How To Hire a New Estimator

How To Hire a New Estimator

Ernie Cvetezar

estimating 003 Typical story that always seems to happen – “your concrete raising business grows fast and as an owner operator you cannot keep up doing estimates and doing the work!” I have “been there done that” many times in my career.  So it is decision time – do I hire a worker to do the work or do I hire an estimator?

My experience is that most new owner operators choose to recruit an estimator.  Why:

  • It is easier to hire and train an estimator. HMI has created systems and the Appstimator Estimating App to allow you to train someone in as little as three days to estimate concrete repair.
  • Estimators can also double as temporary workers for peak periods and can be paid in multiple ways; salary, hourly, by estimate, by accepted estimate or by percentage of work.

Over 40 years in the business my views on estimating have changed 100%. Below is a list of my old biases and the offsetting realities that have evolved with experience.

YOU HAVE TO BE A CONCRETE PERSON TO ESTIMATE RAISING AND LEVELING SERVICES!-  WRONG
The goals are to find someone who can: understand the process, follow your direction explicitly, and represent you professionally  in interactions with homeowner prospects?

ESTIMATORS MUST BE SMOOTH TALKERS WHO CAN ‘SELL’ SOMEONE! – WRONG
Your estimator should be able to present the features and benefits of concrete lifting services honestly in a non-pressured, reassuring way.   The service sells itself when priced correctly. The goal is to inform and educate your prospects while leaving them with confidence about your concrete raising business.

PERSONAL PRESENCE IS NOT IMPORTANT!  – WRONG
Personal presence is everything. This does not mean you need perfect people. It means professional attire and creating an image of attention to detail in the way your estimator looks and sounds may be the difference between upselling opportunities and lost opportunities.

THE OWNER IS THE ONLY/BEST PERSON TO DO THE ESTIMATING-WRONG
This was painfully proven do me a number of years ago.  The question is what are you worth per hour?  Where is your time best spent?  An owner of a business must divide his time between managing the crews, managing the marketing program, managing finances and a million other issues involved in owning a business.  Sometimes it is more beneficial and efficient to have a full time person dedicated to doing just the estimating.

A LONG HISTORY OF SUCCESSES & FAILURES

Picture 016 Over decades I have found that there is no exact model or source of estimators. We have deployed: senior citizens seeking supplemental incomes, high school teacher/coaches, and promoted crew personnel with both success and failure.  The successes have not come from the prior vocation but rather by the individual. The traits of success have been:

  • The ability to follow explicit direction repetitively.
  • An inherent self-gratification evolving from interacting with people.
  •  An ability to LISTEN to customers and to quickly understand their real priority. (Price, Appearance, Safety, Structural Integrity)
  • An ability to communicate which leaves the listener with a sense of confidence in the person and organization they represent based on: their appearance, how they say things, and as well as what they say.

PROCESS & CONSISTENCY

Picture 006 The approved HMI process of estimating is now a science and not an art. Mathematical calculations based on size, amount of slab movement and number of sides needing alignment – drive the calculation. The numbers are the numbers and nearly anyone can do the math. I would encourage you to use a mathematical approach.

It will:

  • Guarantee pricing consistency in a small market where you will learn customers share information.
  • Guarantee a consistency of predictable profit.
  • Guarantee your customers will feel it is consistently applied and not subjective.

 TAKE AWAY

While everyone can do the math behind your estimating process not everyone can create a positive image of your company and make the estimating experience pleasurable for your customers.  Focus on the experience.  It adds value.

Click here to read more about the about the HMI appstimator.

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