Vermont said: "We had one thread that discussed finding the sweet spot for pricing based on the supply and demand of your time."
With due respect to what Vermont is discussing:
I am not a great painter. It is as simple as that. I do adequate work. I have found my many years painting part-time were not enough to even have a skill set of a good apprentice. I do not say this with any humility. I state this as a matter of fact.
Now--with that said. I made more than 40 K in 2007 working 9 months steady excluding weekends and holidays and few personal days. 4 months of that were working full time by myself.
I got so tired and cranky, I began looking for a partner and found a very good one. My partner is the techician, craftsman, and makes me look like a superstar. He comes from a top end orientation and is used to working in large Mansion, Estate type homes.
But, from the business perspective--I have gathered all the work. The calls have all come to me. My partner seems satisfied with his 1/2 cut of each job. He knows he could go out on his own and make more without me. Yet, so far he has stuck it out with me. Guess I can sand and vacuum OK.
My point is: Sales is the key to making money. I have a couple of threads based on this idea which is really just a take off on Brian and Ken's very professional posts about business matters.
Being a skilled painter is not the same as being a saavy and skilled business person. If you line your ducks up, and granted, there are a lot of ducks to put in a row, and you generate work for 52 weeks a year, you are going to make more than 40K a year--even working by yourself with moderate skills.
Sincerity, honesty, and service my friend. I think now, if my partner leaves, I will go back to painting low end stuff--apartments, rental places, work that doesn't require the real mastery of skills so many claim to have on this forum.
I'll take $750 (material NOT included btw) for a two bedroom, 1 bath apartment--bust it out it two days and go on. Although I don't know if there is a real market for this type work exclusively, there is enough lower end stuff to keep my needs met, I think.
To sum up--want to make more money??--get more leads-close more leads-cherry pick what you want for the good money and quality you want to do. Look for others who, in the future, might be able help you out.
Just a few ducks to ponder upon.