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Thanks to Dave Mac for starting this thread on Contractortalk quite some time ago. Unfortunately, not many people answered it. Maybe we will get a better response seeing this is a painting only forum. Here is a snippet of my production rates. I hope to have many more nailed down by the end of Brian's Estimating Workshop.

SURP (Set-up, remove, protect)
Bath (hall), powder, laundry (up to 12X12): .5 MH
Bath (master): .75 MH
Bedroom -Small (up to 12X12): .5 MH
Bedroom - Large (over 12X12) .75 MH
Kitchen - Small: .75 - 1 MH (depends on complexity)
Kitchen - Large: 1 - 1.5 MH (depends on complexity)
LR/Family - Small (up to 20X20) .5 MH
LR/Family - Large (over 20X20): .75 MH
Dining room treated as bedrooms
Hallway: .25 MH
Other open areas: Determine quote on-site

RTUCU (Replace, Touch-up, Clean-up)
Same as SURP for similar areas

*For every 7.5 Labor MH, add .5 for clean-up, brush/roller maintenance, production/time cards, etc.

Doors:
RDASU (remove, disassemble, set-up): .25 MH
RRTU (reassemble, replace,touch-up): same as RDASU
Prep (putty, sand, tack): 2 sides per .25 MH
Door, six panel, 1 side, 1 edge, roll/tip, 1 coat: .5 MH
Door, flush, 1 side, 1 edge, roll/tip, 1 coat: .25 MH
Door frame prep: .25 - .5 MH
Door frame, 1 side, roll/tip, 1 coat: .25 MH

Walls:
Screen/Sand drywall, first 350 sf per .25 MH
Screen/Sand drywall, second (between coats) 500 sf per .25 MH



* I noticed we've recently talked about only getting 6.5 hours of work done in an eight hour day. I have usually figured getting 7.5 hours out of a day. I might need to revisit this one and see where I stand.
 

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Prowall - do you think the infamous 6.5 hrs is because alot of us forget to include the labor of setting out tarps and cleaning up at the end of the day? Or is it no matter what we do - we're doomed to never able to seem to get 6.5 hrs in 8 hrs done? I just bought that estimation software from devwave - and I am thinking I will put a higher 'on-the-job' rate so that 6.5 hrs of the 'higher' rate equals the 8 hrs rate you would figure from 'yourcostcenter.com' What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Prowall - do you think the infamous 6.5 hrs is because alot of us forget to include the labor of setting out tarps and cleaning up at the end of the day? Or is it no matter what we do - we're doomed to never able to seem to get 6.5 hrs in 8 hrs done? I just bought that estimation software from devwave - and I am thinking I will put a higher 'on-the-job' rate so that 6.5 hrs of the 'higher' rate equals the 8 hrs rate you would figure from 'yourcostcenter.com' What do you think?
Unfortunately, I think it includes way more than just setting drops, or cleaning brushes. When I look at a job to bid, I make notes of all tasks that need to be done, IE prep, patch nail holes, sand trim, brush/roll, etc. I create a price for the job using the notes. However, I NEED to remember that we are not performing the tasks 100% of the time. We also have a good bit of 'down time' every day. These include getting set up, BSing with our coffee first thing in the A.M., a couple smoke breaks, getting something from the truck, chatting with the customer, taking a bit to get back in the groove after lunch, talking amongst ourselves, finding the right screwdriver, chqanging brushes/paint, etc etc etc. This list goes on and on. Its just fact that we don't spend 100% of our time on the site performing billable tasks. So I reckon we need to either trim down most of that fat that wasn't bid for, or realistically figure how much time per day is actually spent perofrming the estimated/billed tasks.
I also see where you are going with the cost thing, but I would approach it in a different manner. Instead of jacking around with my hour rate, I would schedule to job for the REAL time it will take to complete. Hypothetical example:
Paint a bedroom, my production rates show this will take 50 hours, and my hourly rate is $45. So I could figure it this way.
50 hours divided by 8 (hours per day) = 6.25 days. So the price would be 50 hours at $45 = $2250.
BUT, in reality we only get 6.5 hours WORK done in a day, so it changes to
50 hours divided by 6.5 (hours per day) = 7.69 days. Looking at it this way shows it will take a full extra day to complete the job. And I can't do anything else for the rest of the 8th day, so I need to charge it as a full day. So now that 50 hour job has changed to a 64 hour job, resulting in 64 hours at $45 per hour = $2880.

Does that make sense? It does in my head, but looks goofy in writing. :blink:
 

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Pro, I think it's a valiant effort, and undoubtedly valuable to get estimating tools down on paper, but I can only see it as a best case scenario.

Too many wildcards, at least in my end of things, mostly doing repaints or repairs.

But some starting point is necessary, even for new construction.

Me n Captain Barbossa consider em more as guidelines.

:jester:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I humbly disagree. I also do nothing but repaints (minus the wallcovering of course), no new construction for me at all. Over this Christmas break, I went back over 5 years of records. I noticed a trend in time and price for comparable jobs. I'm pretty sure I will be able to get 99% of my production rates nailed down by the middle of this year.

BTW, now I know why Zorro wore that mask. EGAD! I can hear the banjos in my head.........
 

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Pro, I think it's a valiant effort, and undoubtedly valuable to get estimating tools down on paper, but I can only see it as a best case scenario.

Too many wildcards, at least in my end of things, mostly doing repaints or repairs.
I disagree. I do nothing but repaints, and I have used production rates for years.

If it takes you 30 minutes to paint a door at Mr. Smith's, it should take you 30 minutes to paint the same type of door at Mrs. Brown's. If you know your production rates, it becomes rather easy to generate consistently accurate estimates.

Further, if you have accurate production rates, as well as an accurate identification of the variables, there really shouldn't be any wildcards.

Brian Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Further, if you have accurate production rates, as well as an accurate identification of the variables, there really shouldn't be any wildcards.
I think its the identifying and nailing down those variables that makes it tough.
I know that is my shortcoming. The straight forward stuff like rolling surfaces isn't tough to figure out. Mainly the steps in prep and whatnot which make my head spin.
 

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Great thread Prowall, great mine's think alike lol, well I did five estimates yesterday, and made my self measure, thanks Brian. Im really wanting to nail my numbers down black and white as well. For me I dont really think of the man works 8 hr but only does 6.5 hr thing.

I like allowing a very generous amount of time per task. Its simple for a window or door, I can paint a window in fifteen minutes, my production rate I use for this type of window (one over one) is 30 minutes. I wish estimating all the other things could be as straight forward.

Its the tricky stuff I want to nail down, like the soffit (boxing, facial board)
that is 30 ft in the air, above a garage rough. No way to get up their and measure.

Or what is the best way to measure walls that are running along, stairwells. and are all types of funny angles.

Seems like their has to be some eyeballing going on in estimating.

and the oddball thing that needs painting. I loading up with question, for you Brian lol looking forward to the next teleconference, it really gets me pumped up about the painting buisness.
 

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Unfortunately, I think it includes way more than just setting drops, or cleaning brushes. When I look at a job to bid, I make notes of all tasks that need to be done, IE prep, patch nail holes, sand trim, brush/roll, etc. I create a price for the job using the notes. However, I NEED to remember that we are not performing the tasks 100% of the time. We also have a good bit of 'down time' every day. These include getting set up, BSing with our coffee first thing in the A.M., a couple smoke breaks, getting something from the truck, chatting with the customer, taking a bit to get back in the groove after lunch, talking amongst ourselves, finding the right screwdriver, chqanging brushes/paint, etc etc etc. This list goes on and on. Its just fact that we don't spend 100% of our time on the site performing billable tasks. So I reckon we need to either trim down most of that fat that wasn't bid for, or realistically figure how much time per day is actually spent perofrming the estimated/billed tasks.
I also see where you are going with the cost thing, but I would approach it in a different manner. Instead of jacking around with my hour rate, I would schedule to job for the REAL time it will take to complete. Hypothetical example:
Paint a bedroom, my production rates show this will take 50 hours, and my hourly rate is $45. So I could figure it this way.
50 hours divided by 8 (hours per day) = 6.25 days. So the price would be 50 hours at $45 = $2250.
BUT, in reality we only get 6.5 hours WORK done in a day, so it changes to
50 hours divided by 6.5 (hours per day) = 7.69 days. Looking at it this way shows it will take a full extra day to complete the job. And I can't do anything else for the rest of the 8th day, so I need to charge it as a full day. So now that 50 hour job has changed to a 64 hour job, resulting in 64 hours at $45 per hour = $2880.

Does that make sense? It does in my head, but looks goofy in writing. :blink:
makes total sence to me:thumbsup: , and very well explained imo
 

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I believe in the 6.5 hrs of billable work in 8 hrs. I've seen it myself - I can paint a certain type of window one coat in one hour. But there is a lot of assumptions there, like I have a nice clean brush and a pot of paint. And the window has been tarped - and it has been sanded and dusted, etc. When in reality - I can't seem to get 8 windows like this done in a day. My thoughts are that all these software packages seem to be really stupid - and I am either thinking of pumping up the hourly rate or padding the time to accomplish a door. Sure I can paint one side of door in 15 minutes - but perhaps it makes sense to bill it as 25 minutes. As I find myself looking for screwdrivers, going up and down stairs looking for a stirring rod - going back to the truck for a roll of tape, recaulking that crack that re-opened up - touching up a knot with bin, etc, etc, etc.

One thing I do know - is that there is an incredible push among all these sites and orgs to really know our 'numbers'. And I hope this becomes widespread in the industry - as the guy down the road who bids a job for $2,300 that I bid $5,700 - makes me look really stupid - customers just assume you are overcharging. They have no idea how clueless some contractors are. I worked for one old timer that bid 2400sq.ft new construction condos for $2,200! How do you compete with that?
 

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Its the tricky stuff I want to nail down, like the soffit (boxing, facial board)
that is 30 ft in the air, above a garage rough. No way to get up their and measure.

Or what is the best way to measure walls that are running along, stairwells. and are all types of funny angles.

Seems like their has to be some eyeballing going on in estimating.
Dave,

We will cover these things in the near future.

But there are ways to measure surfaces that seem impossible to measure. Let's take the stairway. I am assuming that the ceiling doesn't slope with the stairway, so it looks like this:


What we have is a triangle and a rectangle. We just need to calculate the area for each, and then add them.

How to we know the ceiling height? We could measure, or we could "eye-ball" this one item. But eye-balling the height of the ceiling is a lot different from eye-balling the entire job. I am 6'1" tall. I can almost reach an 8' ceiling with my arm stretched out. So if I stick my arm up and it's a few inches from the ceiling, I know it's an 8' ceiling.

In Houston, in a 2 story house the first floor almost always has 9' or 10' ceilings. I can use my arm method to determine which it is. That will tell me height from the bottom of the stairway to the ceiling. I repeat at the top of the stairs, and I know the ceiling heights.

Anyhow, most surfaces are either a rectangle or a triangle, or a combination. As I said, we will get to this in coming weeks, but hopefully this will help a little in the meantime.

Brian Phillips
 

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I believeI can sometimes over think things. I was personally in the field for alonnnnnng time so I know about the "non productive time". I have figured that in to my rates as much as possible at this time so I dont drive myself crazy with worrying about every minute. I Keep track of jobs watch for bad attitudes that can infect your whole crew. Expect an honest days work for an honest days pay. I am confident with my numbers but sometimes you just wonder how some off these guys can be serious!!!!
 

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Dave,

We will cover these things in the near future.

But there are ways to measure surfaces that seem impossible to measure. Let's take the stairway. I am assuming that the ceiling doesn't slope with the stairway, so it looks like this:


What we have is a triangle and a rectangle. We just need to calculate the area for each, and then add them.

How to we know the ceiling height? We could measure, or we could "eye-ball" this one item. But eye-balling the height of the ceiling is a lot different from eye-balling the entire job. I am 6'1" tall. I can almost reach an 8' ceiling with my arm stretched out. So if I stick my arm up and it's a few inches from the ceiling, I know it's an 8' ceiling.

In Houston, in a 2 story house the first floor almost always has 9' or 10' ceilings. I can use my arm method to determine which it is. That will tell me height from the bottom of the stairway to the ceiling. I repeat at the top of the stairs, and I know the ceiling heights.

Anyhow, most surfaces are either a rectangle or a triangle, or a combination. As I said, we will get to this in coming weeks, but hopefully this will help a little in the meantime.

Brian Phillips

thats my boy:thumbup:
 

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Good thread prowall guy.

We use a system of "units". If we give a painter a "unit" of work, it should equate to about an hour's worth of work. Therefore if we bid a job at 80 units, 2 painters should get it done in a week. since we sub most of our work, we will give this 80 unit job to them and pay them 80*$25 = $2000. If they work smart, great quality, zero touchups, etc, we will pay them that if it takes them 3 days or 30 days.

We need to continue learning our production rates and improving it, but for simplicities sake, we don't factor every single thing that it will actually take, we just bid with numbers that leave alot of room for setup/cleanup, and prep, etc.

For example, instead of thinking about sanding walls, and filling nail holes, we do that at pretty much every job, so we build time in for that in our "paint 1 coat standard"(goal of making it as simple as possible for our estimators to create quotes quickly, and accurately enough, that they don't have to think of everything or we're screwed...)

So for example, I know that most of my painter's can paint a 6/6 sliding in 15-20 minutes. But I give these windows 1 unit.

Typically they can get the drop sheet set, prep, paint, etc in about a half an hour, so we budget for 1 units.

Therefore we win in some situations, lose in others, problems always come up, but using the following system(and a bunch others but don't want a 2 page post) here are some of our "standards" for interior work:

Extra prep to look for that's not the obvious fill nail holes, skim coat, sand, protect areas, etc:

Caulking 50-75LF/unit
Patch 1' x 1' or smaller hole in drywall: 1 unit
Move furniture .25/item
"localized failure" .25/unit (this could be an extra large crack in wall, it could be spot on a window sill that is peeling)
infrared heat is always an upcharge of course


Painting:
Paint walls(includes prep and one coat): 100-200sq/ft/unit(stairwells are always 100, 2nd story walls are always 100), customers that are obvously
(subsequent coats we budget 60-75% of the first coat)
Paint trim: 40 LF/unit
Paint celings: 150sq/ft/unit
Banisters, etc 10-15 banisters /unit
doors: .5/side for totally flat
1 unite a side for 6 panel
1.5 unit/for multiple panes of glass(crazy french doors, etc)
We add 1 unit for every 16 units(and extra unit a day set up/clean up)
The way our software works, for each item the salesperson is putting in(painting trim, or a window, or whatever) there is a place to add extra time for set up or repair. So they are taught to use their judgement and add time if ever in doubt. Like, "huh, that's a second floor window in a foyer, maybe I'll add an extra .25 just in case per window cause it might take more time)

We then take that total number, multiply it by our labor rate, double it(for overhead recovery) and add between 5-20% profit, depending on the situation. 20% if we're busy, 5% if we're needing some work, etc. Add the cost of materials with markup and that is our price...


In the long run, if the windows take half the time we budget, but the walls take twice as long, by using this very simple system(we do have alot more standards than that, but I try to keep it that simple) we usually come pretty close to the actual time for the job.

The nice thing is, we charge $60/hr to our client, and our subs usually work for about $25/hr. If we completely misbid a job which is rare, worst case scenario we give the sub all the job and we're not out any money and the sub and customer are happy.

So the way we have our system set up: we use software, create a proposal on the spot from this information, sync it with our server. When a customer signs, we have pictures and what our estimator was thinking based on the software we used.

Our production manager is alerted of the new salesorder, so he can log in, look at the pictures of the house, the budgeted number of hours, think it through from his experience, then pick the best crew or sub for the situation and make sure that he can make it happen within the budget which is usually 50% of the job and give the client a great experience.

If there is a discrepancy, either the salesperson has to go back and try to get more money(which they never actually do that to a customer) or eat their commission. This rarely happens.
 

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If you don't mind me asking, had you done new construction previously and chosen not to continue with it? Just curious about your reasons for focusing specifically on repaints...
I've never done new construction. I've done a few remodels over the years, but 99% of our work is repaints.

There is more money in repaints, and generally fewer hassles. I get to deal with the person writing the check, rather than a middle man.

These are generalities, and Scott you've made a good case for what you do. I do think there is money to be made in new construction. I've found a market that works for me, and I've found painters who can service that market.

Brian Phillips
 

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Thanks Brian. I only ask because I often consider transitioning to more homeowner repaint work. We have over the years been 90% or more new constr. When we do residential repaints we do enjoy it, and they certainly can be profitable in the sense that you can start and finish in the same calendar year. And your right about the middle man and all his games...
 
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