The pre-drywall phase is one of the most important walkthroughs a contractor makes in a construction project. “Pre-drywall” refers to the point in construction where the foundational elements, such as flooring, walls, roof, and electrical rough-in, have been installed and are awaiting drywall to be hung.
This is the last step before the walls cover up the skeletal structure of the building as well as concealing the electrical and plumbing components. Any problems should be addressed during this phase of construction because it will be much more difficult to make these changes once the drywall is hung.
This is why your job as a drywall contractor is so important. Your role is one of the most visible to the owner and building inspector. You have great responsibility in making sure everything is functioning in perfect condition before you hang the drywall. Because so many important functional elements are in place at this phase, doing a thorough and accurate job as on the pre-drywall walk through will be of utmost importance.
This article will outline some handy tips, tricks, and useful information about performing a walkthrough for drywall services, as well as give you some general information about quoting prices and writing a proposal that will land you more drywall bids.
Drywall Service Walkthroughs 101
The basic idea of any walkthrough is to get a good idea of the amount of time it will take you to perform a given task.
The drywall service walkthrough is a bit different. While you still want to be aware of the time it will take you to hang drywall, there are a great many additional elements you need to check to be a good drywall service contractor.
Like any walkthrough, you will need a tape measure to capture dimensions and a good way to take notes. For this type of walkthrough, you may also want to bring a level and a camera. Your phone camera is more than sufficient.
The best way to keep track of your walkthroughs in an organized fashion is to do it on a digital platform like Route.
Why go digital? One of the most important elements of a drywall service walkthrough is the inspection report. We’ll go in-depth on what this means later but basically this highly-detailed report covers all electrical, flooring, plumbing, and HVAC concerns. It should include several photos and videos.
By using the intuitively designed Walkthrough Builder in the Route app, you can capture all of these details in one place, save them for later, and import photos and videos to your report.
Let’s take a look at some of the notes you’ll want to take when performing your drywall service walkthrough.
First let’s focus on areas of the building. Some of the places you’ll need to inspect and include on your report are:
- The foundation
- The floors and walls
- The roof system
If you see any problems in any of these areas or systems, it is your responsibility to alert the inspector or building owner immediately. Also, make sure you make a note of it on your report.
Some of the things you should be looking for in each of these areas are:
- Check the foundation for cracks or signs of damage. See that the foundation is level and has not settled in any area. Take note of the dimensions of the room and record it in the Walkthrough Builder in the Route app.
- Make sure that the notching on the floor joists is tight and well-aligned. Make sure you look and see that there are no loose boards or nails. Use the Walkthrough Builder’s flooring type menu to record details about the substrate.
- Check the joists of the roof system and see that they are secure. Check the wall studs and see if there is any area that needs added stability. Remember your drywall is going to be hanging on this skeletal framework, so capture as much information as you can in the Walkthrough Builder’s notes section.
- Check the plumbing. Check to see if there is a drain pan under any appliances that use water in case of a future leak.
- Check the placement of the HVAC ducts and registers. Make sure they are clean and free of debris.
This walkthrough checklist is not exhaustive and is only basic protocol for performing an excellent drywall service walkthrough. However, all of the things on this list should be done on every walkthrough, for every bid.
As you can see, the level of detail this particular walkthrough requires is immense. It is not professional to try to capture these details in your notebook. Your notebook can be a supplemental tool you carry on your walkthrough, but a digital interface is necessary to do this part of the job well.
To land more drywall bids and elevate your drywall services, invest in Route. Route digitizes the type of walkthrough you’re doing, prompts you with the questions you need to both ask and answer, and compiles your notes and media in a professional format you can instantly share with your staff or prospect. All the details of your drywall walkthrough will be saved in the Walkthrough Builder, which you can access any time.
Submitting a Proposal
After you’ve completed your drywall service walkthrough, it is time to submit a proposal. We have been focusing largely on the necessity of digital resources for drywall service contractors because of the type of inspections that are needed in this type of work. The first part of this article focused on Route’s Walkthrough Builder tool but the resources do not end there.
Route also offers a Proposal Generator that quickly compiles your pre-captured notes into an organized, eye-catching template you can customize yourself. You can build your proposal in minutes right from your phone and include everything from your task schedule to service charges.
If you’re writing your own proposal, remember to include the following:
- The services you will be giving the client, and when you’ll be doing it
- The price per hour and the total price of the job
- Notes about the space, areas of special interest or concern that affect price
- How long you think it will take you to do the job
- Your company’s standard legal verbiage
There are numerous resources online as well as within the Route app that can help you draft a good drywall proposal. Using these tools for your drywall service proposal can help you select an appropriate contract strategy, keep track of your old and new contracts, and maintain an effective performance management plan. The more you rely on the tools around you, the easier drafting and submitting proposals for drywall services will be.
There is no need to be calculating prices by hand because this is an outdated practice and will only lead to mathematical errors and more problems. There are numerous estimate calculators online as well as on the Route app. The benefit to using Route's Estimator is that the platform is backed by real-world data which gives you faster, better, and more true-to-life drywall estimates than any other method.
As a general rule, the price of drywall is about $1.50 per square foot. With materials and labor added in, the price per panel ranges between $40.00-60.00 on average, with a 12x12 room needing 12 panels.
This would make the cost per room roughly $480.00-720.00. Obviously this is a big expense, which is why the accuracy of a digital tool like Route is useful. This is not a job you want to underbid on.
Also, bear in mind that you can adjust your price as the drywall service contractor based on the location of the building, the size, and if there are special features, such as arches or exposed beam. Things like this could increase your material and labor costs which will change your price. There is a “special areas” menu in the proposal generator of the Route app which can help you keep track of details like this.
There are many topics we have covered but there are many more areas of this subject for you to explore. Here is a head start:
- Performing a great walkthrough for drywall services is a highly detailed task that requires attention, organization, and business expertise.
- Some useful tools to bring on a drywall service walkthrough are a measuring tape, a level, a camera, and a way to capture a large number of notes.
- Digital tools are more accurate than capturing notes by hand. Route’s Walkthrough Builder tool is a highly intuitive solution for drywall service contractors.
- To do the walkthrough well and to land the bid, the drywall service contractor needs to provide an inspection report to the building owner after the walkthrough. This report covers many different areas that will be covered with drywall including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
- The contractor needs to provide pictures and videos in the inspection report. The best way to make a good report after the walkthrough is to be recording everything digitally on the tour on a platform like Route.
- Use a service proposal generator like the one offered on Route to quickly draft a proposal in minutes and import all of your relevant walkthrough information.
- Do not calculate your costs by hand. There are numerous estimation calculators available online, like the algorithm-driven calculator available on the Route app.
Lastly, remember to enjoy yourself and be proud of the work you do. This is more than just a tour of a construction site. This is your livelihood and your life’s work, as well as one of the most important and visible jobs on the building site. Take pride with every walkthrough you conduct and trust your professional abilities. Your skills plus the tools and resources outlined in this article will make you and your company the gold standard in commercial drywall services.