'Bestimate_' a new venture_ inspired by tough times

					RBI rural	builder innovations
Outside-the-bOx ideas frOm/fOr rural cOntractOrs




      ‘Bestimate,’ a new venture,
        inspired by tough times
        Getting creative is paying dividends                                               Augur bit innovation brings
                                                                                           out Bosch’s ‘killer’ instinct


T
       hink it’s a tough economy, huh?         Says Lewerenz, “We offer build-                Bosch Power Tools — Circle 108
       Check out Bob Lewerenz’ story        ing and concrete estimating of mate-               Auger bit users dread encounter-
       of how his freelance construction    rial and labor, purchasing and expe-           ing hidden nails because it usually
estimating business got started.            diting of materials and subcontractors         means the end of an expensive bit and
    “I guess I should have been paying      for construction projects, checking shop       a sore wrist at the end of the day.
better attention when, in January 2009, I   drawings, orders, quotes, etc to verify        Bosch Power Tools & Accessories says
left my employer and went job hunting,”     information for construction, drafting         its Nailkiller Auger Bit revolutionizes
says Lewerenz, whose new venture is         in CAD and sizing of components for            wood drilling.
Bestimate LLC.                              estimating, building-related consulting            Nailkiller’s reinforced tip pushes
    Lewerenz, who lives in central          and budgets, customized spreadsheets to        hidden nails to the side when the bit
Wisconsin, delivered and mailed 102         automate estimating, pricing, expedit-         makes contact and allows a more
paper resumes and submitted 20-30 on        ing building construction, and almost          aggressive part of the bit to cut through
the Internet, snagging only two formal      anything else a contractor might want.”        fasteners. The result is an auger bit
interviews. One wasn’t even in the con-        Lewerenz says he works nearly every         that lasts nine times longer than oth-
struction industry.                         weekday. His services, he says, “allow a       ers. Independent testing of the bits
    Lewerenz’ 20-year background in         contractor to try out our working rela-        revealed that a 1-inch Nailkiller was
estimating and purchasing, drafting and     tionship by allowing me to help with           capable of driving through up to 301
selling came from training in Star Steel    bidding a building project or buying           hidden nails when used with a right-
Building school and SBS 1.0, an early       materials or pricing upgrades with a           angle drill.
introduction of a computer pricing pro-     minimal cost, and have me back for                 Nailkiller’s other trick: Combining
gram. That led to spreadsheet classes,      more if they are satisfied.”                   the finish quality of a spur auger with
computer aided drafting classes and            Clients get their work done with-           the toughness of a ship auger, elimi-
database classes at a local tech school.    out adding an employee and the related         nates need for two types of auger bits.
Over the years he wrote spreadsheets        expenses of hiring and training a staff
that automated estimating, kept track       member, insurance and other benefits.
                                                                                           New deck drainage system
of commodity pricing, set up a purchase        “I help these contractors by estimat-
                                                                                           expands outdoor living space
order system, and other tasks.              ing building jobs and changes to sold
                                                                                              Trex RainEscape — Circle 109
    Through the long winter, says           jobs, bidding building projects, getting
                                                                                               Trex RainEscape, an above-joist
Lewerenz, his friend of many years, Leo     quotes and buying material for sold
                                                                                           deck drainage system, is a new idea
Souder at MPB Builders in Ripon Wis.,       jobs (including some interesting steel-
                                                                                           from Trex Company. The system cre-
used his services for a day or two at       frame buildings), revising CAD draw-
                                                                                           ates a dry space beneath the deck for
a time on a freelance basis. As sum-        ings and some new drawing, plotting
                                                                                           installation of lighting, ceiling fans
mer approached Randy Wanta at Wanta         and organizing drawings, checking and
                                                                                           and finished ceilings.
and Son near Hatley Wis., a friend          submitting shop drawings and product
                                                                                               Trex RainEscape says it shields
since “Star school” days in 1987, called    information to architect/engineers,” and
                                                                                           the joists, protects them from water
Lewerenz with a freelance offer to help     tasks as needed.
                                                                                           damage and deterioration, and creates
him buy steel buildings and material,          Bestimate LLC joined the Wisconsin
                                                                                           usable outdoor living space below the
revise plans, and help with three steel     Frame Builders Association and exhib-
                                                                                           deck. Trex says the system, available
building projects.                          ited at its show in January.
                                                                                           at retailers, is competitively priced,
    “This brewed an idea,” Lewerenz says.      Lewerenz says he aims to do a good
                                                                                           easy to install by contractors and do-
“I wrote a ‘freelance letter’ and mailed    job of helping his clients do a good job
                                                                                           it-yourselfers too.
it to contractors in central Wisconsin.     for their clients in the design, selling and
                                                                                               Trex RainEscape system has five
Two more contractors called...and by        expediting of building construction.
                                                                                           components and uses only three tools
midsummer, I was working four to five          For information, contact Lewerenz
                                                                                           – scissors or a utility knife, a staple
days a week.”                               at Bestimate LLC, 714 East Ninth St.,
                                                                                           gun hammer and a caulk gun – for
    In August, Lewerenz and his wife        Marshfield, WI 54449; 715-506-0040 or
                                                                                           installation.
filed forms and began Bestimate LLC.        bestimate@verizon.net. RB


18	                                                                                                    RuRal	BuildeR	| MAY 2010

				
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