How to Bid on Masonry Jobs

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Calculating the labor and equipment costs for your job bid can seem like tedious work, especially if you're trying to meet a deadline, but skip the work and risk not making a profit on your masonry job. The process may seem lengthy if you're a new masonry worker, but keep detailed notes and save copies of everything. As you build up a job portfolio, you can use old bids as templates to save time.

Figure out how many workers you will need to have for the job. You might choose to pay one worker for more hours or to split the labor between more workers, who can then complete the job in a shorter time period. Estimate how many hours the job will take, adding in an extra hour or two to a day job to incorporate delays. For larger jobs, estimate a percentage of the total hours estimated, such as 5 percent to 10 percent. Then track actual delays during the project so you can revise the percentage up or down to reflect your work practice.

Multiply the estimated labor time by the number of workers to arrive at your labor cost.

Call your suppliers to check on the current prices of any supplies and equipment you need to buy. Different suppliers may offer periodic sales on some materials, so calling around could save money. If you'll be renting large construction equipment, check the rental price and time frame. Once you have the prices of all supplies and equipment, calculate how much you'll need and incorporate a little extra so you'll have wiggle room (try 5 percent to start). Add up all equipment-related costs.

Calculate your monthly business expenses, which may include advertising, utility bills, gas, car repair and staff members. You'll want to factor in a small portion of your expenses into every job. If you think the masonry job will take three days, calculate three days' worth of your operating expenses by dividing the month's budget by 31 (or 30, for the number of days), then adding three days' worth.

Add together the operating expense, labor cost and equipment cost. This will be the total cost to you to perform the job. Next, think about how much profit you want to make and add that figure to your total cost to arrive at the amount you'll bid on the masonry job. The Contractors' Group recommends that beginning contractors attempt to profit $100 per day. Try this figure in your first few masonry bids until you get the hang of the bidding process.

Draft a bid that discusses the scope of the project, including description of all labor to be performed by your workers. Don't skimp on the description, even if you've spoken with the client about the project. You'll refer to this bid down the road in case of disputes, so you want to outline every bit of masonry work you'll perform.

Break down the cost for the client in your bid by grouping it into "labor cost" (and you can add your overhead to this) and "equipment cost."

Revise the bid, reading it for spelling or grammar errors. When you're satisfied there are no typos (especially involving dollar amounts), submit the bid to the potential client and wait for him to review all bids.


Some clients may experience sticker shock once they see a bid. Providing a detailed explanation of the labor cost to them in your bid, then point out in conversation areas where they can save money, such as switching to a different material. This attention to detail can help you win bids.

Consider purchasing a computer program to help you organize and track bids. Masonryworktools.com recommends Planswift.