Commercial Production Rates
I was inspired by the General Discussion board to bring this same topic over here to the commercial world where my company lives. PRODUCTION RATES:
Currently we use a quantity per man day instead of per man hour to price commercial work. I'd *really* like to hear where others are on this.
New Construction Apartment/Condo Tower.
>Ceilings: flat white (semigloss in wet rooms)
>Walls: Eggshell - 2 colors (semigloss in wet rooms)
>Woodwork: (painter carries caulk & putty all nail holes)
- Baseboard = 1x6 pre-primed FJ Pine
- Window & door casing = white semigloss on standard pre-primed 2& 1/4" MDF
>Doors = white semigloss on pre-hung, pre-primed assortment of styles (6 panel hollow, louvered @ utility closet ...etc)
> One metal door & frame @ unit entry.
Here's where we are currently: (note: we figure a 6.5 hour man day for production estimating because that's what they'll *REALLY* actually end up getting after set up, clean up, lunch, running out to the truck etc.)
>Ceilings (Flat) sprayed: 3,000sf per man day ("PMD") first 2 coats sprayed, then 2000sf PMD final coat sprayed & back rolled by a second worker.
> Walls: (1) 3,500sf PMD prime coat sprayed x 1.1 to account for spot prim of point up after prime. (2) 2,600sf PMD 1st coat eggshell cut & roll (3) 2,600sf PMD final coat x 1.1 for punch list on walls.
> Baseboard & casing: (1) 1,000LF PMD for caulk, putty & light sanding. (2) Semigloss first coat sprayed @ 1,000LF PMD (3) 2nd 600LF PMD sprayed & back brushed/rolled by second worker x 1.1 to account for punch list
>WD Doors: semigloss white sprayed @ 25ea PMD 1 coat, 20 PMD sprayed & back brushed/rolled by second worker for finish coat x 1.1 to account for punch list.
I'll skip material spread rate as I feel it's a long conversation. This is just labor.
BOTTOM LINE: We're winning a handfull of jobs at these rates, but we're also loosing a bunch, and especially the bigger ones 100-200+ units. I need to get better at tracking production and measuring/comparing the rates for accuracy and to tweak where we can.
all feedback welcome and feel free to critique our methods, please !
Tracking Production Rates for Painting
Are you asking for feedback on those production numbers or feedback on your tracking methodology? I know you specified the above as purely a "sample job", so not sure you're looking for feedback on the #'s.
I think it's absolutely vital to track & review production #'s, so good on you for being so diligent. I also like the fact that you're basing the productivity of your employee's workday to be less than their total hours worked.
About the only thing I can say is that I've found it to be extremely beneficial, (and absolutely necessary), to be as specific as possible when tracking production, since every job will have unique variables which contribute to the overall time. In your example above, (again, I know it's just a sample job), I'd still have way more questions than answers before I could provide my own rates to the categories you listed. Production #'s could be double or triple what you listed on 8' ceilings with multiple units right next to one another, or they could be half or one-third what you listed if they're vaulted ceilings with units which require substantial setup & breakdown to get to the next. The amount of finished flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, having to work around other tradesmen, single or multiple level, smooth wall or textured, and a slew of other factors will all play a part in the final outcome, (I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know).
The one thing that's helped me immensely is to take several pics of the project just before we begin and those pics stay with the folder in the tracking data. Of course there will be 1-2 after pics, but I think it's most important to consider the space & the project as we approach the job when the GC or HO says it's ready for us. After pics are for the bling. Before pics are the raw data we need. Keeps me from having to write out every little detail and is easy to use as a quick reference & reminder of the project when reviewing at a later date.
Reviewing production rates on past jobs can help provide a solid basis to use as a general starting point, but beyond that, the amount & extent of usefulness is directly proportionate to our ability to identify, categorize, & assign a value to all of the variables.
You're smart to bid the labor at 6.5 hours per day, no one gets 8 hours of production.
The hardest things to contemplate are the number of units that the GC will have available for the size of the crew you have on the job. Also how many other trades will you have to work around in the units.
You said this is a condo tower, if this is new construction will all the elevators be operational when it gets to painting, or will there be just one construction elevator or skip for all the trades? Lots of time can be wasted waiting to bring up manpower and materials.
The 1.1 factor for punch lists and touch-ups may or may not be enough. I would have a serious talk with the GC about expectations for this and try to have it put into your contract. Knowing how GC's operate they most likely will not put it in writing!
Great comment and spot on, everything you said. I'm asking for other's production rates when they're bidding off of drawings.
For "sample" sake, I was figuring on standard 8' ceilings with no texture anywhere. Try to imagine lower to middle income apartments, so were talking very basic, no frills layouts. We've got a working freight elevator inside the building and 1 floor (4-6 apartments) sanded & ready for prep/paint at a time. We can stipulate that we need full run of 1 floor at a time with no other trades or stored items in the units. Corridors might be more difficult to clear out, but we're spraying so no one else is going to want to be inside the units when we're doing ceilings & walls - that's for sure.
Thank you for this post. I, for one, am just starting to learn about how to do commercial bids and not have your bid go straight in the trash. One thing I have learned FOR SURE, the rates you have to charge in commercial are WAYYY different than the ones you can get away with charging in residential. Still, the allure of having months of work booked at a time is pretty appealing to me and in the winters I have had a really hard time keeping my crew busy which means I have a hard time keeping my crew.
One question I have, when you estimate that you can achieve (for example) 2600 sqft PMD of 1st coat cut and rolled, does that account for the time it takes to mask/drop everything? If so, what do you do to mask? Sure it is assumed that you don't usually have baseboards to mask in big commercial jobs but where or how do you account for the time it takes to mask floors, ceilings/grids, door frames? Is that a separate part of the bid or is that rolled into the production rates you give above?
Sorry if this is a really dumb question but I admit I am a noob to the commercial world and trying to grasp these concepts. So far the production rates seem so high, not sure I wouldn't be driving my business STRAIGHT into bankruptcy expecting my guys to produce 2600 sqft PMD of cut and roll unless it involves almost no prep.
Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
One more question about commercial bids:
Is there any shame in politely declining ITBs for commercial projects that you KNOW in your heart of hearts are beyond your level, and frankly beyond your bank roll to deliver? I got an ITB from a construction company (not sure how they heard of me) for a 17,000 sqft Credit Union, inside and out. I would think to produce this job in a satisfactory manner it would require a crew of 10-20, a boom lift (for exterior) and about $40,000 in materials and wages not to mention the ability to wait 60 days after completion of scope to get paid. I am thinking I am not quite there yet, or perhaps even NOWHErE NEAR there yet. Was thinking about just typing up a proposal just for the heck of it but if I know I can't deliver the scope, why?
The jobs not gonna all be ready at one time. It goes in stages, just follow the taper.
Now financing, yeah you definitely have to have some money in the till. I generally wont take on a job that's worth more than 2x what I have in the till.
We did in the beginning though. My first 100k job, I'd say we started with maaaybe 10k in the till. Get monthly payments, and know who your banker is.
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We did tons of high rise apartments. Always demanded (contract) an entire floor at a time, same as the tapers. Usually the alcove around the elevator would get left unfinished till later cause the elevator wasn't installed in time. Also they would leave a big window uninstalled somewhere on each floor in what we referred to as the "stocking unit". They'd (GC) fork our paint up with a Lull or outside construction elevator on the big ones.
We never did any millwork. It was always prefinished and would go in after we painted ceilings and walls.
That being said....
Foreman was responsible to go in a couple days ahead of time, get all the tools/material up to the top floor and get a lay for the land so to speak.
1)Once we actually started we'd mask an entire floor in a day (could be more or less depending on staff), windows, tubs/showers etc. Also a piece of tape over the copper plumbing stub outs.
2) Next day we would spray and backroll primer. The standard was 150 gallons/day for two guys. A lot of us did 200 gallons day in an day out. That's roughly 40,000 square feet of gyp. I liked a 533 tip for primer or maybe a blown out 525 on a 1095 or 1595.
3) Next day, spray and backroll ceilings. Standard of 100 gallons sprayed and backrolled for two guys on 8' or 9' ceilings. That's roughly 30,000 sqft of ceiling per team.
4) Next day start spraying walls. We always just used a shield (48" mostly, with shorter ones for tight spots) along the ceiling. This DOES take experience to do a good job. And u can't get all the way on outside corners. We would have a guy going ahead/behind brushing in all the outside corners against the ceiling. Again, standard rate was 100 gallons or about 20-30,000 sqft depending how thirsty the wall was.
If you're onsite and you have a brain, you can look ahead a day or two and know pretty easily where your gonna be and what obstacles you're going to face. The main one we ran into was getting paint to dry. Fans/dehumidifiers help. I'm talking big commercial ones. Depends on your local climate. When the crew puts on 400-600 gallons a day of PM200, that's a LOT of water in the air.
If drying was slow, we would sometimes have to go to a different job for a day to let things air out. Or else go work on something else, like brushing frames on the previous floor.
If you brush the frames before hardware is on, a decent guy should do 4 per hour. Including a light scuff sand and wipe with rag.
How u can have a guy that only sprays 10-15 gallons per day is beyond me. Unless that's somehow counting for masking off all the trim etc......
The BIGGEST factor to whether u make money or not. Is whether your touch up policy is in the contract or not. If we figured a job was 1000 hours, we would allow for 100 (10%) hours of touchup. And put it in the contract! Just bake it into the price. And also put in, that touchup beyond the 100 hours is on a T/M basis!
That will make the general feel at ease, because they know your thinking ahead and you've done this before. It would ALSO, make them pay when you go over. Which you always will. I don't think I ever had a job in which touchups didn't exceed the allowance. Whenever it was time for touchups, I'd walk the job with the sup't and discuss what "level" of perfection he's looking for. Then I would have him sign a sheet everyday acknowledging that we did "X hours of touchup". When you hit your allowance, have the GC send a change order for the rest, fill out and have supt sign the paperwork DAILY. If they give you the runaround, pack your $+!t, your job is done there.
It's amazing how much less fussy they are once you have all your angles covered. We had several jobs on which touchup was more than the original contract.
Any idea on how to get into the commercial side doing new construction and always asked what I would need to get into that other than I guess more money and a few more guys
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