How to Cost a Job

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Costing a job is the practice of calculating the costs incurred or estimated to be spent on a specific job. The construction industry, as well as other industries where a company performs similar jobs for several different clients, commonly uses the process of job costing. Costing a job will allow you to bill, present a proposal or provide an estimate to a client. It will also help you determine ways you might be able to cut expenses.

List the job number assigned by your system or method, the customer name, the date started and date completed at the top of the job cost accounting sheet.

Break down all of the direct materials used to complete the job. List the amount per each, the quantity used, and the total sum for each line. Add up all of the material costs in a subtotal section.

Break down all of the types of labor required to complete the job. List the amount per hour for each line and the number of hours used, then sum up each row in the end column. Add up all of the labor costs in another subtotal section.

List the standard overhead charged and the breakdown of how it is determined (per hour, week or month of the job). Make a subtotal section listing the total overhead charged to the job.

Sum up all of the subtotals in a separate, clearly marked area at the bottom of the costing sheet. This will be your total cost for the job.


  • There are many reputable software programs that provide easy-to-use templates to cost every job as well as keep track of expenditures.