Writing an estimate – contract, and how to protect yourself and your client

How my estimate – contract is constructed and executed will give both the owner and contractor a degree of safety and security. This builds TRUST, the foundation, of all client professional relationships. Never give any professional more than 10% to start a project, they should earn it first. 

When I write an estimate – contract I account for all materials, labor and overhead – profit for the successful completion of a project. I ask for approximately 10% of overall cost as deposit, then I ask, in writing, for weekly payments equalling the total cost to be paid within the weeks estimated to complete the project.

Here is an example;

A project is bid at $125,000 for Materials, Labor and Overhead. Estimated days to complete project – 60 crew days [ + – ]  = 12 weeks or 3 months.

= $12,500 deposit

= $112,500 balance due within 12 weeks 

= $112,500 divided by 12 weeks

= $9,375 [ weekly progress payments ]

Last progress payment can be withheld until all work is completed.

Total paid at 12 weeks = $125,000 in weekly progress payments of $9,375

Estimate – contracts executed in this way allow for payments to be made for construction that has progressed or been completed. This type of accounting keeps the contractor involved until the end of the project

Dave Mason 9/16/19


David Mason Marin Restorations 1-415-297-1489 #715338

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