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We have done residential for four years. Ou general rule is $.95 per sq. ft. plus paint and any needed materials with a 40% mark-up.

We have been offerd the opportunty to bid on some commercial work; several stores being built-out in a shopping center. I'm told some painting contractors bid on the jobs using the sqaure fottage of the store times 'x', all inclusive. This is in Dallas, Texas.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?
 

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Ohio Painting Contractor
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We have done residential for four years. Ou general rule is $.95 per sq. ft. plus paint and any needed materials with a 40% mark-up.

We have been offerd the opportunty to bid on some commercial work; several stores being built-out in a shopping center. I'm told some painting contractors bid on the jobs using the sqaure fottage of the store times 'x', all inclusive. This is in Dallas, Texas.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

I would suggest purchasing the PDCA cost estimator or the National Paint Cost Estimator it automatically ads the price to the sf and substrate you should factor a 5% -20% overhead depending on the job.
 

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Freedom Maker
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We are roughly 75% residential and the 25% commercial that we do is with the owners of buildings. Recently we have received invitations to bid from GC's from their architectural plans.

Any advice on best way to learn how to read these? One job we got this way, I found out I underbid by about 20% because things came up I didn't know how to look for in the plans. Truthfully, most the plans look like greek to me... and it seems there is alot more specs for other trades than the painters!

Also, I get responses sometimes from estimators at GC companies that read like this, "
Ethan, I was looking for through your quotes for ________, does your
number include mobilization. In ____________, does your number
include paint per sheet A6, and exclude paint in the following areas:

behind casework, FRP, exterior paint, slatwall, conc. Sealant."

What is "mobilization" referring to:blink:? What is FRP?:blink:

Where do you learn this greek language they speak?

Thanks!

Ethan
 

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FRP- this is Fiberglass panels. Most of the time the carpenter will furnish and install these. I excluded this on all my bids just to cover my end.

Mobilization is for your crew to come to the site. When I bid a project I will plan that my workers can come to the site and complete our whole scope of work. I would imagine you have that included, but he might be asking if you have a remobilization included. Meaning you might paint the exterior and come back 4 weeks later to do the interior.

Reading blue prints becomes easy after you do it a lot. I still learn new things on prints everytime I read them. Every architect draws their plans different too. You basically have to view a 2D page into 3 dimensional.

Most junior colleges have night classes on blue print reading. That would be helpful.

It might seem like greek but after awhile you will be speaking it.
 

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In terms of SF pricing this is how most commercial projects are bid.

I have my numbers broken down to the actual material cost per coat per square foot and my labor hourly cost per square foot based on what my guys should be painting in a day.

.95 seems high if it is basic latex paint. Maybe Texas is higher, but from being in the midwest where are prices are high I would never win a job at .95 per SF.
 

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You can pick up a lot of info using some of the resourses already mentioned but I would suggest trying to feel out the GC on his ballpark pricing. You might be surprised but you can sometimes just say ' hey we'd really like to get one of these jobs just to show you what we can do, where do we have to be?' Its part of the game they play. They will sometimes give a new guy a shot because the last guy dropped the ball if you are close enough. But the stakes can be high...its not a 3 bedroom cape your bidding on.

We look at a lot of this work and can usually price it based on square footage and be pretty close. The difference is often in the details.

You might try talking to the local SW reps (or whatever suppliers you use)and asking what the going rates are in your area for this type of work. But beware they will kill you with scheduling, punchlist, and best of all... payment.
 

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95 cents is way too lowfor typical res. Bidding on commercial is done by wall square foot because a 20 thousand square foot space could have 10 walls or it could have 60 walls. You just have to figure out how fast you can paint these walls and how much overhead and then decide how much profit you want. This is not a popular subject on this board because there is no standard rate and alot of us have been through the trial and error of bidding. Being a business person is a gamble always and you just have to eliminate as many risks you can......good luck
 

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Hello, ..
I was just reading over this conversation and thought I would chime in from here in the Balt/DC area. First, we are a 2nd generation, mid sized commerial/property management (aka - apartment turnover) contractor...aprox 35-40 painters and a handful of subs.
I am trying to get my company into the larger commercial arena (100,000 sq ft & above) and I'm brainstorming on how to do it successfully.
Currently, we have to bid 1990's prices to get jobs. We bid (aprox) $.19 sq/ft for PVA wall primer, ...$.22 sq/ft per coat for flat paint and $.26-$.28 sq/ft for eggshell. I usually bid about $20-25 to caulk, prep and 2 coat door frames and another $20 for 2 coats on doors themselves. Stain grade doors (2 coats stain, 2 coats urethane) $45-50 ea.
Having said all that, I'm finding out my numbers are *way* high when I'm going up against the big boys in our area. I know they get material for much less than we do but that factor alone is not enough to explain the huge differences in price that I see from the feedback we're getting from the GC's.
My mission now becomes finding out exactly how they bid these jobs and the tricks the use on the job to make it work. We just bid a job for $153,000.00 and the GC told me the two other painters, who are major heavy hitters in our area; were at $107,000.00 and they were within $300 (yes three hundred dollars) of each other. AMAZING !!
Instantly that tells me they are doing a 2 coat job instead of 3 coats and also getting rock bottom material prices, but there has to still be more to it than that.
I will keep posting as I learn more.
....I should have mentioned that those figures are for paint application via airless spray in vacant, usually new spaces. Brush and roll would be slightly more $.
 

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So true !!

You can pick up a lot of info using some of the resourses already mentioned but I would suggest trying to feel out the GC on his ballpark pricing. You might be surprised but you can sometimes just say ' hey we'd really like to get one of these jobs just to show you what we can do, where do we have to be?' Its part of the game they play. They will sometimes give a new guy a shot because the last guy dropped the ball if you are close enough. But the stakes can be high...its not a 3 bedroom cape your bidding on.

We look at a lot of this work and can usually price it based on square footage and be pretty close. The difference is often in the details.

You might try talking to the local SW reps (or whatever suppliers you use)and asking what the going rates are in your area for this type of work. But beware they will kill you with scheduling, punchlist, and best of all... payment.

We just purchased a large format plotter to print plans right here in our office and I also found some awesome software called "Cloud Takeoff" (I swear I don't work for them) that allows me to literally upload a drawing from anywhere, and do fast takeoffs. There is a definite learning curve but basically you can just drag your mouse across the drawings and take measurements of everything. Then it can send everything right over to excel for me to plug my per sq/ft price in and voila.....I'm done.
This, of course; still doesn't solve the problem of ridiculous punch lists, 90-120 days before getting paid (or longer), and my favorite - when the drywall contractor comes back and points the whole job up again over top of your *finish* coat. Gotta love that one.
 

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Hello, ..
I was just reading over this conversation and thought I would chime in from here in the Balt/DC area. First, we are a 2nd generation, mid sized commerial/property management (aka - apartment turnover) contractor...aprox 35-40 painters and a handful of subs.
I am trying to get my company into the larger commercial arena (100,000 sq ft & above) and I'm brainstorming on how to do it successfully.
Currently, we have to bid 1990's prices to get jobs. We bid (aprox) $.19 sq/ft for PVA wall primer, ...$.22 sq/ft per coat for flat paint and $.26-$.28 sq/ft for eggshell. I usually bid about $20-25 to caulk, prep and 2 coat door frames and another $20 for 2 coats on doors themselves. Stain grade doors (2 coats stain, 2 coats urethane) $45-50 ea.
Having said all that, I'm finding out my numbers are *way* high when I'm going up against the big boys in our area. I know they get material for much less than we do but that factor alone is not enough to explain the huge differences in price that I see from the feedback we're getting from the GC's.
My mission now becomes finding out exactly how they bid these jobs and the tricks the use on the job to make it work. We just bid a job for $153,000.00 and the GC told me the two other painters, who are major heavy hitters in our area; were at $107,000.00 and they were within $300 (yes three hundred dollars) of each other. AMAZING !!
Instantly that tells me they are doing a 2 coat job instead of 3 coats and also getting rock bottom material prices, but there has to still be more to it than that.
I will keep posting as I learn more.
....I should have mentioned that those figures are for paint application via airless spray in vacant, usually new spaces. Brush and roll would be slightly more $.
Your kidding on those prices I absolutely hope:eek::eek:
 

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Hello, ..

I was just reading over this conversation and thought I would chime in from here in the Balt/DC area. First, we are a 2nd generation, mid sized commerial/property management (aka - apartment turnover) contractor...aprox 35-40 painters and a handful of subs.

I am trying to get my company into the larger commercial arena (100,000 sq ft & above) and I'm brainstorming on how to do it successfully.

Currently, we have to bid 1990's prices to get jobs. We bid (aprox) $.19 sq/ft for PVA wall primer, ...$.22 sq/ft per coat for flat paint and $.26-$.28 sq/ft for eggshell. I usually bid about $20-25 to caulk, prep and 2 coat door frames and another $20 for 2 coats on doors themselves. Stain grade doors (2 coats stain, 2 coats urethane) $45-50 ea.

Having said all that, I'm finding out my numbers are *way* high when I'm going up against the big boys in our area. I know they get material for much less than we do but that factor alone is not enough to explain the huge differences in price that I see from the feedback we're getting from the GC's.

My mission now becomes finding out exactly how they bid these jobs and the tricks the use on the job to make it work. We just bid a job for $153,000.00 and the GC told me the two other painters, who are major heavy hitters in our area; were at $107,000.00 and they were within $300 (yes three hundred dollars) of each other. AMAZING !!

Instantly that tells me they are doing a 2 coat job instead of 3 coats and also getting rock bottom material prices, but there has to still be more to it than that.

I will keep posting as I learn more.

....I should have mentioned that those figures are for paint application via airless spray in vacant, usually new spaces. Brush and roll would be slightly more $.

2 coats, no pva. Cheapest material on the market.

Couple things to remember: go and look at some of these jobs once the store is open. Generally the work is hardly passable but it passes. Things your pop would smack you in the head for are suddenly acceptable.

The other is some of these $107k prices are simply break even prices. Just enough to pay your men and paint account. No overhead or profit. Once you're in the door you hope to get enough extras and call backs to give you a bit of OH and profit.


The last point is 'they're lying' about pricing. The GC is going to tell every bidder that didn't win that they're way off. This is to keep you bidding low(ish) still not getting the job, but the point is to keep your bid low(ish) so the guys that constantly win the job don't start creeping up their numbers. It's a dog and pony, smoke and mirrors kind of world.
 

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This ^^^^^^^^^

The GC is bs'ing you. your prices are the lowest I have ever heard of, on this board or anywhere.

Try this, double your prices on your next 10 estimates, just for the heck of it. You can always decline the job later. Betcha dollars to donuts they still say your just a fuzz high.

Another point. 90% of businesses go outta biz in the first 5 years. 90% of the remaining ones fold in the second 5 years. So about 1% of biz actually make it ten years or more. Whats the avg age of companies doing NC for GC's?? Point is, I think that practically 90% or more of the NC work, is being performed by companies that are on their way out of business. They don't know it, but they will soon.

Just reread ur post... so ur around 70 cents, which isn't the cheapest I have ever heard of to be honest. But the only guys I know that were cheaper, aint in biz anymore. Ur hmf hmd r the cheapest i ever heard of tho
 

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This ^^^^^^^^^

The GC is bs'ing you. your prices are the lowest I have ever heard of, on this board or anywhere.

Try this, double your prices on your next 10 estimates, just for the heck of it. You can always decline the job later. Betcha dollars to donuts they still say your just a fuzz high.

Another point. 90% of businesses go outta biz in the first 5 years. 90% of the remaining ones fold in the second 5 years. So about 1% of biz actually make it ten years or more. Whats the avg age of companies doing NC for GC's?? Point is, I think that practically 90% or more of the NC work, is being performed by companies that are on their way out of business. They don't know it, but they will soon.

Just reread ur post... so ur around 70 cents, which isn't the cheapest I have ever heard of to be honest. But the only guys I know that were cheaper, aint in biz anymore. Ur hmf hmd r the cheapest i ever heard of tho
:thumbsup: Especially in NC, it seems as if there's always somebody willing to go broke just to get the job.
 

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2 coats, no pva. Cheapest material on the market.

Couple things to remember: go and look at some of these jobs once the store is open. Generally the work is hardly passable but it passes. Things your pop would smack you in the head for are suddenly acceptable.

The other is some of these $107k prices are simply break even prices. Just enough to pay your men and paint account. No overhead or profit. Once you're in the door you hope to get enough extras and call backs to give you a bit of OH and profit.


The last point is 'they're lying' about pricing. The GC is going to tell every bidder that didn't win that they're way off. This is to keep you bidding low(ish) still not getting the job, but the point is to keep your bid low(ish) so the guys that constantly win the job don't start creeping up their numbers. It's a dog and pony, smoke and mirrors kind of world.

Well, your not *entirely* wrong. There are def GC's that play that game, ...I won't dispute that at all. But in the end, what they are willing to pay dictates the job that they are going to receive so that's that. The job now becomes a 2 coat system (1) prime coat and (1) heavy coat of eggshell sprayed and back rolled. Done. They are aware of this. Also, this is no store, it is the new District of Columbia Housing Division headquarters in New Carrolton, MD - a 4 story 117,000 sq ft office building. If you think for a second that any painter is going to get out of there with a crappy looking paint job, you're wrong. It will never happen. The GC's reputation is on the line for future work with the district and they won't allow shotty work. Under the circumstances, my SW rep was able to get me PM 200 eggshell for $13.00 a gallon for this job. Yes, ...THIRTEEN DOLLARS PER GALLON. That's what the other huge contractors pay and SW is trying to help me grow.
Look, ...I'm not crazy about the pricing structure and it def means our efficiency and production will have to be at an all time gold medal pace, but the fact of the matter is, if you want to land large GC type work, you need to master the formula of how to do it & how to be profitable at it. Trust me, it can be done, but obviously not by everyone.
lol, ...someone posted here that I should "Double my rates and then see what the GC's say". Well friend, my bid would go straight in the trash can - guaranteed.
 

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This ^^^^^^^^^

The GC is bs'ing you. your prices are the lowest I have ever heard of, on this board or anywhere.

Try this, double your prices on your next 10 estimates, just for the heck of it. You can always decline the job later. Betcha dollars to donuts they still say your just a fuzz high.

Another point. 90% of businesses go outta biz in the first 5 years. 90% of the remaining ones fold in the second 5 years. So about 1% of biz actually make it ten years or more. Whats the avg age of companies doing NC for GC's?? Point is, I think that practically 90% or more of the NC work, is being performed by companies that are on their way out of business. They don't know it, but they will soon.

Just reread ur post... so ur around 70 cents, which isn't the cheapest I have ever heard of to be honest. But the only guys I know that were cheaper, aint in biz anymore. Ur hmf hmd r the cheapest i ever heard of tho
In business since 1973. 2nd generation and we're not going anywhere.
 
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