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View Full Version : Venting, crying in my beer, etc.


bicmudpuppy
03-20-2006, 01:51 AM
Ok guys, this new job has me living over the drafting table estimating right now. Win a few, lose a lot more. That's how the commercial game is played, BUT, I got kicked in the gut last week. I busted my arse on a large baseball field complex. Sweated over a typical LA's attempt at irrigation design. Finally had most of my peeves settled down in the 159 page addendum issued in the last 48hours prior to bid. This was a 45A site with about 30A of irrigated turf and 8 irrigated infields. The 8 fields were in two groups of 4 with one zone for infield and one turf zone per field. Specs called for THREE 14AWG spares to the end of each main spur, a 12AWG common and a spare 12AWG common. Works out to around 3K of main. Less than 1K is 6" and the rest is 4". Specs require all mains to be on 2" sand bedding with the wires taped every 10' and on the "right" side of the main with flow. 6" main is to have 30" of cover and the 4" main 24" of cover. One of the supply houses did a take off that was close and they bid their take off. I "fixed" their takeoff and had them bid the additions and one other supplier bid the total list. My parts take off came it at just over 75K for the job. I sweated my overall bid of 134K only to find out that the winning bid came in at 108K???? How do you install this kind of system for 30K? This was an RB spec'd system with 3" zone valves (brass with pressure compensation) 12" minimum cover on all laterals, so it has to be trenched (and all but the last heads are all 1.5" and up laterals. It is water way under the bridge, but it still gripes. How 'bout some constructive "how to keep my head straight" while these guys are giving systems away?

Flow Control
03-20-2006, 07:43 AM
How much did you figure in labor. Plus did you feel a 100 percent that you would get paid on time. These are both important factors to me. I have waited over 12 months to get paid before and I have not gotten paid on commercial jobs because the contractor went out of business. I think your price was more then fair. Was this up for bid last year?? If so maybe the other contractor was bidding on old prices even so this is one that you don't want to touch with a pole. Today I have a meeting to go over two projects. One project parts come in at 3,800.00 on a commercial drip system and I have labor at 3,100 (union job). So I lowest I can go I figured is 10,100. The other job is larger with parts at 18,600 and labor at 10,000. Even so this is a union job and the bid is 50,100. Plus an additional price for a vault with a 4" tap, meter & and Backflow. The bad thing about the two jobs is they will drop in May and June. So if my guys are working on commercial jobs that might not pay on time. I will have the lost income of the spring rush of residential jobs.

YardPro
03-20-2006, 07:50 AM
that is the thing i hate about large commercial work.
I'll guarantee the guy looked at the bid and examined it for every corner he could cut, and has figured in what he can get away with,
either that or you are getting ready to have one less competitor in the area after this is done.

PurpHaze
03-20-2006, 09:18 AM
My parts take off came it at just over 75K for the job. I sweated my overall bid of 134K only to find out that the winning bid came in at 108K???? How do you install this kind of system for 30K?

If parts came it at 75K, 134K seems like a reasonable bid to me. Maybe the other guy is planning on going bankrupt on the project.

PurpHaze
03-20-2006, 09:39 AM
Seeing BIC's and Jerry's threads just reminds me that everywhere is calling for more prudent use of precious water supplies. To accomplish this states are putting more requirements (education/experience/licensing/certification) onto irrigators in the form of new laws and regulations and expecting us to jump through the hoops. Then we go out and bid projects based on all these factors and what we get in turn is people looking for the cheapest way to get things done. Amazing.

LandscapePro
03-21-2006, 09:06 AM
bic,

Could you explain a bit about this 149 page addendum? I understand your point about the whole thing being water under the bridge, but I'm curious. How could the specs be so screwed up that it would take 149 pages to correct them with only 48 hrs before bids were due?

While it may not be the norm for most, I NEVER try and straighten out some Landscape Architect's mess. I'll point out stupidity where it exists to the owner of the plans ( remember they paid big bucks to the LA for his expertice) and ask it they still want it quoted as written. If so, fine. If not, I charge "X" to design the system like it should be done and can have the plans to you in (pick a number) days.

We each have a margin we need to meet based on our respective cost of doing business and profit we desire.

The person that got the job worked on about a 31% margin based on cost of parts, you were looking at around 44%. Perhaps the other guy got a better deal on parts, or perhaps he's going to hire day labor at a cheap rate and just be the "brains" of the installation. Ya never know. Bottom line is he was willing to work on a lower margin.


Mike
La. Landscape Contractor #2576

bicmudpuppy
03-21-2006, 10:20 AM
bic,

Could you explain a bit about this 149 page addendum? I understand your point about the whole thing being water under the bridge, but I'm curious. How could the specs be so screwed up that it would take 149 pages to correct them with only 48 hrs before bids were due?

While it may not be the norm for most, I NEVER try and straighten out some Landscape Architect's mess. I'll point out stupidity where it exists to the owner of the plans ( remember they paid big bucks to the LA for his expertice) and ask it they still want it quoted as written. If so, fine. If not, I charge "X" to design the system like it should be done and can have the plans to you in (pick a number) days.

I wish I could "explain" it :) I spent several days pouring over the plans, sent my questions through the estimators I was bidding with and almost passed on the whole thing. Most of the addendum had nothing to do with me.

gusbuster
03-21-2006, 12:38 PM
Seeing BIC's and Jerry's threads just reminds me that everywhere is calling for more prudent use of precious water supplies. To accomplish this states are putting more requirements (education/experience/licensing/certification) onto irrigators in the form of new laws and regulations and expecting us to jump through the hoops. Then we go out and bid projects based on all these factors and what we get in turn is people looking for the cheapest way to get things done. Amazing.

Isn't that the CA way? :)