Preparing an estimate for any pond building or repair job is your second most important tool for getting the job. The first one was how you presented yourself when you first looked at the job. A good estimate must be properly presented, be neat, clean and understandable and not scratched on the back of an old napkin. An estimate will eventually become part of a pond building contract, so it must be as precise and detailed as you can make it. Read on to learn how to do a pond construction estimate.
Set up a spread sheet of two separate pages. The first page will list a total of all your expenses including general expenses, materials, labor, your labor burden of insurance, FICA, SUTA, FUTA and all other expenses you may have. You will set spread sheet cells with percentages of totals from the second page. When you are finished with page one, you will have a total job cost.
Start the second page first with the following columns: Column one will be for a list of what you will use on any and all jobs. This list will rarely change. Column two lists costs common to most jobs. Use this list for general expenses, administrative expenses, travel, equipment rental if needed, equipment costs and special job needs like closing a street or hiring consultants. These are expenses that you are not included in your mark up on page one.
Understand that column three is for your material cost. You will have rock costs, pumps, skimmers, liners, underlayment, necessary hardware, plant material, mulch and any and all other material costs. These figures are placed in the cell across from its name in column one.
Know column four is for labor costs. Figure how many person hours you will need and enter that cost as one total in the cell across from labor in column one. Set your spreadsheet so all columns add up automatically and put the totals either at the top of bottom, where the prospective client can see them easily. As you enter each figure, the spreadsheet will add them up, so you can see where you are heading with the costs.
Understand that you are now ready for page one, the summary of all the costs on page two. The right-hand column has the labor cost times the percentage you pay for all unseen labor cost with a total. Under that, the total material costs multiplied by the sales tax in your state. After your spreadsheet totals those figures, add your overhead, usually 15 to 20 percent depending on what you need on an ongoing basis. Include the costs of your advertising, your telephones, fax machine, computer and computer equipment, paper, pens, and all office supplies. Next put in a cell for travel expenses. Include depreciation on your vehicles as well as regular maintenance, tolls and gasoline. This cell is not marked up, so needs only to be added to the total.
Add your profit. Fifteen to 20 percent of the previous total is a fair profit.
Keep in mind that the spreadsheet will do all calculations for you. All percentages are figured and all totals are added. Your final figure is at the bottom named total cost of job. Stick to that figure. If the client thinks it is too high, ask what he would like to omit. Do not bargain. Your basis for your cost is broken out on page two and verifiable by a few phone calls by the client. Do not inflate these costs. You don't need to. Your price is fair to everyone.