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Old 01-06-2014, 09:55 PM   #1
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Hello all! I am from Pittsburgh and recently started my own painting business. I need some advice about how to price jobs in the area. I have about 5 years painting experience this was from painting rental property for my father and homes that I have lived in. I also have painted friends homes but it's not consistent experience. I have been practicing a lot and researching everything that I can. I quoted a job just today. the home owner wanted four rooms painted and after taking all the numbers down I came up with 4000 square foot of surface space walls and ceilings. Now he is under the impression that his condo is 2800 square foot and that my quote of 4000 square foot is outrageous! I explained to him that living space footage is different than surface square footage. It's this true because all my numbers are coming up right. Do painters price by living space square footage or surface space?

Anyway how would you guys price this. Trim, doors, walls, ceilings.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:59 PM   #2
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This forum is not a good asking point on pricing. Learn/know your numbers and after some jobs of getting by or losing money you will adjust and be better for it.

welcome to PT.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:02 PM   #3
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Welcome to the group, sounds like you have a lot to learn. Btw I count hours not square feet.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:09 PM   #4
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I appreciate the advice. I don't mean to offend anyone by asking how to price work. I have just been getting advice from others about pricing by square foot and figured that's the way to go. I mean all the research seems to support going by square footage.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:12 PM   #5
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Welcome from Cincinnati, Ohio. I bid my residential repaint jobs based on time.

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Old 01-06-2014, 10:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rbriggs82 View Post
Welcome to the group, sounds like you have a lot to learn. Btw I count hours not square feet.
Same here. Figure out a daily rate that your comfortable with that makes you a PROFIT and figure how many days to finish the job. Add in you materials and overhead cost add on some extra for profit and you got your price. Price per. Sq Ft works better for commercial. Residential repaints have a lot of variables ie. Repairing walls, moving furniture, working around homeowners schedules, multiple colors, daily clean-up, etc all of which have nothing to do with pricing per sq ft.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:17 PM   #7
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I would like to make 25 an hour is that reasonable for the area of Pittsburgh?
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:24 PM   #8
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If you want to make 25 an hour then you need to charge upwards of 40+ an hour. You have insurance, license, gas, office supplies, vehicles, equipment, and a bunch of other crap to pay for to be in business. If your going to be in business then you need to be legit and charge accordingly. Lowballing jobs to make cash flow hurts the trade as a whole.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:24 PM   #9
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Okay. So in all of your wisdom what is the best thing I can do to start this business since I guys I have limited experience? I have one job coming up painting a home for someone I met on thumbtack.com. I was going to offer referral vouchers to try and get clients built up. I have developed a logo and website to try to the business. Should I try and work for someone else and keep my business on the side?
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:36 PM   #10
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I personally don't care for employees working on the side. I have never paid a referral fee to any customer. Do quality work, be honest, work hard and the customer will refer you without a kickback. I lived in Pittsburgh for a while. You have more work available to you then you realize but you will have to get out there and get established. Go shake hands and pass out business cards to everyone in your demographic. I am a strong believer that the business card is one of the best marketing tool there is.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:39 PM   #11
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Welcome!

Dan
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNW-Painting View Post
Okay. So in all of your wisdom what is the best thing I can do to start this business since I guys I have limited experience? I have one job coming up painting a home for someone I met on thumbtack.com. I was going to offer referral vouchers to try and get clients built up. I have developed a logo and website to try to the business. Should I try and work for someone else and keep my business on the side?

I would just do what most of us have done. Just start painting without a licenses, insurance, and all that overhead crap. We worked out of our little cars. We low balled the chit out of jobs and really tried to impress the customers of those jobs by doing our best work. We took a beating and made a few bucks. Just enough to keep going. It was a complete honor when Mrs Mcgillicuddy made us our first tuna fish sandwich for lunch. Even though she put celery and those gross little red square things in it. It was still awesome and we painted extra rooms for her at no additional cost.

I think you should just go with your gut and give it a shot, charge what you think is fair and learn from it.

Pat
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:43 PM   #13
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Well I printed some pretty awesome looking business cards placed them in some public places like Pantera bread and sheetz. I am signing up for homeadvisor I thought it sounded good. I don't want to under bid other painters in the market I just want to be able to pay the bills. I worked for a company for ten years as a supervisor in manufacturing medical supplies they got rid of me when new management moved in now unemployment ran out and things have been hard. I just know I have enjoyed painting and don't feel like working for for big business again.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:45 PM   #14
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Pats advice is more true than most would admit. Only thing I would add is have a goal in mind. Such as, being legit within a certain period of time and charging accordingly. Underbidding really hurts the trade and those of us who run our companies as businesses. You will understand when you to get to that point.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:46 PM   #15
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Okay so besides talking about paint stuff. anyone ever try cowbell from Voodoo brewery? Awesome!!!
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:47 PM   #16
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Thanks patspainting. Being in California you are probably familiar with Anderson Valley winter solstice.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:48 PM   #17
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Thanks Lambrecht I want to do it legally I am insured and am getting licensed I don't want to mess things up I want to do or right.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:50 PM   #18
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You can make a good living as a painter. It will take a little time and a lot of patients . Setting goals will keep you moving forward.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:15 PM   #19
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Welcome JNW,

Good luck in your venture.

After reading the advice these kind folks just gave you, I think you will find this forum the best tool in your tool box. They are spot on.

Take care, John.
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNW-Painting View Post
Well I printed some pretty awesome looking business cards placed them in some public places like Pantera bread and sheetz. I am signing up for homeadvisor I thought it sounded good. I don't want to under bid other painters in the market I just want to be able to pay the bills. I worked for a company for ten years as a supervisor in manufacturing medical supplies they got rid of me when new management moved in now unemployment ran out and things have been hard. I just know I have enjoyed painting and don't feel like working for for big business again.

how could you possible afford that drastic mistake?
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