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Bidding Interior Paint Jobs

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painter bob:
jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_5881").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});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?

ProWallGuy:
jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_5882").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});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:
jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_5889").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});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.

DavidHenshaw:
jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_5894").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});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.

TallyPainter:
jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_5895").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});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.

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