Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profits by William Asdal


Not a “how-to book” so to speak but an outstanding book on how to think about and approach estimating and pricing. In other words, this book won’t tell you that when you are estimating a bathroom remodel you need to calculate the square footage of tile, the linear feet of tile cuts, the number of fixtures etc. but it will tell your things that are perhaps even more important like “Using Retail Pricing at Every Line”.

The Table Of Contents:

1. Understanding the Critical Number in an Estimate-Profit
2. Establish the Company Profit Number Based on Your Income Needs
3. Competencies for Building and Remodeling Success-Estimating
4. Spreadsheet Estimating
5. Seven Ways to Get the Numbers
6. Using Retail Pricing at Every Line
7. Minimizing the Workload
8. Materials Costs and Tracking
9. Estimating and Tracking Production
10. Financial Analysis: Estimating the Cash Flow
11. Defending the Profit Line in Your Building Estimate
12. Defending the Profit Line in Your Remodeling Estimate

My copy of the book is heavily highlighted and full of post-it notes so I’ll start thing off with some of my highlights. From the very first paragraph in The Preface:

“Who pays more for his shoes: a rich man or a poor man?” my mother asked me early in grade school. I fell for the simple answer that the rich man paid more, but she enlightened me. The rich man pays less because his shoes last far longer, and therefore, his annual cost is less than the poor man’s”

That right there brought to mind for me the legendary management consultant and quality expert W. Edwards Deming who when asked by a colleague “Dr. Deming, how much did those shoes you’re wearing cost?” he replied “How could I know? I haven’t finished wearing them yet.” but Asdal didn’t really put that story in there to tell us something about estimating as much as he did to impart how we need to learn lessons from stories and this book would be a series of those little life lessons.

—Jerrald Hayes



From Amazon — Have you ever walked away from closings with less money than you deserve? Stop letting it happen. Performed correctly, estimating is your key to keeping more of your hard-earned profit. Master builder and business expert Bill Asdal shows builders and remodelers how to estimate based on fiscal goals and protecting the company’s bottom line. His unique approach to estimating gives readers user-friendly systems to improve the process and provides hundreds of ideas and simple suggestions. Asdal takes the magic and science of estimating and turns it into an art.


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