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Old 08-03-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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General contracting estimate


I am an independent small contractor but a client has asked me to take on a house addition (1000 sq. ft.) as a project. I could use a little guidance on how to invoice as a general contractor and "the best" way to pay sub-contractors. The project includes everything from breaking ground, cement work up to painting and roofing. Should I, as Gen. Contractor consider percentages or lump sum? Any advice is appreciated.

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Old 08-03-2012, 11:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mark Harvey View Post
I am an independent small contractor but a client has asked me to take on a house addition (1000 sq. ft.) as a project. I could use a little guidance on how to invoice as a general contractor and "the best" way to pay sub-contractors. The project includes everything from breaking ground, cement work up to painting and roofing. Should I, as Gen. Contractor consider percentages or lump sum? Any advice is appreciated.
Do you have a licence that will even let you do this.
I know in my area there's limits on
how much a job is going to cost that differant licences will allow you to take on.

To protect myself I would break it down as far as draws go.
Something like this.

Foundation
Rough framing
Drying in (windows, doors, siding, roofing)
Wiring
Drywall
Painting

It worked for me.
This way I had the money to pay my subs, my help, and myself.
I also always got a deposit before each phase was started.
All it takes is one nonpaying customer to put you out on the street so be careful.
Some will come up with all kinds of excusses to get out of paying you even if the job is perfect, even people you have done work for in the past.
Be there making sure everyone is doing the job right, if not it's all going to come back on you not them.

Get everyting in writing, make them sign everything!
Do not move to the next phase until the one before it has been paid.
Pay your subs on time and they will come back and do more work for you.

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Old 08-03-2012, 05:30 PM   #3
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General contracting estimate


As to the licence, I'll have to check, ... good advice! ...And, I certainly hear you about getting paid. A local friend is going through that process (in a negative way) as we speak. I appreciate words from experience and general "know-how".
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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a contract that spells out everything, especially when payments are due and how long they have to pay and the fact you will not proceed until payment for the previous phase is made helps
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:48 PM   #5
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Also get written quotes from the subcontractors ...... had a builder recently (did not have a written quote) get hit up for an additional $2500 for the flatwork on a garage foundation. The concrete sub told him the original price was just for the footing and stem wall, yet the builder asked him for total including flatwork.

Live and learn. No two ways about it, education costs money .... whether in college or the school of hard knocks

Good luck!
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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The best way to pay sub-contractors is when they are done there part of the job or a portion there-of.
If you are going to hold back and only pay on the 30th or whatever, let them know up-front.
Around here many would not take the job.
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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Also as the General be there a couple of times every day.
Say at the start of the day and middle.
Good communication is key.
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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wrong post, comments meant for another
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Last edited by GBrackins; 08-03-2012 at 08:18 PM. Reason: wrong post
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Old 08-03-2012, 08:16 PM   #9
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Assuming you can serve as the GC, will your current bonding and insurance cover you and umbrella to the extent it needs to your subs?

In addition to getting firm estimates, payment expectations and so forth from your subs you better get schedule commitments or your project could stall. You need an overall project plan. I use software which comes in real handy as it constantly adjusts the critical path and dates things have to happen as changes inevitably are forced.

And do heed the advice about getting advances and prompt progress payments. I had mixed feelings about it but the court system got so clogged in N California contractors had to pre-lien just about any project. Of course the State has homestead laws so you might not ever get paid until the house sold anyhow.

Obviously a written and understood contract with your client is a must. Same with your subs. Think of it as a pre-nuptial. It is much better to hash everything out when everybody is getting along.

Last edited by user1007; 08-03-2012 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:50 AM   #10
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Please visit our sister site; "Contractor forum" found at the bottom of every page.

This is a "Do It Yourself" site to help the ones doing the work, thank you, Gary.
P.S. I'll close this for you.

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