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Good post Brian but ........ What about the market value of a job. The market should have a direct influence on what a companies overhead should be. If you are simply over pricing jobs based on a high profit margin or because your overhead numbers are too high then you have to adjust to stay in business. I think that most that ask for "the going rate" are usually trying to find the market price for the type of work they are looking to price.
NEPS; i agree; in my market, there are four tiers of builders and they can be separated based on quality, which then in turn correlates directly to price.
for my market (milwaukee, wi metro area and outlying suburbs), tier 1 would be the 125,000 to 175,000 range ranch, cape, and small two story. this tier expects the drywallers to spray sand texture one coat over bare drywall and expects $.75 per sf of wall space.
then there's tier two which builds 175,000 to 275,000 type homes for a larger ranch, larger cape and 2500sft two-story. they expect one coat primer and 1 topcoat over sand or orange peel or knockdown at about $2 per sf of wall space.
then there's tier three which builds 275,000 to 400,000 type homes for a 2500-4000 sft home. they expect one coat primer and 2 topcoats over sand or orange peel or knockdown at about $3.75 per sf of wall space.
then there's tier four which builds 400,000 to 1,000,000 type homes for a larger ranch, larger cape and 5000 sft homes. they expect one coat primer and 2 topcoat over sand or orange peel or knockdown at $4-8$ per sf of wall space. adn they expect multiple custom colors throughout.

North of my area (green Bay--Go Packers!) prices are slightly less as the cost of living is less.

You must adjust your prices for your area so that you both make money to keep you happy and to make sure you still get business. it's a da*n fine line that every contractor is conflicted with at some point, but once peace is made with that line, you are better for it.

for instance, i see some of the prices that some in this forum get for their work, and the natural reaction is to get jealous. you then have to look at some of the other prices that people get, adn think "my God, how do they survive." there is a pecking order to all of this; it's the free market at work. cetain markets are more high end. one should not to expect to receive the same amount of money working in milwaukee (like me) that those recieve in Hollywood or Martha's Vineyard. they are, get ready, DIFFERENT MARKETS. don't be envious. be smart about your area, put systems into place so that you are efficient, and move on from there.

whooft!!! i need a nap after this one.
 
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