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  1. #1
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    question for construction/carpenter contractors

    what is an acceptable margin of error on a job estimate? i fear i have underbid a job and i am kind of new to this gig. it is only a $2000 job, but its looking more like it will be about $2,400. it was a completely one of a kind job though so it was inherently difficult to estimate. is that grounds for a ****** off costumer?

    granted, the last project if did for this client, i overbid and sent him home with a smaller bill. much smaller job though.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    Has the project started? If not, I don't think it's unreasonable to approach the owner and be candid about the actual costs and ask if they still want to proceed.

    If the agreement has been struck as a guaranteed lump sum, I would stick by the original proposal, but inform the owner of the actual costs, but in the interest of providing good service, you'll stick with the proposal. In my experience, when done correctly, that approach can garner a lot of good will and likely lead to future work.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    I bid jobs on a regular basis. sometimes during the course of construction you run into things that just can't be foreseen at the time of your initial estimate/bid. As long as you can reasonably explain the additional cost, It shouldn't be a problem. Now, if you just made a poor bid from the get go, then that's a different story.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    My general rule of thumb is that it was a mistake on my part, that is on me. If it is something you couldn't have foreseen, then talk to the homeowner. The key is discussing things you might run into up front if you won't know until you tear into it.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    Quote Originally Posted by stevefrench View Post
    I bid jobs on a regular basis. sometimes during the course of construction you run into things that just can't be foreseen at the time of your initial estimate/bid. As long as you can reasonably explain the additional cost, It shouldn't be a problem. Now, if you just made a poor bid from the get go, then that's a different story.
    it was a bit of both. i am retro-fitting ironwork in his house that he provided. it has been a ***** to work with though. crap metal, so it cracks when put under stress so i had to bend everything hot instead of cold, plus none of it matched and some of it was mangled and i had to correct it.

    on my end, i did underestimate the hours it would take to complete the job. but again, it is a completely custom job. its not like I (or anyone else) could really know what it would entail what it was going to take until it was started.

    maybe i'll try and meet him half way. take a cut on my end but charge a bit more than the estimate. it was afterall an estimate and not prepaid job.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    Quote Originally Posted by ISU_phoria View Post
    Has the project started? If not, I don't think it's unreasonable to approach the owner and be candid about the actual costs and ask if they still want to proceed.

    If the agreement has been struck as a guaranteed lump sum, I would stick by the original proposal, but inform the owner of the actual costs, but in the interest of providing good service, you'll stick with the proposal. In my experience, when done correctly, that approach can garner a lot of good will and likely lead to future work.
    the job is half done at this point. just ran into some unexpected headaches and time consuming crap.



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    Quote Originally Posted by theyork View Post
    it was a bit of both. i am retro-fitting ironwork in his house that he provided. it has been a ***** to work with though. crap metal, so it cracks when put under stress so i had to bend everything hot instead of cold, plus none of it matched and some of it was mangled and i had to correct it.

    on my end, i did underestimate the hours it would take to complete the job. but again, it is a completely custom job. its not like I (or anyone else) could really know what it would entail what it was going to take until it was started.

    maybe i'll try and meet him half way. take a cut on my end but charge a bit more than the estimate. it was afterall an estimate and not prepaid job.
    sounds to me like your customer should be understanding. plus it's only a couple hundred dollars. would be a different story if you were asking for another grand or two.

    In the future, I would include some fine print at the bottom of your contracts/bids that includes language along the line of "If the york runs into some things that the york did not anticipate prior to construction, the york reserves the right to make a price adjustment for additional labor/materials"



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    Re: question for construction/carpenter contractors

    Quote Originally Posted by stevefrench View Post
    sounds to me like your customer should be understanding. plus it's only a couple hundred dollars. would be a different story if you were asking for another grand or two.

    In the future, I would include some fine print at the bottom of your contracts/bids that includes language along the line of "If the york runs into some things that the york did not anticipate prior to construction, the york reserves the right to make a price adjustment for additional labor/materials"


    ha ha. he likes the third person ("he" being the york of course)

    these estimates are pretty tricky. this client just brings anything metal to me. really random stuff. i have made a shower head handle out of copper, made custom door hinges, reconfigured lamp components to better fit a space. they want a fountain lined with copper, and i have to redesign a drawer pull on a desk they are unhappy with. nothing is ever the same, so it makes it hard to be accurate.



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