How do you price estimates and how do they compare to my current pricing?
Everybody prices differently and there are different variables to consider based on market and location. If you would like us to provide pricing, we can do so using Alliance Millsoft, and we will set up the software to use hourly labor rates that you provide to us. We will also adjust the markup settings as you request. We have a database of standard material pricing, and if there is something unique, we may ask you to check your supplier for pricing. The prices are sent to you for review with a price on each line item, and it is your responsibility to review and verify the pricing is acceptable before sending to your customer.
Do you contact vendors for buyout pricing?
If we are providing pricing and there is a buyout item, such as 3form, we can typically contact the vendor for a quote. We will give the vendor your company’s name and address to process the quotation.
Will you coordinate with my subcontractors?
Yes, if you are using a subcontractor for countertops, installation, metalwork, etc. we can email the sub highlighted drawings and takeoffs to help facilitate their pricing.
What happens if you miss something?
We strive for perfection and do our best not to miss anything. However, things occasionally go unnoticed, and it is a part of the process that we need to deal with. We try to deal with this up front by qualifying the bid and providing detailed takeoffs. We highlight and number each item on the drawings, and we recommend you send the highlighted drawings to the contractor along with the bid. In this way missed items get noticed early and can usually be accounted for before the contract is awarded. We always recommend you review the work before submitting a quote. It always helps to have a second set of eyes on the project, and in this way, we reduce chances of having surprises later in the project.
Outsourcing seems expensive; how can I afford it?

The benefit-cost ratio is different for every business. In our experience we have found that our customers are spending less with us than they would hiring an employee. When you hire an employee, you pay salary plus payroll taxes and benefits, and you generally pay for 40 hours a week. Out of the 40 hours you pay for you pay for direct estimating labor (time spent on an estimate) and overhead labor (time spent in the shop, on the phone, reading emails, going to meetings, etc.). When you pay us hourly typically the clock starts when the estimator sits down to do the estimate and the clock stops when the estimator is finished. You only get charged for the direct estimating hours. So, you may pay a little more per hour, but you pay for less hours overall. When a small company hires us “full-time” we typically only spend 20-30 hours per week working on their projects.

We also offer fixed prices based on the overall job cost. This is offered when we provide the pricing for the project. Full price schedule available here. This is not offered when we provide takeoffs only. This allows you to plan for how much you will be spending on your projects. We assume the risk of not completing the project within the allotted hours. You assume the risk of paying a little extra if we complete the project in less time than allotted. With this system average customers are still paying less than they would for a full-time employee.

This is all assuming the customer is not bidding every job they can get their hands on. Best results come from having a more selective approach to who you’re bidding to and what you’re bidding on. It’s good practice to have someone focused on sales. If you send us every job that hits your desk you will waste a lot of time, effort and money on estimating.

Do you keep our information confidential?
Yes, we keep all your data and pricing confidential and do not share with anybody.
What is your lead time?
We generally turn projects around in a few days. We are date driven and try our best to meet your deadlines. We appreciate when you can give us the project a couple weeks ahead before it is due. This allows us to plan and schedule your project in our system.
Do you contact our customers?
Generally, no. We provide the “backend” work preparing the estimate, and it is your responsibility provide the “frontend” working relationship with your customers. In some cases, we may be copied on an email and respond to questions regarding the scope. But we are not salespeople and do not contact customers to follow up on leads or bids.
Do you bid for my competitors?
Our customers are spread out across the United States, and we have not encountered any scenarios where two customers are bidding in the same market or same project. If we are providing prices, it would be unethical for us to bid the same project for two or more companies. In this scenario we would only bid for one company.
We use different software than you use; can you still help us?
Yes, if you would like us to use your software you can set us up with a license and training, and we can use your system. We would typically set the software up on a remote computer at your office or ours, and we would have the estimator log in remotely. Or if it is a cloud-based system we can login from anywhere. But there are a variety of software packages, and they are generally licensed to the woodworker, so we would have you provide the license to us for use.