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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, maybe some of you remember me. I'm 19, I've been doing trim work and some other misc remodeling help (everything from rough to drywall to finish) for a few years now. I'm out of the full time constuction stuff, but I'm still trying to keep a few side jobs going for some extra pocket cash.

Anyway, I started working at a real estate office and have found a whole bunch of small repair jobs that I'm trying to land. Just looking for some help in bidding a price.

First job: Leaky toilet wore hole in drywall. It needs:

Pipe resoldered on toilet
4x4 drywall removed, replaced, taped/mud and repainted
Tile base need to be replaced, about 4 tiles. Needs grout, etc.
Drywall on the back side needs to replaced, probably 2 sheets.

This will all be covered by insurance, so the guy said to make sure I get paid what I need to get paid. I usually try to bid jobs hourly, but I have no clue what this one is going to take. Its gonna take a few trips because of dry time on the mud and paint, and with gas the way it is I need to factor that in as well.

I know this is small time stuff to some of you big builders, but we all start somewhere. If you can help me out that'd be great. I'm thinking of asking $300 for labor, mark up materials 15% and charge a daily drive fee of $10/day. I'm not expecting materials to be over $60, so thats like... right around $350ish total.

Comments/ideas? Thanks.
 

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Custom Builder
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Don't brake it down like that for him, Just use your figures for your own ref. If he wants it broke down like that, you may not want to work for him. I've found Realtors are good for pocket squeeze.

Add your figures, materials, and break it to explained tasks with a bottom dollar, then stick to it.

Also your labor price looks low.

Bob
 

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from your info, that doesn't sound too bad. from the sound of it ,it's one of those PITA jobs. all that mess in a small space. yep. PITA. just a few points of advice: 1.) if you are going to bid a flat labor price, make it flexible. inform your client in writing, that if the job becomes more involved due to unforseen circumstances you will charge your hourly rate in addition to the initial labor bid.(remember, that's why they call it an ESTIMATE.) if he insists on a flat labor bid , double it to protect yourself . your time is just as valuable as his & time is money. the longer you work the less you make. have him sign a waiver stating you a not responsible for the failure of a job due to the failure of existing damaged materials not replaced.(i.e.,wet framing or subfloor) finally, state in your contract that your client is responsible for payment , reguardless if his insurance won't pay you. oh yeah, if you're not insured, get that way quick.
 

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The Deck Guy
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carpenter1st said:
state in your contract.
My guess is that PPro is not the type of guy that uses a contract. Or not yet, at least.

PPro...

Rule 1) Don't EVER break out your price.

Rule 2) 1/3 deposit, 1/3 upon installation of drywall, 1/3 upon completion

Rule 3) Charge more. That is a PITA job and no one else will do it. When you underprice your services, you hurt all the professionals in your area.
 

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So you've got to make at least 3 trips- one to demo, solder, install drywall and first coat, a second to coat again and set the tile, and a third to paint, grout, reset toilet, etc. (maybe a fourth trip if you don't use hot mud).

You're going to do all that for $300?? What about the cost for disposing of the trash? After it's all said and done, you'll probably be making around $15/hour. Go to work at Home Depot- you'll make the same money and get benefits on top of it. Ohh...and you'll get the nice orange apron too ;)

Bob
 

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How many actual hours are you working...including drive time? Usually, if I have to go back a second day, I charge minimum 600 bucks, but that's for flooring work. I think your mark up on your materials is good, but make sure you are paid for your time. No less than 35 per hour including drive time. $10 per day may or may not cover your time on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First off, thanks for the info.

I wouldn't split it up my price like that, thats just how I'm doing it in my head. I'm just trying to show some logic to it so you guuys can see what I'm thinking.

Sounds like I need to up my price a little though. The drywall doesnt seem too bad, and the toilet just needs a new fitting now that I actually looked at the job (he doesn't know that though). The flooring that was damaged is more damaged than he though, we're looking at like 30 rows of hardwood that has to be ripped up and replaced. Its prob about a 8x10 section of flooring total. There is a staircase right there, so I do have a fairly 'easy' start and stop point vs having a square in the middle of the floor somewhere.

I see myself working about 5 hours a day for 3 days there. 15 hours (roughly) total.

Hes a good guy, I work with him at the real estate office. The insurance company is paying for it, not out of his pocket. He already said "don't short yourself, its all covered under insurance."

So... $500 bucks plus materials you guys think? I live close, $10 in gas will cover my there and back and then some, even with these prices.

Should I write a simple contract? Just type something up and have both of us sign in? How well does something that simple hold up? I dont see us having any problems, but you never know.

I appriciate the help though, a lot. I've been running this by a few friends who have been in the biz for a while and they said about the same things.
 

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in my small area your charges would fall somwhere close. however i just noticed you're in michigan.(actually i lived in dearborn heights for awhile right across the street from inkster. ) so, bob is a bit closer . i'd say first off you should double the number of hours you THINK it will take. it always takes longer . if you bid him closer to $1000.00,(labor)
especially with the extra floor work, you'll be alright. i have done this kind of job before and it's always a PITA. you should always have at least a simple printed contract, even with someone you know well . it's a simple way to cover yourself and well worth it. always state exactly what will be done. always have a clause to cover unanticipated work. charge x amount of dollars/hr. for extra needed work not listed in the original contract. this avoids the " hey could you do me a favor and.." line. if you perform work and it fails later for any reason , it's on you. use a clause that you are only responsible for failure due to bad craftsmanship. if you don't, when that wet ,or formerly wet or damaged framing that wasn't replaced damages your work , YOU are responsible for repairs at your cost not them. and even if HE says "don't short yourself,etc.." the insurance company may not see it his or your way. insurance companies can be trouble like that. if you don't protect yourself against this , who pays your bill if the insurance company won't? no one ever anticipates problems, but when or if they occur whose behind is left dangling in the breeze? it's not rude ,or impolite to use a contract or use specific clauses to ensure your protection. anyone looking for a contractor expects documents like these. if they expect you to work without a contract ,or expect you to change your contract "just for them" ,they are PLANNING to take advantage of you. if you don't protect yourself , you will quickly go broke. and yes both of you sign it (with a witness if possible), one copy for him, one for you. and even simple contracts hold up in court unless you just slop it out.
 

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...jammin
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Incredibly great advice from all of the above posts for you're situation
Heed every word
Also, since you started the thread your gas cost went up to 17.50 there and back again
And yes get something in writing
Verbal can hold up, but writing avoids that question
For some commercial accts. I use more of a work order, but honestly I'm running into a problem with one of those right now, I wish I had done a more detailed contract
Oh yeah that's an $800 job around here, if you could get someone to do it
But prices here are about 20% higher than the Nat Avg
An extra $200 for the PITA factor/FudgeFactor/CallBackTouchUpFactor sounds right
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks a lot guys, you're all a huge help.

I'm going to quote a price of $550 for labor, plus an extra 35/hr for any unforseen work that needs to be done.

I will ask him if he wants to buy materials or if he wants me to get them. Hes busy as hell at the office so I'm sure he'll want me to do it. I'll charge him %15 on the materials to cover my time and travel to the local yard.

I do have to buy a few of my own tools for this, I wasn't planning on charging him for those under 'materials,' should I? I need to buy a new drywall knife, a new table saw (mine was recently stolen) and a new blade for my miter box. The table saw is going to be a home depot special for under $100, blade for $50ish and a new knife is around $10. I need these tools anyway, and they aren't "special" tools needed for this job only, so I figured these should come out of my pocket. Now that I'm thinking about it, I should just charge $600 labor to offset some of these purchases.

Thanks again guys, you couldn't have been more helpful! :Thumbs:
 

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Hey PPRO where are you in Michigan?

Make sure that you are insured, and make sure you have a good but simple contract. Include many of the clauses others have posted in this thread. Most of these clauses are the result of problems so it is wise to use them and avoid learning the same lessons the hard way.

Also keep in mind that here in Michigan you are required to have a builder's license for all jobs over $600. The insurance company may require you to be licensed to do the job.

We do lots of work for investors so we are used to odd PITA jobs like that. We would probably charge $625 or so based on what you have said.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This job would be done in Canton, Ford Rd & Beck area.

I've never done any work on my own, so I'm not currently insured. Whats the process for that? Sorry, completely new to running the job by myself. I've always just worked under the table for cash if it was work not done for the companies I've been working for.
 

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PPro said:
This job would be done in Canton, Ford Rd & Beck area.

I've never done any work on my own, so I'm not currently insured. Whats the process for that? Sorry, completely new to running the job by myself. I've always just worked under the table for cash if it was work not done for the companies I've been working for.
Dude, can't believe I just shared trade knowledge with a guy who's working off the books. :evil:

Oh, well. To answer your question, go to your state and get liscensed and then get insured. You got to decide if you're gonna be a plumber or an electrician or what...because in some states you have to take a test at the very minimum.

If you are just a handyman getting paid under the table, you are charging toooo much.
 

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...jammin
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Donedat said:
Dude, can't believe I just shared trade knowledge with a guy who's working off the books. :evil:
:eek:
Yeah PPro you gotta fix that first
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you would have read my posts you would see this is my first job I'm going to do on my own, and others I've done were either for a licensed and insured company where I paidmy taxes just like you do or it was a sidejob for family and friends who paid cash for the work. I dont see the big deal there. I'm trying to do this the right way and I'm taking slack for it. I could have not even bothered to come here and ask, I could have just undercut all of you by a bunch and walked away with full pockets, but I didn't.

Thanks to everyone who has been helpful.
 

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hey, give the kid a break. did everyone on this site START out completely on the up&up? i doubt it. he'll get it done. sometimes you have to make a little money to AFFORD a license and insurance, it ain't cheap. especially if you only do jobs occasionally.
 

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...jammin
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Regardless of the kid's statement, no-one slammed him
That's a legit "Bid help for a guy starting out" info
Get the proper paperwork and ins.

It's also a legit grip of the responders, I would say it's fair to assume most of the advice given regarding pricing, which was the exact question, was given under the assumtion he had a little more overhead
Therefore most of the advice regarding pricing is invalid
Since the Real estate office's ins. is now responsible for him, the office paying him should get a significant discount

If a mad smiley and a "ya gotta fix that" are considered flaming, I'm retiring my asbestos suit
 

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:) The above posts have it right on the advice, including legitimacy of your business. I perceived no flaming and I should know. :cheesygri

Ppro, consider if this can fit into a contract: After estimating your costs, double your price, but work on time and material. In other words, you furnish them with a "not to exceed" number for their budgeting concerns, however, you perform at time & material. For example, you figure your t&m costs at $500, in the rose-colored perfect world of estimating. Then you contract the job for T&M, not to exceed $1,000.

This accomplishes two things. For one, the owner has budgetary expectations, and two, you have an incentive to perform.

For example. You give the aforementioned "not to exceed" price along with an hourly rate. You have incentive to perform because you don't want your costs to exceed the guaranteed maximum. They have incentive to hire you because they can budget the costs with confidence.

Your contract based on this idea would rely upon the great advice the others gave you, with regards to exclusions and the unforeseen, which is fair business. Get it in writing, it's a contract. I view a contract as a written form of a handshake. If anyone is worth their words and deeds, they will gladly sign their name.

Lastly, by all means, I hope you are successful. Doing it "right" doesn't protect you from the wrongdoers, but it's worth it. You represent thousands of construction professionals who make their living based upon the legitimacy of our industry.

Aim high my friend!

:)

:Thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys, I appriciate it. I'm hoping to get to work on the license and insurance part by the end of the week. There's a house down the street from me being built and I talked to the guy about a drywall and trim job there, and he said he'd gladly sign a contract w/me on it as soon as I was licensed, so there is some more motivation to get that done.

Any idea on costs for that in Michigan these days? Just curious...
 

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good to hear you're getting everything straight. as far as pricing- drywall here goes about $1.50-$2.00/sq.ft. for a hang and finish,it may be higher there. as for trim- it depends. some people charge by the linear foot,some don't. by the foot it usually runs anywhere from $1.00/ft. and up-more if you're painting or staining it.
 
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