Struggling to create a cost estimate for your construction project? Here are five free templates to make the job easier for you!
Going over budget on a construction project can wipe out your profits and put you in the red. Though inflation can creep in at any stage of a project, inaccurate estimates at the beginning can act like wedges, expanding your project’s budget throughout its lifecycle.
So, it’s important to get estimates right at the beginning to avoid problems later. And while you can create a construction estimating spreadsheet from scratch, it’s time-consuming because you’ll have to make a new one for different estimating requirements.
Fortunately, there are various free construction estimate templates available online for you to try. We’ve scoured the web and compiled five free templates to meet your construction estimating needs.
How to use a construction estimate template
Once you’ve chosen a construction estimate template, take a look at this step-by-step list to come up with a good estimate using a method called unit costing:
- Compile all the line items (assemblies) for a job.
- Attach a unit cost to each line item.
- Total your numbers and have them checked by a qualified second party.
- Apply your standard markup to get a final price.
Before you begin, take note of potential pitfalls such as failing to read all project documents or forgetting to record an expense. Check and recheck your work.
5 free construction estimating templates
Here are five free templates to help you handle the basics of creating a comprehensive construction estimate. These templates can cater to many of your construction estimating needs.
1. Construction proposal contract template
A proposal contract template lets you describe the basic outline of a construction project and the cost of completing it for your client. It doesn’t provide a detailed breakdown of the project, but it’ll work if you need to help your client understand only the basics.
The template can also function as a contract with the client. There’s space at the bottom of the document to sign and record the date as well as add any extra notes.
The template allows you to present the client with the terms and conditions of the contract agreement, such as the approximate cost, scope changes, payment terms, and refundable deposits. Since it’s also a written contract, it helps you avoid legal hassles with clients.
2. Construction work quote template
A work quote estimating template lets you describe details such as the labor and material costs required to complete a project. Once accepted by the client, it can also be used as a legally binding document, with a provision that the agreed-upon rates and terms will expire after the contract (or its extension) period.
The template allows you to take estimating a step further by including automatic calculations for not only material and labor cost but also discounts and taxes (if any).
3. Construction soft vs. hard costs template
This template separates project expenses into soft and hard costs. Hard costs are for materials and labor, while soft costs are for administrative work such as accounting fees, legal charges, insurance, and permits.
You can use a soft vs. hard costs template to offer clients clarity into nontypical costs such as LEED certification fees that could arise during the tenure of a project.
This template is useful when clients ask for a detailed breakdown of your project estimates. Splitting up expenses into soft and hard costs lets clients view the exact project expenses, so they don’t get any surprises when the final invoice arrives.
*The website offers multiple templates. Please scroll down to find the soft vs. hard costs template.
4. Construction estimating and budgeting template
An estimating and budgeting template allows you to track cost estimates against budget utilization. You can check the estimated vs. actual cost for each line item (called job costing) as well as payments and amounts due to all vendors and subcontractors.
This template is useful if you want to track how your estimate does throughout the course of a construction project. As the project progresses, you’ll have a clear idea of items that have overshot the initial estimates as well as any payments and balances due.
5. Construction bid tabulation template
This template lets you organize and compare the bid items submitted by various subcontractors. It offers separate columns to compare your engineer’s estimates with the amount quoted by different contractors in their bid proposals.
A bid tabulation template helps verify if the final bid amount submitted by different subcontractors matches the amounts they’ve quoted for labor and materials in their calculations. It’s useful for spotting errors that can occur when you review hundreds of bid items at a time.
*The website offers multiple templates. Please scroll down to find the bid tabulation template.
Final thoughts and additional resources
This report lists five construction estimate templates you can use for free. Here’s a quick recap of how they can help your construction company.
Putting together a simple estimate doesn’t need to be complicated, so these templates can be of certain use. But if you want to create professional cost estimates, consider using a construction cost estimating tool.
Construction estimating software creates cost estimates while reducing errors in calculations by automatically fetching the updated prices of materials from your cost database. Check out five reasons you should use construction estimating software. Also, here are some free tools you can try.
If you need a solution that assists with construction project management along with cost estimation, invest in construction management software with cost estimation functionality. And if you’re new to this and just starting out, check out our ultimate guide to construction cost estimating that explains in detail the use of technology in construction estimation.