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Will1987 03-30-2009 11:07 AM

Can we get a cost estimate subforum going
I donno if anything like this is already up here, but if not I think we should start a big thread or even some kind of forum area where people exchange info on the pricing of jobs. This could benefit both homeowners trying to see how much projects will cost and contractors.

I do this kind of work myself and to this day I often find it somewhat difficult to estimate jobs. I usually end up going by how long I think it will take. The pricing guide I have doesn't always cover the jobs I do because there are so many combinations and variations in the remodeling field.

So if there is something like that on this forum could somebody tell me where it is? And if not lets kick off a thread where people tell about jobs they either did or had done and how much they cost. If one person has a question about what a cost will be or should be, another can respond with what they paid, also including their location and other comments.

For instance I just charged a customer 125.00 for drywalling and fire taping a cieling over the old plaster (which was falling off reveailing lath, etc.) - the area drywalled over was about 50 or 60 square feet - as well as replacing a window pane in a window, putting a lock on that window, and changing the float valve assembly in a toilet. I have a sense that this is too cheap, maybe even way too cheap. But it seemed I could do it in one day. Between geeting there, all the cleanup, etc, going from apartment to apartment, it took longer. 125.00 is sort of may discounted daily rate, 150.00 or 200.00 if I think people can afford it.

The next jobs I'm looking at are repairing potholes in some driveways, fencing in a yard, and putting up a porch railing. I'm just about to go measure them. Will include measurements in next post. I just want to get some quick comparisons going based on size, type of job, square footage, whatever. so if anybody who's done these jobs or had them done could respond with their cost info I'd appreciate it. And just in general lets get a thread going where we can do that all in one place, rather than making repeated questions about it. Let me know what you think of that.


Bob Mariani 03-30-2009 12:44 PM

Pricing a job without seeing the details is a useless guess at best. And material and especially labor rates vary widely in the county. As does code requirements. Look at framing costs. CA -> 35/sq ft AR - $ 1.50 sq Ft

Will1987 03-30-2009 01:07 PM

is that 35.00 a square foot versus 1.50 a square foot for framing?

Bob Mariani 03-30-2009 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by Will1987 (Post 252529)
is that 35.00 a square foot versus 1.50 a square foot for framing?

Yes.. not a typo. Codes are that different, labor rates, home styles and details. So you can see why estimates over an internet guess are completely useless.

Will1987 03-30-2009 01:15 PM

I see what you mean. What do you think the best way to get the going rate for a specific job (say for instance putting up an arcade fence, chain link fence, picket fence) - note: a lot of times I need comparisons for several different options like this - is? I don't want to call up companies out of the phone book asking what they charge or pretending to be a customer. Anyway they'd say they need to come look at it. I have a pricing guide but as I say it doesn't tend to cover anything but the most common projects. Have you got any other suggestions as to how to quickly get the going rate in my area?


Bob Mariani 03-30-2009 01:24 PM

Only way is to get estimates. If you are trying to find rates to price your own work this is the wrong approach. You need to know what your materials costs. What your overhead is, and yes you have one. And what you pay for or value your labor costs. I do not try to price my time against others. Some things I can do cheaper and still make more per hour due to experience, skills, training and equipment as well as a large stock of all supplies and good prices from wholesale distributors. So my estimates may mean failure for someone else. And others may be much cheaper since at the moment in time the family is starving. Figure you actual costs.... estimate the labor by visualizing each step. do not forget costs such as setup and cleanup and obtaining supplies. add your overhead.. add a profit. When not sure of time,.. be conservative and add 20%. You may not get the job, but it is better than spending time and money and not making anything on the job.

wsuswim147 03-31-2009 09:13 PM


Bob's way is still the best, but this will give you a starting point for different tasks/jobs based on location, general labor rates, material prices, and estimated times to complete.

Will1987 04-01-2009 01:16 PM

Thanks. yeah I guess you just gotta charge what you think is right, basically.

Termite 04-02-2009 07:57 AM

This idea has been floated before and site admin has opted to avoid and discourage discussion of estimates, due to the variables that are inevitably encountered from job to job and the bad information that is often promulgated by people that don't have the foggiest idea of what things cost.

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