One thing that I would not have thought about was the 'Cubic yard of fill distributed with a 1,500 foot radius of the origination point'. I'm sure someone somewhere has been burned by not putting that in an estimate (although I appreciate this letter is likely just a ballpark).
Are there examples of not putting something in an estimate and it coming back to bite?
1500 feet as the maximum haul expected by the grading company has been the standard since I got in the biz. They usually quoted $0.10-0.25 for every 100 feet after, obviously more now. If the gca provided good grading plans, they might do the takeoffs and include that charge spread out over the total mass ex, but would still have the two different unit prices in the bid for extras.
I have seen similar things on "per lineal foot of drain pipe" where they assume that it will be no more than 4 foot deep, which trenches pretty fast, whereas 6 feet or whatever may have required a backhoe and takes a lot longer.
Or sometimes, the contractor just bids market rate and "discovers" later on that he feels he is entitled to more for a long haul or deep pipe, but it is rare.
I have said this before, but my mentors often built courses the "Pete Dye way." In theory, you aren't paying the 10-15% profit margin of the general contractor and it should be cheaper. However, we kept track of a few projects we did that way, compared to a pure lump sum bid from the "bigs" and most times, using a good golf contractor came out a bit better, i.e., efficiency more than made up for the profit margin in most cases.
When I started my own business, I realized quite quickly that the world wasn't any better off with me running dozers. And, in reality, if we say that being able to hit a golf ball doesn't necessarily mean you can envision a good golf hole, it stands to reason (with me anyway) that the skill of running equipment doesn't necessarily mean you can envision a good golf hole. How many people are really equally talented at two different job types?