Watch those pennies!

I’ve witnessed hundreds of times that with just a few hours of instruction, almost anyone can identify a wall or a ceiling in a drawing. Sure, that’s an accomplishment, right? But usually, this is where the mental block kicks in, preventing way too many people from more in-depth learning that literally amounts to their “bread and butter.”

See, it has never been about the walls or the dollars… it has always been about the details… the pennies.

How so? Let me explain.

Imagine that the large areas of a project are the dollars, and the small areas or items are the pennies. I’m referring to the value of small items on projects. They are too often overlooked, and when this happens, the pennies go missing.

What is another word for pennies? How about PROFIT? That’s right, profit, because when pennies come up short, the first money to leave is the profit. Every single day, estimators either miss or omit small items because they either haven’t been trained to find and price them, or they get lazy and wrongly think that it’s not a big deal to miss a few small items since we have priced the walls and ceilings up.

I mean, “Hey, the walls and ceilings are the bulk of the job, right?”

Well, that may be so, but the truth is that the small-ticket items that are forgotten, immediately cause the profit to go down. Imagine that when we first start pricing a job, we add the material and labor in, then we start adding other considerations such as taxes, overhead, and that’s right, PROFIT.

Always remember that the profit is the last thing to be added to a bid but is the first thing to disappear when we forget or price the smaller items incorrectly.

When I was a kid, an older man taught me, “Watch the pennies, Harry, the dollars will take care of themselves”.

Watch those pennies!

Harry Carter

Carter School of Estimating
My estimating courses cover material, man days, production rates, difficulty factors, overhead and a whole lot more! Call (603) 263-0345 or write today and I’ll change the way you think about a lot of things regarding estimating. Estimating is an art. I’d like to think of myself as a great artist when it comes to estimating. Let me bring out the estimating artist in you.
855 Hanover Street
Manchester, NH 03104
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