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W&D Weekly
October 22, 2014
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Taking the Industry's Pulse

In preparation for the release of its exclusive Industry Pulse report—designed to gauge window and door manufacturers' and dealers' expectations for 2015—Window & Door is asking subscribers to participate in this year’s survey…Take the survey

Estimating Labor Costs When No Two Jobs Are Alike

Experienced estimators can sometimes bid an entire home of turnkey replacement windows almost within minutes of meeting with a potential client. Though common, this standard “per-opening” installed bid only works up to a point… Read more



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AWP Invests in Manufacturing Processes
ProVia Streamlines its Product Configurator
WTS Paradigm Helps a Local Family in Need
B.F. Rich Expands
The Talk

By Jim Snyder
In my latest From the Field column, I discuss the challenge of consistently estimating replacement jobs for different home conditions.

The practice in our industry is to specify a base rate for a certain type of replacement (insert or full frame, for instance). This assumes reasonably accessible openings and sizes. Add-ons are then identified and bid by a qualified, experienced estimator.

The challenge these add-ons present is three-fold:
1) Identifying “out-of-the-ordinary” time-killers
2) Determining if, and how much, extra labor is justified
3) Identifying who handles the add-ons (it might not always be you).

Add-ons can vary. Perhaps security will need to be rewired or overgrown bushes trimmed back for access. The client may arrange the rewiring with their security company and/or may choose to trim back the hedges themselves beforehand. But based on my experience, removing and reinstalling plantation shutters is best handled by the installer.

A less experienced estimator can overlook some of these add-ons.

As an aid, you can use the pre-installation checklist available through Window & Door. Its purpose is broader than just identifying add-ons; Sections 2 and 3 prompt some of the necessary discussion with the client. The list will demonstrate preparedness to your client and prevent unpleasant surprises. Wouldn’t you want to know in advance if a job is going to take longer so you can prepare a more accurate proposal?

I would love to hear your feedback on “estimating the unusual.” If you like the checklist, you can contact me for an editable version.

I’ll leave you with this week's poll question. Please select an answer, leave a comment, and/or write me at
Do your estimators have the experience to estimate any and all add-ons?
Yes, they are the best qualified
Most of the time
We often send someone else out for a second opinion
Does Your Company Have a TV Advertising Campaign?
More than half of the respondents to last week's poll reported that they do not utilize TV advertising to market their business. See the full survey results...

The Outside View
Nationwide Housing Starts Top 1 Million for Third Time this Year
Residential Remodeling in NYC Reaches 10-Year High
From The Huffington Post


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