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So I am new here obviously lol. I am restarting my father's painting business in same name, been down for 3 years since his death. I wasn't working with him when that happened. But I'm sick of my 9-5 job and would rather work for myself and now understand why he did it for 40 years. I recently obtained an EIN, general liability, and registered in the state of Pennsylvania as a contractor. Business cards ordered. Sherwin-Williams account secured. Lol. Only things left to do is get a business checking account which I will open with my first job completion. And of course I need to line up some jobs, get the name back out there. Now I have had worked with him for 15 or so years and I plan on doing interior only, residential and small commercial, wall paper removal, and minor wall repair. My only real dilemma and what I need advice or opinions about is how should I do estimates for best solo success? My father died before he ever explained how he did his estimating, he kept it secret. So, anyone's input or advice on what I should do or how is welcome. I'm just nervous to make the jump completely in this economy, like how are all you other guys fairing out in the market? Should I even pursue the idea of happiness? Lol. I mean I haven't quit my job yet, was gonna try to line up a few jobs if I even get any a month ahead at least before I quit. I dunno lemme know what yinz think. I will be here.
 

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Sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. It's too bad you don't do exterior work too, as that seems like a good way to start getting your name out there. In my experience interior work wasn't quite as plentiful as exterior work, at least in the beginning.

As far as estimating goes the two methods I've used are square footage and just an itemized room-by-room counting of things. You can find square footage of most homes on Zillow or Redfin, as well as your local County tax assessor website. If you do end up doing any exteriors though, use the tax assessor website because sometimes Zillow etc. don't include the garage square footage.

As far as what those rates are, you probably won't have a good idea until you've had a few jobs under your belt. However, I'd highly recommend watching and taking notes of this video by Nick Slavik about not underpricing your work. Like you I had to figure things out from scratch, and if I'd had this video seven years ago it would've saved me a few headaches. Some of his rates are higher than mine, but it helped me realize that I still needed to charge more than I was.

 

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Also sorry to hear about your dad.

Did you visit this to start? For new members and visitors: So you think you want to...

The market for the various trades has been great (save the supply issues). But they all still have their ups and downs, and no one can type up holistic advice in an internet thread. Or tell you what you want to be when you grow up (meaning help with the question of the pusuit of happiness). Decide to make the jump. Or not. If you jump be prepare for the thrill of victory. And the agony of defeat. But along the way, people here will help when you have more concrete questions.
 

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Sorry to hear about your Dad's passing. It's too bad you don't do exterior work too, as that seems like a good way to start getting your name out there. In my experience interior work wasn't quite as plentiful as exterior work, at least in the beginning.

As far as estimating goes the two methods I've used are square footage and just an itemized room-by-room counting of things. You can find square footage of most homes on Zillow or Redfin, as well as your local County tax assessor website. If you do end up doing any exteriors though, use the tax assessor website because sometimes Zillow etc. don't include the garage square footage.

As far as what those rates are, you probably won't have a good idea until you've had a few jobs under your belt. However, I'd highly recommend watching and taking notes of this video by Nick Slavik about not underpricing your work. Like you I had to figure things out from scratch, and if I'd had this video seven years ago it would've saved me a few headaches. Some of his rates are higher than mine, but it helped me realize that I still needed to charge more than I was.

Your prices are silly. OP needs real advice, not hipster $9 avocado toast pricing.
 

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So I am new here obviously lol. I am restarting my father's painting business in same name, been down for 3 years since his death. I wasn't working with him when that happened. But I'm sick of my 9-5 job and would rather work for myself and now understand why he did it for 40 years. I recently obtained an EIN, general liability, and registered in the state of Pennsylvania as a contractor. Business cards ordered. Sherwin-Williams account secured. Lol. Only things left to do is get a business checking account which I will open with my first job completion. And of course I need to line up some jobs, get the name back out there. Now I have had worked with him for 15 or so years and I plan on doing interior only, residential and small commercial, wall paper removal, and minor wall repair. My only real dilemma and what I need advice or opinions about is how should I do estimates for best solo success? My father died before he ever explained how he did his estimating, he kept it secret. So, anyone's input or advice on what I should do or how is welcome. I'm just nervous to make the jump completely in this economy, like how are all you other guys fairing out in the market? Should I even pursue the idea of happiness? Lol. I mean I haven't quit my job yet, was gonna try to line up a few jobs if I even get any a month ahead at least before I quit. I dunno lemme know what yinz think. I will be here.
Sorry about your Dad. Definitely don't hesitate. You sound like you have the skills and most importantly the attitude and enthusiasm to be successful. If your dad was successful then you can be too. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
The best advice I can give you is don't listen to other people when it comes to pricing. Systemize your own labor so you know how long it takes YOU to do the things you charge your customers for. Use a stopwatch to time yourself doing different tasks like taping off a window, painting a door, cutting x feet of wall/ceiling trim, 100' of fascia board', etc. Write down these figures and keep them in your files, adjust them as you get better and faster. Use them to price your future jobs. Once you know the time it takes YOU to do each task you'll be able to more accurately price your work and this will keep you from underpricing your work (a major reason many painters go bankrupt). As far as estimates/sales go, write out a script that you like and are comfortable with and use it for greeting customers, selling yourself, answering different questions they may throw at you, etc. Having a system for everything will make it 2nd nature and save a lot of time and frustration. It will also reduce nervousness when when starting out talking to clients. If you want good sound advice on all things painting follow The Idaho Painter (aka PaintLifeTV). He has the #1 Painting YouTuber channel and for good reason. His videos are no nonsense and he doesn't give out $ values for what others should charge because he knows other painters may be in different regions, work for customers of different incomes, etc, etc. Anyone giving you advice about pricing without actually seeing the work that needs to be done--take it with a barrel of salt (I ignore it altogether). This industry is fairly simple. Just show up on time, do good work and you will go far. Most importantly, don't stop believing in yourself.
 

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You're silly...For one those aren't my prices or my video. For two I was just passing on some helpful information for somebody who was looking for it. If you've got anything productive to add I'm sure the OP would love to hear it.
That video is a joke and in no way helpful, especially to guys starting out. It's just some guy throwing out laughable prices. I've been painting for 25 yrs and I can tell you this is not normal pricing, not even remotely. He is just trying to cash in on this real estate frenzy/everything bubble where people are falling over themselves speculating in real estate, maybe they are paying him these prices where he is but it is definitely not the norm. He must be in an area with a very hot market and high-net worth clients (even though he shyed away from admitting it). He charges $2k to paint ONE 11x8 room! (14:25 in the video). If I did that in my area I would be out of business in no time.
 

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Sorry about your Dad. Definitely don't hesitate. You sound like you have the skills and most importantly the attitude and enthusiasm to be successful. If your dad was successful then you can be too. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
The best advice I can give you is don't listen to other people when it comes to pricing. Systemize your own labor so you know how long it takes YOU to do the things you charge your customers for. Use a stopwatch to time yourself doing different tasks like taping off a window, painting a door, cutting x feet of wall/ceiling trim, 100' of fascia board', etc. Write down these figures and keep them in your files, adjust them as you get better and faster. Use them to price your future jobs. Once you know the time it takes YOU to do each task you'll be able to more accurately price your work and this will keep you from underpricing your work (a major reason many painters go bankrupt). As far as estimates/sales go, write out a script that you like and are comfortable with and use it for greeting customers, selling yourself, answering different questions they may throw at you, etc. Having a system for everything will make it 2nd nature and save a lot of time and frustration. It will also reduce nervousness when when starting out talking to clients. If you want good sound advice on all things painting follow The Idaho Painter (aka PaintLifeTV). He has the #1 Painting YouTuber channel and for good reason. His videos are no nonsense and he doesn't give out $ values for what others should charge because he knows other painters may be in different regions, work for customers of different incomes, etc, etc. Anyone giving you advice about pricing without actually seeing the work that needs to be done--take it with a barrel of salt (I ignore it altogether). This industry is fairly simple. Just show up on time, do good work and you will go far. Most importantly, don't stop believing in yourself.
I told the original poster that the rates in the video were higher than mine. The idea is to help give some guidance like the Op was asking. Regardless of the specific rates that Nick Slavic charges, the video is helpful especially for a new person in thinking about how to estimate. As well as giving them perspective on the fact they may be under pricing their work. Not quite sure why you're against that, especially when you mention that painters underpricing are the main reason they go out of business. No kidding, that's the whole point of the video that I posted.

I'm also a fan of the Idaho painter, but as far as him not mentioning pricing, he charges a dollar $1.65 a square foot for exteriors. $35 per fence panel. Those are just two instances off the top of my head that I have seen.

You've been painting 25 years, big deal. I've been painting 16 years, what's your point. All you've done on this forum so far is bothered everyone to try to save yourself from having to replace a $120 part, and then you trolled my response trying to be helpful to another member.
 

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I told the original poster that the rates in the video were higher than mine. The idea is to help give some guidance like the Op was asking. Regardless of the specific rates that Nick Slavic charges, the video is helpful especially for a new person in thinking about how to estimate. As well as giving them perspective on the fact they may be under pricing their work. Not quite sure why you're against that, especially when you mention that painters underpricing are the main reason they go out of business. No kidding, that's the whole point of the video that I posted.

I'm also a fan of the Idaho painter, but as far as him not mentioning pricing, he charges a dollar $1.65 a square foot for exteriors. $35 per fence panel. Those are just two instances off the top of my head that I have seen.

You've been painting 25 years, big deal. I've been painting 16 years, what's your point. All you've done on this forum so far is bothered everyone to try to save yourself from having to replace a $120 part, and then you trolled my response trying to be helpful to another member.
Relax. No one is trolling you. You clearly posted something that isn't going to help someone starting out. Its not guidance when in the video he states he 'typically gets bare oak/maple' trim to paint. A vast majority of homes are repaints and have trim already painted/primed, even new construction it's already primed trim. The guy in the video is talking from a perspective totally alien to anyone just starting out. He is well-established in the industry and his prices reflect his overhead costs. He has a studio with spray booths and entire production facility, mangers, etc. He may be a master tradesman but his pricing is not a good yardstick for a solo painter just starting out. OP asked how to do estimates (as a beginner). Its not easy finding help on any topic online and it vexes me when people give bad advice to someone who is sincerely asking for good advice.
And to go digging into another forum community member's posts to dig up something to use as an attack against them just because your feelings got hurt by a difference of opinion only highlights your immaturity and ineptitide at dealing with people.
 

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A vast majority of repaints already having painted trim may be the case in your area, but areas where there was a lot of construction in the 80s or later have golden oak or similar stained trim that people want painted white. May not be the case where you are but we do several of these projects every winter, and I know it's quite common in the Midwest as well.

These are all-encompassing statements that reflect your own experience in the industry, you might think they're universal truths applicable everywhere to everyone when they're not. Sort of like you said the Idaho Painter never mentions prices. You haven't seen him say that, that doesn't mean he hasn't said it.

Standing behind the advice I offered earlier doesn't mean my feelings have been hurt, I'm not sure why you would imply that. As for 'digging up' your posts there wasn't much to dig through, you made a post and it was on the board.

Our opinion of what good or bad advice is obviously different and we're not going to agree or change each other's mind. As for immaturity and ineptitude in dealing with people I've gotten along pretty well with most everyone on this site and you've gotten yourself in a spat pretty much right off the bat. I don't like personally insulting people but I'm just pointing out the words you said to me.

It looks like this conversation has devolved from anything useful, maybe we'll get along better next time.[/QUOTE]
 
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