Giving cost estimate


Old 11-04-04, 02:08 PM
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Question Giving cost estimate

I am currently working 4 - 10 hr shifts at work, and would like to start doing small remodeling jobs on my 3 days off.

I used to work for a guy doing this type of work, however he always bid the jobs and just paid me by the hour.

I have tried looking at the local book store and Lowe's, but to no help with estimating a job.

I know different jobs are bid differently, but is there a book or a website for estimating and bidding jobs?

Do I bid by the hour or by the job? Which is better for me?


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Old 11-05-04, 07:06 AM
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I have seen books and CDROMS that have estimated figures based on each particular phase of the job. What I've seen is typically (for our area) those bids will not get you any jobs since the cost was so darn high. I'd love to get jobs at "the books cost" but it'd never happen.

I'm sure alot of other contractors here have their own story, but I've just learned over the years of what each particular job is going to take. I have lost moeny on certain jobs, but I learned fast. After youo've taken it in the shorts a few times you learn to read into the jobs and kind of start expecting the unexpected. So imo experience is about the only sure fire way to know how to bid as well as being up on current labor rates for subs and material prices.
Old 11-08-04, 07:54 PM
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I can't speak for your area, but around here, labor tends to run about 100% of materials.. IE, A job that costs $1000 in material, will cost another $1000 labor.

Whatever you do, make sure you pay yourself a fair wage and don't forget to add taxes and insurance to that.
Old 11-08-04, 08:07 PM
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That's another very popular estimating and often times easier way to bid also...for bigger jobs. It's very hard on smaller jobs-mainly repair type jobs to bid that way. REpairs are probably the hardest to bid, because the task at hand might not be a big deal so the homeowner is not wanting to spend very much, but it boils down to what is your time worth. I know what I need to make per day so ultimately that's a decideing factor even though the task might onyl take 3hrs to complete I need to figure in the time running around getting material/fuel as well so it's just easier to charge per day in a situation like that.

There are exceptions to the rule naturally which makes bidding so much fun
Old 11-09-04, 11:01 AM
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Helpful Books

A couple of helpful books for estimating are the National Construction Estimator (which includes a CD) which you can find on A-M-A-Z-O-N at:

Or Means Estimating Handbook also available from A-M-A-Z-O-N at:


A 100% materials to 100% labor pricing is rarely accurate and should be avoided in most instances.

Time and materials or a cost-plus basis is best for the novice or when esimating by the job is impossible.

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