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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening everyone I'm new to this community and have a lot of experience painting for other people and have recently decided to go out on my own with one partner. We both have many years of experience being Foreman's and Lead painters but the one thing that we get confused on is how much markup do we charge out to the homeowner on top of what we pay our hourly wage to that employee? I'm still a couple months away from getting my license fingers crossed, but I am trying to start learning the ins-and-outs on the business side as soon as possible. Our goal is to pay at the competitive rate or above to try to create a good work relationship with our employees and possibly eventually offer bonuses and profit sharing.

Thanks for the time everyone and I appreciate any input I get good or bad.
 

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I would bet most of your jobs won't be time and materials where you will be charging an hourly mark-up to your customers..or are you just trying to figure that out as it relates to the labor portion of your estimating formula(s)?

I had almost a decade experience when I went on my own and I'm glad I didn't have employees for the first couple years or I would have gone broke! I sucked at estimating. I think having a partner in it will be a big help though. Nice to have two brains working on problems sometimes.
 

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Like above said, you won't be charging the homeowner an hourly rate, unless its a small day-day and half job. Those are usually for an established client where they trust you. You will be giving a full job proposal that will include all your labor, materials, overhead, and profit. I would recommend you look into proposal, contract, change order, and other forms you might need.
A proposal is basically the job scope written down, what materials you will use, methods that may be unique, equipment needed, then a total price. I can't stress this enough, do not break down your costs for a customer. Waste of time on your part and not a customer you want as a client.
For the labor portion, you will have these costs (wage+workers comp%+payroll tax%+profit%) Yours may vary, but my costs are about 50% of wage. So a guy making $30/hr, I need to charge $45 to cover his costs. When you are looking at a job to bid, there are many methods. I use square foot cost method, where as I measure the perimeter of a house x height. My charges range from $1.25-3.00/sq ft. depending on the spec and scope. Then I add items, like doors, windows, metals, shutters, anything outside of prep, mask, prime, spray main house. I like this method as I am accounting for any item that will be painted. I may overcharge or undercharge an item, but it is being paid for. Adjust as needed as you get more experience. As you get a few jobs, track man hours and materials to get an idea how those main costs act as a percent of your total job. If those two costs are 75% or higher than the job total, you need to bid higher, work faster, just don't use cheaper materials!! You will have a tough time paying yourself and partner, paying your overhead costs if you are just covering job costs. GL to you.
 

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I'm not saying it's the best way to do things, but it seems to work out for me.
If your able to charge out that much, you should be paying your top guys way more. Imo. Where I live, I certainly couldn't get 3 to 4 times what I pay my guys. For painting anyways. That's crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If your able to charge out that much, you should be paying your top guys way more. Imo. Where I live, I certainly couldn't get 3 to 4 times what I pay my guys. For painting anyways. That's crazy.
Yeah I agree. I'm trying to create loyalty by paying well and not just exploiting their labor. Plus my partner and I plan on being on site working for at least the next 2-3 yrs.
 

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Yeah I agree. I'm trying to create loyalty by paying well and not just exploiting their labor. Plus my partner and I plan on being on site working for at least the next 2-3 yrs.
That's an admirable position to take, but I'm not operating the United Way. I'm in business to provide for my family. If an employee feels exploited, they are more than welcome to move along to a job that better suits their fancy.

I also do remodel work, more than just paint work. That has been a transition since I joined this forum in 2016.
 

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That's an admirable position to take, but I'm not operating the United Way. I'm in business to provide for my family. If an employee feels exploited, they are more than welcome to move along to a job that better suits their fancy.

I also do remodel work, more than just paint work. That has been a transition since I joined this forum in 2016.

Good attitude.
 

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Yeah I agree. I'm trying to create loyalty by paying well and not just exploiting their labor. Plus my partner and I plan on being on site working for at least the next 2-3 yrs.
its tough making a decent profit with a partner if both of you are working onsite as labourers unless you have a few staff on board. I’m sure you’ll figure it all out, but perhaps ask yourself if you’re opening a business with intentions of growth or are you guys creating a full time job for yourselves because you don’t need to take orders from anyone anymore?
 
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