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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone know how to calculate pricing per square foot and linear feet? Example, if a room was 10×10 with 1 window and 1 door, everything painted. I charge by the day but I'm told it's better by the foot, especially on larger jobs.
 

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The best way to do it would be track your time and materials cost, measure the room, and then next time you'll have a good starting point. Charging by the day if you can do it is great because you know you'll make your wage.
But charging by the foot can be good if you can get it dialed in and know what factors to look out for that can increase or lower your cost ( unoccupied home, floor's being replaced, etc). Also spaces like kitchens and bathrooms generally should cost more per square foot as they usually take quite a bit longer relative to size.

Another alternative route would be charge per room, I don't personally do this but I've heard some painters have success with it.
 

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You might be interested in this book:

I bought it when I was just starting out. It helped me tremendously from the get go. Now, since I have been doing this for 10years, I have my costs down pat. It essentially shows you how to calculate by square foot cost, not floor but walls. Then you add items like base, trim, by linear foot. Sooner or later you will have pretty much all the costs in one easy sq/ft cost per wall sq/ft.
I believe what you might be asking for is cost per sq/ft of floor which is more of a range, since it doesn't factor how high the walls are or if doors are 8' vs 7'. Using a method like this would yield the same result for a room that is 8' ceiling or 10', 12'.
Whatever you use, you need to make sure you are factoring in overhead and profit, not just labor and materials. Those figures will be yours and yours alone, as my costs may be more or less than yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You might be interested in this book:

I bought it when I was just starting out. It helped me tremendously from the get go. Now, since I have been doing this for 10years, I have my costs down pat. It essentially shows you how to calculate by square foot cost, not floor but walls. Then you add items like base, trim, by linear foot. Sooner or later you will have pretty much all the costs in one easy sq/ft cost per wall sq/ft.
I believe what you might be asking for is cost per sq/ft of floor which is more of a range, since it doesn't factor how high the walls are or if doors are 8' vs 7'. Using a method like this would yield the same result for a room that is 8' ceiling or 10', 12'.
Whatever you use, you need to make sure you are factoring in overhead and profit, not just labor and materials. Those figures will be yours and yours alone, as my costs may be more or less than yours.
Right, but how do factor in over head and profit? Honestly I thought what ever I made in labor was my profit.
 

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Right, but how do factor in over head and profit? Honestly I thought what ever I made in labor was my profit.
Your system may take some time and tweaking to decide what your time is worth. E.G. If your day rate is $400. That's $50/hr. Maybe you pay yourself $25/hr. and the rest goes in your business account for disposable supplies, repairs, rents, insurance , taxes! etc. Don't forget to put some aside for taxes! If there is money left over at the end of the year, your doing something right.
 

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Anyone know how to calculate pricing per square foot and linear feet? Example, if a room was 10×10 with 1 window and 1 door, everything painted. I charge by the day but I'm told it's better by the foot, especially on larger jobs.
Sq. ft. and lin. ft. pricing is good for new construction and commercial where you can't always see the finished space. Or just a good reference on repaints to back up your pricing method. EG. If you can paint 100 lin. ft of baseboard 2 coats in an hour and your hourly rate is $100. Then that's $1.00/lin.ft. for baseboards. This is just an example.
 

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Your system may take some time and tweaking to decide what your time is worth. E.G. If your day rate is $400. That's $50/hr. Maybe you pay yourself $25/hr. and the rest goes in your business account for disposable supplies, repairs, rents, insurance , taxes! etc. Don't forget to put some aside for taxes! If there is money left over at the end of the year, your doing something right.
Conversely, you want as little money left over as possible, so as not to pay corporate tax on it. In your first few years, you can even run a deficit and be financially sound. Not a great idea to do this once you hire other people, but it can help you save a few bucks early on.
 

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Right, but how do factor in over head and profit? Honestly I thought what ever I made in labor was my profit.
EDIT for new percentages
For tax and accounting if you are a sole proprietor, yes you would pay taxes on your profits, as your labor is not a deductible expense. You will pay self-employment tax on your profits, essentially the 6.25% employee and 6.25% employer match that an employer pays on his labor. You pay double as you are not labor. But a portion of self-employment tax does go toward your social security just like an employees portion of 6.25% does.

The equation I use for bidding work is Material+Labor+OverHead%+Profit%=$ sq/ft of wall space. My number includes base painting, then I add items like doors, trim, window sills etc. When a ceiling is involved I have an amount that is added in to the total, as a ceiling is roughly 1/4 of the wall space. You measure the wall space x your $0.00 number, add everything else in, that is your bid. Then if someone asks what your sq/ft number is, take your bid and divide by the floor sq/ft for a rough price, just some extra math based on your walked figures.
On my visit sheet, I just use yellow lined paper, put all the customer info then on each line walk out each room, notate what is to be painted, then do the math when I get home. If someone wants to drop an area to lower the price, it is easy. When you just do as a total, it can't be undone.
 

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Try Pep Cloud. You punch in the measurements, and it will overshoot how much material and labor time it will take. You tell it what to factor in for profits and overhead, and you adjust paint prices. It takes time to dial it in, but it works great. Theres plenty of other programs out there that do the same thing too, but man, I will NEVER bid another paint job without it. I would factor in 45% profit margin, and 15% material markup. I never sold myself short after I started using it.

It has the national estimators database built in, and you can adjust it to your needs. Theres certain things I do a lot faster than average, so I would dial back that time per 100ft or whatever in the program itself.

And of course, you have to think for yourself as well. It would usually overshoot stuff for me so much, that I would dial it back. AND, it will print out a PDF quote you can send to the client, and make it as detailed or not, as you see fit. Basically, it looks very professional and transparent. Ive gotten jobs just because the proposal looked so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The best way to do it would be track your time and materials cost, measure the room, and then next time you'll have a good starting point. Charging by the day if you can do it is great because you know you'll make your wage.
But charging by the foot can be good if you can get it dialed in and know what factors to look out for that can increase or lower your cost ( unoccupied home, floor's being replaced, etc). Also spaces like kitchens and bathrooms generally should cost more per square foot as they usually take quite a bit longer relative to size.

Another alternative route would be charge per room, I don't personally do this but I've heard some painters have success with it.
Your system may take some time and tweaking to decide what your time is worth. E.G. If your day rate is $400. That's $50/hr. Maybe you pay yourself $25/hr. and the rest goes in your business account for disposable supplies, repairs, rents, insurance , taxes! etc. Don't forget to put some aside for taxes! If there is money left over at the end of the year, your doing something right.
For tax and accounting if you are a sole proprietor, yes you would pay taxes on your profits, as your labor is not a deductible expense. You will pay self-employment tax on your profits, essentially the 7.5% employee and 7.5% employer match that an employer pays on his labor. You pay double as you are not labor. But a portion of self-employment tax does go toward your social security just like an employees portion of 7.5% does.

The equation I use for bidding work is Material+Labor+OverHead%+Profit%=$ sq/ft of wall space. My number includes base painting, then I add items like doors, trim, window sills etc. When a ceiling is involved I have an amount that is added in to the total, as a ceiling is roughly 1/4 of the wall space. You measure the wall space x your $0.00 number, add everything else in, that is your bid. Then if someone asks what your sq/ft number is, take your bid and divide by the floor sq/ft for a rough price, just some extra math based on your walked figures.
On my visit sheet, I just use yellow lined paper, put all the customer info then on each line walk out each room, notate what is to be painted, then do the math when I get home. If someone wants to drop an area to lower the price, it is easy. When you just do as a total, it can't be undone.
Thanks for sharing the equation! I think that's what I needed to see.
 

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I have always charged on a per-day basis. I look a job over, have a good idea how much time and how many days it will require and add an extra day to cover unforeseen problems. HO is delighted when I finish a day early.
 

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What do you do if you are done 11am and can't do more until the next day?
I count a day as 10 hours. So If I needed to leave for the day and come back, I'd simply account for the extra travel and put all that time on my next day. Generally speaking, I always have other areas to work if I'm waiting on something else setting up / curing or what ever. I don't think that has happened to me more than a couple of times and I honestly don't remember those events.
 

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I'd have a real problem with sq.ft. pricing because so much of what I do is historical homes and each one is different. When I see the job I can also see what complexities might be involved. A price per sq.ft. on one house will be different for the next & new builds would be cheapest of all because they tend to be simple and straight forward. Nope, couldn't do it that way. I look, assess and figure out my time on site.
 

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I would encourage contractors to use two systems of estimating projects. A more in depth system that can be double checked with a more broad based estimating system. I much prefer looking at project timelines and estimating accordingly, however, I like to double check my numbers with a per/sq/ft method.
 

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Thats a very good thing to do. I run run estimates through pep-cloud, then sometimes I think... Thats way too high, and I'll cut back some. But, Ive never come short using it.... you'll thank yourself when you start seeing a lot more money rolling in by bidding better.
 

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So no one use Production Rate Estimating? I'm starting to use it but I need to tweak it a bit. This is ultimately your biggest problem for most painters its easy to figure just 1 person. Its not easy figuring out more. If you have a crew of 3-4 guys you have to use production rate estimating and then come up with a number of total hours for labor, also figure out material costs. Most professional companies use one price for labor and material combined, unless clients request special products. Not to mention you thus need to justify your quote in detail if your charging people 10K for a job you think they might want a break down? Also, its impossible to look at any commercial job that is large without spec-ing out the surfaces and substrates and just guess..... I feel it provides a level professionalism and trust from you and to the customer. If you plan on staying a one man shop just charge by the day and separately for materials throw on your Schneider Overalls and start painting and don't over think it.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok thanks
So no one use Production Rate Estimating? I'm starting to use it but I need to tweak it a bit. This is ultimately your biggest problem for most painters its easy to figure just 1 person. Its not easy figuring out more. If you have a crew of 3-4 guys you have to use production rate estimating and then come up with a number of total hours for labor, also figure out material costs. Most professional companies use one price for labor and material combined, unless clients request special products. Not to mention you thus need to justify your quote in detail if your charging people 10K for a job you think they might want a break down? Also, its impossible to look at any commercial job that is large without spec-ing out the surfaces and substrates and just guess..... I feel it provides a level professionalism and trust from you and to the customer. If you plan on staying a one man shop just charge by the day and separately for materials throw on your Schneider Overalls and start painting and don't over think it.....
Thanks for the advice, what's the formula for figuring out production rates?
 
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