How to bid for commercial flooring jobs

Written by timothy burns
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How to bid for commercial flooring jobs
Preparing an accurate commercial floor covering bid takes experience and patience. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Accurately estimating a commercial floor covering job involves breaking down the overall project into individually measurable steps. By identifying the individual floor coverings, and the steps involved in applying each covering in its specific location, commercial contractors can estimate the amount of time, labour and materials needed to complete a commercial contract. Once the measurements are complete, these numbers are converted into a bid and submitted to the project owner for consideration.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Spreadsheet or estimating software
  • Scale ruler
  • Flooring material costs
  • Labor costs
  • Rental equipment costs
  • Disposal and clean up costs

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Walk through the project. Whenever possible, before estimating a commercial flooring job, experienced contractors walk through the entire workspace to familiarise themselves with the scope of the job. Details and last-minute changes that are not included on blueprints can be discovered through a job site walk-through.

  2. 2

    Read the entire blueprint and specification notes. If the contractor is working from blueprints, read the entire blueprint set and all related notes before placing a bid.

  3. 3

    Take notes of any specific situations that must be addressed in the contract. Each project has unique features, and often these features must be called out in the bid in order to create an accurate estimate.

  4. 4

    Measure the total square footage of floor surfaces to be covered. Each floor surface must be accurately measured, and subtotal by the type of floor treatment which will be installed. For example, all of the areas receiving carpet would be added together, as would areas receiving linoleum or wood flooring, and measured and tabulated separately.

  5. 5

    Measure the total linear footage of wall and floor corners in the affected rooms. Identify which rooms will receive wall finishing treatments installed by the flooring contractor.

  6. 6

    Measure the total area of speciality floor coverings, and more labour intensive floor covering installation areas, such as stairs. Most commercial installation jobs will contain large areas in which the installation will go quickly, and small areas which will slow down the installer. An experienced commercial contractor will identify each of these exceptions to the rules and accurately measure the labour required to install before covering before finalising his bid.

  7. 7

    Contact manufacturers and verify product availability and pricing before submitting the bid. Some large commercial jobs, such as multifloor buildings require exceptionally large amounts of floor covering. Before tabulating the final estimate, manufacturers should be contacted to verify that they have the requested product, and that the prices will not change during the installation window.

  8. 8

    Calculate the required amounts, and cost of floor covering material, adhesives, and installation fasteners required. Estimating process should include identifying seems, waste and salvage material which cannot be used during the installation. Add to the final estimate a waste factor of 10 to 15 per cent.

  9. 9

    Calculate the total labour required to install the amount of floor covering needed for the job. Labor figures should be independently calculated for each type of floor covering, and for high-production areas and labour-intensive areas. Labor figures should be adjusted for the type of floor coverings to be installed. Add a safety factor of 5 to 15 per cent additional labour costs to account for unforeseen delays, installation mistakes and non-billable changes to the contract.

  10. 10

    Add to the calculated material and labour subtotals the company's target overhead or profit desired on the job. At the conclusion of the project, the contractor's goal is to make a profit on the material and labour sold to the property owner. This profit must be figured into his bid.

  11. 11

    Total the above figures for materials, labour, fudge factors and company target overhead and profit. This total figure becomes the bottom line for the commercial floor covering bid.

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