Take off Estimating

The phrase “take-off” refers to the estimator taking each of the required materials off a project’s blueprint. You’ll often come across different terms in front of takeoff, such as ‘lumber takeoff. ‘ In this instance, the material is specified and means the total quantity of ‘lumber’ required to complete the project.

What is a takeoff measurement?
Quantity take-offs (QTO) are a detailed measurement of materials and labor needed to complete a construction project. They are developed by an estimator during the pre-construction phase. This process includes breaking the project down into smaller and more manageable units that are easier to measure or estimate.
What is a take off specialist?

Estimating Take-Off Specialist

Performs accurate, thorough and timely quantity takeoffs using company software format, detail and for heavy civil construction projects.


We are more than just an Estimating Firm. Our team helps contractors with the getting more leads, management of bids, consulting and tips to improve contract awards. Since we work nationwide with our construction takeoff service, we get to know what other contractors are doing that works.

What is QTO?

“QTO” stands for quantity takeoff and it is basically a list of material quantities required to complete a construction project. The construction takeoff services are usually offered by professional estimators and can be outsourced from companies like QTO Estimating. Most of the companies hire full-time staff to do the task of measuring quantities and for the preparation of BOQs. But there are still many contractors and house builders who outsource material estimating services in order to reduce the load on in-house estimators.

Explaining what a quantity takeoff is in construction is relatively straightforward. Essentially, a quantity takeoff refers to estimating materials. You review the project plans and take off information about what physical materials the architect, engineer or draftsperson specifies to assemble the project.

Quantity takeoffs in construction have many other names, including:

  • Estimating takeoffs
  • Construction takeoffs
  • Earthwork takeoffs
  • Material takeoffs
  • Material estimating
  • Material counts
  • Quantity surveying


Finding the right person for your estimating department can be a challenging task.  Whether you are looking for an estimator, a chief estimator, or an entry level employee, you must match a person’s skill with his responsibility.  Quality employees possess skills, work ethic, honesty, and most of all, potential.  An employee without potential will not be able to be molded into a key member of your estimating team.

An employee must have the proper skills and understanding of his responsibilities as a team member.  Employees are usually compensated per their skill and ability.  The greater the skills and abilities, the greater the compensation.  Happy is the employee whose compensation matches his abilities.  Happy is the contractor when an employee’s responsibilities match his skill and ability.  When an employee has responsibilities, but does not possess the skills to fulfill them, disaster is awaiting.

A take-off person is one who can count symbols and send out fixture counts. But an estimator is one who can count a symbol and translate it into labor hours and material dollars.  An estimator must be skilled in reading and interpreting the project specifications.  He must determine direct labor hours and any off-hour work and overtime required.  There are many factors involved in estimating a project.

Some contractors make counterproductive decisions to fill in the gap in their estimating department.  An electrician may understand electrical work well, this is no guarantee that he understands estimating.  No matter how good an employee is in the electrical field, he or she must have a solid estimating philosophy.


The United States construction industry generates huge costs and consumes massive time. American construction projects generate billions of dollars and employ millions of workers. Because of the money and people affected, it’s important to get material takeoffs right.

You have two main material takeoff options. The first is using the old and antiquated manual method. The other is using a modern and more accurate digital takeoff system. Your choice might depend upon how much time you have and what the cost of a digital takeoff system will run you.

Comparing time and cost against accuracy might be a tough data management decision. Fortunately, you have a third choice. This one makes a lot of sense when you’re under a time constraint and demand estimation accuracy.

It’s turning to a material takeoff professional to estimate for you. These experienced construction experts make sure your takeoffs are accurate, thorough and dependable. You can trust them to support your bids and your business.