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I am new contractor and we are doing mostly commercial jobs. I have been doing "O.K." with my bidding so far but would love to get a better handle on my labor cost. I have heard that the PDCA etimating guide volume 2 is pretty good but I don't feel like dropping a couple hundred dollars on a book if I don't have too. Does anyone know of a good resource for that kind of info, a way to get a cheaper copy of that book or if it is worth it?
 

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I do not have experience with that particular estimating guide
I have a few others, and they remain unused for the most part
I will occasionally look in them for something I am really unfamiliar with bidding
But mostly they are amusing, and IMO an easy way to truly mess up a bid
Of course, then you get to blame the guide when you do mess up....lol
I learned rather quickly when the guide goes against my gut, go with the gut


IMO the best way to estimate is by using your own numbers, production rates etc...
 

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Well first, welcome to the site and I like your username... very creative! Brings back memories of my boss yelling at me when I first started painting, lol.

I've looked at several of those guides but frankly they confused me and I think rates vary so much across the country that it's hard to have one guide like that to serve everyone.

I took an excel spreadsheet and figured out everything I needed in that. It took some time to tweak the numbers and frankly my first few estimates were way high (better than too low ;) ) but I finally go them right and it was a great system. I got to where I could run through a house with a laser measuring tool and run out to my car and plug in all the data really quickly. If I ever ran into something I wasn't sure about I asked one of my experienced subs how he would charge and that was that.

I think that's the biggest problem that most newer contractors run into. They want to know what to charge instead of how to charge. The what is always changing... the how is almost always the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am not realy looking for what to charge. I am trying to figure out what is a fare expectation for my guys as far as sq. ft. per hr. on all different subtrates. I realize that the numbers will vary greatly according to the level of the painter but I am trying find medians for many reasons. I have been tracking our jobs so far and that helps out some and I am sure that in time I will aquire all the numbers I need but I sure would be helpful to know where we stand in production time and to compare rate per hour before bidding the job.
 

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Sorry, when I saw the word "estimating" I automatically went there. Production rates are really hard to come up with but I know there are a few guys here with some good input on that subject because I remember asking them when I needed help.
 

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I do not have experience with that particular estimating guide
I have a few others, and they remain unused for the most part
I will occasionally look in them for something I am really unfamiliar with bidding
But mostly they are amusing, and IMO an easy way to truly mess up a bid
Of course, then you get to blame the guide when you do mess up....lol
I learned rather quickly when the guide goes against my gut, go with the gut


IMO the best way to estimate is by using your own numbers, production rates etc...
I am not realy looking for what to charge. I am trying to figure out what is a fare expectation for my guys as far as sq. ft. per hr. on all different subtrates. I realize that the numbers will vary greatly according to the level of the painter but I am trying find medians for many reasons. I have been tracking our jobs so far and that helps out some and I am sure that in time I will aquire all the numbers I need but I sure would be helpful to know where we stand in production time and to compare rate per hour before bidding the job.
I never figure my guys on a per sq ft basis. I hire only licensed contractors or previously licenced contractors.

It keeps my workers comp down and I don't have to worry about the quality of their work. I do however pay a premium for them!

Rick
 

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I am new contractor and we are doing mostly commercial jobs. I have been doing "O.K." with my bidding so far but would love to get a better handle on my labor cost.
hi dry

arriving at labor is sometimes best arrived at after expectation interest is ascertained..

we do a lot of industrial and my first question is what do i want to make on this...my second question is what do we want to spend on production..

this way *we* dictate production costs and not listen to what *production* actually has to say on the matter...lol..if that makes sense..

commercial yields $800 + a day or somethings awry.

what the proletariat wants is secondary...imho

regards
rick
 

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Rick A has a very good point, IMO...

Basing pricing on yield is valid.

If you can't make a buck, go fishing!
r
 

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Here's where proper job-costing becomes important. If you are new, you dont have the history yet, but now is the time to start. Every time you price something and get the job keep notes. At the end of the job go back to the file and compare what you thought it would cost compared to the actual cost. Keep in mind that extras and change orders would not have been in the original estimate. But try to get an apples to apples comparison between the estimate and the actual. Then you can adjust your estimating immediately on your next few and over time you accumulate a valuable history of pricing data. If your notes are really good you can figure out production rates on recurring items like doors and window sashes as well as s.f. pricing for walls and ceilings. Of course, each year you need to adjust the information to reflect inflation and rising costs of materials and labor. It takes discipline to do it but over the years you look at jobs and you know you have done very similar projects in the past that provide good baseline pricing info. To me that is the best resource.
 

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You guys are scaring me. Making me feel insecure about my bidding process.

I'm to the point that i can look at something and a number pops into my head. When i do the math, it's usually right.

National painting cost estimator, drives me nuts. No way can I sit down and figure every jamb and frame, slow, medium or fast painter. And I especially don't like the way it shows less profit on an experienced painter who goes faster but uses more paint.

And the whole catch22 business of paying people. As a painter, I want good money, as an employer, I want to pay good money, but business dictates the 15/hr. (or less) formula.
 
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