For most carpenters, building a deck is the easy part. But before building can begin, a punch list or price list must be developed to determine the price of materials plus the labor to install it. By following a methodical strategy, you can learn to price a deck and be assured that you aren't leaving anything out of the price that could cost you money in the long run.
Begin a punch list. Write down all of your materials and the cost of each. Determine the number and length of posts needed to support the deck. Figure out the cost to buy the posts and start keeping a running total.
Determine how much it will cost to install one footer. Include concrete and post connection hardware and the labor cost to create it. Multiply this price by the number of posts determined in Step 1, and add it to the running total.
Determine the size and quantity of beams needed for the deck and then add this cost to the running total.
Determine the number of joists and joist hangers needed. Remember that two joist hangers are needed for every joist. Add these costs to the running total.
Determine the labor costs to set the posts, beams and rafters. Again, add this to the running total.
Determine how many deck boards will be needed. Figure out the labor cost to install one board, add that to the cost of one board and multiply by the total number of deck boards needed to arrive at the cost of installing the deck boards. Remember to add it to the total.
Determine the materials needed and labor cost involved to build and install one section of deck railing. Multiply this by the total number of railing sections and add to the total.
Determine the materials and labor costs of building the steps and add that to the total.
Add in miscellaneous supplies such as nails, saw blades, other fasteners, permits, waste removal and on-site sanitation.
Determine worker's compensation insurance costs and other applicable insurance premiums and add those to the total.
Figure the final price of the deck by multiplying the running total by your standard markup. The markup should include your overhead costs and your profit. While there is no one set rule, many smaller contractors add 10 percent for overhead and 15 to 18 percent for profit. This will vary from state to state and even market to market.