Contractors: How to Price Out A Drywalling Job

Contractors: How to Price Out A Drywalling Job

So, you have decided to sail out into the uncharted waters of independent contracting and find yourself a bit lost on how to move forward. Fear not, for we are here to arm you with all the information and essential tools required to ensure smooth sailing.

The global drywall demand is expected to touch 10 billion square meters in 2020 with a growth of 4% every year. In Canada, the demand for drywall is expected to regain ground lost during the period from 2010 to 2015. 

Given these figures, it is definitely good news in terms of employment opportunities for small and independent drywall contractors alongside the big guns. In order to make the drywall business lucrative, it is essential that you know how to price drywall jobs the right way. Knowing the basics of drywall installation can prove useful in competitive pricing.

Drywall Basics

Drywall panels are usually used for different types of interior applications and are normally 4 x 8 feet. The thickness can vary between ¼ to 5/8 inches. 3/8 inch and ½ inch are the most commonly used with the latter being preferred for ceilings. Usually made of gypsum, a panel can cost anywhere between $10 to $20. Drywall is also now synonymous with sheetrock. 

Alt-text - The sun glinting off one of many professionally installed drywall jobsSource: Augustine Wong on Unsplash

Factors to Consider When Pricing a Drywall Project

The average cost of drywall jobs in North America is around $1,709 with $4,500 at the high end and $500 at the low end. There are quite a few elements to factor in when coming up with an estimate for a drywall job. 

  • Calculate the area to be worked on. Measure the square footage of the entire area where the drywall will be installed. The width multiplied by the height will give you the accurate area to be covered. 
  • Estimate the cost of materials. Drywall boards, drywall tape, joint compound, drywall screws, corner beads, and miscellaneous items, such as hammers, tape measure, metal cutters etc. will have to be bought and the cost included in your estimate to ensure you stand to make a profit. The cost for the following kinds of drywall will vary significantly. 
    • Standard  This is not enhanced to withstand fire or moisture and is perfect for areas with low humidity.
    • Paperless – Instead of paper, a thin layer of fiberglass sheaths the gypsum core making it quite moisture-resistant and mold-resistant.
    • Fire-resistant – Used in construction of utility rooms and garage walls, this material cannot be easily penetrated by flames or heat.
    • Sound-control – As the name suggests, this material helps in soundproofing due to additives applied to the drywall.
    • Moisture-resistant – Also known as ‘green board’, it is appropriate for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.
  • Cost of labour. This refers to any additional hands you might have to hire to complete a job satisfactorily, worker’s compensation insurance, waste removal costs, liability insurance, permit fees, and installation costs to name a few.
  • Add your markup for overhead and profit. A reasonable expectation is somewhere between 15% to 20%, but this will vary a bit depending on the location, size of the job, and similar factors.

Stick to your work ethics and be honest with your bid. It is alright to estimate on the higher side and present a lower bill to the client instead of estimating lower and then shocking the client with a much higher final bill. Be sure to clearly outline what the scope of the project includes and complete all that you promise to do within the timeframe estimated.

Maximize Gains With Wise Planning

Using tools that make your drywall jobs easier, quicker, and less demanding on your body – such as the CanAm Starter Kit if you're new to the biz / new to CanAm, or any of our other tools if you’ve been around a while – can help you reduce effort while increasing profits without compromising on quality.

Some features of the CanAm Starter Kit are:

  • High quality that needs no servicing
  • Easy to clean and use
  • A lifetime performance policy
  • Time-saving
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Improves your quality of work

As Vince Lombardi once said: 

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

And this applies to drywall installation, too!

The drywall industry is closely linked to the fortunes of the commercial and residential building industry. But, despite the uncertainties in the sector, this is one industry that will survive for a long, long time.