Professional Painting Contractors Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first couple years I pretty much gave a quote and stuck to it for better, or usually-at least in the beginning-for worse. Since then I've gotten more accurate with most of my pricing, but I've also change to more of an estimating format. If a job goes quicker than I charge accordingly, for example charging $4000 for a $5000 estimate. By the same token I occasionally have to have the uncomfortable conversation of asking for more, say asking for $5k on a $4k estimate. If it's within a few hundred bucks one way or the other I usually just leave it as is. Just wondering do any of you guys do it like this? Or do you always stick to your set bid?

I know there are definitely remodeling GC's around here that do this, I've spoken to more than one homeowner about their remodel and they weren't sure what the final total was going to be.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,077 Posts
Always stuck with my bid unless something just totally unforeseen (such as hidden damage) came up and, of course, if a “change of work“ was added in. I suspect GCs get away with it because the scope of their projects are typically bigger and hence tougher to nail an exact amount down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
777 Posts
Always stick to your quote. Add extra for extras, but that's it. Here, you're limited by law, to no more than 10% more than your quote, anyways. It's also very unprofessional to ask for more money.

If a job goes faster than you expect, keep the cash. You were very likely the lowest bidder, anyways. Giving a discount because you finished sooner than you thought is terrible business sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Always stick to your quote. Add extra for extras, but that's it. Here, you're limited by law, to no more than 10% more than your quote, anyways.

If a job goes faster than you expect, keep the cash. You were very likely the lowest bidder, anyways. Giving a discount because you finished sooner than you thought is terrible business sense.
My quote is Titled: Proposal. I do this by interviewing the client. Asking what they want to achieve. Taking COPIOUS NOTES. And most important of all, LISTENING.

Then I go home and work it through my spreadsheet.

This includes things like Labor, materials, a 12% fee for paper, tape, plastic, brushes, Rollers, spray tips, and personal protective equipment.

My labor includes percentages for FICA, FUTA, unemployment, disability insurance, and property/casualty ins.

Also, my profit is invisibly built in here.

I retired 5 years ago, and I'm not doing this for my health.

Generally I come out ahead. Sometimes more than others. When, NOT SO MUCH, occurs, I go back and try to conceive why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Recently I underbid materials/product on a job. I explained this to the client, but also added: My Loss. I don't try and recover those costs. But I DO try and learn from them. I like to explain, good natured, that they got a GREAT DEAL.

That's also why if I OVERBID, and finish under budget, I keep that for my arithmetic and strategy follies.

Also, I'm trying to institute a labor saving incentives program. So if I estimate a job to run 11 days, but we finish in 9, or 10, Quality maintained, we split the savings 50:50 between the crew and the company.

The client goes in knowing and expecting to pay x $$$ for a given project. To. me, they've already agreed to that value up front.

IMHO, we're professionals who've spent years, time, money and energy learning a trade. We pay for tools, insurances, Federal and Local taxes. We feed families and support the community. We have no reason to feel guilt nor shame for being reimbursed for our efforts and the risks we take in business.

I heard a fella once say: If youre self employed, you get to work HALF DAYS. And you can choose which ever 12 hours you wish.

Peter
Dresden Group, LLC
Dresden, Maine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
777 Posts
I will admit, I do like the half days. I would hate having to stay a full 8 hours when my 4 hours are done, wasting time to get a full day of pay.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Y
Always stuck with my bid unless something just totally unforeseen (such as hidden damage) came up and, of course, if a “change of work“ was added in. I suspect GCs get away with it because the scope of their projects are typically bigger and hence tougher to nail an exact amount down.
Yep i agree on the reasoning for why GCs do that more often.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Always stick to your quote. Add extra for extras, but that's it. Here, you're limited by law, to no more than 10% more than your quote, anyways. It's also very unprofessional to ask for more money.

If a job goes faster than you expect, keep the cash. You were very likely the lowest bidder, anyways. Giving a discount because you finished sooner than you thought is terrible business sense.
Your probably right on it being terrible business sense. On the other side of the coin charging more when a job over runs does even things out. Obviously it's not ideal to do it this way though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My quote is Titled: Proposal. I do this by interviewing the client. Asking what they want to achieve. Taking COPIOUS NOTES. And most important of all, LISTENING.

Then I go home and work it through my spreadsheet.

This includes things like Labor, materials, a 12% fee for paper, tape, plastic, brushes, Rollers, spray tips, and personal protective equipment.

My labor includes percentages for FICA, FUTA, unemployment, disability insurance, and property/casualty ins.

Also, my profit is invisibly built in here.

I retired 5 years ago, and I'm not doing this for my health.

Generally I come out ahead. Sometimes more than others. When, NOT SO MUCH, occurs, I go back and try to conceive why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Recently I underbid materials/product on a job. I explained this to the client, but also added: My Loss. I don't try and recover those costs. But I DO try and learn from them. I like to explain, good natured, that they got a GREAT DEAL.

That's also why if I OVERBID, and finish under budget, I keep that for my arithmetic and strategy follies.

Also, I'm trying to institute a labor saving incentives program. So if I estimate a job to run 11 days, but we finish in 9, or 10, Quality maintained, we split the savings 50:50 between the crew and the company.

The client goes in knowing and expecting to pay x $$$ for a given project. To. me, they've already agreed to that value up front.

IMHO, we're professionals who've spent years, time, money and energy learning a trade. We pay for tools, insurances, Federal and Local taxes. We feed families and support the community. We have no reason to feel guilt nor shame for being reimbursed for our efforts and the risks we take in business.

I heard a fella once say: If youre self employed, you get to work HALF DAYS. And you can choose which ever 12 hours you wish.

Peter
Dresden Group, LLC
Dresden, Maine
Thanks for the input. I also run a spreadsheet with different formulas for particular types of jobs, interview customers and take lots of notes. Sounds like you got a pretty fine-tuned system. Sounds like mine needs a bit more finessing. I've got six years of estimating under my belt so definitely still learning lessons about particular jobs that can overrun. Appreciate the feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I will also say this isn't something I practice on every job. It's maybe three or four jobs per year out of around 20 bigger jobs per year where i end up quite a ways off one way or the other. I also do explain to potential clients when I give them an estimate that this is a ballpark figure that could fluctuate a bit one way or the other. I'm just not a big fan of giving a customer a 'great deal' or charging a lot more than necessary (so get better at estimating then...). Of course I understand that that needs to be balanced with the customer's expectations when they expect to be paying a certain price.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,077 Posts
Don't want to go into too many details (just in case) but I have worked with a guy brought in for some prep aspects of some jobs I was involved in who always presented his final bid to the HO for less than he quoted. Not once did I ever hear his bill was for what he quoted, or, heaven forbid, more.
I always thought it was somewhat ridiculous because his quoted amounts were always more than fair, he did outstanding work, and he was a heck of a nice guy to work with. I always wondered why he felt it was good business to constantly get paid less than the HO expected to pay and I also wondered if he ever made the connection between that and the fact he never drove anything other than a POS old pick-up.
We are in this profession to make a living and undervaluing your own work and skills sets just always seemed the same as shooting yourself in the foot at the end of every job. Never be embarrassed to make money.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
70 Posts
I didn't read all the posts, but my way is stick to original quote and yes one gets better at the intricacies of quoting for profit.

If there are extras and I feel like I need it on a project, I have a simple formatted page called In Process Change Order...(mostly additions but also for subtractions) where changes are documented (handwritten and dated).

Other than that, its a "sometimes you get paid like lawyer and other times not"....it all evens out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
My quote is Titled: Proposal. I do this by interviewing the client. Asking what they want to achieve. Taking COPIOUS NOTES. And most important of all, LISTENING.

Then I go home and work it through my spreadsheet.

This includes things like Labor, materials, a 12% fee for paper, tape, plastic, brushes, Rollers, spray tips, and personal protective equipment.

My labor includes percentages for FICA, FUTA, unemployment, disability insurance, and property/casualty ins.

Also, my profit is invisibly built in here.

I retired 5 years ago, and I'm not doing this for my health.

Generally I come out ahead. Sometimes more than others. When, NOT SO MUCH, occurs, I go back and try to conceive why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Recently I underbid materials/product on a job. I explained this to the client, but also added: My Loss. I don't try and recover those costs. But I DO try and learn from them. I like to explain, good natured, that they got a GREAT DEAL.

That's also why if I OVERBID, and finish under budget, I keep that for my arithmetic and strategy follies.

Also, I'm trying to institute a labor saving incentives program. So if I estimate a job to run 11 days, but we finish in 9, or 10, Quality maintained, we split the savings 50:50 between the crew and the company.

The client goes in knowing and expecting to pay x $$$ for a given project. To. me, they've already agreed to that value up front.

IMHO, we're professionals who've spent years, time, money and energy learning a trade. We pay for tools, insurances, Federal and Local taxes. We feed families and support the community. We have no reason to feel guilt nor shame for being reimbursed for our efforts and the risks we take in business.

I heard a fella once say: If youre self employed, you get to work HALF DAYS. And you can choose which ever 12 hours you wish.

Peter
Dresden Group, LLC
Dresden, Maine
Great answer and follows exactly along my lines of bidding jobs. I generally visualize the amount of hours, figure in materials, and add 15%. Draw up a proposal giving a start date if possible. And stating a 25% deposit due upon beginning of the job. I've always came out ahead. Sometimes better then others
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
My quote is Titled: Proposal. I do this by interviewing the client. Asking what they want to achieve. Taking COPIOUS NOTES. And most important of all, LISTENING.

Then I go home and work it through my spreadsheet.

This includes things like Labor, materials, a 12% fee for paper, tape, plastic, brushes, Rollers, spray tips, and personal protective equipment.

My labor includes percentages for FICA, FUTA, unemployment, disability insurance, and property/casualty ins.

Also, my profit is invisibly built in here.

I retired 5 years ago, and I'm not doing this for my health.

Generally I come out ahead. Sometimes more than others. When, NOT SO MUCH, occurs, I go back and try to conceive why.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Recently I underbid materials/product on a job. I explained this to the client, but also added: My Loss. I don't try and recover those costs. But I DO try and learn from them. I like to explain, good natured, that they got a GREAT DEAL.

That's also why if I OVERBID, and finish under budget, I keep that for my arithmetic and strategy follies.

Also, I'm trying to institute a labor saving incentives program. So if I estimate a job to run 11 days, but we finish in 9, or 10, Quality maintained, we split the savings 50:50 between the crew and the company.

The client goes in knowing and expecting to pay x $$$ for a given project. To. me, they've already agreed to that value up front.

IMHO, we're professionals who've spent years, time, money and energy learning a trade. We pay for tools, insurances, Federal and Local taxes. We feed families and support the community. We have no reason to feel guilt nor shame for being reimbursed for our efforts and the risks we take in business.

I heard a fella once say: If youre self employed, you get to work HALF DAYS. And you can choose which ever 12 hours you wish.

Peter
Dresden Group, LLC
Dresden, Maine
I appreciate your excellent insight Peter. I bid where I know I will get the job and make reasonable profit depending on how busy I am. If a job has a lot of variables like a picky client and am busy, will tell them time and materials at 65 per hour. Some people say yes and some no, they want a bid. As of late I am time and materials as I am 1 man shop and in this painting gig for long time. Licensed since 87 in California. I like the way you share with your crew. Wish we had a decent labor pool out here no one wants to work hard, or at least as hard as I do. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Thanks for the input. I also run a spreadsheet with different formulas for particular types of jobs, interview customers and take lots of notes. Sounds like you got a pretty fine-tuned system. Sounds like mine needs a bit more finessing. I've got six years of estimating under my belt so definitely still learning lessons about particular jobs that can overrun. Appreciate the feedback.
What sorts of items do you include in your spreadsheet?

I'm new at this. And I'm constantly tweeking my spreadsheets. So, I'm always wondering if I'm missing something.

Thanks for your feedback!

Peter
 

·
Super Moderator
Journeyman Painting Contractor
Joined
·
2,786 Posts
My price is always firm. It shows confidence. I also don't want to micro manage my own time. If I have 4 different jobs on the go with employees here and there and this and that. I don't want to be sitting in the office for hours figuring out how much I over charged or under charged on each job. Just try to "know your numbers" and trust that you bid enough time for the task at hand. You win some, you loose some. It all comes out in the wash.
I prefer to just Bid with an hourly rate that will cover all my disposable materials, insurance etc. Instead of trying to add it on to each job.
(example) $50/hr. Paint all walls 40hrs. labour @ $50 /hr = $2000.00 Plus paint. Never feel guilty about making money. You work hard and should be compensated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
I also run a spreadsheet. Count up number of door trims, window trims, sides of doors, closets, and a few other things. Walls are walls, ceiling ceilings. For Interior I add an additional 10% and exteriors an extra 20%. However I quote it time and labor plus an estimate on materials. I charge them what I get charged for paint. I don't include caulk or filler or spot primer. I've been right on in regards to time and labor but materials has never been 100% accurate. I never had an argument. Customers always seem happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
777 Posts
Gotta learn to do it by the square footage. It's the most accurate way, and it's the only way to bid on larger jobs. Cost of materials is also much more accurate, since you just look at the data sheet for your paint and punch that figure into the spreadsheet. It will tell you the cost of paint, plus how many gallons you'll actually need to buy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,382 Posts
Gotta learn to do it by the square footage. It's the most accurate way, and it's the only way to bid on larger jobs. Cost of materials is also much more accurate, since you just look at the data sheet for your paint and punch that figure into the spreadsheet. It will tell you the cost of paint, plus how many gallons you'll actually need to buy.
I don't know why square foot estimating freaks a lot of painters out. The argument is always, "The variables! What about the variables!?"

I don't understand why it's so difficult to come up with a base square foot (floor) pricing that includes the cost for general preparation, a coating system, labor, and overhead. Anything beyond the parameters of the base cost, like vaulted ceilings, or other special considerations (i.e. variables), could be added to the base sq. ft. cost as quickly as they are identified.

Answer: Very few know their actual numbers.
Default: Just add 15-30% onto the quote to cover what you don't have a qualified measure for.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,382 Posts
How can you look at a set of drawings and NOT price it by the area? I never feel comfortable just guessing.
I think what a lot of painting contractors do, is imagine themselves running around from room to room in the drawing trying to guess what they'll encounter. It reminds me of the movie The Shining, where Jack Nicholson is running around in the hedge maze all crazed.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top