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MJK
09-20-2006, 09:01 PM
I know how to build them (been doing it as a forman for 8 years) but my problem is how to bid on them? I have a few side jobs to do and was wondering if you just do labor plus materials? Then add disposol for tear out? My boss won't show me in fear of me leaving. If you could point me twards a good book, or seminar that would be awsome. Thanks ahead of time.


Marc

orionkf
09-21-2006, 12:25 AM
I know how to build them (been doing it as a forman for 8 years) but my problem is how to bid on them? I have a few side jobs to do and was wondering if you just do labor plus materials? Then add disposol for tear out? My boss won't show me in fear of me leaving. If you could point me twards a good book, or seminar that would be awsome. Thanks ahead of time.


Marc

Since you have 8 years of experience, it should be easy, since you know production times (assuming similar equipment), and can hopefully figure out materials needed, but you may have to call around for prices on materials if you don't know them already.

Figure out how much it will cost you to do the job and break even. (Labor{is anyone going to be helping that you will have to pay?}, materials + delivery, rentals, gas, disposal fees, everything) I'm guessing you don't have OH since it's a side job. Figure out how long it's going to take you. Then, figure out how much you want to make in that time. It should be more than you would make at your regular job.

Remember, jobs come with risks. Hopefully you could string a few of these together, and save up enough to go out on your own with insurance and everything. Good Luck!

JimLewis
09-21-2006, 06:47 PM
So are you licensed, bonded, and insured? Or is this something you're doing illegally?

I can't tell you how to bid a job without factoring in all of the costs of doing business. I suppose if you're not going to bother to have liability insurance, a bond, worker's comp., report the income on your taxes, pay for company imaging, uniforms, company cell phones / radios, business phone, shop, local business license, an office, an accountant, work vehicles, equipment, etc. Then you can just charge for your time and labor and expenses, sure.

But if you are going to start a legitimate business, with most or all of the above items in place, then the bidding becomes much more complex. Because you have to pay for all that stuff somehow.

If you aren't going to bother with all the stuff of a legitimate business then the problem is you are basically a low-baller. You're doing work for a huge discount because you don't have all the overhead of a legitimate business. To me, that would weigh on my head. I know it bugs me - knowing I spend all this money every year paying for all these different insurances, a bond, several licensing fees, permit fees, equipment purchases, vehicle purchases, company imaging, office space, business phone, company cell phones / radios, etc. etc. etc. and then I see some unlicensed yahoo doing a job around the corner for 1/2 the price of what I would have had to charge - simply because he's doing it all illegally and not having to pay all the overhead that we are paying. So being that guy - that would bother me. And doing jobs on the side without my bosses blessing would bother me too. Perhaps that doesn't bother you.

Then again, perhaps I am making too many assumptions. Perhaps you've started your own legitimate business and are paying for all these things. If that's the case, I apologize for assuming otherwise.

Cahsking
09-21-2006, 08:23 PM
First off.. Congrats on pursuing your own thing. It takes a pair to do that!! Second, like the last two post, to be on the "safe" side get insurance. Its not that much actually if your not doing snow removal. But if you for your own reasons care not to or just don't want to, thats on you. None of my business!! Ok lets get down to the meat on this...."I" (meaning me) do it this way: Know my measurements, plan to have 10% more materials than needed, then price the materials down to the block ( often retailers will help you out if you know the needed measurements), price delivery, ensure I have the right equipment and set up. I try to make a step by step plan, this way I remember little things like pins (versa-lok), and to call before I dig!!! I plan how to build things like steps, and where lighting will go. Im saying all this planing because it factors into the actual bid on labor. All in All I do materials, delivery ( if I deliver it is 200% on the price), then Labor. I would strongly advise that you request an up front payment. Maybe to cover all materials, and then collect labor when finished. But never guarantee a price on labor. Hope this helps, and good luck!!

MJK
09-21-2006, 09:10 PM
Yes i do have my own company and insurance. What does it mean to get bonded? Also when you say Cahsking that you don't put a guarantee on a price on labor what do you mean by this? Thanks a ton for all your help. This means so much to me. I do great work and want to make the most money possible. I will post pics before and after.

YardPro
09-21-2006, 09:15 PM
if you know how to do it then you know how much time and materials it will take.

come up with what it will cost you to do the job and then add a fudge factor then your profit.

MJK
09-21-2006, 09:20 PM
A fudge factor should be what, a couple extra hours?

Green-Pro
09-21-2006, 10:04 PM
A fudge factor should be what, a couple extra hours?


Usually an overall %, at least thats my method. A couple of extra manhours really doesn't amount to beans when you begin a project and happen upon the "Ooops! didn't see that coming" factor.

MJK
09-22-2006, 06:21 PM
What does it mean to get Bonded?

YardPro
09-22-2006, 09:05 PM
being bonded is having an insurance company assure that the job will be completed correctly. if youscrew it up, they will step in and fix whatever problems occur and finish the job.

as for a fudge factor, usually 15% on labor with us

JimLewis
09-22-2006, 10:09 PM
being bonded is having an insurance company assure that the job will be completed correctly. if youscrew it up, they will step in and fix whatever problems occur and finish the job.

Yah, that's kinda how it works.

More specifically, a bond is there to protect the customer in 3 ways.

1) If you don't finish the job you've contracted to do, the customer can hire someone else to finish the job and the bonding company has to reimburse the customer for that expense.

2) If you do the job, but do it poorly, the customer can call another contractor to come in and fix your screw up. And again, tbe bonding company has to cover that expense.

3) Finally, if you get a down payment from a customer but then never show up to do the work, your bonding company is on the hook and will reimburse the customer for the amount they gave you.

In addition, it should be mentioned, that if you ever do have to use your bond for one of the above reasons, the next year when you go try to get a new bond, the price will be 10x what it was at first. Bonds are fairly cheap, as long as you have a good clean record. But if you have a big loss, then the price of the bond next year may be so high that you won't be able to afford it. This puts a lot of contractors out of business.

DVS Hardscaper
09-23-2006, 08:19 AM
There is no one answer to this question.

As others stated, you need to estimate every single minute affiliated with the job.

From loading the truck(s) at your yard/shop, to drive time to and from, per day, per employee, to unloading at the job site and loading again when finished.

You need to factor in every penny affiliated with the job. We go as far as factoring in 1-2 cans of marking paint on your job cost sheet, and for the average patio job or wall job I factor in what I call a "Diamond Blade Fee" which is usually $20 - $75. These items are hidden costs and not shown on the proposal(s).

I seldom charge a "Fudge Factor". Our market is too saturated with start up hardscape contractors to do so. We just have to be careful, plan, and execute in an intelligent manner.

JimLewis
09-23-2006, 12:47 PM
There is no one answer to this question.

As others stated, you need to estimate every single minute affiliated with the job.

From loading the truck(s) at your yard/shop, to drive time to and from, per day, per employee, to unloading at the job site and loading again when finished.

You need to factor in every penny affiliated with the job. We go as far as factoring in 1-2 cans of marking paint on your job cost sheet, and for the average patio job or wall job I factor in what I call a "Diamond Blade Fee" which is usually $20 - $75. These items are hidden costs and not shown on the proposal(s).

I seldom charge a "Fudge Factor". Our market is too saturated with start up hardscape contractors to do so. We just have to be careful, plan, and execute in an intelligent manner.

Ditto all that. Excellent post.

I agree with DVS on that last point as well. I don't use a "fudge factor" as many people have suggested. On a smaller job you might get away with that. But on a larger job (e.g. $10,000 - $20,000) a 15% fudge factor could easily make you much more expensive than someone who is bidding it without.

MJK
09-23-2006, 06:27 PM
Where do you get Bonded From?

forestfireguy
09-23-2006, 07:34 PM
Find a Bond agent. some commercial insurance carriers will also write bonds. One thing I did not see in other posts regarding this bond topic, you must be bonded to do municipal,county,state work in N.J. , I imagine most other states have similar equirements. It is specified in bid advertisements all the time.

YardPro
09-23-2006, 08:22 PM
i agree with the above as far as them not using a fudge factor for the total job.

I do use it with labor. Not for billed labor rate, but for our job cost.

for example, if i think a job will take 100hrs, i will add 10-15 hrs as a just in case.
This will cover a few problems that may arise, usually while excavating. This will give some cushon so i don't have to have a change work order from the customer.

We also figure EVERY expense... every edge restraint spike, cans of paint, a roll of string.
We have an "equipment" charge built into our overhead figure to cover blades, saw's etc..

Cahsking
09-25-2006, 09:17 PM
ALL good advise to me.

MJK
09-27-2006, 07:09 PM
Thanks a ton. THats the best help i've been given.

Marc