Price Per Square Foot?

 
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:24 AM   #1
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Price Per Square Foot?


Alright I know this is a popular subject around here but its something that I am having a lot of trouble with. Every job I bid I feel I was either to low or to high. Every job I get when completed I feel I bid too low. I am new to the business side of this business and I don't want to be that guy that under cuts everyone else. I sure as hell don't want to go back to working for someone else. So far every job I have completed has gone off without a hitch and all my customers are very happy with my work. Almost too happy. Almost like they bought a new car at used car price happy.

I looked into estimator programs just to get me in the ball park. I can hone my skills later. Right now I am looking just to be competitive. Has any body used these types of programs? Any recommendations for a good program or other tool to help get me started? Any info would help. I am really struggling in this dept.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:17 AM   #2
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


If your a framer should'nt you know what the going rate is in your area ?
No program is going to tell you that.


Last edited by strathd; 03-21-2009 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 03-21-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


It's simple. Raise your prices until they say no. Then negotiate.

Your best money spent will be learning effective sales techniques. A $15 book from Amazon will be the best investment you ever make in your business, not estimating software.
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Old 03-21-2009, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Doesn't matter what anybody else charges. Early in a business if you can make ends meet while establishing a clientele then you are golden. You should seek to separate yourself from the pack by being the highest quality and not according to price. You want people to feel that they cant do the job without you. When you reach this point the money will come.
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Old 03-22-2009, 04:06 AM   #5
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Quote:
Originally Posted by strathd View Post
If your a framer should'nt you know what the going rate is in your area ?
No program is going to tell you that.

yeah 1.75 to 25 bucks a foot. That clears up everything.

Framing isn't all I do. Right now I will take anything I can get. Decks don't bid the same. Siding windows and doors. Remodels don't bid the same as new homes. I am just looking for something to let me know I am in the ball park. On par with everyone else. Like I said I have built houses out the wa zoo. But the pricing is where I have very little expierance.

Looks like I will just have to take wild swings in the dark till I find something that helps. I have a deck bid coming up. I think I am going to look at it and take all the info up to home depot and get an estimate from them. That will at least something to go off of.

I do strive for quality. Part of the payoff is customer praise.

I still have alot to learn on the buisness side of things. I about had a anurism just trying to register my buisness name. Come to find out that was the easy part.

Thanks for the advice.
It is very much apreciated
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


To answer your question. Yes there are some good programs, I use National estimator guide software and you can change the settings for your area and or your desired margins, Still it is just a guide. every aspect of the job is accounted for in the program but they can not account for the day to day fluctuations in materials. I am currently bidding a 700,00.00 framing and siding project and if lumber costs change 1.00 a sq ft that could cost me 35,000 dollars. Be careful and use all the tools you can.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailerconstruct View Post
yeah 1.75 to 25 bucks a foot. That clears up everything.


Looks like I will just have to take wild swings in the dark till I find something that helps. I have a deck bid coming up. I think I am going to look at it and take all the info up to home depot and get an estimate from them. That will at least something to go off of.

I do strive for quality. Part of the payoff is customer praise.

I still have alot to learn on the buisness side of things. I about had a anurism just trying to register my buisness name. Come to find out that was the easy part.

Thanks for the advice.
It is very much apreciated

If you have a firm knowledge how to do your job then bidding should be fairly easy. If I look at a frame job I can say well I need to add a day to frame in that bump out, or setting that beam and stick framing it will take another day, this staircase is ridiculous add 4 more hours. Then I just say this is how much I need to make to cover my expenses and profit each day, then I multiply it by how long I think it will take. Do this for 5 or 6 slammin jammin houses and 5 or 6 customs and you will have sq ft prices in your head pretty relative to what its going to come out at. To be competitive is what desperate people look for. What if they are doing it for 5 bucks an hour? You wanna beat that? Just do your own thing and be honest with yourself. If you have already been doing jobs then you should have a grasp on that really.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:09 PM   #8
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


I am i the same situation feeling out the bidding game and some jobs are easier than others roofing is a snap decking easy siding easy framing easy all easy always go cost plus contracts and always get it in writing if sooner is better than price is not really a factor so pad your bid and promise quick start date I am finding out really quick the honest guy never get ahead just gets by
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:11 PM   #9
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Quote:
Originally Posted by gunnymills View Post
To answer your question. Yes there are some good programs, I use National estimator guide software and you can change the settings for your area and or your desired margins, Still it is just a guide. every aspect of the job is accounted for in the program but they can not account for the day to day fluctuations in materials. I am currently bidding a 700,00.00 framing and siding project and if lumber costs change 1.00 a sq ft that could cost me 35,000 dollars. Be careful and use all the tools you can.
I will give it a shot. I am only looking for a guide to let me know I am in the ball park. I would never rely solely on a program but I think it would make a great second opinion.

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:41 PM   #10
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Where are you finding any framing to do in KC? Do you need some help? This may sound crazy to you but, on these decks and remodeling things I have been doing lately, I figure the cost of materials and that gives me a place to start. A guy told me that a long tome ago, and i always keep that in mind when I bid something , cause it is usually pretty close. Give or take. Every job is different.
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:52 PM   #11
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


There are several times I have bid based on the cost of materials. No shame in that, if you know you can do the job, but don't know how to bid effectively.

To the OP: KC prices are probably about comparable to Oklahoma right now, and framing here for custom homes is down to $2.25 a sq/ft for conditioned space, and many framers do the garage for "free", or no added charge....just to get the job. Sounds desperate, but it beats sitting at home watching Oprah.

I know a guy that started using a program to help him bid....he hasn't got a job since, and he feels everyone else is too low. I pointed out to him that his program just didn't work for the real world...especially in this economy.

If you are doing new construction, single family residential, then you should have an idea of what the other crews or companies in your area are getting.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:41 PM   #12
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


I just bid 3.00 a foot for some stick built duplexes. One story, slab foundation, no hips four valleys, 7/12, builder provides nails pretty simple. I am hopeful I will get them. The builder sounded happy with the price. We shall see.

Its not really the framing that I have difficulty with. It's the remodels, windows and doors, siding, things of that nature. All the piddly little jobs I have been doing because I cant find anything to frame. That stuff is killing me. I am on a remodel right now. Once again I feel like I under bid it by about a thousand bucks. The bad part is I am only three days into it.
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:06 AM   #13
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Cost of materials or a fact of, like cost x 1.3 works out for me. I know some will say you can't shoot blind, but in siding, for example, the material cost is $110 a sq, and labor to install should be around that number.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:22 AM   #14
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailerconstruct View Post
I just bid 3.00 a foot for some stick built duplexes. One story, slab foundation, no hips four valleys, 7/12, builder provides nails pretty simple. I am hopeful I will get them. The builder sounded happy with the price. We shall see.

Its not really the framing that I have difficulty with. It's the remodels, windows and doors, siding, things of that nature. All the piddly little jobs I have been doing because I cant find anything to frame. That stuff is killing me. I am on a remodel right now. Once again I feel like I under bid it by about a thousand bucks. The bad part is I am only three days into it.
You will never be able to price
remodeling like new construction
framing work.
You need to look at each job
for what it is.
If you think replacing an entry door
in a '70s slab ranch, and a balloon framed
Queen are the same labor......
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:07 AM   #15
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Neo is dead on.

Bidding remodeling and smaller one-off projects from a new construction mindset will get you killed in a hurry. And unfortunately it takes experience with it to know how long things are going to take. Also, most guys who are new to bidding fail to properly account for their fixed cost overhead in their bids on smaller projects.

Square foot and per unit pricing is good to know as a starting point. But you have to develop the ability to really "SEE INTO" a project... almost build it in your head from start to finish. Most of the time when I've screwed something up bidding, it was a failure of imagination on my part. Something I could have and should have forseen.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:26 AM   #16
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Has anyone just tried to charge by the hour instead of the ridiculous undercutting or gouge bidding. Up here in the great white North I charge by the hour and most customers are fine with it. No matter how you look at it, you base a bid on your hourly rate anyway,. If you can give the customer a timeline for the project and document everything extra you have to do that usually goes unnoticed they are usually more than happy to pay by the hour. Bids suck.
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:36 AM   #17
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Rustic - Many HM services, T&M contractors, etc... charge this way, I even offer this occasionally

There are 2 catches with this, someone will always be out that will work for less & allot of customers have been burned by others that worked by the hour & do not want to go through it again
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:01 AM   #18
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Re: Price Per Square Foot?


Try looking at it from a different point of view. Of course your price needs to be in the ball park of your competitors, but you have to sell your service/product/whatever. I like framermans advice: negotiate.
When you bid, come up with a figure that you can live with, add x% to it and use your best sales pitch to get as much of that x% as possible. You can always knock off some in the nego. A rule of thumb to keep in mind...If you bid 10 jobs and get 8 of them, your too low.

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