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HammerOn 11-14-2013 10:16 PM

First Prefab. Steel Building Bid / Project
Any tips on bidding a steel building assembly? Garage / Work shop 15x25-ish. How about tips to help the erection go smoothly? I pretty much have the job, just need to price it to make a decent profit. Grading and slab are no problem, bidding & construction. Thanks

Pearce Services 11-15-2013 06:02 AM

Check with the manufacturer and ask them how many man hours it should take for a first timer, then check out youtube, then be honest with your customer about your experience level,

Joasis 11-15-2013 08:04 AM

A few more details about the building would help. We do steel erections as our main line of work, and pricing is pretty basic. You can call me as a lifeline if you need to ask something. When I did my first buildings, no one was around to ask, or willing to answer.

HammerOn 12-14-2013 02:34 PM

I hadn't noticed any replies. The job has went a little screwy with the customer deciding he can assemble the building himself with a "little help" from us. I don't know where that's going... so I'm just taking it one step at a time.

We took the job of constructing the foundation- grading, footing, block, and slab.

The building is a Quonset Hut, 20'-5" x 72'-5". It has 7' of straight wall before the arch begins and has a center height of 16'.

I would like to give him a straight price on construction/assembly as I couldn't imagine helping a customer with a project being anything other than a nightmare. He thinks the manpower is all he needs.

Thanks in advance! Hope everyone is gearing up for a little down time with the family for the holidays.

CarpenterSFO 12-14-2013 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by HammerOn (Post 1907768)
... the customer deciding he can assemble the building himself with a "little help" from us. I don't know where that's going...
...I couldn't imagine helping a customer with a project being anything other than a nightmare. He thinks the manpower is all he needs.

If he only wants your labor he can get workers comp and liability and a license and hire you as an employee.

Joasis 12-14-2013 10:29 PM

Either you are doing the job, or you are an employee with a paycheck. You pick.

I had a guy many years ago who called me and asked me how much to erect his building, that he already bought. I quoted my number, and he acted like I was committing a crime. Then he asked how long it would take me and I said 4 days I think, or something....anyway, less then 40 hours on site. So he says he has to think about it.

He calls back a few days later and says he will not pay me what I quoted, as it worked out to about $400 an hour, and no one is worth that. I told him that my price included insurance, comp on my crew, and my equipment, plus, my experience. I don't need the practice. He said he didn't see it.....and offered my about 1/4 of what we charge to do the erection. Sorry, I say, and good luck, and I don't give it another thought.

He calls several weeks later, and decided to talk about this again...and he asks if I will do it for 1/2? Nope....I tell him I don't mean to be rude, but I am not in the business of making wages or I would go get a job. He hangs up on me, and I really think this was it.

A week or two pass, and the phone rings again...and it is him, and he decided he would pay my price, and can I get there right now, like RIGHT NOW? Nope....we are busy, and it will be weeks.....and he says he needs us right now.....and then tells me he bolted a main frame together and then using his farm tractor with a front end loader and a pipe stinger chained to the bucket, managed to get the frame up in the air, and bolted on, and then when he tried to get off of it, letting the frame stand alone, it was trying to rack over and fall, and he was now afraid he would ruin it, and could I please come with my forklift, scissor lift, and crew and help him out.....

So........the next morning we roll in, and literally manage to get his building done in like 28 hours.....and as he was paying me, the bitching started all over again......and I said you sure sounded different the other day, didn't you? He tried until the end to beat me down on price.

So...moral to the story, stand your ground. A duraspan building, which is what you are describing, is labor intensive. And there are a lot of bolts and lots of potential to leak if you fail to do the install correctly. So either the customer runs the show, or you do.....pick.

RDWelch 12-23-2013 12:09 PM

I have a similar scenario. I'll soon be starting my first prefab steel building. My business model is to sub out all trades. Does anyone have any insight on pitfalls to look out for with steel buildings?

Joasis 12-23-2013 03:27 PM

Sure...qualify them. You know, check references, credentials, insurance certs, and then go and see their past work. A guy with a magnetic sign on his 15 year old truck with a ladder in the back is not a steel erector.

exco 10-13-2014 12:10 PM

All very good points, we are about to do a demolition job, we had to open a new company to get insurance as the construction guys dont want to touch demo. I dont think folks realize how much of the cost is insurance and workers comp.

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