Figuring Out Budget Numbers and Quotes

Published April 7, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

budget of steel buildingsVIP (Very Important Point):

Budget numbers and quotes are not the same thing.

Budget numbers are a ball park estimate based on general building specifications. You can use this to determine a price range and play around with options and configurations to see what falls within your budget.

A quote is a more accurate, customized estimate based on the final plan for your particular project and is used to base a contract on.

Budget Number Estimates

Budget numbers are based on general information such as:

  • Height
  • Length
  • Width
  • Square footage
  • Roof slope

This is an estimate based on an educated guess from the limited information provided. You can use it as a baseline to add or subtract products and services to get the best value for your dollar. It should fairly reflect the range in which the price will fall. The budget number process is where you test how much it will cost to add windows or a door; how much extra it would be to get the rock textured panels instead of smooth; or how the estimate is affected by a smaller or larger structure.

Keep in mind that this is just a ball park guess. It is not hard and fast and should not be used to create a contract or compare vendors or contractors. Without specifics, there is no way for you or the other party to know exactly how much your unique project will cost.

In the case of budget number estimates, you, the customer, take on the risk of an incorrect estimate.


Quotes, on the other hand, are more accurate because they are based on more detailed information. When you seek a quote you will need specifications, drawings, or other significant data so the quote will be as close to reality as possible. A quote can be considered the actual cost to do the job and is used to create a contract.

To get a quote for a steel building, for instance, you will need to provide a specific building plan that includes load parameters, roof type and thickness, interior and exterior finishing details, and all other information that spells out the exact type of building you have designed. 

The quote is also the number you use for shopping around. When you are selecting the contractor, vendor, or other company to work your project, you need to provide the same information to each candidate in order to obtain an apples-to-apples comparison.

The entity providing the quote is the one taking the financial risk in this case.

When you are putting together your project and just want an idea how much it might cost, get a budget number estimate based on your general notion.

If you need to know exact costs and to lock in the price, you must get a quote based on specific specifications. 

Quick Quote Generator



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