Ethical Questions: Estimating

By Jeffrey Eckes posted 07-14-2018 04:07 PM

A real quickie today, I'm under deadline for a big project, due Monday...

It may or not be 'common knowledge' that I am an independent estimator, working remotely.  Most of the time I'm as much a salesman as an estimator.  I'd love to know if there are any other 'independent' millwork estimators out there, so if you are or if you know anyone, let me know!

The most asked question I get is:  "Independent?  How do you do that ethically?"  Good question.  What I do right now, as I research this question at the heart of my business, is work mainly for one shop (Premium), a great shop and one that can do just about anything.  Problem for ME is, they don't always WANT to 'do anything' and I have clients (builders, GC's, Designers, Etc.) that rely on me finding them shops to do their work, no matter how odd.  In fact, I tend to get MOSTLY the odd stuff from a lot of my clients, the things nobody else wants to do 

In my current situation, the owner and I go over what he does NOT want, and he agrees that I can pass it on to other shops.  I am compensated with a percentage of sales, and sometimes a fee to develop a database in my software that they can plug into their own version of the software after I go.  Sometimes I do the takeoff for the owner and attach his pricing to it (estimators don't 'set prices') and sometimes it's just a 'finder's fee'. Sometimes I am compensated by the client as well (all open book, everyone knows the deal) and sometimes I'm additionally compensated to act in an ongoing basis as a 'consultant' to develop an estimating department for them, or something like that.

As far as I know, this is a new sort of arrangement, so I'm asking around-anyone else have something similar?