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HELP!!!!- on giving a bid


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  • HELP!!!!- on giving a bid

    How do you determine how much to bid for a project? A woman I work with wants me and my husband to basically remodel her kitchen- tile a countertop, move and possibly paint her cabinets, build and finish a soffitt,build a cabinet for her hot water heater, lay new vinyl floor (the squares) and put in a beadboard backsplash. We can do it all, but don't know how much to charge her for this. PLEASe HELP!!!! We are not professionals, but do a really good job....

    Also, my boss wants me to give him a price on tiling his bathroom- tub enclosure, shower enclosure, and floor- how much to charge????

    Gimme a good how to book, and I'll try anything!

  • #2
    One time while attending Refrigeration School I asked an instructor this very same question. "How do you determine how much to charge?"

    He stated that there were three different schools of thought on this issue.

    METHOD 1. The most common method is to set an hourly labor rate, then charge hourly labor plus material cost. The problem with this method is that it makes no provision for hidden costs such as the cost of aquiring and maintaining a service vehicle, tools, licensing fees, workmans comp insurance, mandatory contractor retraining courses, taxes and the occasional heavy tool rental, Office or shop rental fees,and of course a secretary or answering service to take your calls.

    The solution then is to determine a fair individual hourly labor rate and double it, the first half to pay your wages and the second half to cover the hidden expenses, plus any fringe benefits such as healt insurance. This explains why a Plumbers hourly rate may be $50 to $60 while the actual plumber is making $18 to $20 hr and his helper making $7 to $10.

    method 2. As you become more experienced you will be able to look at a job and anticipate the amount of labor time required as well as estimate the material cost. Once you reach that point you compute the labor and material costs, with a slight markup for company profit and submit one up front bid.

    He then went on to say,,"Over the years I have worked out a much simpler method."

    METHOD 3. First thing every morning while you have your morning coffee add up all your anticipated expenses for the day to determine how much money you need to earn on this day to make your ends meet.

    Once you know how much money you need, you simply divide that by the number of service calls you have scheduled for the day and pitty the poor guy who only needs a filter change on the day when your rents due.

    Based upon some of the Bids that I have seen, sadly I think the third option is rapidly gaining in popularity.


    • #3
      How much would you charge for this job?

      Gimme a good how to book, and I'll try anything!


      • #4
        IN this instance there are far too many variables to give a bottom line price, by example, if the cabinets are simple modular design that can be taken out in sections it would require far less labor than site built cabinets might. Putting tile on the counter top would depend upon whether you can go over the existing counter top or whether you would need to construct a new substrate as well, etc etc.

        You stated that you can do all of the work required so you must have some experience in the tasks at hand. If that is so, then you should be able to estimate a ballpark time frame for what you feel each stage will require.

        Obviosly your customer will want some kind of a ballpark number before they will give you a go ahead on the project.

        Step one would be to make up a complete material list for the job and price it out. (Don't overlook the little things: caulking, furring strips for the cabinets, a disposable notch trowel for glue, nails, screws, and consumables such as reciprocating saw blades, jig saw blades, utility knife blades etc.)

        Understandibly you are not contractors and you are doing this job as a sideline, but don't sell yourself short here. I think it would be fair to say that any skilled tradesman or tradeswoman working out of their own toolbox, whether they are an experienced contractor or advanced DIY'er should be able to command at least $10/hr.

        If you and hubby were to work together at $10/hr that is two people for 40hrs a week for a bottom line of $800 for a week. I sincerely believe any homeowner who has checked contractor prices would regard that as a bargain.

        Once you have the material list, and a good ballpark estimate of your time with allowances for unforseen problems and some allowances for you time to go select the materials, you should be able to give the customer a non-binding estimate of the job. If you really need to sharpen your pencil to get the job you tell them this is an outside estimate and it could come in a bit less depending on how the labor time goes.

        No doubt you will need some up front money to start the job. In that case you may want to negotiate for customer supplied materials and the labor to be settled upon job completion.

        The key here is to be totally open an honest with your customer.

        There are some other things that must also be considered when negotiating your contract. If it is to be customer supplied materials, who goes to get them? Do you take a cash advance and buy the material or will the customer have it ready on site? (I would suggest you select the material because the customer probably doesnt know what to buy and they would not recognize if the supplier is slipping in damaged goods, warped boards etc.

        Where will the materials be stored on site? In most cases the customer is living in the house and nothing will strain a relationship quicker than a customer tripping over materials stacked in the middle of their living space.

        Who cleans up the mess? Perhaps the customer is willing to assume some of the construction labor duties to save on labor cost.

        What do you do with the mess? Haul it away, set it out for trash pickup, get a dumpster, etc. (Any required trash dispoasl fees must be a part of your bid.)

        In all probability you have other jobs and will be doing this in the evening. What are your access hours? Nothing strains a job quicker then you thinking you can work till 11pm and later find out the customer wants you out by 9pm so they can go to bed at 10.

        I hope this information will provide you some help with your project.

        If you dont mind, i would like to ask you to post your bosses bathroom tile job in another post because there are a number of code issues I would like to address and i will try to provide some illustrations.


        • #5
          thanks! I will put it in as a new post- you have been very helpfull!! Oh, and hubby and I have our days free as we work in the evenings.

          Gimme a good how to book, and I'll try anything!