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Discussion Starter #1
Just wondering how you guys figure estimates on decks. Not talking about material end of it, just bidding the labor. I have always just estimated hrs of labor and totaled that up plus profit and bid it that way. Is there some $ per sq ft formula that anyone uses for a quick estimate? Also how would you adjust your rates for more difficult jobs, like where the backyd is a hill running away from the house, so the outside edge of the deck may be 10'-12' or more up in the air from ground level?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice work glass, got any pics of that from the outside?
 

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$ per sq. foot

I use $1.00 per square foot on the frame, $1.00 per square foot on the surface (PT pine), $19.00 each per tread on the stair and $6.50 per lineal foot on the rail.
This is labor cost only. My crews are happy.
I feel like I'm giving away too much proprietary information but I'm going to go with the "what goes around comes around" theory for my first post.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hello HB, checked out your webpage, you guys are doing some nice looking work down in there in Ga. Great breakdown, had never thought about breaking it all down like that. Thanks much.
 

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HB, Welcome! Haven't seen you here before.
I'm interested on your break out. $1.00 to frame and $1.00 to deck. Has anyone requested one without the other? LOL
Spend a little time in the archives and you will find what is charged for what over most of the US, Canada and there are a few from Europe. You have to do your own conversions.
 

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Teetorbilt said:
HB, Welcome! Haven't seen you here before.
I'm interested on your break out. $1.00 to frame and $1.00 to deck. Has anyone requested one without the other? LOL
I didn't realize how odd that read. No one has ever requested one without the other (except the occasional subcontractor :cheesygri ). I probably way over analyze my costs which is actually what brought me to this site. I found it searching for marketing advice/info for contractors and I was blown away by the quantity and quality of information being shared by others. I feel I have to do my part...
 

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We price decks between $20-100/sf in general. It depends on the materials, details-location-house... We charge for consultations and drawings as well.

I don't think anyone should work for free... so I don't.

L
 

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cdac said:
Wow Chris... that explains why you are already booked through the summer...

Previously I offered to cover all his expenses for him to come up and build a deck for me. (This was taken entirely the wrong way by Chris). What I was trying to get across is that at double his price, he is a bargain. Chris does Beautiful work, Designs better than many architects and he deserves success and prosperity.


I would be pleased to have Chris build my own personal deck... that is a sincere compliment to his ability.

(the rest is addressed to All-Not Chris)

Selling decks is not about sliding the right price across the table to the client. When you are selling high end work it is all about Lead Generation, Qualification of Leads, Image, Presentation, Professionalism, Design Prowess, Salesmanship and having the nerve to ask what you know you need to get for a decent profit. Aside from that you need solid references, a great contract.

Selling on price is a copout. Price is far less important than the client's faith in your ability which is demonstrated by how you present your service.

Free-Estimates demonstrate that you are willing to work for free to get their job. Training clients to expect things for free is setting yourself up for losses later. Aside from that, you are aligning yourself with all the other contractors and handymen who build decks-not separating yourself as a professional service. Professionals do not work for free.

Free-Designs, People get what they pay for right? No? If you do professional designs and then give them to potential clients for them to shop your price you are setting yourself up for a lost sale. Offer to do the design for the people, but make sure you are getting paid a realistic amount for your work. Then let the people know they are free to shop if they like. 80% of the time they will hire you even if you are more expensive-because you are the brilliant professional who designed what they are proud of, obviously you will do a better job building it as well.

I started out just like you guys... I was 19, didn't look old enough to know anything and I had to sell based on price... and bust my a$$ to make money.
I have an established business, 2 crushed discs in my back, two mangled digits from tablesaw bites, shot myself 18 times with air nailers.

To prove my ability I had to do the free estimates with 5 contractors waiting for me to leave, the free designs and watch someone else build them. Yes, when you are starting out it takes time. When things are tight and you need that job you are likely to want to cut prices to get that job... and that is exactly the wrong thing to do. Buck up, steady your nerve and ask for what you know you deserve.

Much success to you all in the future.

L
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I'm interested on your break out. $1.00 to frame and $1.00 to deck. Has anyone requested one without the other? LOL
Good one teetor. :D We built a deck for a guy last year that already had his plans drawn up and had even started digging one of his footers, about 18" down into the mixed clay & rock common to the hills over looking the Mo. river, he decided that he was willing to pay to have the deck built. He was real disappointed to find out it was in the wrong place, neglected to call Dig-Rite, underground gas pipeline, running directly below the spot where he'd started digging, with his manual post hole diggers. Lucky for him I'm on real good terms with both the local inspector for his town and the MO One-Call folks. We managed to get him off with a stern warning about calling before you dig & gettin a permit first!!!
 

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HB Construction said:
I use $1.00 per square foot on the frame, $1.00 per square foot on the surface (PT pine), $19.00 each per tread on the stair and $6.50 per lineal foot on the rail.
This is labor cost only. My crews are happy.
I feel like I'm giving away too much proprietary information but I'm going to go with the "what goes around comes around" theory for my first post.


I agree with you on this price scale . It is a very good scale for a company that does not put up with crap from the lower class riff raff calling them selfs builders and framers,carpenters . If you select a good price you will get good customers . Not just in my point of view but others . I built my company off one job and believe it or not all my clientel know eachother . I build custom decks and frame custom homes. www.crosswindsconstruction.com

H.B builder to builder your attitude is what makes us stand apart from others in this trade. I like the upfront and in your face attitude when it comes down to yes or no standards .

In remarks to GLASSHOUSEBUILDER Man oh man you are one hell of a carpenter dude . Your quality of work is second to none amigo . NICE JOB


The Crosswinds Framing Group
 

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I dont do free designs not an option or free estimates anymore ONLY ON JOBS 2 K AND OVER .
Lumber is a comodity . Gas is terrorist organized and labled . I charge right down to the nail and keep getting the business .
 

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chris i am bidding on a cedar building very simular to what you have on your site .how many hours of labor are involved . I want to bid correctly and I have not built this type of structures before so I will take more time on this.I will be using cedar staining gray installing 1 double 2 casement and 1 36 inch door 1 garage doors .
 

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free estimates

"You understand, Madam, this number is just an estimate and the actual price will be somewhat larger?" :D :D
 

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Somebody else getting ready to start paying for their education.
 

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Do yourself a favor, prep the bid right.

Do your homework and show it, if you rush them they look like some kids monday mornig homework.

You can buy a hamburg from wendys and it comes in a box, however if you go to the Outback that very same hamburger is thre times the price.
The reason is in the presentation of what they sell, both do well but one makes a lot more money for the same ammount of stock.


BJD
 

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kevin k said:
Adam, do you charge up front for estimates, and credit the cost of the estimate back if they hire you?

Kevin
'Kevin is that 2 questions in one ? No charge a fee right up front on small jobs label it back as a service call . It weeds out the people that like to kick your tires and the DIY crowd. I dont padd my estimates to cover cost . I charge a flat rate one services that require labor . Only time I adjust is for materials and if my building store of choice charges me a restocking fee .

If you would like to take a look at a invoice of mine I will email you one of course with my clients name obscured .
 
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