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I recently read several pages of posts on why questions about pricing are pulled. I will be the first to admit I am far better at my craft than I am at the business end. Large bids take me a long time and a lot of work, but I do manage to get in the ballpark of other bids. One thing I noticed while reading those posts and others on this site is that if people would just read what you are offering without prices it is a great deal of help. It just seems like if you can't get an answer by spending time reading these post you are truly in trouble. Although it does seem like some type of help along the lines of the man who said he would tell someone who was laying 60sqft of tile for $60 needed to recheck his work may be helpful, I mean if someone is offering to put their price out there is it wrong to comment without giving them a price. I myself have done it for people in the past.
 

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stacker of sticks
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Try to keep in private, the problem is I might be able to do a roof for 12k. A guy in Cali might have to do it for 18k but someone in Colorado might be able to do it for 8k. So what happens when a homeowner from Cali googles how much it will cost to do their roof, and end up reading our thread? They think there roofer ripped them off, and talks chit about them
 

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Punching above his weight
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I've found this forum to be pretty liberal about pricing discussions.

You're not going to find anybody saying, "It should cost $200 to hang a door" or anything like that anymore, but you'll find great answers as far as the amount of time others estimate for hanging a door, then even more threads about how to calculate the cost of the job.

The best threads are the ones that go deeper and offer math advice for people like OP and I who are better workers than accounts. For instance, how to actually make 20% profit, as opposed to multiplying your final cost by 1.2.
That was an eye opener and forehead slapper for sure.
 

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Pricing questions come from homeowners hoping to beat down a contractor's price; homeowners trying to get leverage on a contractor with whom they have a beef; and contractors who can't estimate or figure out their overhead.

I'm willing to talk with the contractor about estimating and understanding overhead. I want no part of the other discussions.

It's just a rule, a community choice, really.

We talk about pricing frequently, and specific prices get mentioned with some frequency. What's taboo is the suggestion that your price has any meaning to me, or mine to you.
 

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Try to keep in private, the problem is I might be able to do a roof for 12k. A guy in Cali might have to do it for 18k but someone in Colorado might be able to do it for 8k.
Let's be clear - roofs in California start at $100K. Anything less than that, the contractor is doing you a big favor, and you should take the deal before he changes his mind.
 

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stacker of sticks
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CarpenterSFO said:
Let's be clear - roofs in California start at $100K. Anything less than that, the contractor is doing you a big favor, and you should take the deal before he changes his mind.
:laughing" I know nothing about how much anything should cost outside of central New York
 

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Fine Handcrafted Opinions
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CarpenterSFO said:
Let's be clear - roofs in California start at $100K. Anything less than that, the contractor is doing you a big favor, and you should take the deal before he changes his mind.
I assume that's a joke? Not to derail the thread, but I'm unable to fathom a $100k residential roof...
 

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Once you have been around awhile and made some friends, you will realize that pricing help is available in a pinch via private messages.

Most are more than happy to help you with a few ball park numbers, and I have always been fine with helping others with this.

The general reason for the rule consists of several problems.

  1. Lots of homeowners look at this site, and many sign up as "painter" or "general" and try to talk shop then ask for a going rate in order to beat down their contractors on price. This is not good for any of us.
  2. Costs for things vary HUGELY depending on location, quality, scope, etc. It's almost like if I asked someone. "How much should I pay for a car" with no reference to new/used, brand, age, model, etc.
  3. When it WAS allowed, it usually turned into a war. Some would call others hacks for working so cheap, and others would call people thieves for charging too much.
  4. Also, when it WAS allowed, this site attracted inexperienced contractors who were too lazy to work up their own quotes and relied on strangers from the internet to do their work for them.

That's just for starters and the reasons I can remember right now.
 

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Kowboy
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The Federal Trade Commission is crazy strict about collusion. They don't want us discussing pricing because they think it could lead to price fixing. If I ran this website, I'd be much more worried about the feds than some sneaky homeowners.

If fact, I think homeowners should be encouraged to view here. Let 'em see exactly why their bid is "so high". When they see how much things really cost, they might be more reasonable.
 

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Learning how to properly price a job is the key to success in this industry.

Too low and you just worked for $10.00 an hour.

Too high and you didn't get the job or you were unable to justify the cost to the potential customer.

I hate to say it but it is a secret (pricing that is) once you figure it out it becomes very easy to be successful. I personally would not want to give away numbers or formulas because it will make it all that much easier for everyone to follow suit and level the playing field. It did take me alot of trial and error to get where I am. But once you get it down........................
 

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I think for a lot of new guys, myself included, estimating the time to do the job is the unknown. I think thats what guys mean when they ask price. They have no idea how long it will take. The jobs i made very little on where the ones where i simply didn't have a lot of experience doing them so i estimated low thinking it wouldn't take me that long. The areas i have a lot of experience in are no problem.

I had a job last summer on a mobil home. The piece of trim that transitioned from the mobile home to the skirting had rotted around the whole perimeter and a little bit up the t-111 siding. I had to estimate the time to remove the vinyl, skirting, ripe all the old trim off, cut 1" off the bottom of the siding, install flashing and a new piece of trim all the way around. I was competent to do the job, but had never done it so was unsure on how long it would take. I estimated 3 days with a helper and price fit accordingly. Luckily for me i was right.

That formula everyone throws around of Overhead+material+labor+profit=price is accurate, but the labor number is the big kicker that ends up often being the reason we end up not making enough on a job. That has been the case for me at least.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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I think for a lot of new guys, myself included, estimating the time to do the job is the unknown.
Even that begins to fall into place after the first decade or two. :laughing:

The biggest problem most guys have is that even though they might have been in the field for X years, they never made it a habit to keep track of how long various tasks actually take. Why should you, when you're working for someone else by the hour?

So you wind up being quite competent at the mechanics of each job, which makes you think you're ready to go it on your own. But if you haven't honed that estimating blade, you're in for a rough ride.
 

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stacker of sticks
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Tinstaafl said:
Even that begins to fall into place after the first decade or two. :laughing: The biggest problem most guys have is that even though they might have been in the field for X years, they never made it a habit to keep track of how long various tasks actually take. Why should you, when you're working for someone else by the hour? So you wind up being quite competent at the mechanics of each job, which makes you think you're ready to go it on your own. But if you haven't honed that estimating blade, you're in for a rough ride.
I learned pretty quick after loosing 50k in the first 3 months :laughing:
 
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