Author Topic: Bidding Interior Paint Jobs  (Read 117106 times)

Offline painter bob

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Bidding Interior Paint Jobs
« on: February 15, 2007, 10:24:16 PM »
Moderator's note; I've found this thread invaluable just this morning and believe it should stay at the top of the page along with these other important threads...I appreciate all who contributed to it, and you all should feel free to continue.

Eric...the PAINTSMITH

Bob's original question;


I have been in this business just over a year and need advise on bidding jobs.  I have bidded jobs by the job and hourly.  What is the right way to bid a room.  For example I have a job I am now bidding that is 13x17 walls and ceiling no woodwork.  Any advice on the best way to bid?
« Last Edit: December 31, 2007, 09:22:30 AM by the PAINTSMITH »

Offline ProWallGuy

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2007, 11:01:37 PM »
Proper way to bid is by using yor own historical production rates, along with your predetermined hourly rate, plus overhead and profit. These are all fairly tough to get a handle on, and even harder to try to explain it on a forum. I suggest getting a couple books and reading up on the subject. One would be "Markup & Profit" by Michael Stone. Also, the PDCA has several good books on running a paint company. Check out "The Business of Painting", and their "Estimating Guides", Vol 1. & 2.

Plus, search this forum, lots of good info in here.

the PAINTSMITH

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 09:03:20 AM »
PWG gives some good advice. If you're going to run a business it's best to know every facet, including the mundane (and often confusing) office work...The books aren't exactly bibles to be taken lierally, but guidelines to adjust your business to...There are excellent business templates in the books, including some estimating gems.

Every job is different to one degree or another. One of my peeves has always been those contractors who take their figures solely from a floorplan or blueprint. Some of them never learn.


Offline DavidHenshaw

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 02:27:00 PM »
In detail, this is what I do.

I make sure the customer is there to show me the job and tell me what they want done. This is where I eliminate all possible misunderstandings about what they want to accomplish. Leave nothing to your own descretion and get the customer to make a decision about all aspects of the job. Of course as you do this you are making whatever notes are necessary.

I use a yellow legal pad on a clipboard. I draw a little sketch of the room and then take measurements. Your room was 13 x 17  so I mark these on the sketch with a note of the height of the ceiling. I then get the total lineal feet. 13 + 13 + 17 + 17. I multiply the result by the height of the ceiling. This is the gross square footage of the room, 480 sq feet.  Now I subtract the sq footage of windows and doors. Usually 21 sq ft for each door and about 12 sq ft for each window, but this can vary. Anyway get the total sq ft of these items and subtract them from the gross sq ft you got above. Lets say we end up with a net of 435 square feet for wall area.

If the ceiling is to be painted I then add the ceiling sq footage, in our example 227 sq ft.  I now add the ceiling and walls and get 662 sq feet. I then multiply the total sq ft by 70 cents per square feet, which gives me $463. This is my base charge which I adjust up or down based on the job particulars.

Items which generate a credit:
      Room is empty of furniture or has very easily moved items
      Repeat customer, easy to deal with, no question on payment
      No repairs necessary
      No need to prime
      Very slight color change, one coat will do, etc, etc.

Items which raise the estimate.
      Pretty much the opposite of the above items


Your base rate will depend on your geographic area and the individual neighborhood your working in. If you're in a custom built home with five bedrooms and seven baths its going to be different than a neighborhood where the homes sell for 100,000 or less.

Lastly, in my opinion its important to do this and do it in the customers presence. If you ask intelligent questions and make thoughtfull suggestions the customer will be more likely trust you to do the job right and pay what your asking for. I always tell the customer the steps I'll be doing from start to finish and that I'll be using premium paint from BM or SW and that it sells for $40 or whatever per gallon and the job will require about so many gallons. I always tell the customer that the end result will be beautiful and after all "this is your home." Yea we gotta do a little selling.

If you do all this, you'll have the numbers to support your quote.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 02:32:59 PM by DavidHenshaw »

Offline TallyPainter

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 02:29:10 PM »
I used to spend hours trying to come up with the perfect formula for making money and still getting the jobs.  Since I live in the mid-west I also tried to adjust my rates for a bad winter.  Things were still not coming out right.

After banging my head against the wall for too long, I figured out what the problems were.
 
 First my hourly rate was solid, but I kept second guessing it, in other words I found  too many excuses to lower it for this and that reason, IF YOU GET ALL THE JOBS YOU BID, YOUR TOO LOW.   Find a rate for residential, and maybe a slightly different one for commercial and stick too it.  I have had many people say no at first then call back a week or so later.  Also, if your doing a job too low your tied up for the good one that comes along.  

The second problem was I was using my hourly rate to do estimates, but I needed to set a minimum.  I was doing too many small jobs.  Everything starts at a four hour minimum.  Most people understand, and if its really small, IĒll offer to do something else, a closet for example.  Letís face it, if you paint a three hour bedroom, your probably not going to get another job started that day.  

Since your original question was advise on getting the bid.  Always use a written proposal out lining the job, how you plan to protect non painted areas, what type of paint you plan too use etc.  Iíve gotten many jobs were I was higher, but had a written proposal and references.    

Also, even if your bidding interior jobs, offer them a list of homes to drive by that youíve painted in the last few years.  Start working on a picture book of before and after photoís.  

Also, as Eric said, keep track of your own production rates, I even make notes as too the size of job, how many windows, surface type, even what type of mood I was in the day I did the job.  Donít forget to account for set up and clean up time.

the PAINTSMITH

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 05:13:07 PM »
Also, as Eric said, keep track of your own production rates

Sorry Darrell, that was ProWallGuy, not me...But I'll take the credit if you're stubborn about it!! ;D 8)

Offline Artisan J

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2007, 11:41:56 AM »
so, David Henshaw, in summary of your pricing method and end price for a ceiling and walls you would end up charging about 80 cents to 1 dollar per sq.ft with profit, overhead, and materials added to the 70 cents a sq. ft?

Is that price 70 cents a sq. ft just for walls and ceilings and you charge less for the wall sq. footage price if your not doing the ceiling? Thanks for the post by the way. It really helps me to understand exactly what I have been doing right and wrong in my estimating system!

Post more info. if you can about pricing int. jobs or ext. jobs sq.ft pricing because it really helps. I think so many in this industry don't share that stuff because they feel like they won't get any work!

How did you get to that 70 cents a sq. ft. price by the way? any specific method? like labor hours times price per hour divided by sq.footage or something like that?

Thanks again!  ;D :o ;)
"God loved the world in this way; He sent His only first born son into the world that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life!" -John 3:16

Offline D. Berry

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 12:18:11 PM »
My question is the same as Artisan J, David.  Obviously the .70 a sq. ft. is an arbitrary figure not set in stone, but how did you arrive at it?   I've never seen anyone give a set figure other than on new construction.  Your information was good. 

Offline DavidHenshaw

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2007, 04:50:20 PM »
Like most things in life estimating is not science. Seventy cents just seems to be a good figure for residential repaints. The seventy cents assumes two coats on the walls as standard practice. Having said that, seventy cents a square foot is not what I charge to paint walls or ceilings. It is just a benchmark that helps me get a handle on the size of the job. Specifically, in my earlier post I came up with a base figure of $463. Depending on the adjustments of that particular job I would be quoting anywhere from $350 to $550. I recently quoted a ceiling for $450 that would have been $275 except for the height on one side going to 21 feet. New construction is a totally different ballgame for all the obvious reasons.

As a final check on my numbers I try to estimate how much I'm going to spend on paint, supplies, fuel and the rest. Then how long is it going to take me to complete the job and what is my expected profit. And finally is the expected profit going to be worth the trouble.

In estimating/quoting being thorough is everything. You will never get paid a penny for items that you forget or omit. That's the reason I emphasize going over the job carefully with the customer present. The customer doesn't know what will be required to make the job come out first rate. Here's where you have to explain what the options are for different repairs and/or other problems so they will understand why it's going to cost this much.

I don't think there is such a thing as a "correct" quote for any job. But I do think it's helpful and professional to go through the steps I mentioned before. It will make you look professional in the eyes of the customer. I think it also makes them more inclined to accept your calculated price as being reasonable or fair.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 05:07:44 PM by DavidHenshaw »

Offline Roadog

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007, 05:43:52 PM »
I dont bother deducting windows and doors. Except for figuring how much paint I need. I figure most the work, (after prep) is cutting in the windows and doors. As for 70 cents a sq ft......its about a $1.30 too low for my neck of the woods!

Offline rmichael

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2007, 06:21:11 PM »
Using the common drywaller equation 3.5 X floor space.. a 70 cent actual sf breaks down to about $2.45 sf heated floor space. IMO a fair bid for the 13X17 common prep and 2 coats walls plus ceiling would be about $900. That is about $4.08 sf floor space, and yes, you may not get the job...  ;)
 
As David points out there are a lot of factors that should be included when figuring a bid, and 
IMO, it is a common mistake to think that repaints should price out less than new construction.

rmichael
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Offline painter bob

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2007, 10:10:46 PM »
Hello everyone,

This information has been really helpful.

Thanks to all for your replies.

Offline Artisan J

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2007, 01:13:01 AM »
i think that your opinion earlier on in this post of 4 $ a sq. ft for that job is VERY expensive!!!,atleast for my area! i can't even imagine giving a bid for that price at all, but hey, if you can sale that job for that than great! 1 coat=40 cents a sq., 2 coats=75 cents a sq. and final selling price is about 55-65 cents a sq.ft. That is walls only and INCLUDES materials. Fair or unfair? any opinions... :-\
"God loved the world in this way; He sent His only first born son into the world that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life!" -John 3:16

Offline brushworks

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 08:31:23 AM »
This is what worked for me, and still does with windows and doors.

One rule to follow:

Never sell the way you buy.

Never assume a clients budget or what they are willing to pay for professional services. A painter, if he qualifies, is a professional service provider. He or she is entitled to a fair price for a valuable service.

A knowledgeable, qualified painter is worth every bit of $2.75 sf and, if the job requires more to produce a professional finish, he or she is entitled to more.

Our clients expected to pay at least $2.75 sf for a general repaint, little prep, like color, two coats. However, when we repaired, sanded entire walls, primed and two coats, we charged up to $4.75 sf. They knew this and signed for it after the presentation. We always got $4.75 sf when using full spectrum paints because it required extensive prep, primer and two coats of full spectrum paints.

The price is justified by your professional results! A client will not regret paying higher prices when they see your good works!

Perception is a reality most of the time. Offer a good, better, best repaint and watch your profits grow. There's something about clients pride that urges them to go at least better, not good. There is also the client who chooses the best over the rest.. :)

Note: I know some fellows who would rather do a quick, cheap repaint so that they can get to another job. Let me ask you. Would you rather do one job at $4.25 sf or run to three for .75 a sf.?

As a professional painter and businessman/woman, it's your responsibility to offer your client the best service and product and let them decide if they wish to drop the price by deducting steps or product quality.

I also realize that some geographical locations may dictate a lower price. In that case, seek out the clients who can afford to pay your prices. Every location has the folks who have all the gold. Find them!

I don't advertize my prefinished wood windows in the Cleveland city proper. I advertise them in Shaker Heights, Beachwood, Pepper Pike, Chagrin Falls, etc. Old money, huge houses with tons of windows!

Sell! You're a professional and you deserve to be paid a fair price!

Michael
When asked, "what do you do for a living?" I reply, "I market the world's best windows and doors."

Offline Lynjowoman

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Re: bidding interior paint jobs
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 10:41:35 AM »
Right on Michael I believe some of these guys are under valuing their skills.

(Thanks for including us ladies that are pro. painters.)

Lynjo
« Last Edit: February 18, 2007, 11:02:34 AM by Lynjowoman »
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