I have asked the “How do you measure?” question countless times to people who are interested in learning more about our property measurement software. And guess what, there really isn’t one consistent response.
Generally, it seems as if contractors use some form of measuring that stems from either using the measuring wheel or an online property measuring service. But there is a third major segment to the property measuring crowd, and those are the folks I like to call “eyeballers”.
When someone tells me “I eyeball the property for an estimate”, I am consistently surprised. I can’t stop focusing on the obvious questions:
What if you overestimate and lose the bid? What if you underestimate and lose your behind servicing the property? If you are taking the time to look at the property, wouldn’t you at least wheel it off? Are you SURE the property is 10,000 sf not 10,501 sf?
Property Measurements = Professionalism
To me, property measurements seem to be the foundation an estimate, the practical starting point. Plus, I think it is safe to say business owners appear far more professional if they have some specs in hand when delivering an estimate.
Granted I know that many of the business owners I have been able to talk with over the years have been in the business for decades and their “eyeball” is very discerning. I also realize that for some services, a couple hundred or maybe even 1000 SF off of the true property specs might not hurt a margin enough to matter.
But come on! It’s the 21st century. People want facts, figures and instant gratification. You can’t really deliver these items with your ‘eyeball’ SWAG.
The Consumers Prospective
I work with contractors every day, so I am consistently on the behind-the-scenes end of a bid. But, my fiance and I recently purchased our first home and I found myself on the other side of the bid- the buyers side.
While we were negotiating the purchase of our home, we had some experts come out and take a look at the property so we knew what we were getting ourselves into. A whole house inspector, a general contractor, and eventually after discovering we had a faulty roof, a roofing contractor all came out to see us.
The inspector did not raise any questions about the roof. He suggested a few minor repairs to other parts of the home and we would be good to go.
We had a general contractor out to get estimates on these repairs, and while he was there, he took notice to some issues with the roof. So, he went up on the roof, looked around and took a few notes. The next day he emailed us a jaw-dropping estimate that almost drove us to walk away.
Instead of walking away, we decided to get another opinion. We called a roofing contractor out to take a look. The roofing contractor took a new approach however, and one that was an integral part of the estimate. Can you guess what I am going to say he did and the others didn’t?
He measured the roof! Then he sent us an estimate that included photos of the roof, descriptions of the amount of material and labor required to fulfill the necessary work and a nice cover letter about the company.
Guess who won the work?
In the end, we were pleased with the roofing estimate from the roofing contractor because he took the time to measure the roof, which indicated he used the property specs to guide him in delivering an estimate. Plus, he sent us photos of the problems he wanted to address, which really brought the issue to life for us.
Different Industry, Same Concept
So, although my example with the roofing contractor is derived from a different industry, I think the same rule applies. Consumers these days like as much information as possible. Facts, data, pictures- anything you can include, you should.
It makes you look professional AND you will have actual documented numbers to use for ordering materials, estimating labor and building in your margin.
So there you have it. Property measurement matters no matter how you slice it.