Bids for Metal Work- What to Know

Metal Fabrication Bids in Austin, TX

When choosing a metal fabricator for your project, you may be obtaining bids. Knowing how to decipher those bids can be challenging. Our tips should help you navigate the bid process and assist you in choosing the right metal fabricator.


  1. Don’t Always Choose the Lowest Bid

Resist the temptation to select the most inexpensive bid. Often you will find that what you are not being charged for is exactly what you need. For example, some metal working companies will spec a thinner gauge of metal because of the lower price. However, depending on the application, your project may require a thicker gauge. When we, at Austin Metal Fabrication, bid projects such as planters or metal edging, we always spec 3/16” or ¼” material. If you see companies’ bids using 14-16 gauge, know that the end product will certainly rust through and cave, costing you more in the long run. One such example can be illustrated by the following photos:

These photos illustrate how inexpensive metal edging fabricated out of thin metal did not hold up to the water runoff and environmental stress. The metal has buckled and corroded leaving the feature useless not to mention unattractive. By selecting a thicker metal, the customer could have saved themselves the time, cost and hassle of contracting another metal company to fabricate and install a new one.


  1. Compare Apples to Apples

Review each bid line-by-line focusing on the specifications. You may be surprised to find a significant variance in metal sizing or labor. Look for the sizes and quantities of metal and compare. Are they spec’ing a ¼ inch metal sheet for planters or 1/8 inch? Metal thickness will affect durability and ultimately aesthetics. Knowing what you need for your project and asking questions will help you in the decision making process.

While some metal fabrication businesses will bid a project based on prior held discussions, look closely at the scope of work. For example, one client received several bids from local companies for metal edging in their yard. After examining the bids, it was clear that while some companies had bid metal edging, one had bid a retaining wall with French drains. Why is this? The client had asked for metal edging ranging from 2-4 feet tall. After reviewing their needs pertaining to water runoff, it was clear that installing a simple retaining wall would not fit the client’s needs. The client selected the more extensive bid that met their unanticipated needs.


Austin Metal Fabrication will take the time to work with you so that we are clear about you want and need. We will take your inspiration picture and make it a reality. We analyze your design, whether architectural or engineered, and will make recommendations on how best to execute. We have been able to avoid costly mistakes by thoroughly reviewing and evaluating plans that may need revision based on application. No matter the size of project, mistakes are best caught in the planning phase. Contact us today to discuss your metal project.

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