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The estimator’s two main responsibilities are quantifying and summarizing.  Quantifying and summarizing are two separate functions of the estimator.  He should never try to do both at the same time.  He must estimate the project first; completely and fully.  Then he must focus on bidding and summarizing the project.  He should never think about bidding when he is quantifying.

Estimating – is the quantification of the materials shown on the drawings and specified in the specifications.  The estimator must complete his take-off completely and accurately as possible.

Bidding – is the summarization of the estimate.  The estimator must know all the indirect labor, incidental labor, labor escalation costs, and all expenses and quoted materials.  The final step is applying an appropriate overhead and profit percentage to arrive at the final bid price.

An estimator knows how to quantify and summarize.  A takeoff person only knows how to quantify. Please don’t call yourself an estimator unless you know how to completely summarize the project estimate.

Remember, estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, and quality estimating is profitable.