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Construction Bid Versus Estimate – What Is the Difference?

Feb 14, 2023 | Blog, Job Bidding, Management

While both a bid and an estimate involve predicting the cost of a construction project, they are not the same thing. An estimate is an approximation of the total cost of a project based on available information, whereas a bid is a formal offer to perform the project at a specific cost. A bid typically includes a detailed breakdown of costs, as well as terms and conditions for the project.

An estimate is typically not binding. An estimate is usually a non-binding approximation of the expected cost of a project based on available information. It is intended to give the client an idea of what the project may cost and help them decide whether or not to move forward with the project. However, the actual cost of the project may vary depending on factors such as unforeseen issues or changes to the project scope. In contrast, a binding contract would include specific terms and conditions that are agreed upon by both parties and are legally enforceable.

A bid is typically binding. When a contractor submits a bid, they are making a formal offer to perform the project at a specific cost. If the bid is accepted by the client, it forms a legally binding agreement between the two parties. The bid will typically include a detailed breakdown of the costs, as well as terms and conditions for the project, and both parties are expected to adhere to these terms. However, it’s important to review the bid carefully and ensure that you understand the terms and conditions before accepting it, as there may be some circumstances in which the bid may be subject to change or modification.

A bid typically includes several components, such as:

  • Scope of work: A description of the work to be performed or the service to be provided, including any relevant details or specifications.
  • Price: A detailed breakdown of the costs, including labor, materials, equipment, and any other expenses related to the project.
  • Timeline: A schedule outlining the start and completion dates of the project, as well as any milestones or deadlines.
  • Terms and conditions: A list of the specific conditions that must be met in order for the bid to be accepted, including any warranties or guarantees provided by the contractor.
  • Signature: The bid may be signed by the contractor or supplier as a formal acknowledgement of the terms and conditions.

The exact format of a bid may vary depending on the industry and the specific project or service being offered, but these components are typically included in a bid to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of the work to be performed and the associated costs.

It is generally recommended to have some level of experience in construction before bidding on a job. This experience will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to accurately estimate the cost of a project, as well as the ability to identify potential issues that may arise during the construction process.

Having experience in construction will also help you understand the various materials and equipment required for a job, as well as the specific building codes and regulations that must be followed. This knowledge is essential in developing an accurate bid that takes into account all the necessary costs and requirements for the project.

If you do not have prior experience in construction, you may want to consider partnering with someone who does, or working as an apprentice or helper to gain the necessary skills and knowledge. This can help you build a strong foundation of experience and knowledge that will enable you to make informed decisions when bidding on construction jobs.

One thing that will make your life much easier is using a solution like ProfitDig, that greatly speeds up the time spent creating bids, and results in a professional level presentation to help you win more jobs.

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