorithm; basing profitability exclusively on a flat sale figure like ten percent of the total cost of the project is a recipe for mistakes. The best approach is to establish how each of the various sections such as materials, supplies, and labor contribute to profit before estimating accordingly.


Construction estimates play a vital role in determining the profitability of the project. So, knowing common estimation mistakes and taking steps to avoid them is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the above. Using the best residential construction estimating software will help you to avoid such mistakes.

Top 10 Construction Estimating Mistakes

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