In addition to creating a drawing and spec sheet, such as the one shown above, for small, medium, and large versions of each project type, the author also creates a complete estimate, including all quantities. Complex projects can be estimated by combining templates—for example, combining templates for a kitchen addition, a powder room, and a laundry.
In addition to creating a drawing and spec sheet, such as the one shown above, for small, medium, and large versions of each project type, the author also creates a complete estimate, including all quantities. Complex projects can be estimated by combining templates—for example, combining templates for a kitchen addition, a powder room, and a laundry.

In my previous two columns (Oct/13 and Dec/13) I discussed in detail how unit pricing items are developed and how using them to estimate jobs can save you time and increase accuracy. Whether you estimate with an off-the-shelf system or using an Excel spreadsheet, most systems today are built around a database of unit pricing items. Depending on your areas of focus, you could have a library of hundreds or even thousands of unit price items that can be used to develop a detailed estimate of the tasks required for any project, from startup to cleanup. All the parts, pieces, and labor will automatically be included even though you're focused on only the quantities of the units.

To carry these efficiencies one step further, I've built templates or assemblies of items into a library of estimates for the typical projects we do. While many folks I know often copy previous estimates that are similar to their current project, I suggest systematically creating a library of estimate templates to help achieve several key...

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