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Online Construction Estimator Notes

A couple of notes on this tool:

(If a green “Start Now” or “Continue” button pops up as you’re answering the questions on this form, IGNORE AND DO NOT PUSH IT.  It is an ad and not connected to your estimate.)

  • Go all the way through, answering questions as best you can.
  • Click the final “Calculate” button. Then, click “Export to Edit Page.”
  • Ignore the warning that pops up.
  • When the estimates list appears, remove all lines that aren’t relevant: “Sewer, Water, Gas” for example, can be removed since you’ll probably not be building in an area where those connections are possible. Just click the trash can button at the end of the line and it will be subtracted from the total.
  • See if your kit includes a slab in the price. If it does, click the trash can on the “Site Work” line to take that expense out of your DIY total.
  • Same thing for other line items your kit builder says specifically are included in your kit price: doors, windows, etc. If your kit comes with “Interior Framing,” for example, remove the “Rough Carpentry”  line, but leave the “Finish Carpentry” line. You’ll be doing that yourself.
  • On all lines, if you’re doing the work yourself, zero out costs for “Labor.”
  • However, if you’re not so good at hanging drywall — there’s real skill needed to make it look good — leave it in. You can always go back after looking at the bottom line and take it out. Or reduce it by a third if you’re just going to get a pro to help you hang it and finish it.
  • Same for painting, trim carpentry, installing cabinets, plumbing, etc

A few more notes on this tool

  • Leave the first column alone in all cases, That figure is a reasonable national average estimate of materials for the size barndo you specified.
  • Under “Construction Plans and Specs” at the bottom, substitute the exact cost of your kit. Even if that cost is $120,000.
  • Finally, under “Contractor Overhead and Profit,” remove that line. The contractor isn’t doing any work in this case – you are.
  • LAST STEP – check each remaining line carefully to make sure you have:
    • Added in all the items you’ll be paying for
    • Subtracted all the items your kit purchase includes
    • Zeroed out labor on lines where you will be doing the work yourself.