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I think what G&S is saying is to take the material costs, double it (to get labor) then add 15% for overhead.

Taking mats, adding 15%, then doubling it should get you the same total (for the mathematically weak (like my wife))

I know old timers around here, who do there estimating this way. Have a lumber yard do a take off, do some math in their head while driving the truck, poof, estimate done.

Obviously these guys know the situations, when this system doesn't work.

I don't do it this way... but it is an easy way to check your estimate. You'll find whether the job on hand is labor, or material intensive.
 

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hehe, your right mike...

lots of areas it simply does not work... painting, drywall, excavating, any sub-trade I suspect. But it tells you that all the above and more are "labor" intensive.

On the flip side, use that system for installing a patio door, or storm door! You'd get rich quick (If you got the job)... those would be "material" intensive jobs.

No rocket science to it... and you could blow holes in it all day long. I don't want to bring nationality into but... I will. Around here, the old timers are largely Italian, and some Irish. They pretty much build the area around here after WWII. Their kids, and yes some of the originals are still active. I know thats how they price a lot of work.

I suspect that system works best in the types of jobs they do... new construction, platform framing... conventional stuff. Im sure they know when to add in for "extras".
 
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