The bid you submit to a construction project can be the difference between winning and losing the job opportunity. It can be tricky to bid, particularly if you are a new contractor and you aren't yet familiar with the nature of the market. You may want to begin by bidding on smaller projects that you feel confident you can complete successfully with quality work. You will need to estimate the costs (time and materials) required for the job.
Take a look at the job site. Get as much information as possible from the client, including their expected time frame and the budget within which they want to work (if this is possible).
Make a list of all the materials you will need to complete the job. Make a separate list of the labor it will take to complete the job. Consider the time frame for the job and the amount of work required--if you can complete this job quickly by yourself, that will keep costs down. Add the two totals. This is the lowest bid amount you should submit.
Consider other potential contractors who might be bidding on this job. Use your potential competition as a way of creating boundaries for your own bid. Avoid bidding significantly higher or lower than the anticipated competition.
Consider the market for construction in the area in which you work. If the job will be relatively small with regard to your profit and you will have to turn down more profitable jobs in order to take this one, you may need to adjust your price or abstain from submitting a bid.
- carpenter image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com