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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default finish carpentry estimating

    My name is James. Im currently running my own crew
    for my current employer. Im planning on going out
    on my own in april. I am unsure on how to go about
    bidding jobs. If anyone can help me out that would be
    great!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The People's Republic of Minnesota
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Hi James, there are two ways to estimate in my experience. The first is to use years and tears of data tracking based off of previously completed projects. This tends to be the quickest and most reliable for us.

    I'm guessing he first method won't work for you unless you have been very diligent in running your current employers crew. Here's what you'll need to do , make a list of every aspect of the project you are bidding. Include pre-project planning to warranty. Assign a time value to each task and mulitiply by your hourly rate. Make sure you have factored in your profit and overhead. Your wage IS NOT the same as your profit.

    Also, some unsolicited advice, the aspec of the job that it sounds like you do for your current employer probably represents about 40% of the effort it takes to bring a job to completion. Don't be under the illusion that "it can't be tha hard"

    Good luck
    there is ALWAYS a better way waiting to be discovered-
    yfc

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    San Gabriel, CA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Thats good advice dino
    Crown Molding by Spectacular Trim
    www.spectaculartrim.com
    architectural woodworking | custom cabinetry | mantels
    CSLB# 971338

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Jamie, do you already have jobs to bid? When I first went out on my own, the hardest part was finding builders willing to take bids from somebody they didn't know. Not to scare you, but most builders are loyal to their subs and it can be difficult to get your foot in the door. Of course, I'm assuming you work new construction here. Remodeling is a little easier to pick up jobs, though not volume.

    Nate

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    No I dont have jobs to bid yet. My current boss
    is gonna sub me out work. He has enough work to
    keep me busy. while im doing work for him i wanna
    start drumming up other work. I live in Wilmington
    nc.Is there a certain sq. ft. price for new construction.
    How much do you charge to install doors? Is there a base
    price for base,windows and doors?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    St Louis, Mo for the past 25 years
    Posts
    7,324

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    J,
    ask you boss some of those questions. Ask if it seems possible to do it for what he says. And if you want to do it for that amount.

    Like they said, lots of past experience is the best way. Remember to figure in the things like doors on 1st floor might be a cheaper price than those on the 3rd floor if you are the stocking doors, any over size door is a different price, bifold and sliding doors are different prices than others.

    And then figure out if you are the expert doing the work and can do it for this amount, how much long can my helper do it for? And if I have to re do his work who pays for that?

    Finally find just about every book on estimating, every book on trim installation and read it! Some over and over!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    1,514

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Quote Originally Posted by m beezo View Post
    Finally find just about every book on estimating, every book on trim installation and read it! Some over and over!
    When I started I got every book Craftsman Book Co. had. Estimating, Const Mgt, a few trade manuals. It broke down most every aspect of of labor and material that goes into a job. I was able to see how that referenced to what was occurring on the job site. It also showed me how the industry was organized as far as work items that I had to know about and plug into. I also went to the comm college a couple of years at night to learn const mgt / scheduling, estimating, surveying.

    I bid a few jobs directly from these books and was way too high or too low. But at least I had a frame of reference to work from and made a sit down more worthwhile with a GC or customer.

    I gradually outgrew the estimating books in about 18 months or so as I gained field and supplier experience. I still use what I learned from them today.

    http://craftsman-book.com/

    https://www.hometechpublishing.com/

    Addl - It was at the comm college I learned about Blue Reports - Dodge Reports and other methods GC's used to obtain bids. I'm not sure it even applies to Resi these days -- but Comm and Institutional it did. I turned to remodeling.

    I don't know how Resi - Light Comm is sourced these days..be it for 3 or 4 or 300 - 400 units --- a long sub chain is what I see with archaic advertising ?
    Last edited by Happy Home; 12-28-2013 at 11:16 AM.
    Steve

    "Get three coffins ready" - A Fistful of Dollars 1964

    http://youtu.be/KZ_7br_3y54

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hudson Valley area of N.Y.
    Posts
    613

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Jamie
    You work for Mr. X and run Mr. X'x crew.
    Now you are going to sub to him. Are you taking his crew as well?
    Is this his idea or yours? Employees cost a lot of unseen money. Not just their hourly rate. Workers comp, FICA, Disability, Unemployment Ins. Don't forget you will need Liability insurance and will you provide health insurance to the crew?
    If Mr. X is your only source of income - Are you setting the prices or is he? Time frame?
    If you have been with Mr. X for a period of time you should know how long certain jobs take to do and how many people are needed to complete each task on time. Use this knowledge to figure you pricing and remember to include all you additional costs as well as a percentage for profit.
    Good luck
    Bill T

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bellbrook. Ohio
    Posts
    1,737

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Quote Originally Posted by JamieM View Post
    No I dont have jobs to bid yet. My current boss
    is gonna sub me out work. He has enough work to
    keep me busy. while im doing work for him i wanna
    start drumming up other work. I live in Wilmington
    nc.Is there a certain sq. ft. price for new construction.
    How much do you charge to install doors? Is there a base
    price for base,windows and doors?
    I think you could break things out per piece as a start - $100 door, $75 per window, so much per ft on base or crown -those numbers cold be what ever you are comfortable with. Get the bid together and then calculate the amount of days that you will have and what you would need a day. Is it $300, $400, $500 a day? Take a hard look at the work and ask yourself if you could hit those numbers based on your experience.

    I have spent some time in Wilmington and surfed Wrightsville Beach - what a great place. From what I have see there are some really good finish carpenters there as well.
    -Dan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    594

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    " My current boss
    is gonna sub me out work. "

    If that's the case you don't need to worry about estimating your work because your boss will determine how much you can make off him.

    You'll make more money working for him as an employee and without the need to wear all the hats as a business owner and all the additional expenses.


    The best way to determine how much money you need to make is to add up every penny needed to get one days worth of work done, but don't include yourself. (just to break even without putting one penny in your pocket) Sit down and lisit everything such as fuel, wear & tear on vehicle/tools/equipment, materials costs, labor help, insurance, pencils, etc.. EVERYTHING!

    Once you see on paper what it costs to complete one days worth of work without putting one Penny in your pocket you will understand what it takes to make a real salary for yourself and a profit for the business.

    Keeping yourself out of the picture in an estimate (at first) will train your brain to be more realistic with your costs because it keeps your pride out of the equation. IMO it's the best way for an inexperienced estimator to ensure you cover your REAL costs of doing business.
    Gary

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    don't forget that just starting out means offering a better price to get the job then another contractor would. once you have established yourself you can charge a bit more but be realistic the object is to stay busy and make a living/profit. it is a fine line and be prepared to make a little less until you have some expereince bidding.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    San Gabriel, CA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    As an alternative to a price per project break the project I to days required and regardless of the work get your daily rate. Make sure to account for daily setup and breakdown.
    Crown Molding by Spectacular Trim
    www.spectaculartrim.com
    architectural woodworking | custom cabinetry | mantels
    CSLB# 971338

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    does anyone know price per linear ft
    for base,crown,wainscot etc?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    San Gabriel, CA
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: finish carpentry estimating

    Jamie, when you fill out your profile you might get a response but that question is seriously suspect for someone who claims to make their living as a pro in this business
    Crown Molding by Spectacular Trim
    www.spectaculartrim.com
    architectural woodworking | custom cabinetry | mantels
    CSLB# 971338

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