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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Clovis, NM
    Posts
    44

    Default Is there a rule of thumb for pricing bigger jobs?

    A friend wants a 63' x20' carport built. I've got the metal figured up to run about $2500, not including the R panel. I have no idea about how much rod that'll take or how long it'll take.
    Another friend said he uses the material cost as his labor cost. Whatever materials add up to, that's what he charges labor.
    Any other ideas or does that sound about right? Also, how do I figure in how much rod I'll use (approximate, of course)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    555

    Default

    If it's a friend T&M all day. For my friends I'll work for $30-45/hr depending on how much I want to do the work. I have also learned that most of my friends will never/can't do any sort of favor for me as I do **** near everything myself, so getting paid is the only way for me to not feel like I'm getting the short end of the stick. You gotta keep in mind if you don't build it, somebody else will, and charge more, and most likely do a poor job.

    If he wants a bid price they means he wants your numbers so he can shop around. If that's the case I would figure my time I expect to take then multiply by my hourly rate I charge, then add around 50%. Of course material would also be added, with a small mark up, and delivery charges. Unless your friend will source the material and have it on site.
    Last edited by Cgotto6; 07-15-2014 at 10:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,847

    Default

    "Another friend said he uses the material cost as his labor cost. Whatever materials add up to, that's what he charges labor. "

    That is some of the worst advice I have heard. edit - Maybe I stand corrected on this statement. See below post. In my world this wouldn't work.
    You can usually buy car ports cheaper than building them unless you are looking for a custom size, etc.

    Figure how long you think it will take you to build it, then multiply that by how much you want per hour. Material is your cost, plus delivery/handling & mark-up. Rods, grinding wheels, saw blades, etc. should just be figured into your hourly rate. You could always tell him will work for $xx per hour & let him buy all the materials & consumables.

    One other thought, who is liable if you design it & it collapses under snow load or whatever? You are.

    Also check your dimensions. You have it written as 63 feet x 20 feet. That's a long carport.
    Last edited by MMW; 07-16-2014 at 04:15 AM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    308

    Default

    In construction a rule of thumb is the material cost will be about the same as the labor cost. So a lot of guys double the material cost and are usually safe with the bid.

    Where that goes awry is when the job is not cookie cutter. Then the labor cost is going to be much higher. The other problem is when you add up all the materials on something as common as a carport, double the price, and then go to craig's list or some such and see the carport specialists are about two thirds of your bid.

    The way I do it is I decide if it is going to be worth my time and if it is something I am interested in doing. I will usually send the friend or client to the cheapies with my blessing if they are only looking to a friend for the job because they are price shopping.


    There are liability issues for sure. Liability insurance is not only expensive, it's very hard to get. Your bud might not be the one that is going to sue, more likely it will be his kids or wife.

    I do a lot of trade work with buds in construction and business. They pay for the materials at least and I will barter my labor. I'm eating some fine hog right now because a friend is a civil engineer who buys the kid's livestock for market price and then has it custom butchered. Home made bacon and sausage plus some of the finest chops and roast a man can buy. Those kids feed the animals well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Clovis, NM
    Posts
    44

    Default

    I appreciate the advice for you guys, thanks!
    MMW, the dimensions are correct. It's for his business. It'll cover seven parking spots. Thanks for double checking me though.
    He wants it to look just like the one at the next building over from his. It'll be 4 1/2" poles, with 8" channel and C purlin and R panel on the roof and one side.
    I've priced the metal and came up with about $2500, not counting the sheeting. He said he'd do all that, he just wants me to do all the welding and erect the structure. Basically, the hard part...
    So, based on that, about $2500 labor sounds about right?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
    1,273

    Default

    Additional thoughts.

    Who's providing/renting the forklift???

    Who's providing/renting the manlift?

    Have you really thought this job out?

    What looks simple at ground level, isn't so simple 10 or 15 feet up. Think about it.
    Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cave Creek Az
    Posts
    985

    Default

    Also, the fine for contracting without a license is several thousand dollars. Contracting without a liability policy could easily cost you everything you own and more. Building commercial projects is fraught with lawsuits. It is best not to play in that arena unless you are equipped with a license, bond, and insurance. Try to find someone to do it and work as a helper on the job. BTW, each of those field wlds requires a special inspection by the local building authority. Just a visual by a CWI, but be sure you are prepared.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Clovis, NM
    Posts
    44

    Default

    Wow, you guys really nailed a few things I hadn't thought about. I had thought about liability, you have to think about that all day every day or someone will find some reason to sue the pants off you. I'll be thinking hard about this before taking further steps though.

    Thanks guys.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,704

    Default

    WOW, WOW, WOW, I don't think I have ever heard so much bad advice.

    For starters, $ 2,500.00 is way to low as far as labor goes.

    #2 Material cost has nothing to do with labor cost, Figure your material cost and add 15% - 20% mark up in case you forgot something.

    #3 You need a drawing, since this would be considered commercial you need to have an engineer give you sealed drawings so you know what size your footing and columns need to be, You then use those drawings to pull the permit, The building department may want to see that you have liability insurance.

    #4 I bid jobs on a regular basis, the way to bid a job is to sit down and say, what is step one and how long will that take, then what is step 2 and how long will that take and keep doing this until you put a time on all the different steps.

    Then as some have said like MMW, you figure out how much per hour you need to make, If its a 3 hr welding job then I will usually throw the $ 10 - $15 to cover welding supplies, If your Hard facing that is priced as material.

    Doing it the way I said is the fairest way to you and the customer if he wont let you work by the hour.

    Keep in mind, Car ports are not a big deal, I've done a lot of repairs and lift them up when they fall on cars the 2 main concerns are big enough footings because of high winds and what size is the post and how far apart are they.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Clovis, NM
    Posts
    44

    Default

    Thanks for taking the time to put so much info in your response, portablewelder.

    The job, as said is for a carport outside a local business for employees to park under. The business owner said "I want or to look just like that one." Referring to the one across the parking lot at the neighboring business. The "that one" he's talking about is 20'X40' and covers for parking spots. There are six poles (4 1/2 pipe) total, one every twenty feet. They used 8" channel iron on the front to back poles and 8" C purlin on the sides to sides. They used clips to weld the purlin to the sides of the channel as opposed to putting it on top. Only one side of the carport is covered, it's the west side due to the strong winds we get from that direction.

    The one he wants built would be either 20'X68' or 20'X105' depending on whether he wants to cover the entire row. His spots are only 9' apart, so there would be a poles every 18'. Similar to the other, the west end would be closed.

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