Builders claim estimating is still the most time consuming part of their job.
That’s one conclusion from research carried out by building software specialist company HBXL which wanted to find out a bit more on builder work patterns and how they managed their time on a day-to-day basis.
Of those surveyed 44% said estimating took up most of their time followed by getting in new business (18%) and travelling (15%) being the next most time consuming functions.
All of those surveyed said they work either in the evenings or on weekends.
Joanna Mulgrew, marketing director at HBXL said: “These results show that builders still find that estimating for new work a real challenge. It also shows they are not necessarily using technology and services that are tailor made specifically for them.
“As a result they are spending a huge amount of time putting together quotes and estimates, time which could be better spent either on site, developing their business or relaxing and enjoying some leisure time.”
Joanna believes that the evidence suggests builders were concentrating so hard on simply pulling in business on a hand-to-mouth basis they are neglecting to make full use of a unique time-saving service the company has developed.
Called the HBXL Estimating Service, it’s ideal for builders working on extensions, new builds, garages or loft conversions.
Joanna added: “We all know that producing quotes and estimates still takes out the most time in any single day and to produce a totally accurate estimate for more complicated projects can and does in some instances take up a whole day – possibly more if the plans are particularly taxing such as an extension combined with internal alterations or a loft conversion.
“They should be straightforward but often takes much longer than anticipated.
“On top of this many builders simply don’t have the time to price up accurately the cost of a build so either lose the job because of delays in getting back to the client or don’t make the money they should have on the job because it was priced up in a “quick and dirty” fashion.
“Sometimes it may take several days just to get prices back from suppliers! This all takes time out from what they are good at, namely building. “The HBXL Estimating Service is cheaper than asking someone in the office to do it, not to mention the opportunity cost of losing out on work as they haven’t been quick enough to quote or are missing out on building time! “To neglect using a service which could expedite the time builders spend poring over estimates doesn’t sound like good business sense.”
To make use of the service all builders have to do is send the plans to HBXL where expert estimators will price it quickly and accurately.
The builder will receive a detailed estimate report pack outlining a summary of the project’s cost, detailed cost breakdown for materials, plant and labour, cost breakdown of each build phase, cash flow projection and a build program for when each part of the project will take place.
Builders will get a customer quote as a Word file, including mark-up, which can be easily edited before it is shown to customers so the builder doesn’t even have to write up the quotation. Joanna added: “The beauty of this new service is that once the builder has sent us the plans of the project they need a quote for they can focus on the jobs in hand knowing that within a guaranteed time frame they will receive a fully itemised cost break down and totally accurate customer quotation.
“Failing to make full use of packages like HBXL’s Estimating Service means more builders will be working into the evenings and on weekends, tackling their estimating the hard way. This is not the most efficient way to produce quotes for a customer. “This really is the perfect solution for builders who want to present professional estimates but are either too pushed for time to do it themselves or aren’t engaged with using IT and computers.”