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Estimating Extrodinaire
30th April 2010, 06:11 PM
Hi everyone,

I heard about the Forum and thought I'd join to discuss all aspects of the Estimating game.

Estimating isn't just about knowledge of Scaffolding-it's a people business. Repeat business is essential to improved rates and the continuity of turnover to a firm.

Our biggest problem currently is customers demand the highest of standards and services for the absolute lowest- rock bottom prices. We've been throwing in additional hire and scaffolding inspections for the past 18 months.

All contracts these days seem to be all risk and if you even mention an extra to a QS your company is immediatley frowned upon.

We've found the housing market is gradually starting to pick up, with sites that were 'mothballed' 2/3years ago, starting up again.

New companies are incredibly hard to break into as they have there 'pet scaffold firms'. As I'm sure estimators from all over the country will agree, I find myself promising the earth to the potential new customer, throwing in all kinds of things FOC. By the time you've picked up a job you may have priced and been in negotiations for weeks, you feel the job is now that cheap, one mistake on site- late delivery of materials etc and the labour ratio is out of the window.

We should all make a stance, bring rates upto where they were 06/07, stop submitting 'silly' quotations and let the customers know that WE decide how much a job costs NOT the QS.

Each time we try and improve our rates we are always battard down to rediculous prices- our scaffs moan about the rates and perform porly on site. This agitates the customer and before you know it... no repeat business!!!

On another note.... Has anyone else found the online auctions that customers are now using to 'sell' scaffolding jobs an absolute insult to us. Basically putting us in a ring and asking us to 'fight it out' for 15 mins?! You have your lowest price set out and before you know it your in fifth position. If these people actually cared about quality and safety these 'price' auctions wouldnt exist. The HSE should be appauled at this way of offering work out, any two bit, fly-by-night firm can enter into an auction and get the job.

I win 90% of my jobs if I visit site, visit the QS and demonstrate my knowledge of scaffolding, attention to safety and submit a keen price first time. It's only the old school QS's who seem to care about safety and performance- all the younger QS's are all about cost and putting a smile on there line-managers faces. Through the recession QS's feared for there jobs- driving quotations down through 'dutch auctions' this has lead to crap quality on site and profits being no existant.

If you like what your reading please comment below-if not then please note this is a scaffolders Forum NOT A QS's!!!! :D

paddy carr
30th April 2010, 06:35 PM
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Estimating Extrordinaire

Welcome to the Scaffolders forum.

I have heard of these 'Job Auctions' for other trades ie. Dry-lining contractors, and as i was told by one company, they were lying 3rd in a tender, so they lowered their original quote per house, as they realy wanted this site, and guess what? they became 7th on the list

I attended a in-house H&S Committee meeting a few weeks ago, in my role as a H&S rep. A Construction Director, stated that the Employee had the upperhand 3 years ago, lasting for the last 10 years, now he stated it was the Employers turn. One Contracts Manager was heard to say " I can have the choice of any, Ronaldo,Rooney and Messi for the price of a non league player".

Our time will come again, however, as you have identified so well in your thread, the Lads need to have a consensus of opinion regarding, a benchmark for estimating.

Regards
Paddy

Ian McInnes
30th April 2010, 08:56 PM
I agree. Buying work is a mug's game. And, for the QS, if you pay peanuts it is highly probable that you will get monkeys. I always want to visit a site unless I'm pricing new build from drawings. Phone and e-mail prices should always be subject to a site survey. Professionalism will always win out in the end.

aom
1st May 2010, 11:19 PM
Estimating Extrordinaire,

Welcome to the forum and I couldn't agree more with you. I think everyone on here could tell a horror story or two in that regard, but I think that's what happens in a recession. It's the old supply and demand thing on full reverse. I was always a great believer of that phalosophy but a few hard lessons have been learned over the last 18 months. I think the secret will come during the recovery, no hiking the price up just because you can, a fair price for a good job, not just for the scaffs but in every walk of life, hopefully that would lead to a more sustainable economy and maybe more of the boy's that are scaffolding the house could actually afford to live in it. I'm not advocating communism but you get my drift.:D

paddy carr
2nd May 2010, 09:48 AM
Estimating Extrordinaire,

Welcome to the forum and I couldn't agree more with you. I think everyone on here could tell a horror story or two in that regard, but I think that's what happens in a recession. It's the old supply and demand thing on full reverse. I was always a great believer of that phalosophy but a few hard lessons have been learned over the last 18 months. I think the secret will come during the recovery, no hiking the price up just because you can, a fair price for a good job, not just for the scaffs but in every walk of life, hopefully that would lead to a more sustainable economy and maybe more of the boy's that are scaffolding the house could actually afford to live in it. I'm not advocating communism but you get my drift.:D

Come the Revolution:D

aom
4th May 2010, 12:04 AM
Better believe it brother. Jeezz, I'm turning in to citizen Smith lol.