One of the most inexpensive tools contractors need is a measuring device to help them accurately measure parking lots and driveways for estimating and bidding. These tools, available in a variety of wheel sizes with any number of bells and whistles, form the basis of your success on getting the job and performing it properly.
"Whatever type of work you're doing, whether it's cracksealing, sealcoating, paving or striping, accurate measurement forms the basis of the job," says Ernie Kaplan, president of KTP Enterprises and developer of the Fast-Measure electronic measuring device. "You already know what material you'll be using, but an accurate measurement will help you determine how much of that material you will put down. That amount forms the basis for your bid, so measurement can mean the difference between winning and losing a job."
Kaplan says measurement is not as crucial for experience contractors on small jobs such as driveways. "If you're bidding a 20 ft. x 30 ft. driveway you can make a guess at it and not be too far off. But when you start getting into parking lots, with islands, aprons, areas separated from other areas, you don't want to be guessing."
Plus, Kaplan says measuring helps determine your labor costs for the bid.
"If you know the square footage you can figure out what your labor should be to sealcoat or pave a parking lot," he says. "If your crew can sealcoating 150,000 sq. ft. in one day and the job is 600,000 sq. ft., you know you need to plan for at least four days of labor - both in your bid and in your schedule. An inaccurate measurement means less profit as the job will take longer than you bid it for."