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Old 04-04-2011, 09:57 PM   #1
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Default Residential Bids

i am looking for opinions on bidding residential homes. for 15 years i have bid all my res. work on a sq. ft. basis. My older brother also owns an E/C business and he swears by doing a take off (per drop).We both work in the same area and our numbers are consistently very very close to the others. he says that the numbers wont lie,but i maintain that some houses are far more "cut-up" and more custom and therefore warrant a higher price per sq.ft.. Also keep in mind that he does a lower quality of homes than i do,so maybe his is the way to go for him,but not for me. I am just putting this out there for fresh insight from others.Thanks

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Old 04-04-2011, 10:23 PM   #2
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My step dad has told me how you can do a sq foot price and that'll work but he will sit for a few hours with a print, lay out the house and do his bidding off that. He won't go strictly by code minimum (who wants an outlet only every 12' in a bedroom?). He will leave some room for over head. But me and him are the ones that do the work so bidding labor is easy as we both are consistant in our speed. He's been doing it for bit over 20 years, about 12 of that owning his own small buisness with Masters.

We are known in this area for being a little pricey but do excellent work (dont we all ), and local contractors will explain this to home owners if need be, that we are little pricier for a reason. If he wins the bid (which we haven't always been cheapest and still got the house thanks to the reputation we got), he walks through with the home owner and will normally get extra's out of them.

If he's a little higher in price, he can actually break down why since he has laid out the house already on print. Give a count of all the devices, estimated wire and labor. Only done to code minimum if says to in bid.

It works out so good, we've had the cheapest guys local only get houses before us because they begged for them. Dead serious . Then sadly we actually end up coming behind them to finish sometimes because the HO/GC is unhappy with their work.

(side note: We live in a very small area. Entire population of the area, ohh about 40 sq miles we cover, is maybe 35,000 people guessing. So word of mouth and reputation go quite far. sometimes farther than the dollar amount on the bid)


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Old 04-04-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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oh believe me, i have built my whole business on word of mouth and could not agree more. i really dont bid jobs much any more but rather give prices. most of my clients are long time customers that i have had for years, they know that i am pricey but my crews are highly skilled and well paid. i dont back charge (much), but if its a legitimate change order then i charge for it,but that is seldom. when you add 3000 onto a price/bid because you know that you will make 30 trips to hang back ordered lights from Itally it worries me that if they get competetive bids i am ALLWAYS higher. but i figure in 30 trips back,decorators,shifting lighting due to changing ceiling layouts etc.after 27 yrs in the business i can tell you roughly what a job should cost by lookin at it.sounds like yall have about the same system as i dogood to hear its working for you too!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:01 PM   #4
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I can relate to going back for moving/shifting/changing/back ordered lights. We do have to deal with a lot of back ordered items up here. Nothing (for the most part) can be bought local. Biggest chain we got is a Walmart. Otherwise buying from mom and pop joints. So we end up with several trips back on occasion and he'll do his best to eat the cost unless its legitimately got to be charged for it. Our item, not charged, theres he'll give some slack if they are willing to work with when we come back. If we got a few more breakers to land or a island plug to put in, we'll schedule that with when the lights come in.

Kind of cool to hear relatively similar style of work is going on 2000 miles south.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:08 PM   #5
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I can't see how anyone can price a house by the square foot unless they are installing the carpet..

Unit pricing is the right way to price out a job and not lose money dong it..
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:14 PM   #6
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how would you do it,this is what im lookin for. somebody with a different oppinion
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:17 PM   #7
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i want to understand correctly. a $55 dollar drop fee for a receptacle in a house in one neighborhood is the same in another neighborhood?
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:19 PM   #8
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Jcode. nice pic.. im about 9 hrs north of Miami. gulf coast near panama city
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:25 PM   #9
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I have always used unit pricing to figure residential and commercial jobs..

You list every single electrical component, motor, heater, smoke, GFI, circuits, recessed lights, surface mounted lights..etc..

Then figure a price per item and use that as a template to figure your bid..

Jobs with cathedral ceilings are more labor intensive, so you raise the prices for those kind of jobs..
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:40 PM   #10
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I understand what you are saying,but isnt it "the same thing only different"?. you say you adjust your unit price as per layout. i.e., vaulted ceilings,cut up ceilings,off walls,etc.
i say i adjust my prices by the same standards, but i just adjust from 3.25 a sq. ft. to 6.50 a sq ft.
in other words, neither of us take a wire measurement and go with it,but rather go with what feels right and fair,so as not to take advantage of our customers,at the same time not lose money.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:45 PM   #11
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By the way, i allways use unit pricing on commercial jobs.. totally agree here. Commercial jobs allway seem to have a higher margin of profit and seem to have less C/O's, also they usally have more stringent budget guidelines and are not as prone to as many changes.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:52 PM   #12
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Just curious, you said you make note of "every single electrical component" how do you accomodate for panel location changes,door swing changes,(changes sw.locations),decorators, engineers,etc.?. i know every pool panel changes locations 3 times before acutual install here, same with a/c's. This changes wire length,digging time,pipe length etc.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnr electric View Post
Just curious, you said you make note of "every single electrical component" how do you accomodate for panel location changes,door swing changes,(changes sw.locations),decorators, engineers,etc.?. i know every pool panel changes locations 3 times before acutual install here, same with a/c's. This changes wire length,digging time,pipe length etc.
Always a separate price on services and pools since each job is different than the next..

I include "builders fixtures" with my bid.. custom fixture installations are extra since "some assembly is required"..

Locations are taken off the house plans.. if that changes, the price is easily adjusted up or down..
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:02 AM   #14
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One of our GC that sub to us, they are always more expensive than the others. But thats because they allow some good wiggle room for changes for the HO without the price of the original bid going up.

So if they are $3000 more than the other guy. When the home owner inevitably changes doors/windows/cabinets/flooring/etc, they bid is still X while the next guy's original bid has now gone up. By time the project is done, GC #2 has gone 4.5k aboe original bid while our 1st GC here only went 1.5k. It's worked for them for many many years.

Now as far as us dealing with changes, can't really say for sure because I'm not the one bidding. But being a little pricier in the first place, kind of got the same idea going on as the GC, but ours isn't so much as intentional. I do know we have had to discuss with HO/GC on some changes that are to much for us to foot. A door swing changes, happens so often no big deal. Moving a panel 30 feet away, well we have to let them know that wasn't in original bid.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:04 AM   #15
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I understand what you are saying,but isnt it "the same thing only different"?. you say you adjust your unit price as per layout. i.e., vaulted ceilings,cut up ceilings,off walls,etc.
i say i adjust my prices by the same standards, but i just adjust from 3.25 a sq. ft. to 6.50 a sq ft.
in other words, neither of us take a wire measurement and go with it,but rather go with what feels right and fair,so as not to take advantage of our customers,at the same time not lose money.
Say a customer adds closet florescent lights and switches.. (10) recessed lights.. (3) dimmers..

All those items have to be figured separately anyway because your sq. ft. price can't allow for add ons..
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:04 AM   #16
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Always a separate price on services and pools since each job is different than the next..
Interesting. Our bids include permit cost, inspection cost, and service along with the general house wiring. If it matters any, step dad will call local power company (UPPCO or REA) and sometimes inspector to square away [Edit: If he has too. and of course working with whatever is on plans] where service is going. He's on first name basis with a good handful of office guys and field guys at UPPCO for this reason. REA we don't deal with much, and they are little more fussy (and smaller).
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:11 AM   #17
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One of our GC that sub to us, they are always more expensive than the others. But thats because they allow some good wiggle room for changes for the HO without the price of the original bid going up.

So if they are $3000 more than the other guy. When the home owner inevitably changes doors/windows/cabinets/flooring/etc, they bid is still X while the next guy's original bid has now gone up. By time the project is done, GC #2 has gone 4.5k aboe original bid while our 1st GC here only went 1.5k. It's worked for them for many many years.

Now as far as us dealing with changes, can't really say for sure because I'm not the one bidding. But being a little pricier in the first place, kind of got the same idea going on as the GC, but ours isn't so much as intentional. I do know we have had to discuss with HO/GC on some changes that are to much for us to foot. A door swing changes, happens so often no big deal. Moving a panel 30 feet away, well we have to let them know that wasn't in original bid.
IMO.. that just seems like a fast way of losing a bid by figuring "wiggle room" into the price..

If customer is looking only at the bottom line.. you lose..

Just seems better to give a firm price on the plans given to you and leave any change orders as an extra charge..
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:18 AM   #18
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Go to the supply house and order 2000 square feet of romex and 500 square feet of can lights. No, better yet, just sell me all the material for a 1,600 square foot rancher, please. They should have that already kitted up, right down to exactly how many wire nuts. It works out perfect for every house.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:23 AM   #19
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Go to the supply house and order 2000 square feet of romex and 500 square feet of can lights. No, better yet, just sell me all the material for a 1,600 square foot rancher, please. They should have that already kitted up, right down to exactly how many wire nuts. It works out perfect for every house.
LMAO..
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:36 AM   #20
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O.K., Jcode,(or anybody) our bidding practices a very similar. here is exactly what i do, tell me if it makes sense.(regular customers only).
1) look at plans, determine how "cut up" the house is.
2) i usually take sq. ft.x 6.50 or so/45.00 per 6"can (65.00)per 4"can (standard step baffle trims)
3) add porches and decks @ 2.50 to 3.50 sq.ft. because anymore there is as much going on on decks as inside house
4)specialty wiring,Control4,RadioRA,Lightning protection,etc,etc...
5)add up,IF IT LOOKS RIGHT, then go with it, IF NOT I ALLWAYS REVIEW.
now all this being said,most of my work is ultra custom customers.I have spent 15 yrs. so i can have a little fun with it and now we only do the high end jobs.(still have a couple crews doing lower end and service work), but most of my work for 5 or so yrs is custom.
does this look right as far as pricing?. i havent lost money yet,(knock on wood). But i am allways wondering how the other guys do it, By the way have they moved yall to the 2011 code yet?. got hit with it this february,Kinda sucks.

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