Professional Painting Contractors Forum banner
21 - 31 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Residential Painter
Joined
·
30 Posts
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.
I'm not historical, but generally paint custom homes. By "custom", I mean mass produced, over priced homes built on former farmland.

I spend at least 20 minutes at each home just wandering around, looking for problems. It also helps me point out other things that may need to be addressed, so the price doesn't shock them.

I work out my general number with an equation, then figure out extra hours needed for spackle and fixing the inevitable, horrendous caulking, deplorable mitre cuts and gouges on new trim. I also add in a bit more when the final product they want requires a certain amount of skills that may not be universal.

I have to say, doing historic houses puts you leagues beyond me. The HOs for old homes I have done tend to be of the "make it look pretty" ilk.

I've had to turn down jobs on major restorations. Brushing all of the walls is NOT me! Staining terrifies me, unless it is a deck! Add in lath and I cry!

Sincere props. Despite my fears, that is where I want to eventually be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
What I do is measure the square footage first. Then, I multiple the square footage by a any range (I use $.75 to $1.50 per square foot), according to how difficult a particular area is. So for two coats on a 500 square foot side of a house.. If it’s on flat ground, minimal prep work, I know it won’t take me very long. I’ll multiply 500 square feet X 2 coats= 1,000 square feet. 1,000 X $.75= $750. If it is a roof on roof area, lots of prep, uneven ground, etc.. I would multiply that 1,000 X $1.50= $1,500. Obviously you can adjust these number variables as you see fit. Finally, I’ll divide that 1,000 square feet by 350, in order to see how many gallons it will take. 1,000/350= 2.85. Round it up (3 gallons), and multiply that by the amount I pay per gallon. For trim, I’ll make a rough estimate on long it will take me to finish it, prep to final coat. For example, for two coats on 3window frames, each 20 minutes per coat @ $32/hour= $32x2= $64. If you’d like, I can take some photos of a coupe of my past estimates in order to show you exactly how it all comes together. I’ve always found that people don’t like variables. They like to know what the job will cost beforehand. If you charge by the day/hour, that number is unpredictable. Also, it leaves room for skepticism (Is this guy milking the clock? I wonder how far along he is now… etc). I’ve always put a lot of thought and detail into all of my quotes on large jobs. Early in my career, before I gathered a reputation, that’s how I won bids over other companies that were bigger, or other quotes that were cheaper. Yes, there were some jobs where something unpredictable arose, and I didn’t make as much as I’d anticipated. That’s why I created a notebook entitled ‘Lessons Learned in the Painting Business’. I record my errors, and the lessons I learned from them. And I don’t make that same mistake twice. Hope this helps. Eric
 

·
Registered
Painter & Furniture Refinishing
Joined
·
2,615 Posts
If you charge by the day/hour, that number is unpredictable. Also, it leaves room for skepticism (Is this guy milking the clock? I wonder how far along he is now… etc).
I don't tell the client I'm charging by the day. I figure it out that way but give the HO a quote for the whole job and tell them how many days I expect to be there. It is not, in the least, unpredictable. In point of fact, we are all doing that; we know how much money we need to generate in a day and figure it out from there. I just don't do the sq.ft. thing because the way I work, it wouldn't work for me. Only my most complicated jobs are T&M and by the time they get me, they are happy with anything I propose because they are jobs most companies won't even consider doing. If there is a lot of stripping, for example, I almost never know how much work that is going to be, especially on century homes with a hundred years of different paints.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,484 Posts
We're in the computer age, people.... you dont need to do the math with spreadsheets anymore... Programs will do it for you.... If you charge T+M, great, but if you arent using available technology for your estimates, you're not very smart... you can do stuff like punch in difficulty factors for each area. These programs take heights, difficulties, unskilled labor etc, and its all built in. you just need to tell it. I'll shut up after this, but FFS, some o fyou are making it WAY too hard on yourselves, and its costing you money.
 

·
Freelance Estimator
Joined
·
19 Posts
Ok thanks

Thanks for the advice, what's the formula for figuring out production rates?
-Take an Average of the Crews Hourly Wage,
Plus
-Average of Crews Known or Offered Hourly Benefits, i.e. Healthcare/Pension.
Plus
-Other Labor Burden. This is the one that usually throws people for a loop. (Payroll tax/Vacation/Training/Uniforms/Vehicle/and other guaranteed labor expenses not listed above)
Plus
-Anticipated Overhead. Another tough one. Projected cost for all non-productive expenses of the company not included in above. i.e. Rent/Utilities/Non Painting labor wages(Estimator/Office Mgr., Your payroll)/Insurance/ and all other expenses not covered above... Add all of these to come up with an assumed yearly cost and divide into your anticipated yearly manhours. Hopefully it will fall somewhere between 6% and 10% of your business. For a good starting point use last years Overhead/Last years work hours.
Plus
- Desired Profit Percentage. Multiply the Sum of above by your desired profit

Example
Average Wage: $ 26.25
Benefits / Hr: $ 13.33
Burden Per Hr: $ 7.23
OH/HR say 10% $ 4.68
Labor Profit Percent 8%: $ 4.12
Total Bidding Labor Rate $ 55.61

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Painter & Furniture Refinishing
Joined
·
2,615 Posts
@Woodco Again, such software would not work on situations as I noted above. If I can not guesstimate the time for some really complicated jobs, I'm sure no program can. Think of that carriage house I did a while back. Stripping that sucker was FAR more time consuming than I would ever have supposed! Those million muntin bars all needed to be re-glazed, a lot of that glazing work was not apparent until the paint hah been removed. The putty was being held together with a hundred years of paint. No matter what kind of chemical strippers I applied, none were completely effective. I would also have been unable to see what repairs were needed until it was mostly stripped AND there were some really wonky patches made on those doors that needed to be rectified. Nope, no program could have accounted for all that went into that job! The same applied to a set of exterior windows I had to strip and those had some kind of paint I'd not seen before or since. At the bottom layer, it was some deep black stuff, almost looked like tar or maybe fire charred; it was neither. It was really difficult to remove and a fair amount remained when I got to priming and paint. The one thing I was sure of, if all my efforts to remove that black stuff failed to give clean wood, I was pretty sure it was a sound enough surface to hold up under the repaint.

Side note: I am really annoyed that methylene chloride formulations are no longer easy to get. My first 20 years in business, that was all I used and that ALWAYS worked. None of the new strippers are even close to being so effective. I understand it's still possible to get the stuff but it's not easy or near by.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Right, but how do factor in over head and profit? Honestly I thought what ever I made in labor was my profit.
We factor in all materials and supplies, insurance costs per day and license fees and vehicle maintenance including gas and then add 20% for profit. If you don’t add profit you will never grow your business. You should include taxes also. Try and figure a daily cost for all these added expenses. If you just do time and materials you will be living job to job.
 

·
Registered
Painter & Furniture Refinishing
Joined
·
2,615 Posts
We factor in all materials and supplies, insurance costs per day and license fees and vehicle maintenance including gas and then add 20% for profit. If you don’t add profit you will never grow your business. You should include taxes also. Try and figure a daily cost for all these added expenses. If you just do time and materials you will be living job to job.
Being a one woman show I do not pay workers comp, I'm self insured because the deductible on insurance, for me, is, far, in excess of any payout I would need to make. I do keep a savings account for just such contingencies. I do calculate the tax, travel. (& a PITA charge. :LOL:) All I really need to do is account for how much money I want to earn in a day, that amount has gone up annually and as my stable of regular clients became larger. Much depends on the nature of one's operation. I am mostly retired, trying to become fully retired, thus I no longer keep employees and what I earn is a supplement to my pension. My tax situation has been greatly simplified for which I think my accountant is happier. I can not express how grateful I am to no longer need to find competent people to hire!!! That was once the bane of my existence!
 

·
Chicago Painting Pros
Painter
Joined
·
73 Posts
Formula for production rates vary depending on location in Metro Chicago it can be $65-75 per hour with paint. I have created a complete system I use from start to finish technically I could franchise it the way I created it and set it up, but not really my jam. The process is like this call 1. go to estimate 2. give estimate professional made via speciality painting software and contract to customer (everything is done electronically) also I have a mobile printer and I give contracts and quotes on site. 3. Automatic follow up and emails until job sold. Its taken me a while to create the whole system but I have been painting on/off since I was 18. Now 30 years of insight and business experience has given me great insight in designing it. While this is only one aspect of the whole process there is still, sales, marketing and really depends on how good of salesman you are...
 
21 - 31 of 31 Posts
Top