After that, the project proceeded conventionally on the interior. On the exterior, we installed horizontal furring strips above the parging, which allowed us to slightly flare the new beveled cedar siding over the stucco — a nice touch.
To land the job, I had discounted my original estimate by $5,000 to match the bids from several competitors. With a total project budget of about $111,600, this amount — plus the $2,300 we ate as a result of the missing below-grade detail — ended up being lost profit. I probably should have tried harder to stick with my original numbers, but that was hard to do during the downturn, when we were struggling to keep employees working, pay salary and overhead, and continue to chip away at our line of credit. As it turns out, our strategy may be starting to pay off: I haven’t had to discount any of my estimates lately, and recently the homeowners on this project asked us to renovate their master bath.
Rob Corbo is a contractor in Elizabeth, N.J.