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Estimating a commercial job #171682 12/03/07 08:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
prattdad Offline OP
Junior Member
what is the best way to estimate a church rec hall. By the drop or square foot. The whole job is going to be run in conduit. And can someone help me on the correct way to count the drops and how much to charge. My bussiness is in NC. I normally do residential work but trying to expand and don't want to lose my butt....


thanks for the input....Triple D Electricians
Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: prattdad] #171692 12/03/07 12:52 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
sparkyinak Offline
You should never estimate per square foot. Take the time to scope the project.If you do not have the time to scope it, you are taking a shot in the dark. There are too many varibles. It is better to scope it and be too high then winding up to finacing someone elses building.

Last edited by sparkyinak; 12/03/07 12:54 PM.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: sparkyinak] #171693 12/03/07 12:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
prattdad Offline OP
Junior Member
thank you, not in any hurry, got any pointers on this subject. All my calculation I feel I am too low.

thanks for the input....Triple D Electricians
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: prattdad] #171694 12/03/07 01:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
sparkyinak Offline
Talk with the representitives of the church. They typically have a shoestring budget so they will likely not sign on for higher end material. Get to know you local building codes. Typically the requirement for a church are little more relaxed. Go over the drawings and specs multiple times to make sure you got everything. For example, there may be additional electrical requiements in the mechanical, elevator if applicable, permit requirements, connection fees, and site development that you will be resposible for. Look at the structure details to see if there is details that require special equipment like a lift in the chapel (vaulted ceilings). If you still feel your bid is still low, figure in more contigency. Look at the construction schedule. Will it require additional personnel? Typically what comes to mind after a contractor gets a job is since I was the lowest bidder, what did I miss? smile

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: sparkyinak] #171697 12/03/07 03:43 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 55
AZSam Offline
While in business I had one iron-clad rule for the company. Never do church work or attorney's work. Never lost a dime on any project in 41 years.

Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: AZSam] #171705 12/03/07 07:33 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 29
Gmack Offline
Junior Member
I would advise against bidding this project for two reasons.

1] Your experience as described.

2] Church jobs are driven by charitable General Contractors doing "favors" which trickle downs to every sub.

I was a sub into a very large EC and GC. The GC was a very "prime" client for the EC. A PM starved me for men and materials.

When I challenged him he said " It just some stinking little church job, that nobody cares about". Exact quote.

At the same time, the church was requesting donations in labor and materials from the EC, and they were expecting it at progress meetings.

Walk away now.

Last edited by Gmack; 12/03/07 07:36 PM.
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: prattdad] #171711 12/03/07 10:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
There is no sense to applying any "rule of thumb" to a church job = except to make your best guess, then double it!

You can count on various quirks of the building - height, fixed seating, etc. - to make access a real challenge. You'll be spending money on lifts, scaffolding, etc.

As others have mentioned, religious institutions have earned a reputation for being bad customers ... constant pressure to cut your price, quibbling with committees over every detail, endless changes, and very slow payment.

Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: renosteinke] #171723 12/04/07 10:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,283
electure Offline
In addition to what the others have mentioned, there is the "volunteer labor factor" to consider.

Expect non-tradesman to be performing a large part of the work, like hanging drywall, setting plumbing finish, etc., all in the name of saving money.

This can really slow down the job and can be a scheduling nightmare (things that aren't ready for you to do your job).

We've had a church job that was (generously) scheduled to take 3 months take 15 months.

Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: electure] #171746 12/04/07 07:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
sparkyinak Offline
I agree with the donated labor force. Good intentions only get people fustrated and behind schedule.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Re: Estimating a commercial job [Re: sparkyinak] #171751 12/04/07 09:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 265
wire_twister Offline
I have done several large jobs for several different churches, with minimal problems. That being said you can count on everything everybody said to be true, and then some. Just bid the job per the drawing, include a detailed scope of work, what you will and wont do, and stick to it. Price the job like you would any other including your profit margin, and remember if you do not get it you probably do not want it. As far as estimating, the going rate in my part of the world is $35.00 per drop, this is each receptacle, switch, and fixture, add to this the cost of the service,($2.00 per amp here) then add your usual percentage for headroom in case things get ugly. Put it all on paper and hope for the best.


Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
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