6 Hacks to Check Your Accuracy When Pricing Residential Builds BEFORE You Send to a Client
Each job can have some key measurements which you can then use as a filter to check whether the rest of your measurements make sense. For example, you might measure the floor area, this potentially gives you the ability to reuse those measurements to check total exterior wall length, building wrap or rigid air barrier, external frames, wall insulation (minus windows), bulk linings e.g. gib board, standard cladding. This does not replace doing an accurate measure of each of those items, but gives you a baseline to check your measurements against to make sure you haven’t missed something big (which is our QS worst nightmare).
Never send a pricing to a client late at night, even if you have been working away on it til 11pm and you think it’s ready to go. Chances are you may have missed something basic like the wrong date, wrong client name, that can make you look unprofessional, or worse, you have made a fundamental error like using the floor area from the last job in the spreadsheet to calculate concrete. Always have another look with fresh eyes in the morning before sending it off.
Spot check a few quantities. When you come back to a pricing and are getting ready to send it to the client, choose a few items to spot check, just to check yourself on. You may choose the same items each pricing, or mix it up and choose different pieces to focus on each time and try and catch yourself out.
Check a few labour measurements vs the labour constants. Each builder and crew have different capabilities. They will be faster at some things and slower at others, and unless you do a detailed back costing for every job, these are hard to pin down. What you can use are Labour Constants (see our other blog on this topic). And another way you can use Labour Constants is to look at the recommended Labour Constant against what you have allowed and make sure they are within reach of each other. If you have a Labour allowance very different from what the constants tell us is achievable for “the average guy, on an average day” then just understand why they might be different, for example a difficult site, or a tricky detail in the plans, but it gives you a sense check you can investigate if needed.
Extra tags. More is more when it comes to tags. Ask yourself, what do I need to spell out to the client is EXCLUDED so they don’t assume it is INCLUDED? Each builder should have a pre-prepared list of their favourite tags to choose from, which are appropriate here? And another review of the plans and the job in your head, what do I need to make the client aware of? My personal favourite to add is “No allowance for landscaping or repairs to landscaping around the house” as this is often expected by the homeowner, and not allowed for by the builder.