• Construction Estimating Reference Book
  • 1. Estimating Basics
  • 2. Construction Estimating Tools
  • 3. General Estimating Guides and Aids
  • 4. Assignment Walkthroughs
  • 5. Construction Materials and Process Index
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  • Tools & Equipment Estimating Guide

    This document provides explanations and examples for how to account for the acquisition of tools and equipment, and how calculate the use cost of tools and equipment in specific construction projects.

    Tools

    Purchasing Tools

    Unless the uniform capitalization rules apply, amounts spent for tools used in your business are deductible expenses if the tools have a life expectancy of less than 1 year or their cost is minor. (IRS Publication 535).

    Annual Tool/Wage Ratio is a number used to define how much is spent on tools compared to how much is spent on labor. Because the number is expressed as a percentage, it can then be used as a guideline to estimate the tool cost for an individual project. It is calculated as the Annual Tool Cost divided by the Annual Payroll.

    Project Cost of Tools is calculated as Total Project Labor Cost times Annual Tool/Wage Ratio.

    Process for Estimating Tools

    1. Record all tool purchases.
    2. Calculate the Annual Tool/Wage Ratio
      • Annual Tool Cost ($) / Annual Payroll ($)
    1. Calculate Project Cost of Tools
      • Total Project Labor Cost x Annual Tool/Wage Ratio

    Example

    Total Annual Payroll (wages) $175,000
    Annual Tool Purchases (Value) $5,000
    Total Labor Cost for Project $35,000
    Annual Tool/Wage Ratio 5,000 / 175,000 = .0285 = 2.85%
    Project Cost of Tools $35,000 x .0285 = $997.00

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    Supplies

    What are Supplies?

    Supplies are items not listed in quantity takeoff, but used in the completion of a project. They may include:

    • Cleaning supplies
    • First aid supplies
    • Safety supplies
      • Barriers
      • Flags

    Annual Supply/Wage Ratio is a number used to define how much is spent on supplies compared to how much is spent on labor. Because the number is expressed as a percentage, it can then be used as a guideline to estimate the supply cost for an individual project. It is calculated as the Annual Supply Cost divided by the Annual Payroll.

    Project Cost of Supplies is calculated as Total Project Labor Cost times Annual Supply/Wage Ratio.

    Process for Estimating Supplies

    1. Record all supply usage.
    2. Calculate the Annual Supply/Wage Ratio
      • Annual Supply Cost / Annual Payroll
    1. Calculate Project Cost of Supplies
      • Total Project Labor Cost x Annual Supply/Wage Ratio

    Example

    Total Annual Payroll (wages) $175,000
    Annual Supply Purchases (Value) $3,200
    Total Labor Cost for Project $35,000
    Annual Supply/Wage Ratio 3,200 / 175,000 = .0183 = 1.83%
    Project Cost of Supplies $35,000 x .0183 = $640.50

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    Equipment

    What is Equipment?

    Equipment includes light and heavy construction vehicles, special equipment, etc.

    • Work Truck
    • Backhoe
    • Compactor
    • Scissor Lift

    How is Equipment Acquired for Use in Construction Projects?

    There are three options for accessing equipment for construction work.

    • Renting
    • Leasing
    • Ownership

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    Equipment Rental and Leasing

    Equipment Rental

    In this scenario, the equipment is owned by a rental company, and the construction company pays them for the temporary use of the equipment.

    Rented Time Periods are the units by which the use of the equipment is measured. The rental company will provide rates that the construction company must pay per rented time period.

    Examples of Rented Time Periods include:

    • Hourly
    • Half Day
    • Day
    • Week
    • Month

    Equipment Leasing

    In this scenario, the equipment is owned by a manufacturer or dealership, and the construction company pays them for the long-term use of the equipment as if they were the owner for a defined period of time. The only meaningful difference between renting and leasing is that leasing is used for time periods beyond one year.

    Advantages of Leasing

    • The company pays no capital equipment expenses
    • The equipment cost is expensed rather than depreciated
    • The company Increases its bonding capacity
    • The company always uses newer, more current equipment

    Disadvantages of Leasing

    • The company makes monthly lease payments for a specified contract period
    • Lease payments are more expensive than loan payments
    • Upon completion of the leasing period, the company does not own the equipment

    How Rental Equipment Costs are Estimated

    Cost per Rented Time Period is how much the rental company charges per Rented Time Period.

    Length of Time Needed is the length of time the construction company plans to use the rented equipment, expressed in Rented Time Period units.

    Example

    A construction company requires a backhoe for 6 hours of work. They do not own a backhoe, so they must rent or lease one. The scope of work does not merit leasing, so they choose to rent the equipment from a rental company.

    The rental company provides the following cost schedule per rented time period for backhoes:

    • $50.00 per hour
    • $150.00 per half day
    • $275.00 per full day

    The job scope calls for 6 hours of backhoe usage. Based on the rental company’s cost schedule, which option is the most economical for the construction company?

    • Rent per Hour = $300.00 ($50.00 per hour x 6 hours)
    • Rent per Half Day = $300.00 (1 half day is insufficient for the job scope, so rounding up to the nearest half day unit yields ($150.00 x 2 half days)
    • Rent per Day = $275.00 ($275.00 x 1 day)

    Renting the backhoe for a full day is the most economical choice for the construction company.

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    Purchasing and Owning Equipment

    In this scenario, the equipment is purchased and owned by the construction company, often with a loan from a bank or other financial institution.

    Equipment Costs

    There are two categories of costs associated with purchasing and owning equipment, ownership costs and operating costs.

    Ownership Costs

    These costs are incurred by the equipment owner regardless of whether the equipment is actually used.

    • Interest
    • Depreciation
    • Repairs
    • Insurance, Taxes, Storage

    Operating Costs

    • Wear Items (eg. tires)
    • Fuel
    • Lubrication

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    Calculating Interest Costs

    There are multiple ways to calculate interest costs. Each of the following methods have specific applications, and not all are exact figures.

    Approximate Overall Interest Cost

    One easy way to approximately calculate interest costs uses the following components and formula:

    • Purchase Price of Equipment (not loan amount)
    • Interest Rate
    • Life of Loan

    Purchase Price X Interest Rate X Life of Loan ÷ 2

    Example

    A construction company purchases a skidsteer for $40,000. Before deciding how much of the purchase price will be covered by the company’s cash, and how much will be covered by a loan, they apply the above formula to get a rough idea of how much interest they will be paying.

    • Purchase Price = $40,000.00
    • Interest Rate = 10% (or .10)
    • Life of Loan = 5 years

    40,000 x .10 x 5 ÷ 2

    or

    4,000 x 5 ÷ 2

    or

    20,000 ÷ 2

    or

    10,000

    In this example, the approximate interest cost for purchasing a $40,000 skidsteer will be $10,000.

    Yearly Interest Cost

    Calculating the annual interest cost of equipment purchases uses the following components and formula:

    • Total Interest Cost (over the life of the loan)
    • Life of Loan

    Total Interest Cost ÷ Life of Loan

    Example

    A construction company purchases a work skidsteer for $40,000. The approximate total interest cost is $10,000. To estimate the cost of interest for the skidsteer for a specific fiscal year, they apply the above formula.

    • Total Interest Cost = $10,000.00
    • Life of Loan = 5 years

    10,000 ÷ 5

    or

    2,000

    In this example, the approximate yearly interest cost of the skidsteer is $2,000.

    Monthly Interest Cost

    Calculating the monthly interest cost of equipment purchases uses the following components and formula:

    • Yearly Interest Cost

    Yearly Interest Cost ÷ 12

    Example

    A construction company purchases a work skidsteer for $40,000. The approximate yearly interest cost is $2,000. To estimate the cost of interest for the skidsteer for a single month of ownership, they apply the above formula.

    • Yearly Interest Cost = $2,000.00

    2,000 ÷ 12

    or

    166.67

    In this example, the approximate monthly interest cost of the skidsteer is $166.67.

    Hourly Interest Cost

    Calculating the hourly interest cost of equipment purchases requires you to calculate monthly work hours. Monthly work hours is calculated as follows:

    • Number hours per year 2080
    • 75% usage factor (the number of total monthly work hours the equipment is used) = 1560 hours per year
    • 1560 ÷ 12 months = 130 hrs/month

    Calculating the hourly interest cost of equipment purchases uses the following components and formula:

    • Monthly Interest Cost
    • Monthly Work Hours

    Monthly Interest Cost ÷ Monthly Work Hours

    Example

    A construction company purchases a skidsteer for $40,000. The approximate monthly interest cost is $166.67. To estimate the cost of interest for the skidsteer per hour of use, they apply the above formula.

    • Monthly Interest Cost = $166.67
    • Monthly Work Hours = 130 hours

    166.67 ÷ 130

    or

    1.28

    In this example, the approximate hourly interest cost of the skidsteer is $1.28.

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    Calculating Depreciation

    Depreciation is the reduced value of a piece of equipment over the time of ownership. Used equipment can be purchased more cheaply than new equipment due to depreciation.

    Yearly Depreciation Calculation

    Estimating the depreciation of equipment uses the following components and formula:

    • Purchase Price
    • Scrap Value
    • Number of Years of Useful Life

    (Purchase Price - Scrap Value) ÷ Number of Years of Useful Life

    Example

    A construction company purchases a skidsteer for $40,000. The scrap value is estimated at $10,000. Its useful life is listed at 5 years. To estimate the yearly depreciation of the skidsteer, they apply the above formula.

    • Purchase Price = $40,000
    • Scrap Value = $10,000
    • Number of Years of Useful Life = 5 years

    (40,000 - 10,000) ÷ 5

    or

    30,000 ÷ 5

    or

    6,000

    In this example, the approximate yearly depreciation of the skidsteer is $6,000.

    Monthly Depreciation Calculation

    Estimating the depreciation of equipment uses the following components and formula:

    • Yearly Depreciation

    Yearly Depreciation ÷ 12

    Example

    A construction company purchases a skidsteer for $40,000. The yearly depreciation is estimated to be $6,000. To estimate the monthly depreciation of the skidsteer, they apply the above formula.

    • Yearly Depreciation = $6,000

    6,000 ÷ 12

    or

    500

    In this example, the approximate monthly depreciation of the skidsteer is $500.

    Hourly Depreciation Calculation

    Estimating the hourly depreciation of equipment requires you to calculate monthly work hours. Monthly work hours is calculated as follows:

    • Number hours per year 2080
    • 75% usage factor (the number of total monthly work hours the equipment is used) = 1560 hours per year
    • 1560 ÷ 12 months = 130 hrs/month

    Estimating the depreciation of equipment uses the following components and formula:

    • Monthly Depreciation
    • Monthly Work Hours

    Monthly Depreciation ÷ Monthly Work Hours

    Example

    A construction company purchases a skidsteer for $40,000. The monthly depreciation is estimated to be $500. To estimate the hourly depreciation of the skidsteer, they apply the above formula.

    • Monthly Depreciation = $500
    • Monthly Work Hours = 130 hours

    500 ÷ 130

    or

    3.85

    In this example, the approximate hourly depreciation of the skidsteer is $3.85.

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    Calculating Taxes, Insurance, and Storage

    Taxes, insurance, and storage are all cost items related to owning equipment. Calculating how these cost items factor into individual project estimating requires a simple formula.

    Annual Cost Items ÷ Number of Hours of Usage

    Yearly Taxes, Insurance and Storage

    Calculating the yearly tax, insurance, and storage cost of equipment requires following components and formula:

    • Yearly Tax
    • Yearly Insurance
    • Yearly Storage

    Yearly Tax + Yearly Insurance + Yearly Storage

    Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer. The cost items for taxes, insurance, and storage or listed below. To calculate the annual cost items, they apply the above formula.

    • Yearly Taxes on the Skidsteer = $350
    • Yearly Insurance for the Skidsteer = $2,000
    • Monthly Storage for the Skidsteer = $100

    350 + 2,000 + (100 x 12)

    or

    350 + 2,000 + 1,200

    or

    3,550

    In this example, the yearly cost items of the skidsteer total $3,550.

    Monthly Taxes, Insurance and Storage

    Calculating the monthly tax, insurance, and storage cost of equipment requires following components and formula:

    • Yearly Tax
    • Yearly Insurance
    • Yearly Storage

    Yearly Tax + Yearly Insurance + Yearly Storage ÷ 12

    Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer. The cost items for taxes, insurance, and storage or listed below. To calculate the monthly cost items, they apply the above formula.

    • Yearly Taxes on the Skidsteer = $350
    • Yearly Insurance for the Skidsteer = $2,000
    • Monthly Storage for the Skidsteer = $100

    350 + 2,000 + (100 x 12) ÷ 12

    or

    350 + 2,000 + 1,200 ÷ 12

    or

    3,550 ÷ 12

    In this example, the monthly cost items of the skidsteer total $295.83.

    Hourly Taxes, Insurance and Storage

    Calculating the hourly tax, insurance, and storage cost of equipment requires following components and formula:

    • Monthly Cost Items
    • Monthly Work Hours

    Monthly Cost Items ÷ Monthly Work Hours

    Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer. The cost items for taxes, insurance, and storage or listed below. To calculate the monthly cost items, they apply the above formula.

    • Monthly Cost Items = $295.83
    • Monthly Work Hours = 130 hrs

    295.83 ÷ 130

    or

    2.28

    In this example, the hourly cost items of the skidsteer total $2.28.

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    Estimating Operating Costs

    Unlike ownership costs, which the equipment owner accrues whether they use the equipment or not, operating costs are expressed in hours of usage. Calculating the hourly operating costs of equipment requires following components and formula:

    • The Cost of the Wear Item
    • The Life of the Wear Item (in hours)

    Cost ÷ Life in Hours

    Tire Cost Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer. New tires for the skidsteer cost $3,000 (installed), and they are rated for 4,000 hours of use.

    • The Cost of Tires = $3,000
    • Life of the Tires = 4,000 hrs

    3,000 ÷ 4,000

    or

    .75

    In this example, the hourly operating cost of tires for the skidsteer $.75.

    Fuel Cost Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer, which is rated at using 6 gallons of fuel per hour of operation. The cost of fuel is $3.00. In this specific example, you can adjust the cost and life of fuel so that both are expressed in hours.

    • The Cost of Fuel = $3.00 per gallon x 6 gallons per hour = $18.00
    • Life of the Fuel = 1 hrs

    18 ÷ 1

    or

    18

    In this example, the hourly operating cost of fuel for the skidsteer is $18.

    Lubrication Cost Example

    A construction company owns a skidsteer. The service manual calls for lubrication every 150 hours of operation. The cost of labor for lubrication is $60. The lubricant is $2.50 per quart, and the skidsteer requires 4 quarts.

    • The Cost of Fuel = $60 (labor) + 4 x $2.50 (lubricant) = $70.00
    • Life of the Lubricant = 150 hrs

    70 ÷ 150

    or

    .47

    In this example, the hourly operating cost of lubrication for the skidsteer is $.47.

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    Calculating Equipment Costs for Individual Projects

    To calculate the cost of equipment for an individual project requires the following components and formula:

    (Hourly Ownership Cost + Hourly Operating Cost) x Total Equipment Operating Hours

    Example

    A construction company has a project that requires the use of a skidsteer, which the company owns. This is all the information the estimator has related to the equipment and the project:

    Skidsteer Cost Breakdown
    Ownership Costs Hourly Interest Cost $1.28
    Hourly Depreciation Cost $3.85
    Hourly Tax, Insurance, & Storage $2.28
    Operation Costs Hourly Wear Items Cost $0.75
    Hourly Fuel Cost $18.00
    Hourly Maintenance Cost $0.47
    Project Hours Hours Using Equipment 75 hrs

    (1.28 + 3.85 + 2.28 + .75 + 18 + .47) ÷ 75

    or

    26.63 ÷ 75

    or

    1,997.25

    In this example, the estimate for the use of the skidsteer on this project is $1,997.25.

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    This content is provided to you freely by BYU-I Books.

    Access it online or download it at https://books.byui.edu/construction_estimat/tools__equipment_est.