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.