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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a noob I don’t really want to lose my arse as I get my feet wet. Do customers hire painters T & M often or do they shun it for the most part and only hire painters who give estimates as a rule.

I also here in these parts most painting contractors who give estimates it is for labor only and require the customer to purchase the paint. I am curious why this seems to be a trend around here.

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We do a fair amount of t&m. Most customers prefer having a ballpark "not to exceed" budget. I think its a really fair way to business since the customer gets exactly what they pay for and we get paid for everything we do. I would recommend including materials in your budgeting. It is important to work efficiently and diligently when doing t&m so the homeowner never even begins to suspect that you dont care how long it takes.
 

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The only time we do T&M is for homeowners I have already done work for who know I will give them a fair and honest price. Even then it is usually only when we are stripping wallpaper or working in stages around other trades where there are unknown variables. Other than that it is an exact bid with materials included with change orders being the only thing that will affect the original bid. People like to know the other T&M (time and money) before they jump in with both feet. As pro's this is what we should be doing.
 

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I am a solo and use T&M kind of. I work a 10 hr day M-Th at $450./day. I charge the homeowner for materials. I have been lucky to have good customers and word of mouth. I only paint interors and generally only trim and doors. I will do walls for a special request. I never started out to be a painter; a neighbor was over and asked my wife who did the work and now I am a painter.

I like to play golf on Fri, Sat and Sun and spend some time with my wife; hence the 4 day week.
 

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Most customers like to have an idea of what they'll be paying unless they've used you before & trust you to just do your thing & bill them. Time & material jobs are usually dealing with wallpaper removal or paint stripping.

As for the customer purchasing the paint... Most companies around here try talking them out of it. They usually end up buying the wrong product or get talked into something they're told is better but actually sucks and now you're stuck using it. Example: My customer was to go to SW & get some nice Cashmeir paint. Since she was at Walmart that night though, she got their paint cause she was told it's just as good but 1/4 the price. Hate when that happens. Also you get a nice discount on paints when you're a company, so can either make profit of the materials or offer them a better price on the materials which always makes them happy.
 

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I don't like T&M and haven't used it in years.

There are too many potential problems. The customer may not agree to the time. They may not regard picking up materials as a legitimate T expense. If the customer is supplying materials, they may not get enough.

Perhaps my biggest problem with T&M is that it limits profit potential. And since I'm in this to make a profit, anything that limits that potential is not a good thing.

Brian Phillips
 

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T & M

Usually for repeat customers who trust you. T&M is perfect for punchlist type jobs where they keep adding things left and right. Set the ground rules with them, including picking up supplies as "time". Keep a pad on their counter with your hours and ask for a check every week. It's that simple. You can make a killing if they are willing :thumbsup:
 

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If you suppy the meterials then how do you deal with the whole customers picking color nightmare.
Use color swatches in the home when giving the estimate or when the job is sold. Most have already been to the paint store though & have colors picked out.
 

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We do a fair amount of t&m. Most customers prefer having a ballpark "not to exceed" budget. I think its a really fair way to business since the customer gets exactly what they pay for and we get paid for everything we do. I would recommend including materials in your budgeting. It is important to work efficiently and diligently when doing t&m so the homeowner never even begins to suspect that you dont care how long it takes.
I do plenty of T&M and I'm not opposed to giving ballpark figures, BUT, it's understood that a ballpark is just that, it could be less or it could be more. If I guarantee that the price won't exceed a certain level, then I'll darn sure guarantee that it won't be less as well. There's nothing fair about the contractor assuming ALL the risk and the HO assuming NONE.:no:
 

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We never use T&M. Like Brian said, it limits your possibility of making greater profits. Why say I only paint T&M but here is a cap? Makes no sense to me and tells me that the painter does not know how to price the job. I can understand if the HO wants you to touch up areas and paint this and that, I guess T&M would be ok. We don't do that type of work so I don't know.
 

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With us, our market is primarily ultra high end residential new construction - multi-million dollar custom homes in the 6-10000 s.f. range. When we initially "price" these jobs it is from preliminary construction blueprints. There are no paint colors or finishes yet. We dont even know what the trim species is going to be, much less trim profile, or paint grade or natural. Often these details dont come in until we have primed drywall and are really ready to finish. That being the case, we have an extensive record in Quickbooks of properly job-costed past projects to draw from to give the builder an idea on "comps" -similar size homes we have finished. So, its not that we dont know how to price, its that we are pricing a moving target that is going to be constantly changing until the day we brush out our last casing. Unfortunately, you cant just say "I will do this job t&m and thats it." You can say, "the price range for a project like this is typically $X, and we will do the job t&m." Other painters try to do fixed price on these things because they figure that they have done lots of 3000 s.f. houses so if they just multiply by 3 to get to 9000 and add 15% for higher level of quality they will make tons of money. These guys run out of budget quickly and usually dont get to finish. All it takes is one of these things to get away from you and you can lose alot of money in a hurry, and for a small company like many of us are, it can put you on the ropes fast. The thing you have to realize is that in this situation, you can have continuity for your crew, less ramping up/breaking down and trucking from job to job every week, less time dealing with booking/billing/scheduling and it is possible to build healthy profitability into your rates. I know enough about our market at this point that I could put fixed prices on these projects, but then my full time job would become: change order, extra, change order, extra, and I dont want myself and my crew to have to be watchdogs and pushing that kind of paper. Then you get the reputation as one of those painters who nickle and dimes people to death. I realize we are in a niche market, and this information wont apply to alot of painters here, but its just my way of saying dont throw the t&m baby out with the bathwater across the board.
 

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So, its not that we dont know how to price, its that we are pricing a moving target that is going to be constantly changing until the day we brush out our last casing.
Scott,

I will concede that you make a good case for your situation. Pricing a moving target could be suicidal. You seem to have developed a good track record, and can give the customer a reasonable price. But to lock yourself in when the situation is so fluid could be a real headache.

I would normally argue that you could submit a firm price with a carefully specified scope of work, and then use change orders. But from what you describe that would be a headache for all involved, slow the project, and ultimately lose you customers. It appears that in your situation (which is rare) T&M is truly a win-win.

So I will back off a little on my disdain for T&M. However, I still think too many people use it in situations where it isn't necessary.

Thanks Scott for opening my eyes to see a different possibility.

Brian Phillips
 

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Brian

I was hoping to get your feedback on this, as I respect your operation and your opinion. You're right in that all of us have certain unique situations that fall under the general heading of "painting". I took a couple on the chin in the early days before realizing how I needed to operate. Anyone who subs to GCs much knows that they have some cunning tricks. Painttalk is really a great forum to brainstorm with others and I am picking up alot of valuable perspectives, and hopefully helping other guys out here at the same time.

Thanks
Scott
 

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We use T&M usually only for removing wall paper, and preparring walls to except paint. I also use T&M with our company hourly rate for a few select old clients, that just ask us to do the job, and dont ask for a price, this is for people that we have history with, and works out because I know the client, have done many jobs for them, and their is complete trust and respect, this is very rare, and special.

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dave mac
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I have learned allot from this thread. My take away is I better learn how to estimate repaints.

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JTP's 16 centavos

********,

I work a bit differently. My preferred bidding method, for now--is to quote an absolutely firm labor price. Write the specs out in contract form, have the home owner sign on the dotted line, get a $1000.00 deposit. When the deposit is received, I issue a binder receipt with my personal signature of commitment to do the job.

Should the h/o change colors in mid stream, they get to pay again. If the h/o adds, we do a quick change on the contract, have it signed off by the customer, and so on. We make it very clear exactly what they are paying for in fixed labor. Add the garage door, no problem--you just gotta pay for it. The "wouldja just" days have been over for me for year. For those who don't realize--I just got back into the painting game full time rather recently, but have painted part time professionally for quite a number of years. And, that doesn't make me the greatest technichian or business man--it makes me older than most of you guys is about it.

My customer pays the freight on paint. We pick up the paint b/c we know customers don't know there ____ from their elbows about what to pick up or what we need to do a good job. We're the pros, we pick out the products. The customer gets to pick color, trim line, sheen--that's about all they get to pick out. We know the products that work well for us! We carry the B/M paint chip deck and have the homeowner pick the colors. We have all the basic sundries and primer on hand in our stock. We add about 6 percent on the bid to cover the sundry items.

When the job is complete, we leave the paint with the h/o and recover our paint expenses via documented receipts. We have not marked up our paint nor charged travel time thus far.

After reading this forum though, I think that is going to change. We may go up to a flat out 10% surcharge for Travel Time and sundries. And, this still may not be enough--we are still experimenting.

I don't want any more left over paint cans in my basement. OK-- my 17 centavos.

JTP
 

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Well I have learned allot from this thread. My take away is I better learn how to estimate repaints
********, you know what I learn from this thread? everyone is different

there may be companies who operate only with T&M that are very successful, we don't know...we can only offer each of our own perspectives

it's not about who's right in here...we are all giving different perspectives and it doesn't matter who speaks more eloquently or posts most frequently or any of that jazz

point is, some in here have mastered the art of persuasion a bit more than others....so my advice is to just read it and take bits to help yourself from each post

good luck :thumbsup:
 
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