Estimating & Budgeting Worksheet

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The Building Advisor Estimating and Budgeting Worksheet is available free as a Word document (.doc) and a Excel spreadsheet (.xls). The construction estimating spreadsheet includes formulas to track building cost estimates, actual costs, variances, payments, and balances due.  Most builders prefer spreadsheets over more complicated estimating software. You can use the BuildingAdvisor spreadsheet template to estimate and track costs for both building and remodeling projects. Uses include:

    • Checklist for budgeting: Make sure all important  items on the list are accounted for in your preliminary budget
    • Checklist for estimating: Make sure all items get into your detailed estimate
    • Tool for tracking estimated vs. actual costs (called “job costing”)
    • Tool for tracking payments and amount due  to vendors and subcontractors

Download free ESTIMATING WORKSHEET (doc.)  for a printable “read-only” estimating checklist.

Download free ESTIMATING SPREADSHEET (.xls)  to use with Excel to calculate costs and track expenses.

Download free ESTIMATING SPREADSHEET with sample data (.xls) to see a typical use in estimating and job costing.

View A Sample Of The Estimating Worksheet Below:  CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE:

Sample of Estimating Worksheet:          CLICK TO ENLARGE

 See Also: Itemized Bid Worksheet

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  1. What are good sources to fill in the info for each estimated expense?

    • buildingadvisor says:

      Creating accurate estimates is the toughest part of the job for many small contractors.
      Unfortunately, there’s not simple answer to your question. Estimating is often the toughest part of the job for many small contractors. That said, there are many places to go for cost information. For starters, I’d suggest reading through the Estimating section at

      The two main categories of costs are materials and labor. Material costs are relatively easy to come by. You can often get a bid for an entire building project from a single supplier. This will at least give you a good ballpark estimate, although you may get better prices by shopping around for different types of materials.

      Labor costs are more difficult to come by. For many costs, you can usually get bids from subcontractors, home centers (that do installed sales), and building supply companies that specialize in flooring, windows, and other product categories. This is time consuming, but you will be getting real costs assuming that you have accurately described the project (scope of work) to each company providing a bid.
      If you have selected specific products, such as windows, carpeting, tile, cabinets, etc., you will get a more accurate cost than by using an “allowance” that may not cover the product you eventually select.

      Another approach is to use unit-cost estimating guides, which give average costs for various types of work based on units such as square feet, linear feet, and so on. These are useful for ballpark estimates and as a backup to check your own estimate, but I wouldn’t rely on them to develop a precise project cost. There are simply too many variables that affect actual project costs.

      Finally, the largest errors in cost estimates are usually items that you have accidentally left out. These are often such things as permits, utility hook-ups, earthwork, landscaping, paving. Use the Estimating Worksheet provided as a checklist to make sure you’re not leaving out any large items. And if you are hiring a general contractor to do the work, you will need to add a percentage for overhead and profit.

      If you do your homework, you should be able to come up with a reasonably accurate estimate. However, it’s always a good idea to budget 5% to 10% extra for changes, hidden costs, and other unknowns. Most projects end up costing somewhat more than expected; very few cost less.

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