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Old 05-18-2018, 09:21 AM   #1
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Default estimating over the phone

Any suggestions on giving an estimate over the phone when the people live in another state and send a hand written diagram of the inside of the house and not blow out the job?
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:37 AM   #2
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Just make sure they understand your bid is subject to actually seeing the house in person. The devil can be in the details, especially regarding prep, so make sure you have some reasonable wiggle room.
Also, be sure to get a decent sized deposit - I personally like 40% when dealing with unusual situations such as out of area owners.
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:48 AM   #3
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Can you contract in another state? This may prevent you from moving forward.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Can you contract in another state? This may prevent you from moving forward.
Good point, though I took it that the house is in his area but the owners aren’t.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithmc2018 View Post
Any suggestions on giving an estimate over the phone when the people live in another state and send a hand written diagram of the inside of the house and not blow out the job?

If the house is in your area, I'd ask for the keys, or some sort of access. If it's not, I'd find a way to localize your online presence. For example: "My service area does not reach beyond fifty miles from my location".

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Old 05-18-2018, 10:17 AM   #6
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I've dealt with people from out of province or living in Europe who want their property (in my city) painted many times. They will find a way to leave you a key.

Then, just send your quote per usual. I get my deposit via e-transfer before starting the job. Final payment is the same.
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:45 PM   #7
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Sight unseen......time and materials. I just finished three interiors out of state, and had no chance to see houses prior to painting. Customer agreed to time and materials, and I made out very well. Had I tried to give an estimate, I would have short-changed myself, as there was more prep and moving of items than I would have ever imagined. I'm going back up next week to paint the three exteriors. Again, time and materials. I have seen the exteriors and the scope of work, but I still prefer to bill them an hourly rate, and not a rate based upon square footage or a guestimate of "exactly how long" it will take. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-18-2018, 03:30 PM   #8
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First, i'd Google the property address to get a quick peek at the general condition.
Beyond that, id probably throw some generalizations at them and a price range/ball park with the caveat that it's subject to change once you get in and see what actually needs to be done.

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Old 05-19-2018, 05:52 AM   #9
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I ask ton questions ( I send a Form for interior ). As for exteriors we use Paintscope works great.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:24 AM   #10
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My favorite is “Can you give me a ballpark estimate to paint my house?” My response“ Sure. Last ballpark I painted cost $160,000. I’d be more than happy to paint your home for that “
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:14 AM   #11
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A few years ago, I got a job from a guy calling me from some oil rig in the middle of the ocean on the other side of the planet. He had to wait in line to use the satellite phone to call me.


It was a crappy rental that he owned here.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkpainting/nick View Post
I ask ton questions ( I send a Form for interior ). As for exteriors we use Paintscope works great.
Do you use it for large commercial buildings? I'm not sure how that would help with residential houses. How exactly do you use that service? Why not use a good exterior laser measure device?

I often wonder if the homeowner or bldg manager is lying about the square footage of jobs. They know that most painters go by the floor square footage and then purposely give a lower number. I always measure each room. Some commercial jobs insist on using sq footage of floor space.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:40 AM   #13
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Most painters go by floor sq ft? I’ve never measured or taken off a print by floor space in 40 years.
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:45 AM   #14
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to me it seems to be just like the people who call up and ask for a paint price. They're just price shopping. I always give those people the full retail price. If you can't be bothered to stop in and see what else i have to offer for what you are paying than you should probably be buying paint from Walmart. Of course in the area of estimates there may be some legit reasons someone would call for an estimate but that is too frequently not the case. I have seen more painters get burned by doing this than i care to mention. A bunch.

I had a painter give a quote to paint a few doors on a rental house once. Just sand, clean, spot prime, and paint. When he got done, the owner threw a 5hitfit. There was probably 20 pretty crappy coats of old paint on them that should have been stripped off, but because my customer didn't see that before he did the bid.........He lost his a55.
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