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PinheadsUnite
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
we all understand the pitfalls of attempting to answer specific cost questions, but we all also understand we were all there once and prolly would like to throw these noobs a bone to gnaw on.

When I was starting out, we did'nt have this interweb thing so I took my sorry ass to a local library and sat myself down in front of the RSMeans Estimating Guide. It gave specific unit pricing for all sorts of tasks with price adjustments for my area NO, it wasn't a perfect solution, but at least a start.

my suggestion: In the script advising the noob that we do not answer specific pricing or going rate questions, how about adding a pointer to the RSMeans Contractors' Pricing Guide Residential Repair & Remodeling ? Only $29.22 at Amazon

Just an idea to help the noobs along their journey.

AND, there could be a sticky thread listing similar resource literature somewhere.

"give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him how to fish and he eats for a life"
 

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There's also EPS (engineered Performance Standards) that can be referenced for labor time. The Military provides one, albeit a little outdated.

https://www.wbdg.org/ccb/ARMYCOE/COETB/p710.pdf#page16.

The data for these standards are gathered objectively in the field and averaged over a period of time in order to establish an accurate labor baseline per unit.

Mods, please remove the link if there are issues posting this information.
 

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PinheadsUnite
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Discussion Starter #3
There's also EPS (engineered Performance Standards) that can be referenced for labor time. The Military provides one, albeit a little outdated.

https://www.wbdg.org/ccb/ARMYCOE/COETB/p710.pdf#page16.

The data for these standards are gathered objectively in the field and averaged over a period of time in order to establish an accurate labor baseline per unit.

Mods, please remove the link if there are issues posting this information.
John,

I think it would be great if we could point to that for those who ask pricing questions. It would:

A) Not initiate bickering amongst the membership here
B) Not appear to attempt any kind of price fixing
C) Make the noobs understand just how complicated accurate pricing is

PT, IMO, is a resource for this industry, and that would fall within that mission statement.
 

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PT, IMO, is a resource for this industry, and that would fall within that mission statement.
Couldn't agree more. The other day someone on here was saying there's an abundant number of hacks on PT as is evident from the number of discussions about mundane/basic questions.

I immediately thought to myself that this isn't evidence of there being hacks on here, but moreso varying levels of experience, business size, regional differences, etc. Some guy just starting out as a painter who asks a question of whatever type isn't necessarily a hack, but maybe a great painter in the making.

Now when we get into discussions about knob no knob, sideways outlets, etc., I have to believe that's just kidding around. Although some in those threads were feeling a little threatened as I remember.
 

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And the biggest problem u guys got, IMO anyhow. Is you got guys who don't know what work is worth. Bidding against you to make a days, a employee's days pay. U are ur own worst enemies with the secrecy. Granted, the PT isn't going to fix it. Start someplace.
 

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Frankly, painting is so subjective in it's application and in its final presentation, that actually establishing a measure of output based on a common standard practice, particularly in private industry, is almost impossible.

Even if you can establish a unit cost, there will always be a wide range of costs for those who take extra measures for protecting, prepping, and access, and those who don't. So at the end of the day, painting contractors establish costs subjectively as required by their helper wages and their own life style needs.

It's a real casual business model that appeals to a lot of entrepreneurs...IMO
 

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I over the years have gotten to know some supers. And road bosses. Project managers. This is commercial of course. But jobs go out for bid. A $50k job just say, off of prints. There will be five bids submitted. One will be crazy high-$75k say. One will be crazy low-$35k say. The other three will be within a couple hundred dollars of eachother. Literally. A couple of hundred dollars.
Square footage, linear footage and units a estimators counts them and adds em up. There is a going rate for all of them.
 

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I over the years have gotten to know some supers. And road bosses. Project managers. This is commercial of course. But jobs go out for bid. A $50k job just say, off of prints. There will be five bids submitted. One will be crazy high-$75k say. One will be crazy low-$35k say. The other three will be within a couple hundred dollars of eachother. Literally. A couple of hundred dollars.
Square footage, linear footage and units a estimators counts them and adds em up. There is a going rate for all of them.

Who ends up with the job, the lowest bidder?
 

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Frankly, painting is so subjective in it's application and in its final presentation, that actually establishing a measure of output based on a common standard practice, particularly in private industry, is almost impossible.

Even if you can establish a unit cost, there will always be a wide range of costs for those who take extra measures for protecting, prepping, and access, and those who don't. So at the end of the day, painting contractors establish costs subjectively as required by their helper wages and their own life style needs.

It's a real casual business model that appeals to a lot of entrepreneurs...IMO
Yep. When over the years someone has asked me if I can match another guy's bid I have only shook my head and said, "No". I know what I will do on a job and what I need to earn to make a job worth my while, but I have absolutely no clue about what the other guy will (or won't do) or what he wants/needs to make. It's one of the few things a clueless HO can ask me that will really get my blood to boiling - but I try not to show it.
 

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Really I don't understand the issue for talking about pricing. Obviously you want materials, equipment, labor, and overhead covered. The rest is different for everyone. The tricks on being competitive are numerous things. When you can take acut labor when rep saves money on pricing, maybe you have equipment to save time. Its nice to see guys help younger guys like us coming up because there isn't alot of resources with real world experience. We all take our beatings but it's the ones that learn from them and get back up that succeed.
 

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Yep. When over the years someone has asked me if I can match another guy's bid I have only shook my head and said, "No". I know what I will do on a job and what I need to earn to make a job worth my while, but I have absolutely no clue about what the other guy will (or won't do) or what he wants/needs to make. It's one of the few things a clueless HO can ask me that will really get my blood to boiling - but I try not to show it.
And as long as a homeowner is used to a sub prime cost, how can you possibly estimate anything near the last contractor?

The more I engage in this subject, the more I realize painting is absolutely all about presentation. Particularly, when you're trying to establish a premium for your service.

So what is that besides the fresh breath, full set of teeth, polo shirt with khakis, ( LOL!), fresh looking truck or van, comprehensible English, studio family photo , license, insurance, compassionate eyes, clipboard, basset hound, and a silver cross for combat bravery?
 

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Yep. When over the years someone has asked me if I can match another guy's bid I have only shook my head and said, "No". I know what I will do on a job and what I need to earn to make a job worth my while, but I have absolutely no clue about what the other guy will (or won't do) or what he wants/needs to make. It's one of the few things a clueless HO can ask me that will really get my blood to boiling - but I try not to show it.
I matched someone's price once...in 1983. Learned that lesson.
 

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Who ends up with the job, the lowest bidder?
Yup, then they hold them to the contract. 1st thing I think of if and when I get rewarded the job, "what did I miss" then I review it and see if I am good. Most the low and high bids are contractors that just throw a number out and review it again if they are winning bidder. It can also be a group of bidders that work together, one gives a low, a high and 2 mediums, who ever gets it they all get cause they are conspiring.
 

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Yup, then they hold them to the contract. 1st thing I think of if and when I get rewarded the job, "what did I miss" then I review it and see if I am good. Most the low and high bids are contractors that just throw a number out and review it again if they are winning bidder. It can also be a group of bidders that work together, one gives a low, a high and 2 mediums, who ever gets it they all get cause they are conspiring.
I've lost count of the number of times after doing a comprehensive bid that I've heard something like, " Gee, the other guy was only here 10 minutes doing his bid."
 
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PinheadsUnite
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Discussion Starter #15
I've lost count of the number of times after doing a comprehensive bid that I've heard something like, " Gee, the other guy was only here 10 minutes doing his bid."

I always got the feeling that the people I want to work for appreciate how thorough I was with all my measurements and inspection of the conditions.

Plus my witty banter was a real deal sealer :whistling2: :rolleyes:

Seriously, how much confidence does a "drive by" estimate instill ?
 

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I've lost count of the number of times after doing a comprehensive bid that I've heard something like, " Gee, the other guy was only here 10 minutes doing his bid."
One of my favorites is when the other guy's bid is hand written, in pencil, on a sheet of paper from a spiral notebook. It's typically something along the lines of, "Scrape and paint house exterior, $500."
 

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One of my favorites is when the other guy's bid is hand written, in pencil, on a sheet of paper from a spiral notebook. It's typically something along the lines of, "Scrape and paint house exterior, $500."
That guy thinks "Ha, I didn't use ink, so they won't have any legal recourse when I ef-up." (And he WILL ef-up.)

Surprised he wanted any paper trail whatsoever...
 

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PinheadsUnite
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Discussion Starter #18
That guy thinks "Ha, I didn't use ink, so they won't have any legal recourse when I ef-up." (And he WILL ef-up.)

Surprised he wanted any paper trail whatsoever...
How the hell can one f-up "Scrape and paint house exterior". That leaves SOOOO much to interpretation of meaning. :whistling2: ;)
 

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The more I engage in this subject, the more I realize painting is absolutely all about presentation. Particularly, when you're trying to establish a premium for your service.

So what is that besides the fresh breath, full set of teeth, polo shirt with khakis, ( LOL!), fresh looking truck or van, comprehensible English, studio family photo , license, insurance, compassionate eyes, clipboard, basset hound, and a silver cross for combat bravery?
In the summer I go with a pastel polo and slim fit chinos in "bone" or "stone".

Winter, more earthy toned long-sleeve polo and relaxed fit dark tan twill pants.

YMMV
 

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In the summer I go with a pastel polo and slim fit chinos in "bone" or "stone".

Winter, more earthy toned long-sleeve polo and relaxed fit dark tan twill pants.

YMMV
What the hell are "slim fits"? And why do they sound like something that, if I wore them, would send prospective customers running off screaming like scalded cats? :shutup:
 
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