The art of project estimation. The art of estimating comes down to the details and description of the operations required to fulfill a task, while properly and fairly accounting for the variances of a specific project. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The quick answer is it’s both. Outside of the insurance and damage repair industry, the layperson sees an estimate as a price quote in advance for a good or service. The basic definition of estimating as it relates to our industry is a means of translating associated costs to performing a task into a universally accepted language that is both quantifiable and justifiable.

The reality is that much of what we call estimating is not really estimating as much as it is reporting on work already performed, which is sometimes called “forensic estimating.” Nevertheless, the term has taken hold, and all breakdowns for work, whether performed or proposed, are estimates. This may also have something to do with the fact that we utilize estimating software to generate them.

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