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How do I use these figures? 

You can use these figures to compile preliminary estimates, to check your costs and subcontract bids and when no actual costs are available. should reduce the chance of error or omission on bid estimates, speed "ball park" estimates, and be a good guide when there's no time to get an actual quote from the most likely supplier.

Estimating is an art, not a science. On many jobs the range between high and low bid will be 20% or more. There's room for legitimate disagreement on what the correct costs are, even when complete plans and specifications are available, the date and site are established, and labor and material costs are identical for all bidders.

No cost fits all jobs. Good estimates are custom made for a particular project and a single contractor through judgment, analysis and experience. is not a substitute for judgment, analysis and sound estimating practice. It's an aid in developing an informed opinion of cost. If you're using as your sole cost authority for contract bids, you're reading more into these figures than the editors intend.

Note:  Labor and Material Costs Change. This estimate will be accurate for some materials but inaccurate for others. No one can predict material price changes accurately. 

Learn more about using the labor costs in

Where Do We Get These Figures? From the same sources all professional estimators use: contractors and subcontractors, architectural and engineering firms, material suppliers, material price services, analysis of plans, specifications, estimates and completed project costs, and both published and unpublished cost studies. In addition, we conduct nationwide mail and phone surveys and have the use of several major national estimating databases.

How Accurate Are These Figures? As accurate as possible considering that the estimators who compiled costs for don't know your subcontractors or material suppliers, haven't seen the plans or specifications, don't know what building code applies or where the job is, had to project material costs at least 6 months into the future, and had no record of how much work the crew that will be assigned to the job can handle.

You wouldn't bid a job under those conditions. And we don't claim that all construction is done at these prices.

We'll Answer Your Questions about any figure in Get-A-Quote and explain how to apply these costs. To send your question by email to Craftsman's tech support department, click on


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