Estimating is the process of adding cost of materials to the material list and adding labor costs.
Budgeting is the process of gathering all of the information for a project, gathering the costs of the materials and the labor costs, then adding in any unknowns with an educated estimate of amount. This gives you the closest amount you can get without having already built your home.
This can go hand ion hand with Material Take-off.
By adding the cost associated with the materials and getting labor rates for the different parts of your project, an accurate estimate can be generated so that you know what the cost is to build your project. This is only specific to known items, such as framing, drywall, trim, paint, etc.
A budget takes the known, (the estimate) and couples it with educated guesses for things that are unknown. Things that require you to pick specific colors/styles, for example, may be placed in the budget section. i.e., at the beginning, since you haven’t picked out all of your colors, your cabinets may be budgeted out. This is a fixed amount put in towards the actual cost and can go up or down, depending on your choices when you make these decisions.
These type of budget items can change throughout the process. These are numbers that are placed into the contract price to get you as close as possible without actually knowing the specifics. These prices can, and will change during the course of the project, because you may change your mind, or because what was believed to be known, is found out to be incorrect. (This happens when dealing with lot, or land costs.)
Helping you create a budget can be frustrating at first, because there are so many aspects that may change over time, but, rest assured, we have created enough of these to have a good sense of what things should cost.
Note: All budgets and estimates are just that, estimated. There are factors and costs with which cannot be identified on every project. Every effort will be made to make the estimate as accurate as possible and an amount will be set aside in the estimate to account for these costs, but, in the end, your actual budget may differ from the budget generated.