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How to Build an Accurate Project Estimate

Siding replacement can be an expensive undertaking for homeowners. Providing a comprehensive price estimate helps to reduce their stress and increase their confidence in the project. But many contractors find that it’s time consuming and labor intensive to build a project estimate that accounts for every expense. While accuracy is important to customer satisfaction, it can be difficult to achieve. That’s why James Hardie provides tools for contractors to create project estimates more efficiently and accurately, allowing them to provide a better customer experience. We’re here to support you as you grow your business — just reach out to your local James Hardie representative for access to these game-changing tools. 

Use the Hover® Design Pro Tool to Get Accurate Measurements

An accurate project estimate starts with precise measurements. Thankfully, you won’t need to rely only on your tape measure. With the Hover App, you can get accurate measurements of the home, along with a 3D model of the property to assist homeowners with visualizing their design choices. The process is quick and easy — just snap eight photos of the home in the app, or upload a blueprint PDF online. Within hours, you’ll be able to customize and share a 3D model of the property. You can also use the detailed property data to develop a manual estimate. 

Determine the Materials You Need with the Quick Start Material Take-Off Guide

The HardieTM Quick Start Material Take-Off Guide walks you through the materials you need for your siding project, so you won’t forget about any of the common components required to complete the job. It features a home visual that breaks down the anatomy of a full-wrap Hardie® home, guidance on selecting materials for each area of the home, and a worksheet to help you determine quantities based on your measurements, which allows for an accurate cost estimate. Here’s how to use the tool: 

1) On the first page, review the home image and select the materials and accessories required to complete the project.

2) On the second page, review guidance for choosing the right product quantities based on your measurements.

3) Fill out the worksheet on the next page. You’ll input your selected products and your exterior measurements to help you calculate material quantities for the project. 

Download the HardieTM Quick Start Material Take-Off Guide and Companion Training Guide to get started. 

Quick Start Material Take Off Guide

Get an Accurate Cost Estimate with the HardieTM Material Estimator

Now that you’ve selected your specific materials and obtained property measurements, you can build a project estimate in minutes with the HardieTM Material Estimator. Just reach out to your James Hardie representative for access and input your measurements into the tool. You can even copy and paste your HOVER report into a tab within the spreadsheet, which will automatically fill in your measurements. The calculator will provide a complete breakdown of the materials you need, which you can share with the homeowner. 

Add Material Costs to Your Project Estimate

Now that you know the materials and quantities you’ll need to complete the project, you can get a quote from the vendor and apply their pricing to your project estimate. 

Add Labor Costs to Your Project Estimate

Next, you’ll need to estimate the number of workers required to complete the project in a timely fashion and the number of hours your team will need for installation. If there are any complex components or specialized skills required for the project, be sure to factor those in. 

Consider Additional Expenses and Overhead

You’ll need to rent equipment, acquire permits, and pay for disposal costs when removing the existing siding. Make sure to add those costs to the project estimate, along with any other expenses you can think of. Then, determine a markup to cover your overhead costs, such as liability insurance and administrative expenses, and to provide some profit for your business. Consider what’s common for the industry in your location, and choose a markup that will allow you to remain competitive while allowing your business to grow. 

Account for Contingencies

Unexpected expenses may come up, and it’ll be helpful for the homeowner to know about this ahead of time. In your project estimate, explain a few of the possible circumstances that could impact the cost of the project, like unexpected weather events or structural problems. Allocate a percentage of the estimated cost, which may vary depending on the conditions in your environment, for unforeseen costs. This will allow the homeowner to budget for the unexpected.

Provide a Clear Breakdown for the Customer

Thanks to tools like the HardieTM Material Estimator, providing an itemized breakdown of material costs is simple. You’ll get a prepared project estimate that provides granular information about each material necessary to complete the project. Add in cost, labor costs, overhead, and contingencies, and you’ll be ready to share the project estimate with the homeowner. Explain the estimate in detail and offer to answer any questions so the homeowner can get a clear idea of the scope and cost of the project. Providing this level of transparency to the homeowner can go a long way in quickly securing the job. 

How to Access the Tools

You can learn more about these and other tools designed to help you grow your business by reaching out to your local James Hardie representative at 888-542-7343. Contractors who use Hardie® products can access robust support for everything from pricing, selling, installing and marketing. If you want to take your alignment with James Hardie to the next level, it’s free to join the Contractor Alliance® Program, which comes with additional training opportunities and rewards for every job logged. You can also earn upgraded levels of membership to take advantage of additional perks and get even more support with lead generation. With the right tools and support from James Hardie, you can unlock opportunities to grow and differentiate your business. 
©2023 James Hardie Building Products Inc. All Rights Reserved. TM, SM, and ® denote trademarks or registered trademarks of James Hardie Technology Limited. HOVER trademark and logo are registered trademarks of HOVER, Inc.

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