Commercial estimating per/sqft

Discussion in 'Professional Discussions' started by SprinklerDesigns, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. SprinklerDesigns

    SprinklerDesigns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hi all,

    I'm new to this site and have already found a lot of useful information.

    I recently had a call from a management company that I have several snow removal contracts with. They've asked me to put an estimate together for a condo project. I have no information other than the square footage. They're looking for a design fee price and a estimated install. I don't have a problem with the design pricing but does anyone have a general idea of a cost per/sqft. New install with existing tap on a obsolete 30+ year old system.
  2. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    pricing irrigation installs by the square foot is a recipe for certain disaster. When I first started irrigation, the main competitior priced by the square foot, and since he was getting most of the business, he came out ok, wasn't fair to the customers, but worked out for him.

    We price by first building a material list and then a man hour budget for the specifice job. We will always come out on the job.

    Once we came into the market, we began getting all of the big wide open large area jobs, that allowed us to use all big rotors and quick install on long straight runs. The competitor then was left with the small area jobs that had lots of mistheads and all kinds of beds. corners, sidewalks etc to work around that led to much longer install times and a lot more material per square foot.

    Needless to say, the competitor got out of the irrigation business.

    For any job base the price on YOUR costs
    Austreim Landscaping
  3. SprinklerDesigns

    SprinklerDesigns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks Doug

    I know that I'm up against a well known company that they have used previously. I know that they have given them a estimated price per/sqft. I assume that your saying not to worry about that and just go for the design bid first?

    I've never been in this situation and have always bid off of designed work either mine or another firms. Maybe selling the accuracy of the take-off vs. estimating??

    This is the biggest potential project my company has taken on. I just would like to make sure of the best most accurate and competitive bid.. Keeping in mind the lowballers I've gone up against in the past.... not good for anyone.
  4. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Doug is right! Build your materials list, cost for licensed plumber, cost for any equipment rental, permits, etc. Then markup your materials. I mark mine usually 10% under retail price.

    Then estimate how many man hours. Which I figure 35 per hour for each man, This figure holds enough for labor, insurance, and of course profit into the company.

    Some guys are charging a fixed price such as 75.-$95.00 per head ( this cost includes everything). Which to me shows no control of seeing your numbers.

    Just my way of doing it!
  5. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    here is our formula:

    time, materials, overhead and profit wanted.

    this is how you will come up with your price.:jester:
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    The only way a unit price can be given is to first calulate the entire job as described by others. Material, Labor, equipment, overhead and Profit.

    But to figure all that out you must first figure out the "units" you are going to install and the time to install each unit. The units may be a rotor head with associated lateral line pipe, swing pipe, some misc fittings, layout, install, flush and adjust time. Controller may include rain switch and all time to hang, wire and test. A valve may include X ft of main line, valve box, fittings before and after the valve, X ft of control wire, waterproof connectors, labor to layout, labor and equipment to install all of the previous items and test.

    I had the same experience as Doug onl arge comercial work in the 80's when we started bidding this way. We cleaned the old guy's clocks so to speak. That per head stuff just didn't work just like per ft didn't work. Now we have idots pricing per head at a fraction of what it was 20 yrs ago. They just keep chopping and chopping till they find a price people will buy at regardless of whether it makes fiscal sense.

    Don't let your ego of this being the biggest job for your company over rule sound decision making.
  7. SprinklerDesigns

    SprinklerDesigns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for all your help. For some reason I thought there was a quicker way to give a client ball park. I was wrong. It certainly isn't the first time and I doubt it will be the last.

    thanks again
  8. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    When people ask me for an average residential ball park

    I say anywhere from 1000-5000.

    They want accurate? They can set up an appointment for real world anaysis of the site and needs.

    We have set a standard: No new install for less than a minimum of 1000.00
  9. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    After a while you do develop a feel for a ball park figure for typical jobs. We know that in certain neighborhoods, where the lots are all the same and the houses are similar that the price usually falls into a certain range. But thats just ball park, we always build the job on paper and go from there

    Austreim Landscaping

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