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Old 05-05-2008, 09:01 AM   #1
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Building a deck project


All,

I am planning to build a deck and I have a couple questions to ask you all:

1. Do you think the price of deck making should go up because gas price goes up? or, should it it go down because not much demand and because the economy is down?

2. I am a project manager and I believe building a deck is a project too, but when I talked to contractors, they don't want to share their work-break-down structure to show me their costs. They like to "dance around" and come up a price and they don't seem want to share on how they get the number. I have problem with this. Can you recommend a technique dealing with this?

Thanks!

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Old 05-05-2008, 04:06 PM   #2
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Building a deck project


Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
All,

I am planning to build a deck and I have a couple questions to ask you all:

1. Do you think the price of deck making should go up because gas price goes up? or, should it it go down because not much demand and because the economy is down?
Both - Its a function of supply and demand. Spring demand is up and so are prices. It boils down to two things - What a builder is willing to build it for and what a buyer is willing to pay. If a builders costs go up due to raw materials going up then his prices will be higher. His business is hurt because fewer people are willing to pay the inflated prices. Demand doesn't really go down, only the willingness to pay at a certain price. When the economy is soft then people are holding onto their money a bit more tightly. Builders will need to lower prices to create more demand.

Bottom line - get some quotes to compare. If they are all more than you are willing to pay then save/wait/go into debt or do nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzz View Post
2. I am a project manager and I believe building a deck is a project too, but when I talked to contractors, they don't want to share their work-break-down structure to show me their costs. They like to "dance around" and come up a price and they don't seem want to share on how they get the number. I have problem with this. Can you recommend a technique dealing with this?

Thanks!
I think you are asking too much. Where else do you get such a breakdown? Go to McDs and ask for a cost breakdown on the big mac? How much does the bun cost? The meat? whats the labor cost in making/building it? How are shipping costs factored in? What is your overhead? Silly I know.

Contractors should be able to provide you with quote details that specify what materials are used as well as timelines. Some will break out labor and materials separate. Payments based upon milestones are also appropriate.

thers may have different opinions, these are just mine.

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Old 05-06-2008, 08:23 AM   #3
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Building a deck project


When I give a quote I will break it down into materials and labor. I list materials because these have to be agreed on. My labor charges are what they are. If I have to explain why I went up on cost I will. However, I will not break down my operating expenses to justify my costs to anyone. Thankfully, I have never had anyone ask me such an asinine question.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:56 AM   #4
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Building a deck project


If the contractor were building a restaurant or office building for you, then yes, you should expect cost breakdowns. With a deck, no way. The contractor is likely buying his materials from his supplier at a discounted price, which is common. When I do a side job, I typically get a good price (a few percent less) on my lumber from my lumber salesman, but I do not pass that discount along to my customer. That price is given to me due to a long-standing business relationship and many jobs purchased, not because of the job I'm currently doing. I bid all of my jobs based on retail material cost. I imagine your guy is doing the same.

Some contractors do mark up the price of materials, which is ok in my opinion. They're going to get it, paying the bill, handling the returns, etc. I build that into my labor costs however.

On a project as simple as a deck, you wouldn't get a cost breakdown from me. You get a bid...Take it or leave it. I don't have time to play numbers games with homeowners, and if my bid is not as competitive as the next guy I'll take it under advisement and move on. I have a degree in construction management/engineering and project management experience, so I understand how this works, but it is an unrealistic expectation for a small residential project.

As for gas prices...
Logging costs more. Shipping from the mill costs more. Delivery costs more. Demand is down a little, but I doubt they'll drop prices.
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