Introduction to the World of Estimating

You received an Invitation to Bid (ITB) a project. What do you do now?

  1. Start a file and begin your record keeping. Name the project as shown in the title block of the plans and the documents. (The person who sent the ITB may have called it something else.) List the date your bid is due – THIS IS CRITICAL – LATE BIDS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
  2. Enter the name of the person (and their contact information – e-mail address, phone number, company name, etc.) who sent the ITB to you.
  3. If you will download the bid documents, save them to a file in the computer If you will be using paper documents, have a place to store them so they are easily accessible. List all the drawings you have and the date they were issued into your project file.
  4. List dates Requests for Information (RFI’s) and Substitution Requests are due. (The dates and forms required to be used are in the specifications.) THESE ARE ALSO CRITICAL DATES.
  5. Enter the name of the architectural firm that issued the bid documents. (This may help you down the line as you bid more projects and become familiar with how each different firm prepares and organizes their project documents and the products they will or will not accept.)
  6.  Open the specification manual. Look at the table of contents listing all the various product specification sections. The specifications dictate what the architect wants on the project. Look at the General Conditions, Alternate section (if applicable) and any sections that describe your work. (You must provide what is specified or send a Substitution Request for approval using the form in the specification manual for any equal product you may wish to bid.)
  7. Begin to look at the plans. Get familiar with the floor plans first, then look at detail and section views for further information for your scope of work. After this initial review, determine if you wish to bid this job or not. Once you have made your decision, contact the person who sent you the ITB to let them know if you will bid your scope – and what you believe the scope will be. (This is an opportunity to build a relationship that will breed trust.)

What will set you apart as a Professional Estimator?

Being part of a nationally recognized program — The American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) — is an acknowledgement of developing your estimating proficiency with a continuing commitment to the construction industry, to furthering one’s education, to follow ethical practices and to be motivated for personal growth.

Ten reasons to consider joining ASPE – in particular Metro St. Louis Chapter 19:

*Reflects personal achievement and motivation

*Improves opportunities and advancement

*May provide for greater earning potential

*Improves skills and knowledge

*Prepares you for greater on-the-job responsibilities

*Builds self esteem

*Grants you a nationally recognized professional status and credentials

* Demonstrates your commitment to the industry and the estimating profession

* Recognition as a qualified and competent individual

*Ensures that the recipient keeps abreast of construction industry changes

Check out our Chapter’s website or the National office website  for more information. The National website includes the online registration form.

Or, feel free to talk to any of our members or contact our Chapter President John Smith at email

STL ASPE Chapter completes 3 class MBE training for are contractors and subcontractors

On November 17, 2022 John Smith of Tarlton Corporation and President of ASPE Ch 19 in St. Louis completed the third of 3 MBE classes in partnership with AGC of Missouri. This class helps small contractors, sub-contractors, support staff and estimators understand the basics of estimating and helps these smaller companies understand the scopes of work and be competitive. Join us in 2023 for more Estimating Forums and helpful classes.


Our Chapter had a very busy week with an estimating class, a joint meeting with the AGC Forum Group and our annual Trivia Night Scholarship Fundraiser.

We held Estimating 102, the 2nd of our 3-part estimating classes for emerging companies on Thursday October 27. Both the 1st and 2nd classes have been very informative and well attended. Our 3rd class, Estimating 103, will be held at 4:00 pm on November 17 at the AGC’s Training School.

Our monthly meeting, in conjunction with the AGC Forum group, was held Friday morning October 28th. We had members from the facility groups from MSD and Ameren to discuss how companies can become approved to bid on their projects and how their entities operate.

Saturday night we held our Trivia Night fund raiser. The monies earned from table reservations; Silent Auction item sales; an Oral Auction for a great evening at a Blues Game; 50/50 ticket sales; Mulligan ticket sales; and Grab Bag sales allowed us to add over $4,500 to our scholarship fund. Visit our website after November 5, 2022 for our scholarship application. We award scholarships to students enrolled in construction related studies who have completed 30 hours.  Applications will be due December 9, 2022.

We hope to see you at our next event  –  Estimating 103 on November 17 @ 4:00 pm or our monthly meeting on November 18 @ 7:30 am.  Any of our events or news can be found on our website .

We Did it Again!!! ..and Even Better than Last Year!

Our St. Louis Metro Chapter #19 of The American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) bettered our 2021 Bronze Level Chapter Achievement Award this year by receiving the 2022 Silver Level Award – the second highest Chapter Achievement Award our organization has.

We were awarded the Silver Chapter Achievement Award after meeting much of the established criteria guiding Chapters to a successful year. We held monthly meetings with topics of interest to estimators, increased our membership – including student members (the future of our profession), awarded five scholarships, held a very successful Trivia Night to fund our scholarship program, and many other activities.

Attending the annual ASPE Summit meeting last week in Knoxville, TN and accepting our award was Fred Waldrop, FCPE of Clay Piping Systems. Fred has been a member of our Chapter for over40 years and is a Fellow Certified Professional Estimator (FCPE). He may look a little grim in the picture but he really was happy to receive the award for us.  

The American Society of Professional Estimators serves residential, commercial and civil construction estimators by providing Education, Fellowship, and the opportunity for Professional Development. The proper Education, Ethics, Standards, Certification and Fellowship lead to the ultimate goal of Professionalism. Join today and contact us with any questions you may have about membership. Please visit our Chapter’s website –