Estimate template forms (construction, repair, cleaning) come in handy when a company or individual wishes to outsource a job to a contractor. These documents outline the parameters of a project, telling a client what services and costs they can expect from the person being hired. Additionally, they can help you as a contractor land more clients for your business. Below, we look at what an estimated template is, how to use one, and what to say to a potential client.
What Is an Estimate?
An estimate is the approximation of the parameters of a project sent to give a client an idea of what to expect from a contractor. It details the labor, materials, and costs that will be used to complete a task, producing a total value. Usually, estimates are prone to change, and the total cost of a project can be slightly more or less than the value given in the document.
What Is an Estimate Template Form?
An estimate template form is a fillable model document through which a contractor sets the expectations for a project in which a potential client is interested. It is very easy to use and can protect the interests of both the contractor and client if a dispute arises in the future.
Estimate Templates and Examples
When Is an Estimate Form Used?
Contractors are primarily hired by companies and property owners who need work done inside or outside their properties. When such a party approaches a contractor with a project, the contractor must send them an estimate of what the task might cost. Some scenarios that fall in this purview include:
- Wiring and electrical repairs
- HVAC repair and installation
- Carpentry projects
- Appliance repair and installation
- Carpet installation
- Flooring repairs and installations
- Indoor or Outdoor Painting
- Mold identification or removal
Essential Elements of Estimate Form
A professional contractor will usually create a highly detailed estimate form that covers their interests and those of the client. The document will contain the following key elements:
- Contact Details – This is the contractor’s full legal name, current mailing address, email address, phone number, and physical office address.
- Licensing Information – The estimate must also include details that prove the contractor is legally allowed to undertake the project.
- Insurance Details – If the contractor works alone, they must include their liability insurance details. Workers’ compensation insurance applies if more than one worker is involved.
- Contractor Certifications – The contractor must include their training information and certification details.
Note: Since the 1970s, the United States has required that contractors working on residential properties be certified to deal with lead safely. This certification is provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and should be mentioned in the estimate.
- Scope of Project – Outlines the individual steps of the project, the cost of materials that will be used, and the estimated labor expenses.
- Exclusions – Identifies activities that the contractor will not do, e.g., clean the worksite.
- Timeline – Gives the start and end dates of the project as a whole and the timeline for individual tasks within the project.
- Cost Estimate – This is a complete itemized list of the costs involved in the project and an estimated total. It allows the client to decide whether to accept or decline the contractor’s offer.
- Itemized Bid – The bid outlines all the costs associated with individual tasks.
- Payment Method – Explains how the contractor would like to be paid, i.e., upfront, deposit plus installments, or full payment at the end of the project.
- Guarantees and Other Promises. – Here, the contractor makes guarantees about their services and the materials they will use for the project.
What to Say When Sending an Estimate
An estimate is a great way to market your business to a potential client by outlining how much you will need to complete their project. Here is how to communicate your intentions effectively:
- Company Information – Help the client know who is sending the estimate by adding your company logo, name, and contact information on a prominent part of the page.
- Scope of Work – Then, describe the work you will do if they accept your bid and mention all the items and materials you plan to use.
- Timeline – Now, tell the client how long it will take to complete the project. Make sure to consider any other pending projects you might have.
- Costs – Give a breakdown of the material and labor costs involved in the project. Mention any package deals or discounts you are offering.
- Payment Terms – Now, tell the client how you would like to get paid for your work (upfront/deposit and installments/after the project). You should also mention any penalties and late fees that might apply.
- Disclaimer – Finally, mention that the estimate indicates approximate figures that are subject to change.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should be included in a contractor’s estimate?
A contractor’s estimate should contain the cost of materials, labor, and hiring subcontractors where applicable. It should provide the client with an approximate total project cost.
What should you not say to a contractor?
You should never tell a contractor that they are the only person bidding on your project, as they will have no incentive to sweeten the deal. You should also avoid giving them your budget as they might go out of their way to ensure their estimate falls within it, even if it should be lower.
What’s the difference between a bid and an estimate?
An estimate is an approximation of the material and labor costs that are to be expected during a project, while a bid is a document specifying how much a contractor will need to complete a project. Bids are more detailed than estimates and are prepared where the scope of work is known. For example, if a company is looking for someone to do their wiring, several contractors will send in bids indicating how much they will use to complete the project. The best offer gets the job.
How long should you wait for a contractor estimate?
In most cases, it will take a contractor a day or less to prepare an estimate, especially if they have worked on a similar project before. That said, the process could take longer if the contractor has to do extensive research on the materials and tools.
Most clients will ask that contractors fill in estimate template forms (construction, repair, cleaning) before they consider hiring them for a project. As such, having this document in and can increase your employability, especially if the estimates you produce are detailed and competitive. Besides this, it will also ensure your interests are protected if a conflict arises between you and a client.