It's very important to take your time when estimating a carpentry job. Understand everything that the client wants, and write down any specifics. Although giving a good estimate takes time, it will be well worth it in the end. You are there to do a job and get paid for a job well done, without losing money. Your estimate should be fair and competitive with others who may be giving the same client an estimate.
If you are on the location of where the job will be completed, scope out the space available. Determine if you will be working on the job there or back in a shop. Transportation costs may need to be included in the final estimate.
Take all necessary measurements. For example, if you are adding trim to a room, measure exactly where it will go. It may be just a window you are replacing, a door that needs to be refinished or new cabinets that will be installed. Whatever the job is, be sure your measurements are exact to ensure a fair estimate.
Meet with the client. Ask questions and be sure you are fully aware of all the work that needs to be done. Also find out when the customer wants the job completed. Sometimes a "rush" job will cost the client more.
List the materials needed for the job. The client may provide some of the necessary materials, so be sure you are aware of this before giving a complete estimate.
Visit the local building supply store and find the cost of the materials required to finish the job. If there is a choice in price on materials, make a note of that so the client can have that option. For example, a new oak door may be more costly than a pine door.
Estimate the amount of hours it will take to complete the job, and multiply that by the amount you need to charge per hour (such as $30 per hour). Add the cost of the materials, and multiply this number by 15 percent. To get the total amount, add the cost of materials and the amount you are charging for labor. The end result will be your estimate on the carpentry job.