Help with my bid please


So we primarily do higher end and mid-level residential homes in my market. I do a couple restaurants and storefronts here and there but I’m trying to get into the commercial mid-level buildings. With that being said I don’t have a lot of experience in bidding these types of jobs. I usually do a per pane price on jobs and then add in factors that might take longer than usual and find a price that sounds right with those two factors. It’s worked well so far.
Although I hear a lot of people say that if you bid commercial work for pain like residential you won’t get it because it comes out really high. So my thinking here is I was going to do 950 for the first clean then maybe 800 for maintenance cleans. It’s 190 panes and they want in and out. They actually want me to do all of the insides right now and then when spring comes to the outsides and possibly the insides. The insides have a really bad film. From not being cleaned in a long time. So believe it or not it would actually improve a lot just by cleaning the inside. I’ll post pics


Commercial and Residential are different but you can apply the per pane pricing formula to both, just they generally go for different base rates.
Where a Resi may be, lets say - $5.00 one side, a Commercial may go for say - $3.00 one side. So with this you can add the panes and multiply by your base rate. A Factor Sheet helps lay this out pretty easily, so that no matter what your “base rate” is, you can factor in any asides onto that and you get your total price.

DON’T get in the habit of arbitrarily assigning a bid price with no way of looking back a year or so later as to how you came up with that price. Have a base rate and formula that you can repeat. It seems like you do that for Residential, and no reason you can’t copy that and do it for Commercial as well; just change your base rate.

A standard size window $2
A large size window $4
Like that, decide what your market can bear.


Per pane prices don’t work for commercial jobs. Sometimes it would work to your benefit, most times to the clients and you’ll kick yourself.

This is how most people do it, and really I guess it gets easier with experience;

On your first commercial job, time yourself from the moment you get onsite til you leave. FORGET about window count. It don’t freaken matter.

But you will gain a few important things.

You’ll know how long it will take you and what areas may be tricky and take longer.

You’ll find obsticles that are unique to each building but with experience, you’ll know how to get around them and how long it will take.

Time guestimate=hours in labor x number of men= labor price + profit = estimate


What if it takes you 20 minutes to even get to one panel? and say there’s a row of 20, you’re in a scissor lift and need a spotter on the ground? Are you still going to give the price of 3$?
If so you just lost money. You can’t do that with commercial, unless by commercial your talking about store fronts.

He mentioned Mid Level commercial, maybe I’m misunderstanding but I take that to mean mid rise commercial?


To each his own. Deanswc, you have two approaches, guesstimate, and factor.

9 new photos · Album by Dean Batten


Wasn’t trying to offend big Garry. Sorry if I did.


New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten
New photo by Dean Batten


I don’t know how your market is over there, but from what I am seeing more than likely 2 men at 7 to 10 hours on the outsides only.
Last photo has a roof you don’t wanna walk on so you’ll have to get that one from the inside if at all possible and if not, a ladder against the rain gutter will work using a wfp from the ladder.

2 photos show areas that have glass ceilings, and those suck. Not that bad if you are using a wfp, but still gotta give the windows above enough time to drip all the water on the glass ceiling below it before you do the glass ceiling. I may be wrong but the break area in the back, bottom row of windows near the red bush, is that stained on the bottom of the glass?

Make sure you exclude staining if they ain’t paying for it to be done.

So, my bid if it were in san diego would likely be around 1500. Low end, I MIGHT do 1200 but no more than 1800.


so i estimate the job to take a day and a half for me and one new technician(8weeks) to accomplish. maybe 13/14 hours. the inside only has 5 ladder sets and the rest is reachable. However you need to work around all the offices to access them. Which puts me at about 2-3 minutes average per pane for all interior I’m guessing. Outside has ladder work but nothing too bad. ill do all ladder stuff and have my tech follow behind. Outside are pretty dirty so most likely have to give a quick steel wool to them so i guess about same time for outside as inside since i can move without bumping stuff. so my figure of 5 minutes a piece puts me right about there. then offer cheaper if the get on a schedule.( which she said she wants on a schedule after this). we work at around $75 an hour while still helping my tech learn the ropes. so i figure 75x13=988. puts me right around my bid of 5 per pane.


yeah realistically i bet it will be longer because my tech is not super fast yet.probably 16 hours. I can get my father in law and split it with him(30 years exp) we could get it done quick. However they just want the insides done now and all of it in the spring. I don’t wanna shoot myself in the foot on the bid but i would like to get it since winter is here and its all inside. Then i can get my foot in the door with commercial and use them as a reference. There was a little staining on some windows but i will specify its not included. The first clean will be done traditional and then i will probably try to do wfp on the maintenance cleans. i guess i can just take a chance and say 1250 and 600 inside and 650 outside only. This will give me an idea of what the market is here. She also said they had a guy before but he hasn’t called back for weeks and is unreliable. I explained we are reliable and do exactly what we say we will.


Much easier, usually.

My price is 35% of what my cost is for the exteriors.

If you’ve never done commercial jobs inside, it helps to put exclusions in the estimate such as:

Please advise your occupants to remove items off of window ledges.
Please have equipment that can be moved such as computers and paper etc, moved from directly in front of the window as is reasonable.

We will NOT remove any items as our insurance does not allow this.
We will SKIP windows that have items on the window ledges, and WE DO NOT BACKTRACK as this will significantly disrupt our routine in order to finish as quickly as possible so as to minimize disruption to your occupants’ work flow.

It works, trust me.

There’s always at LEAST one person who don’t move anything, and at least 5 who will do it when they see you. If they ain’t done before I get there, sorry, we gotta move on. I’ll try to get back to you when we are FINISHED WITH THE BUILDING (not the floor). Usually, I don’t go back because there ain’t enough time to do that.


So I did 1250 for the whole thing
700 for outside
550 for inside
850 for the gutters.
Since I don’t have any experience in the commercial market around here I don’t really know what work is going for. So this will be a good test to see about what prices are. And if I don’t get it Oh well.

I forgot to mention doing the exclusions like you said. However I can mention it if she decides to go with me for the job. thank you very much for the advise @thorSG1 @Garry


I truly get what you are saying. That is where the factor sheet comes in to play.


In my market it is 3 per pane…but it is cheap in my opinion…I bid commercial like I residential. Why because I don’t like commercial for previous mentioned reason and 2 if I get it I am getting paid really well!!

If I know I am going against someone for the bid and I want the job I will go to market price or a little above.


Easiest way is to double your labor for the final price.


So this will be a good test to see about what prices are. And if I don’t get it Oh well.

Thats not really a good way to test.

If you loose the bid, call your contact mid week, and in the morning around ten or eleven to give em a chance to put out fires and settle in for the day. Be honest and just ask them. There’s nothing lost by asking. THAT will help you in seeing what the market is like.

Sometimes you will go against other outfits that will price it below what your labor cost is, on those you just gotta laugh.
Your labor cost with everything included such as workmans comp, is what you have to charge period. After that is your profit, thats the only area you can adjust.

Being the last one to turn your estimate in helps as well. If you can hit it off with your contact, you might be able to work some magic if they like you.

Roll with the punch’s when they hit ya, and they will trust me. Its frustrating sometimes when a guy lowball’s a job that you really wanted but you can’t let that other guy set the bar. You gotta give a compelling reason to use you NO MATTER WHAT YOU CHARGE such as:

High profile, well known references for same size or similar types of buildings. Don’t ask them if they want to talk to your reference, put it on your estimate sheet with their phone number.

Understand what THEY do, know what pisses them off about vendors and make yourself the complete opposite. That will take time, but the only way to know is to ask. "What was your main frustration with the previous vendor?"
That question will also let you gain insight on wether or not they just want numbers for their budget. Some companies are doing their budgets right now for next year so its possible to fall into that catergory.

Hope that helps and hope you get the job. If its a management company, after you’ve done the job, ask them if they have other buildings that they need numbers for. You might strike gold.


You probably get it for that price. The insides usually 1/2 to 1/3 quicker to do than outside, so taking off 200 for the inside is in line with what I did for my bids, knowing that my competition was biding on the jobs and charged same in and out price:)
ALWAYS BID PER PANE! NEVER BY THE HOUR!! …You will lose money by the hour and the client will save money by the hour.

You and 1 guy should be able to do it in a day or 1.5 days.

Also If you don’t get it ask them what the other bids were to know where you stand on pricing and to get a grasp on the market…Hi …this is…Deans from …I was calling to see what the other bids were for the windows…I ask because I like to know if my pricing is in the ball park of the other bids…That way I know how to adjust for future bids. I like to know if I need to raise or lower my pricing…something like that and most of the time they will tell you! If your so bold ask what each company bid…I did this over a 6 years period and I could almost nail every bid and get it casue I knew I would be with in a couple hundred bucks of my competition…


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