The Value of Using a Construction Estimate Checklist (Free Template)
Pro Tips

The Value of Using a Construction Estimate Checklist (Free Template)

BuildBook Team
August 15, 2022
August 15, 2022

If you work in the residential construction industry, chances are, you’re familiar with projects that haven’t been well defined. Nothing’s more important than defining a project before you start. 

Getting the right answers from contractors, subcontractors, and clients will save a lot of time and money for all parties involved.

Here’s how the value of using an estimating checklist can help your construction company save time bidding, increase profitability, and streamline projects. Jump to the bottom of this article to download a free estimate template.

Preparing a estimate checklist

Before making your checklist, make sure you avoid costly bidding mistakes. Submit all required documents, acknowledge past receipts, and get prequalified on bids where this is required. This way, you can follow all requirements and lower the likelihood of being rejected.

Understanding your project

Pinpoint useful information within your project before creating your checklist. Consider an agreement between your contractors and subcontractors with a clear outline of your client’s expectations. 

At this stage, understand what details set this project apart and what deliverables your client can expect.

Checklist thought process

Get your plans approved

Work from an approved set of plans. Refer to the date approved or revised.

Conduct a site visit

Visit the site and consider specifics like restrictions and additional signatures. Get specific with your client and subtractors about the hours of work required. Outline if you’ll need additional space, a temporary office trailer, or additional equipment.

Notice site conditions

Note site conditions before work begins and outline what potential hold ups could look like.

You can note who is responsible for tasks such as:

  • Preparation
  • Foundation 
  • Excavation
  • Grading
  • Structural backfill

Consider additional tasks

Prepare all documentation such as a recent soils report and where they will need to be submitted.

Do a walk through of the site and document what its current state is. Document things such as:

  • A recording the current status of the site
  • Existing damage to the site
  • Sites of the adjoining properties 
  • Broken concrete, wall, and sidewalk cracks

You’ll want to submit your findings to your client as a submission for approval, prior to beginning work.

Have contacts on hand

Contact the municipalities/agencies involved and determine if permits are required and note all of the costs. Keep in mind that permits may have to be verified. Be sure to exclude the costs of any inspector’s time for re-inspection or testing.

Get all necessary signatures

Allow time in your bid for meeting with an inspector. Inspectors typically give you a two-to-four-hour window. Additionally, plan to have regular weekly meetings with the project owner or construction manager. You’ll want to have a company representative join all meetings.

Keep documentation accurate

If you decide additional measures should be taken as a part of work, keep this documented on the checklist. 

Keep in mind you may have to schedule with other site owners as a part of your checklist process.

Document whether you have control over the site or if you’ll have to accommodate other trades. 

Can you complete your work with one move-in or mobilization, or are you planning on several moves?

Keep all of these up to date in your quote.

How to conduct an estimate

Creating your checklist

Before you bring pen to paper, you may want to brainstorm your project and complete an outline of your checklist.

Break the planned project down into its components (plumbing, roofing, HVAC, electrical, foundation, etc…) and then break down each component into its pieces (materials, labor and equipment, etc. ) Consider creating a construction bid proposal for your client. 

Notes and exclusions

Don’t let price escalation provisions dampen your plans. Inside your checklist, account for inflation impacting prices and avoid “guaranteed” completion dates. 

As a contractor, things can change after a site visit or meeting with a client about your project. Keep this in mind when preparing your checklist and create preventative measures to avoid “Liquidated Damages” penalties if your project runs over. 

Contractor and subcontractor working hours

Establish when your crews will be working. Agree to a set schedule for the project and vocalize whether overtime will be given as a part of the project. 

Determine the insurance limits and types of insurance required. Your subs are likely to fall under these guidelines, so make sure they comply. Otherwise, you may be asked to pay for their shortcomings.

Send RFI’s. 

Bring up potential issues to your client beforehand. If you are bidding any alternate products, appliances, materials, or processes from those specified, get approval early.

If you want to suggest any cost-saving products or processes, requests must be given early in the process so that you can receive approvals on a timely basis.

Prepare subcontractors

Provide a scope of work to your subs so everyone is aligned on tasks assigned from the beginning.

It’s your turn

Download our free construction estimate template and use this article as a reference to prepare your estimates. Remember that utilizing a checklist when creating estimates can not only help make sure your bids are accurate, but also keep things moving throughout the construction process. 

Ready to take your business to the next level? Check out our construction management software to help you get the job done right.


Like what you are seeing? Sign up to receive our blog content and product announcements right to your inbox.

No spam. Ever. Just helpful biz tips and stories you can relate to.