Accurate estimating service uses true labour rates

Accurate estimates from accurate prices

When creating an estimate it is vitally important to ensure that you are using the most up to date rates and that nothing is missed out. No points for guessing who ends up paying the difference when the job comes in too high! This situation is easily avoided however if builders estimates are produced from a accurate starting point.

Labour rates

In then last 12 months or so, HBXL Estimating Service have provided over 500 estimates to builders based all over the country working on a variety of project types. This puts us in a unique position of being able to see what is happening in the industry nationwide.  Using some wizardry (commonly known as maths!) we’ve been able to analyse data to see an up to date and true picture of labour rates in the UK. We like to call this ‘crowd sourced’ data; from this data, we have been able to see that labour rates are up 10-15% year on year. For example, for skilled labour this is around £23-25 an hour and unskilled labour has also see an increase. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule (but these builders are less likely to be making any money!)

We pass this knowledge into our estimates; ensuring that you are charging the going rate and will not be on the back foot when it comes to your labour rates. Importantly, as part of our estimate order process, when you first place your estimate order you will benefit from a consultation with your account manager to ensure that we are using YOUR rates, and save these to file for future jobs. Alternatively you can use our default rates.

Provisional Sums

It’s a common part of most building projects, you’ll get in a subcontractor to put in the electrics, sort the plumbing or fit windows & doors etc. However, you will be surprised by how many builders do not include costs of their own site attendance and management. Often the builder won’t add the costs of his own site attendance to supervise the subcontractors doing the work (or at the very least the briefing at the start of them arriving on site and checking how they are doing), nor the profit on their own time.

To account for this within your estimate, this is normally charged as an hourly rate on the build phase (by us) or increasing your profit margin to cover it.

You SHOULD charge supervision/management time costs for either a subbie you get in on site or your client’s own subbie e.g. a kitchen fitter etc, as they WILL need managing.

Own time costs

Even excluding attendance/profit margin on managing a subbie as above, many builders don’t charge for their own time on attending site/supervision etc. They charge for materials and the cost of the other labour on site, but forget to charge for their own time (and the profit they would like on their own time! If they don’t allow for and charge the client for their time for supervision it just eats into their profit. E.g. if you charge 10-15% profit margin but don’t charge for your own time, you could end up with 0-5% profit in the end after they’ve paid yourself!

…so effectively you can find that you have worked for nothing (other than paying yourself a base salary) which means there is no room to invest in your business/grow/buy new equipment. This could leave you wondering why you are running like a headless chicken yet not making any money – this is typically why!

Talk to us about how we can help your building firm

Want to know how the HBXL Estimating Service can help you and your construction company with an accurate estimate? Give us a call on 0117 9167894 or drop us an email to and we’ll be happy to tell you more. If you’ve heard enough and want to send us an estimate, follow this link to find out How to Order.