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
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 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
filed forms and began Bestimate LLC. firstname.lastname@example.org. RB
18 RuRal BuildeR | MAY 2010