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Hello everyone, Im going to try and build new business in apartment painting but I wanted to know where to find leads or If I should just go to the apartment manager and sale my services. Also do you know if apartment companies usually already have an account with the painting stores? Or should I provide the paint and get reimbursed?
 

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Hello everyone, Im going to try and build new business in apartment painting but I wanted to know where to find leads or If I should just go to the apartment manager and sale my services. Also do you know if apartment companies usually already have an account with the painting stores? Or should I provide the paint and get reimbursed?
I do them exclusively, but under a little different circumstances than most. I have a current thread going on that now. Here is how most apartments work, don't want to bore you, but it keys the door to getting in to doing them:

Beginning there are the owners. These investors really want nothing more than a quarterly P&L and a bank deposit. The last thing they want is to ever talk to a tenant. Then comes the property management people. The property management hires a couple (if possible). The woman normally does the office, the guy does the mowing, maintenance, and painting. Sometimes, they even have a tenant living there that has nothing else to do so they do the painting. It works however way it can.
Usually the on site people get a free apartment and $7.25 an hour for whatever jobs they do.

In my case I am the property manager over more than one complex. The property manager has contracting authority. I have a special owner who wants his property in outstanding condition, so he is willing to pay professional wages. That is how I can earn lots of money doing the painting. I contract myself to do it.

Sometimes the property management cannot get a person to do painting. To them it is not just called painting, but it is called a "turn-around". This includes full cleaning and painting and make ready to rent. Most on site people make about $200.00 on one of these jobs.

Now to you: If you can come in and meet the "property manager" by also visiting the "on site manager", you could offer painting the apartments. The price would have to be attractive enough to have the property manager shift from his "whoevers" to you. Can you do them the next day? Can you do them in one day? Can you do them well and cheap at the same time? Or would you even want to?

Also depends on the complex funding. Maybe it is a Section 515 RD, RA, or Section 8 HUD. The budgets on these rental assistance properties do not allow for any kind of professional wages repaints. you might trade cheaper work for LOTS of work. You got to be available the last week of the month and the first week of the next. A good thing to know is that under HUD and some others, the landlord can slide the move in dates forward a little to give some room, and draw credit back to the first of the month. This allows for possibly another paint before the 5th of the month. All depends on how clever the management company is. Some managements have a rather cut throat attitude, while some really try hard.
I don't want to discourage you in the least. This can be good quick money. I say it just depends on who you can get to work for in the business. I really hope this long boring story will shed light.
 

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Almost Gone
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Usually the way I got calls from apartment companies was when their go-to painter was tired of all the bs they had to put up with.

Most of the time, the manager would be bad talking the painter, etc. When I would ask details of the relationship, expectations, and such, I had to hold my breath and not say what was on my mind. Such as, "well, it's no surprise the painter doesn't want to be your slave anymore", and "I'm surprised the painter put up with this bs for as long as he did", etc.

Just a sidenote, if you do decide to try your luck and walk into the dragon's lair, I wouldn't agree to buy any paint. I would have them buy everything upfront, at least until you have established a relationship and you see how long they take to pay you, etc.
 

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I've found that it can take a while to build up an apartment clientel. They might not contact you for years after you start talking to them. Then one day all of a sudden they call and then it's yours. I have a few apartment complexes that I absolutely love. The bigger corporate complexes, not so much. I am picky about the complexes that I work for as some complexes are not good about paying bills and a few look for reasons not to pay contractors. If you can weed out the trash, apartments can be a good steady source of income. And once you develop a routine doing certain units, they're fast and easy. Read more of HSSPENCER's posts for more good info about apartment painting. I have found that most of the complexes I deal with prefer to provide paint. HUD properties are good money makers if you can stand the usual filth. It's government money so they spend it very freely. Good luck!
 

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HSpencer, you sure covered it well. It's nice to have upscale apts. to paint. That's really the only way to make $$$$. I did apts. for years. It's tough to keep your clientele because there's always someone willing to do it cheaper than you. I did have some good property owners that kept me around for many years......you build up a trust with them by doing quality work FAST!

Apartment work is nice during the slow times or when you need a break from big exteriors. You crank up the radio and go to town. To make money at it.......well it can be done.......but you better be good and you better be fast.
 

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I've found that it can take a while to build up an apartment clientel. They might not contact you for years after you start talking to them. Then one day all of a sudden they call and then it's yours. I have a few apartment complexes that I absolutely love. The bigger corporate complexes, not so much. I am picky about the complexes that I work for as some complexes are not good about paying bills and a few look for reasons not to pay contractors. If you can weed out the trash, apartments can be a good steady source of income. And once you develop a routine doing certain units, they're fast and easy. Read more of HSSPENCER's posts for more good info about apartment painting. I have found that most of the complexes I deal with prefer to provide paint. HUD properties are good money makers if you can stand the usual filth. It's government money so they spend it very freely. Good luck!
A note on providing the paint: Most larger management companies will go to someone like SW or PPG and get a "standard" paint done up in a certain color and in 5's only. They will get something like $75.00 a five.
The paint company then agrees to ship directly to the complex. You will see a large truck pull in and you got your paint you phoned in a couple days ago. Shipping is high so many are putting a minimum ship of four five gallon buckets to the single order. A complex on tight budget has a hard time justifying that much paint at a time. If you can compete with the price on the direct ship and make something on it, you might do ok.
The other day, I ordered two fives of my topcoat, and two fives of PPG StainBlock. Who knew the PPG StainBlock was $200.00 a five gallon bucket?? I got a bill then for $700.00 in paint supplies and I was only doing ONE unit. Makes the auditors clear their throats. Good thing I had a place for the material to go, and it is now all used on units. This is the kind of stuff that you might look at. I think most complexes will have a specific material they use.
 

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HSpencer, you sure covered it well. It's nice to have upscale apts. to paint. That's really the only way to make $$$$. I did apts. for years. It's tough to keep your clientele because there's always someone willing to do it cheaper than you. I did have some good property owners that kept me around for many years......you build up a trust with them by doing quality work FAST!

Apartment work is nice during the slow times or when you need a break from big exteriors. You crank up the radio and go to town. To make money at it.......well it can be done.......but you better be good and you better be fast.
Thanks for reading my post. As we all know "everybody" is a painter at least until they get tired. Most of the on site apartment managers want to up their monthly paycheck by "doing the painting". Or at least that is how it works. Sometimes the on site manager's unemployed brother in law will come in and they will fill their beer cooler and work on a unit over the weekend in between watching NFL games.---Yep, and then the paint job===oh well. Some of them are just simply too lazy to paint a wall, or anything else, money for it or not. I mean, if people knew what goes in these apartments between tenants---or maybe even in motels---it would puke a dog off a gut wagon as my grandpa used to say.
 

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A note on providing the paint: Most larger management companies will go to someone like SW or PPG and get a "standard" paint done up in a certain color and in 5's only. They will get something like $75.00 a five.
The paint company then agrees to ship directly to the complex. You will see a large truck pull in and you got your paint you phoned in a couple days ago. Shipping is high so many are putting a minimum ship of four five gallon buckets to the single order. A complex on tight budget has a hard time justifying that much paint at a time. If you can compete with the price on the direct ship and make something on it, you might do ok.
The other day, I ordered two fives of my topcoat, and two fives of PPG StainBlock. Who knew the PPG StainBlock was $200.00 a five gallon bucket?? I got a bill then for $700.00 in paint supplies and I was only doing ONE unit. Makes the auditors clear their throats. Good thing I had a place for the material to go, and it is now all used on units. This is the kind of stuff that you might look at. I think most complexes will have a specific material they use.
The only Property Management Co I ever had long-term good results with bought all the paint, and it was the same color/sheen. They had a entire room full of fivers stocked. When we got low, I'd call up the Maintenance director and he'd have a guy haul in a truck load.

Any primer needed (coverstain) I'd pick it up after he called it in and bought it.

Went through countless gallons.
 

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drewpainting
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apartments

I did apartments for a few years.

Used to go straight to the manager and offer a bid.

It's a numbers game. You might get one out of ten complexes if you have a good sales pitch.

Apartments are a tough ball game. Always have to bid tight and you have to go balls out to make any money. No room for mistakes.

I like to stick to high end painting where you can charge twice as much.
 

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Apartments are really hard to start with. Other trades will always get in your way, damage frames that you have just painted constantly. If i were you i would try start a buisness in the residential sector if anything..

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You might do apts to pay the bills, but why? Is your area saturated with residential painters?

Build your client base while doing apts to get by, but I can't imagine any city has a big game going in apt repaints.

Surely you know lots of people you can give cards and ask to mention your name and NEVER let a referral down and soon you will be hammered with high paying jobs instead of grunt labor apt jobs.

I shouldn't assume you want what I want, but that apt gig would get old to me.
 

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I do mostly apartments. I have 4 companies I work with and I have a contract to be the only painter they use with 2 of them and give them a pretty good price. It is a tough racket, I had to be exact with my price to be as low as possible but still make some money. I only profit $200 per unit after taxes and overhead but what they lack in money they make up for in giving me roughly a unit a day between them. I have done 10 in a week before but that was doing 14 hr days and really busting my a$$. Check how long they want to take to pay you, I have 2 that take 90 days so I have to carry the cost of paint for 3 months and if you hire help you will have to carry that cost as well. Like I said it's a tuff gig and it pays the bills but I don't have to constantly bid jobs or look for work, I work any hours I want to and I still make more money than I ever did working for someone else.
 

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Side note on apts

My buddy installs flooring and does tile in bathroom remods.

He has a deal with a large apt. complex to replace carpet in units. He gets $500 per unit and does them in a day with time to get materials, tear out, and lay with one helper.

He could do them everyday of the week, but he gets tired of the rigorous dragging rolls upstairs and likes tiling too.

$500 a day would be an attractive number to do apts.
 

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TDS Quality Painting
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We just started by calling and scheduling appointments with the PM's. It is a tough game though, out of the 3 management companies we work for, 2 take at least 45 days to pay. You need to have deep pockets. The work keeps our guys busy when we are dead... one property offers about 5-7 units a week but we are doing them for dirt cheap $235/ 2bdr. The others are maybe 10 units a month but for $350/ 2bdr. You will have to put up with A LOT of crap though. Its year round work but not a ton of money.
 

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We just started by calling and scheduling appointments with the PM's. It is a tough game though, out of the 3 management companies we work for, 2 take at least 45 days to pay. You need to have deep pockets. The work keeps our guys busy when we are dead... one property offers about 5-7 units a week but we are doing them for dirt cheap $235/ 2bdr. The others are maybe 10 units a month but for $350/ 2bdr. You will have to put up with A LOT of crap though. Its year round work but not a ton of money.

Let me get this straight..You do a 2 bedroom apt for only $235?...I assume that includes the cost of 2-3 gallons of a cheap hi-Hide paint?

So that 3x $20/gallon=60+ tax+ mud/masking tape...OK you spend roughly $65 per 2 bedroom apt in materials...Is that accurate?

235-65=170

So you make $170 for a 2 bedroom apt and it probably takes you 6 hours per unit assuming that it is one coat,little prep ,no ceilings and no trim...{baseboards and door frames could be included}

You earn about $28/hr gross per hour not even considering your other costs of doing business like gas,insurance,vehicle upkeep,PROFIT per job,etc...You also have to make 10 trips across a parking lot up and down an elevator just to start/finish the job...I'm guessing that you only do one apt in a day...Add in the stress of having the tenants moving in at a specific time and it makes the working conditions miserable..


Sound about right?
 

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drewpainting
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No money in apartments!

So you make $170 for a 2 bedroom apt and it probably takes you 6 hours per unit
Times haven't changed much. I was doing better than these numbers in apartments 20 years ago.

Doing apartments ranks up there with doing new homes. No money.

What's even worse is painting this close to the border. Might as well be working in China.

Go where the money is.
 
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