A building manager called three contractors to come out and give their best estimates on a small reconstruction job. After carefully explaining what needed to be done, the manager showed the contractors to the area where the work was to be performed.
The first contractor took out his tape measure, did some measuring and said, “Well, I figure the job will run about $1000. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $200 profit for me.”
The second contractor also took out his tape measure, did some quick figuring and said, “Looks like I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”
Without so much as moving, the third contractor said, “$2,700.”
The manager’s jaw dropped on that last estimate. He looked at the contractor and said, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How can you justify such a high figure?”
“Easy,” he said. “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy who’s gonna do it for $700.”