I recently asked the participants in jlconline's Estimating and Takeoff forum what part of the estimating process was most difficult for them. The nearly unanimous answer was "estimating labor costs."

Labor costs are harder to estimate than the costs for materials and subs. It's possible to calculate the material and sub costs for a job, then make a wild guess about how many days it will take your crew to do the work. I know contractors who make a good profit doing it. However, this method is just as likely to produce a loss. The best way to...

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