Getting estimations right is important. Sometimes when being asked to estimate how long it will take to complete and deliver a project it can seem overwhelming. It can be equally hard to estimate how long a task will take when the task being asked of you is coming up with a solution to solve a problem that is unknown. It can feel like being presented a 1000 piece puzzle and being asked "how long will it take you to complete this?". However hard or overwhelming it is, getting it right the first time is important.
Recently I had a new furnace installed in my home. The old furnace was on its last legs and I had been considering replacing it for sometime. It finally came time to bite the bullet and spend the time and money to replace it when I had to manually ignite the beast multiple times a day because it stopped turning on when the thermostat was calling for heat. So the process began to find a replacement for it by calling multiple local HVAC companies and getting estimates.
As a handy man who always does my own home repairs this was the first time I was exposed to this process. An estimator for each company I called arrived at my home and assessed the situation, the cost of parts and labor, and the time it would take to get the job done and created an estimate. The final number presented to me by each company was a proposal clearly stating "this is how much it will cost to get the job done" . After weighing my options on different estimates I made a choice and signed a contract.
The choice I chose was estimated at one day of work to install a new 95% efficient furnace for $$$ amount of dollars. It turns out the estimate was wrong.
The first day available to install was right in the middle of the polar vortex of 2014 (did not know it when agreeing to it). The company employees showed up and started the install. By the end of the day with no furnace running my home was 40 degrees and the unfortunate news was relayed to me by the HVAC employees that they needed another full day.
Another full day? Wasn't the estimate for 1 day? I had not planned for this, I have a family and a 16 month old child and with the indoor house temperature at 40 degrees it was not ok. Luckily I have family close by that we could stay with for the night. Long story short, the employees left and came back the next day and finished the install by the end of the next day and it was at no extra cost to me (other than stress).
Had the estimator estimated correctly he would have doubled the amount of time the install was going to take. The HVAC company was out the extra cost of another full day of labor for two employees, and I the customer was unhappy because I expected it to take as long as the time stated on the estimate. This real life situation is a great example of why it is important to come as close as possible to estimating how long any project will take.
Thanks for reading.