April 24, 2024

What are the 4 types of estimates in construction?

4 min read
construction estimating company

Estimates in Construction tell the total cost of the project. Knowing the total cost is a way to success! If you are building a small-scale or a large-scale project, estimates must be accurate. This helps to make smart decisions to complete the project on time. How do estimators and contractors achieve accuracy for multiple projects? To achieve this, various types of estimates are essential. In this guide, you will learn about 4 main types of estimates. The various types help professionals ensure the smooth execution of different projects. Every construction development is different from one another. 

Every client’s demand is unique. The major demand of the client is to have accurate estimates. So that they can complete the project within budget. Otherwise, over budgeting can lead to many problems. Such as the client may not have additional finances to complete the project. This causes a lot of delays and a stressful environment. Hire the Best Construction Estimating Company for your needs to prevent such a situation. One such recommendation is SMA Estimating LLC. Their estimators are highly educated and experienced with multiple projects. That helps them to handle all kinds of simpler to most complicated construction endeavors.  

Estimates in construction are the very first thing that is analyzed. Because the owner has to think about the allocated budget. Whether the project will be completed within budget or not. Moreover, estimates are the primary concern for the clients in the bidding phase. The contractors usually hire estimating companies for Construction Cost Estimating. They bid on projects to secure their positions and earn good profits. The clients choose the one with the proposal nearest to the budget. That is why accuracy is the top factor that can not be compromised. So, work with experts who are skilled in all types of estimates.

4 Main Types of Estimates in Construction

Preliminary Estimates 

Preliminary estimates are also referred to as rough estimates. When there is limited information available, these estimates are essential. This is an early approximated idea in the initial phase of the project. What happens by this? The owner can estimate how much budget will be needed for the completion. If a roofer takes the idea of redoing a client’s roof by creating a preliminary estimate. It provides an initial understanding of the project’s scope. Once the project more information becomes available, the estimates are refined accordingly. 

Quantity Estimate

Quantity estimates break down the project into measurable units. That allows for accurate results in estimates in construction. For different trades, various methods are used to estimate. If we talk about roofing then it is based on square footage. Contrarily, plumbing is based on fixture count. So, quantity estimates are the comprehensive list of the materials with their cost. So, this method gives a better understanding to the client. Cost numbers are derived by multiplying project dimensions by the rates for specific work items.

Bid Estimate

A bid estimate is the cost of the overall project submitted to the client for winning the contract. It shows the contractor’s past estimation, as well as their professional behavior to secure a position. If the contractor wants the estimates to be more accurate. It is a must to deeply analyze the cost of materials, labor, and equipment. 

Detailed Estimate

A detailed estimate is the more comprehensive form of estimate. This process involves breaking down the project scope into smaller unit prices. This detailed estimate includes information on quantities, costs, rates, specifications, and drawings. That provides a detailed understanding of the project’s financial requirements. This method helps contractors assess cash flow needs. 

Comparison of 4 Types of Estimates

All the types serve varying purposes. Each one of them has unique advantages and limitations. You just have to understand which one is capable of what. Here is a detailed comparison of different estimate types.

Preliminary Estimate

Preliminary estimate provides a quick, high-level overview. It is the best option for conceptual studies. These estimates are beneficial for the quickest initial decisions. What does it require? It just needs minimal details and offers a low level of detail.

Detailed Estimate

The detailed estimates state a detailed breakdown of the project costs and timelines. The good thing is that the client receives exact insights. This estimate is beneficial for budgeting after defining the project. However, due to its detailed nature, it can be resource-intensive and less flexible.

Quantity Estimate

This estimate’s primary focus is on the quantity of the resources needed for the project rather than its cost. The process involves a detailed analysis to ascertain accuracy in estimation. However, quantity estimates do not address financial aspects or price variations. 

Bid Estimate

A bid estimate is the most comprehensive estimate that combines factors like cost, quantity, and strategy. It needs to be 100% accurate to be suitable for the contracts. No doubt that the creation of bid estimate is a bit time-consuming. But it offers a detailed financial planning that is better for the owner.


This understanding of the types of estimates in construction can guide you in choosing experts. Selecting the correct method for your estimates is the key! First, check the main factors to cover in your project. What are your specific needs? This will help you to choose which method is most suitable. While hiring the best-estimating company, you must look into multiple things. A reputable company must have information gathered related to your project. This includes material costs, labor rates, and industry trends. Openly communicate with them so that everything is crystal clear to understand. However, if you are investing a huge amount in your project. Do not underestimate even small things! Choose the best possible stuff for your projects.

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