Bidding on a Drywall Job: The Details You Need to Know


When you’re bidding on a drywall job, there are several essential factors that you need to consider before submitting your bid. While your bid will play a critical role in whether or not you’re chosen, other details about the job itself could influence the decision. 

The job details, like the size of the area to be drywalled and the number of materials needed to complete it, help you decide how to price your bid and can also indicate how much time you’ll need to complete the job from start to finish.

Bidding on a drywall job may be intimidating if you’ve never done it before. But the process doesn’t have to be as confusing as it seems at first glance. 

In this guide, we’ll cover all of these things so you can get the job without any misunderstandings or miscommunications. So, let’s delve in!

Pay Attention to the Details of the Bid Invitation

A bid invitation is essentially an agreement between you and the prospective client. So, please pay close attention to the instructions in their bid invitations; it outlines what they expect of each party involved and give specifics about how long your proposal is good. 

Note that there’s a lot of flexibility regarding how the client can go through the process. If you don’t closely read through these details, you might miss critical information that could lead to losing business or having technicalities halt work in progress. 

For example, suppose you forget that you’re supposed to use only adequately rated equipment and installers with OSHA training. In that case, you could be responsible for any injuries while on site. By reading your invitation carefully, any potential problems can be avoided before they arise.

Prepare Your Proposal

Two people wearing white hard hats look over a construction proposal.

If you’re getting ready to bid on drywall work, you must know what information should be included in your proposal. In addition to costs for labor and materials, your proposal will need details about how long it will take, who you’ll use for each specific task, and any other specifications included in your contract with the client. 

While some of these elements may seem obvious, you must include them. If things are left open-ended, there may be issues down the road. To avoid those headaches and ensure the successful completion of any job, provide all relevant information upfront—including payment terms, job start date and anything else pertinent to completing a flawless project.

A drywall bid submission is a part estimate, part resume—so be sure about what to include in your proposal. Try to include past projects similar to the one you’re bidding on, and also, showing how you’ll stick to the schedule and budget will increase your odds of winning the bid. 

List All the Drywall Materials You Will Use in the Job

A black pen and measuring tape lays over a black and white blueprint.

Before starting with our bidding guide, it is essential to know about the different drywall types. Here are some common drywall styles:

  1. Whiteboard drywall is a typical drywall type suitable for standard residential work. It is fire-resistant and commonly known as Type-X. It comes in 4 x 8-foot sheets with mesh attached and thickness between 1/4 and 3/4 inches. It is easy to install, doesn’t require special tools or tape, and can be installed quickly. Expect 50 percent faster installation over traditional paper-backed drywall. 
  2. Greenboard drywall is another common drywall material famous for deflecting water. Homeowners prefer this material for wet areas like bathrooms and laundry. Greenboard drywall is easier to install because it’s lighter than traditional drywall. It also has better soundproofing properties, and it’s more fire-resistant, making it ideal for multi-family units or commercial buildings in low-density areas.
  3. For areas where you need water and mold resistance, the blueboard type offers a lot.
  4. Other types include cement board, soundboard, mold-resistant, and enviro-board.

Calculate and Estimate the Cost of Your Drywall Job

A room that is stripped and ready for drywall. Ladders rest against the light purple wall.

When it comes to drywall jobs, you must create an accurate and detailed estimate, whether for a residential or commercial project. Getting paid for every hour, you work might seem like your only concern when estimating. Still, other factors will determine how much money you’ll be bringing home, and it starts with correctly budgeting your time and materials. 

If you overestimate, your competitor might win the bid; underestimate, and they won’t be happy with the quality of work they receive in return. This can affect future projects, so accuracy is essential when bidding on drywall jobs. 

You’re always required to estimate the material needed for every drywall bid. Some clients even rely heavily on your estimate to say yes or no to the project. 

So, here are some briefs steps in preparing an accurate estimate for a drywall job:

  • Knowing the square footage of the project. This is the first and foremost important step to knowing the area where the drywall will be applied. For reasonably simple floor plans, the process is straightforward. All you need to determine is the perimeter and height of the walls. Use this to determine the surface area of all the walls. Finally, subtract all the openings like doors, windows, and ventilators. This net area is your primary benchmark to prepare the quote for the job. 
  • Number of drywall sheets required: First, you need to finalize the drywall sheet you will buy—because the number of sheets for a 4 ft x 8 ft type is different than for 4 ft x 12 ft. To work this out, all you need to do is divide the square footage by the area of one sheet. 
  • Determine the drywall tape required: Once you’re done with the size of the sheet and the total number of sheets, you can determine the amount of drywall tape required. You need to multiply the perimeter of each sheet and get the linear feet of joint tape for the drywall. Now multiply the number of sheets with the perimeter of your chosen drywall sheet size to get the length of the tape required. For example, for a 4 x 8-foot sheet, the perimeter is 16 feet. You need to multiply 16 with the number of sheets determined in the previous step. 
  • Estimate the joint compound: When estimating the quantity of joint compound, simply multiply the square footage by 0.053. If you want to figure out the number of screws, you’ll need, divide the square footage by 300. For corner boards, simply figure out how many outside corners there are in the entire project. For each corner, you can plan to use one full corner bead. 
  • Include overheads and profit margins:  In the end, don’t forget to incorporate your profit and overhead into the estimate. Most drywall companies usually use their profit around 10 to 20 percent. You should also check with your competitors based on the location and size of the job.

Present Your Proposal Well

When it comes to bidding on drywall jobs, the presentation does matter. It doesn’t have to be extravagant; just take some time to think about how you want your proposal—and ultimately, your bid—to look. 

There are many reasons why companies go with one company over another. Maybe they want someone who’s been in business for more than 15 years, or perhaps they prefer proposals presented on high-quality stationery or value personal touches like thank-you notes. 

You will increase your chances of winning the job if you can tailor your approach by following their directions. Design your proposal clearly so a client can instantly read it and find your estimate and the cost breakdown. If you use a proposal template, make sure the template complies with any formatting requirements of the bid.

Submit Your Proposal Bid and Follow Up

Once you’ve submitted your proposal, wait for the client to review it and tell you if you’re accepted or rejected. It is crucial in drywall industry jobs that you proactively follow up with potential clients after submitting bid documents. 

After all, it’s expected and will only help you stand out from other contractors who don’t make an effort to follow up. It also shows your client that you’re genuinely interested in working with them. 

It’s a Numbers Game: Bid More = Win More

If you want more drywall jobs, then bid on more drywall projects. It can drastically increase your chances of getting more drywall jobs. But again, you need to be spot-on in terms of your estimates combined with intelligent pricing. Getting three to five quotes per week will do just that! 

The Bottom Line

Before submitting your final bid, remember that bidding on a drywall job requires research, planning and preparation. The more information you provide upfront, the better. This way, you can ensure that you get the most out of your time and effort and get the drywall job you want.

If you’re planning to bid on your first drywall job, you’re probably anxious to start bidding right away. However, it would help if you took the time to learn how to do things the right way so that you don’t run into any issues later on. Here at Construction Fanatics, we share up-to-date information for contractors and installers. Why not signup for our newsletter today and stand out from your competitors when bidding on jobs.

About the author Steve Coffey

I am passionate about the building materials industry helping companies all throughout the channel see success and exceed the expectations of their audiences

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