top of page

Estimating Post-Frame Project Costs: A Contractor's Guide to Accurate Bidding

Contractors working on an estimate

As a post-frame contractor, accurate project cost estimates are crucial for profitability and customer satisfaction. Underestimating costs can lead to financial losses while overestimating can result in missed bids and lost opportunities. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the critical factors to consider when estimating post-frame project costs, ensuring you deliver competitive and profitable bids.


The cost of materials is a significant component of any post-frame project. The following materials are typically included in a post-frame estimate:


Pressure-treated wood posts or steel columns are the primary structural components of a post-frame building.


Metal roofing, such as steel or aluminum, is the most common roofing material for post-frame buildings. Other options include asphalt shingles, wood shakes, and concrete tiles.


Steel, vinyl, or engineered wood siding can clad the exterior walls.

Insulation: Foam insulation is commonly used to improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs.


Wildcat Fasteners provide a quick and secure way to connect post-frame building components.


Speedlap cut-to-order soffit can streamline installation and enhance the building's appearance.

When estimating material costs, consider the quality of the materials, the quantity needed, and current market prices. Metal Wholesale offers high-quality post-frame materials at competitive prices, helping you optimize your project budget.


Labor costs account for a significant portion of a post-frame project. The number of workers required, the project duration, and the hourly wages will all impact the labor cost. Consider the following factors when estimating labor:

Crew Size:

The project's complexity will determine the crew's size needed.

Project Duration:

Weather conditions and material availability can impact the project's duration.

Hourly Wages:

Labor rates vary by region and the crew's experience level.


The cost of site work can also be substantial, especially if the site requires extensive Preparation. Sitework typically includes:

  • Site Preparation: Clearing, leveling, and grading the land.

  • Excavation: Digging foundations and trenches for utilities.

  • Backfill: Replacing soil around foundations and utilities.

  • Drainage: Installing systems to prevent water damage.

The cost of site work will depend on the size of the site, the soil conditions, and the presence of existing structures or vegetation.

Overhead and Profit

In addition to direct costs, you must also account for overhead expenses and profit. Overhead expenses include insurance, administration, equipment maintenance, and vehicle costs. Profit is the compensation you receive for your time and expertise.

The percentages of overhead and profit will vary depending on the size and nature of your business. However, a typical range for overhead is 10-20%, and for profit, 5-10%.

Contingency Fund

Unforeseen circumstances can arise during any project. A contingency fund allows you to cover unexpected costs without sacrificing profit. A contingency fund of 5-10% of the total project cost is recommended.

Tips for Accurate Bidding

Gather Detailed Plans:

Obtain detailed construction plans to ensure accuracy in estimating materials, labor, and site work requirements.

Estimate Conservatively:

It's better to underestimate costs and add a contingency fund than to overestimate and risk losing the bid.

Get Quotes for Subcontractors:

If you plan to subcontract any work, get quotes from qualified subcontractors to ensure accurate labor costs.

Review Similar Projects:

Analyze past projects of comparable size and scope to gain insights into potential costs.

Use Construction Estimating Software:

Software can simplify the process and provide greater accuracy.

Consult with Metal Wholesale:

Our knowledgeable team can assist you with material selection and pricing to optimize your cost estimate.


Accurate post-frame project cost estimates are essential for profitability and customer satisfaction. Contractors can develop competitive and informed bids by considering the factors outlined in this guide. Partnering with Metal Wholesale provides access to high-quality materials, expert advice, and fast turnaround times, enabling you to complete your post-frame projects efficiently and cost-effectively.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page