Why I Don’t (usually) Do Project Plan Cost Estimates


I have occasionally included cost estimates for my project plans, but it’s a practice I’m pretty much going to stop unless I’m designing a project for a corporate client.

There are several reasons why:

1 Lumber

A particular board in Alabama might not cost the same in Georgia, Illinois, or North Carolina. I actually know that for a fact, having purchased lumber for projects in each of those states. When building my projects, many folks often choose whichever lumber they prefer, or more often the case, what they have on hand. And I’m also not about to start doing conversions for folks in other countries, much as I love you guys. (I have readers visit my site from more than 120 countries).

2 Supplies

This is always a tricky one to figure. Do I assume you have a full package/box of the fasteners I recommend? Do you need to buy primer, paint, stain, poly, etc.? What about glue? I could omit all of this, but you’re not getting a true estimate of what it’s really going to cost you. In the plans I create for corporate clients, I figure the cost assuming you have to buy everything needed for the project excluding…

3 Tools and Accessories

You don’t have a 1 1/4-inch Forstner bit, but my plan calls for it. You really like the project, so you buy the bit. BANG – you just increased the cost of the project. HOWEVER – this isn’t a bad expense because now you have added to your tool arsenal.

4 Taxes

They range all over the place, and aren’t they part of the cost as well?

I know a lot of folks factor in the cost of a project when deciding to do it, but I’d rather not mislead anyone with unrealistic expectations. Besides, you guys are smart enough to figure it out for yourself.

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