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Charging Rates for Decks

9667 Views 51 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  DecksEtc
I just started up a deck business this year and made up my pricing sheet on what I thought was a reasonable profit margin. I have very little overhead because I run everything out of my home, etc. I was hoping that I might be able to get an idea from some of you here on what any of you might charge for decks. I know that the material costs and charging rates will be different in the U.S. as opposed to Canada but any information would be helpful. To give you an idea on how I priced things this year, my material costs for straight decks (including 4' deep cement footings) were as follows: Pressure-treated - material cost was $6.00/sq. ft. and I charged out at $15.00/ sq. ft. and Cedar - material cost was $9.00 sq. ft. and I charged out at $25.00 sq. ft. I have different pricing schedules for railings, skirting, stairs, benches, etc.

Any help/information is greatly appreciated.


P.S. I wasn't sure where to post this as there doesn't seem to be anywhere specific to deck building.
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Someone asked me the other day what a scalp was. I encourage you to start collecting scalps. A scalp is your competitor's contract. Nothing will tell you more about what they are charging than their own proposal.
Does Hometech have pricing for your area? May be worth a look.

Thanks for your input/suggestions guys. Grumpy - good idea, that's how I found out the pricing for fencing in my area. Mike, I appreciate your comments - I think I have been on the right track as I have not been under bid for any jobs yet. Tim, I checked Hometech's website but didn't see anything for Canadian pricing help.

To update everyone, I have been looking into affiliating myself with a company that does design and marketing for decks, pergolas, fences, etc. They are set-up with web support, pricing help, contract help and I get the rights to a defined area. Has any one heard anything about
Sometimes it is helpful to get a quote for someone who does this in your area. Call someone for a estimate and see what they tell you. In NC, decks go for about $12.50 sq ft for preasure treated simple designs. Prices go dramatically up when different levels are added, as well as angles.

Thanks sunnyholme. Does that $12.50 sq ft include materials?
As stated pricing labor will be based per deck since the variables are so vast, but here for a basic no frills "standard PT deck materials run about $7/sq./ft. and I charge $8/sq./ft. labor.

For a standard cedar type deck with PVC railing system I can still charge $15/sq ft and make good money for a standard deck since we use PT base and cover with cedar, but for more stairs, sq ft., design, we get upto $18-20/sq ft.

All of those prices are just to come in and erect a deck and haul away those materials to the landfill, if we need to tear out an existing structure price goes up as well.

Thanks for the advise and tips. I'm not sure if you noticed, but the start date for this thread was awhile ago. Since that time I have became an associated contractor with Since that time my pricing schedule has changed dramatically. No, not all of the pictures on the site are my work but I have the skills and knowledge to do every one of them and more. The snow up here has prevented me from getting some better pictures of my own stuff. GardenStructure does the majority of my design work and yes, I do charge very different rates than when I started up. For example, elaborate cedar custom designed decks can be upwards of $85/sq. ft.

I think that perhaps you misread the intent of my response. I was genuinely being thankful for your tips and advise. I did notice that you were new to the forum but didn't feel the need to check on your deck building experience - I took your advise as it was written. I am unclear as to what you read in my response as being "smarmy", if there is something I wrote that you took that way then I am sorry, I never intended such a thing. I think that you'll find that if you were to read any of my previous posts you would see that I have never given anyone attitude or belitted anything anyone has said. Also, if you were to talk to any of the people that have been on this forum much longer than I, that they would support the fact that I am genuine and polite to everyone.

I never said I didn't know what to charge. I was looking for advice from others on whether or not my pricing seemed in line. I have since learned that I am not charging enough. The $85/sq. ft. example I gave was for very high end work that the designer I am affiliated with has suggested as pricing for said high end work.

Sorry, but I must defend myself and object to your statement "you're representing yourself using someone else's work..." - I am doing nothing of the sort. The main focus of the company is design of custom decks, pergolas, etc. I am listed as an associated contractor and I had to pass an extensive screening process in order to receive this status.

To summarize, again I am sorry if you misread anything I wrote. I was thankful for the information in your post. Actually, I was glad to see someone else here that had a business focused on deck building. Perhaps we can start over???


P.S. I wish it was prime ontario deck building season now, we just got 5-10 cm of snow in the past day.
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I'm sure Terry was genuine in his response to your thoughts. By my reading, he was just pointing out facts (rather diplomatically imo) that might further clarify everyone's position. Sometimes "tone" is difficult to interpret on these forums. Knowing this, I always try to assume the best of intentions until proven otherwise :) .

Anyway, it seems like you have alot of experience to offer and I look forward to reading your posts. Also, nice website!
cdac - I think trekr's right. This is another example of one of the downsides of written communication vs. spoken conversation - three people can read the same thing and come away with three different versions. BTW - I think the styling and design of your website is awesome. Did you develope it yourself or have someone do it?

Apology accepted. Again, I'm glad to see someone else here who's business is geared mainly towards deck building and the like. As a friendly tip for you here in the forum, and as trekr said, the majority of those here (probably 99%) have nothing but the best intentions when posting advice or responses. That's not to say that everyone always agrees with everything someone else says, quite to the contrary, there are some pretty good debates and differences of opinion.
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