Construction Estimate Versus a Construction Bid

Construction Estimate Versus a Construction Bid

by Proforma Construction, March 12, 2019

Learn what differentiates a construction estimate from a bid.

While customers often use the terms “estimate” and “bid” interchangeably, construction experts assign a distinct meaning to each word.  Each term refers to a different part of calculating the cost of commercial construction in the Bay AreaCurious to learn exactly what each term means?  Then here’s what you need to know.


Contractors need to know what it will cost to handle the different aspects of a construction project—from the cost of building materials to labor to hiring specialized subcontractors.  Within the broad category of construction estimates, there are different types of estimates that contractors deal with.  For instance, here are some of the types of estimates that contractors will calculate:

  • Preliminary estimate– “ballpark estimate” that allows contractors and customers to determine the feasibility of a project.
  • Square-foot estimate– if a project is deemed feasible, then a square-foot estimate calculates industry-standard unit costs per square-foot of the project.
  • Assembly estimate– more detailed estimate that considers each separate part of a construction project. For instance, this estimate takes into account the cost of foundation work, flooring, roofing, windows, sanitation, etc.
  • Final estimate– the most detailed and accurate estimate. Final estimates require written commitments from partners and subcontractors.  Final estimates form the basis of a bid, or official commitment to your customer.


Following the estimate process, contractors need to make a firm offer to their client.  This offer is known as a bid.  In a bid, the contractor commits to specified construction work at a given price within a given time frame.  If the customer accepts the bid, then the contractor is expected to carry out the work as laid out in the bid.

This is the difference between a construction estimate and a construction bid.  Do you have more questions about your commercial construction in the Bay Area?  If so, then contact your Pleasanton contractor at Proforma Construction.  Serving Pleasanton and the surrounding California area, our highly-trained team is ready to make your commercial construction dreams a reality.