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Girl Boss
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you're willing to share :vs_smile:.....

1) What do you pay yourself?
2) Location?
3) Does the rate vary based on scale of job and/or speciality finishes?

I'll start...
1) $65 hr (95% of my work is specialty/decorative finishes)
2) Southern California (San Diego)
3) Yes, avg $40 hr for basic roll jobs or less labor intensive work.
 

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Not nearly enough. I have never been very good at paying myself above and beyond what I charge to do jobs. Many of you do a great job of paying yourselves and that's how it SHOULD work. I'm located in Appalachia in an area where 38% of the residents live below the poverty line so my pricing reflects that demographic. I price things by the job as most folks would go into cardiac arrest if I quoted $40, $50, or $60 and up per hour.

I can't make any money if I come in under $30 per hour. Now, don't snicker. I know that would be poverty wages for the rest of the country, but, here, where the cost of living is very low, you CAN scrape out a living in the $40 to $50 per hour range.
 

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Girl Boss
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not nearly enough. I have never been very good at paying myself above and beyond what I charge to do jobs.
If you don't mind me asking some questions.... How long have you been running your business?

I'm located in Appalachia in an area where 38% of the residents live below the poverty line so my pricing reflects that demographic. I price things by the job as most folks would go into cardiac arrest if I quoted $40, $50, or $60 and up per hour.
Do you market yourself to the target mid-higher income clientele?

Just a note.. My bids break down labor & material so the labor includes a total of my rate + any overhead, travel, etc. I don't tell my clients "oh and FYI, I'm paid $65 per hour" its just included in the labor.

I can't make any money if I come in under $30 per hour. Now, don't snicker. I know that would be poverty wages for the rest of the country, but, here, where the cost of living is very low, you CAN scrape out a living in the $40 to $50 per hour range.
No snickering...thanks for being honest! $30 isn't horrible, its better than working for someone else and making $15-$17 per hour. Is the $30 after all overhead (NP)?
 

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Painter & Furniture Refinishing
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As much as I can get away with. I also am in a really depressed area. All the industries packed up and left. There are now a multitude of $10 / hr "painters" working to supplement unemployment benefits (with $10 a gal paint). I get $40 for fine finishes and ask $75 for Faux & Art work. Simple & easy cut and roll, $25. In the city of Toronto, for 35 years, I started at $30 & finished at $62.50 (I charge by the day and no mater what, you pay half a day if I go out at all!)

The $10 paint frustrates my supplier as well. Then the idiots wonder why the job looks like $hit and they are left with a ton of clean up and damages to repair. (GOOD ON THEM, I SAY!) One does not ever get what one has not paid for and sometimes they don't get what they did pay for.

HOWEVER, I live as well as I ever did. In Toronto I lived in a pretty posh neighborhood and paid for the privilege, a had 2 sons & a Rescue Teen at home, stocking a fridge for them and all their friends AND then helped pay for one to attend University. Now I own a 5 bedroom, $2200 sq ft 1900 house with stained glass & vintage wood work that was for cheap, no kids and no extraneous expenses. All of the utilities now cost less and I have less homework. So as the young'uns used to say, "It's all good!" :biggrin:
 

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Not enough apparently, considering the above. Definitely below the other numbers mentioned above AND that's in CAN$. That being said, I'm pretty sure I'm one of the more expensive painters in town.
I guess that makes two of us! :vs_smirk:
 

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Pay? I'm supposed to get PAID! WTF!
NO, not you silly! The painters, you just sell the stuff.:vs_smirk:

People that run small shops don't get paid, just ask a book seller! Hubby sold rare books and had a store for 40 years, he survived it but that's about it! He was one of the most prestigious booksellers in the Canada and when people would say to him "OOH, your famous" his reply was "Stuff the prestige, I just want to sell books, fame doesn't pay bills!" When he closed the shop 18 news agencies carried the story in print and on TV. That closing sale was the most money the store ever made in a year and we still have 25-30000 books left to sell.
 

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Are we talking how much we charge hourly or how much we actually pay ourselves after business expenses?
I don't know about the rest, but mine is after expenses! Expenses, I charge the customer under the general term "materials" and do not itemize.
 

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@PPD, I'm now in my 40th year. Some of those early years, circa 1978 - 1985 were "high school/college painting years" and actually don't count. I officially became a contractor in 1988. I've tried to get into the higher end market, but, in my area, that would mean a daily commute of 100 or so miles and I'd rather avoid that kind of travel if necessary.

$30 per hour (roughly, sometimes more depending on job type) is indeed after overhead.

Can an old dog learn new tricks? Not likely for me. I have one foot in the glue factory so bumping up my clientele as well as my earnings would require too much work for this old, old goat.
 

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1) What do you pay yourself?

2 years ago when I started my business I was at $30/Hr doing just exteriors, Now-a-days it ranges from $75-$100/hr depending if I am doing interior/exterior basics VS Cabinet Re-finishing. Bigger projects I estimate using square footage. Unfortunately in Oregon theres a big self-employment tax with also a heavy state and federal tax which has to be added as overhead to that hourly pay.

2) Location?

Bend Oregon and surrounding areas. Right now in the market we are having, painting is bringing in anywhere from $2.50/sqft to $5/sqft. With the market being inflated you also see an increase in product cost so it comes out in the wash.

3) Does the rate vary based on scale of job and/or speciality finishes?

Of course. I have residential pricing ($2-$2.75/sqft) then also commercial pricing ($3-$3.75/sqft). When it comes to speciality finishes (Glazes, tinted lacquer, cabinet refinishing) I am charging by the hour ($100/hr).
 

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Girl Boss
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Are we talking how much we charge hourly or how much we actually pay ourselves after business expenses?
How much you pay yourself.

I was told early on to pay myself FIRST (as if I were an employee) if I wanted my business to survive. Best advice I’ve ever received!

I’d been doing materials (& overhead) + labor = bid....

It left nothing to put back into the business unless I cut my own pay....which isnt how business works so why do we do it that way?

So I changed my thinking & started estimating w/ the mindset of someone who was there to see what materials & labor would be & the ‘employee’ hourly rate’s then added on top.
 

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Girl Boss
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516 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
1) What do you pay yourself?

2 years ago when I started my business I was at $30/Hr doing just exteriors, Now-a-days it ranges from $75-$100/hr depending if I am doing interior/exterior basics VS Cabinet Re-finishing. Bigger projects I estimate using square footage. Unfortunately in Oregon theres a big self-employment tax with also a heavy state and federal tax which has to be added as overhead to that hourly pay.

2) Location?

Bend Oregon and surrounding areas. Right now in the market we are having, painting is bringing in anywhere from $2.50/sqft to $5/sqft. With the market being inflated you also see an increase in product cost so it comes out in the wash.

3) Does the rate vary based on scale of job and/or speciality finishes?

Of course. I have residential pricing ($2-$2.75/sqft) then also commercial pricing ($3-$3.75/sqft). When it comes to speciality finishes (Glazes, tinted lacquer, cabinet refinishing) I am charging by the hour ($100/hr).
The markets DEFIANTLY inflated right now, I feel like I’m constantly waiting for the shoe to drop!


This past yr’s been so full of labor intensive jobs that I’ve overshot some estimates simply because I lacked the time...and ended up with the job anyways. Can’t last forever tho, but I’m loving it while it does cuz I wake up excited to do what I do every single day 🙂 and I get bored of playing around in the shop when its dead.

Your prices are really comparable to mine- its good to see I’m in the same ballpark as some others 🙂

Fine finishes are so subjective, (multiple layers or difficulty= $65+++) but they’re the most challenging & fun so I love clients who want it done no matter the cost...and those rare unicorns that give creative freedom make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world!
 

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Girl Boss
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516 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@PPD, I'm now in my 40th year. Some of those early years, circa 1978 - 1985 were "high school/college painting years" and actually don't count. I officially became a contractor in 1988. I've tried to get into the higher end market, but, in my area, that would mean a daily commute of 100 or so miles and I'd rather avoid that kind of travel if necessary.

$30 per hour (roughly, sometimes more depending on job type) is indeed after overhead.

Can an old dog learn new tricks? Not likely for me. I have one foot in the glue factory so bumping up my clientele as well as my earnings would require too much work for this old, old goat.
Ya thats A LOT of driving! I’m willing to travel quite far for the right fee but being in southern California means charging for the stress of constant traffic (35 miles = 2-3 hrs @ certain times of the day). If my target client base wasnt in the higher income bracket theres no way I’d be willing to travel as far as I do.

$30 hr after costs isnt anything to scoff at...depending on yearly sales thats a damn good living! Haha glue factory...ya killed me with that one (pun intended 😉
 

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At the recent SW ProShow I was speaking with the owner of a large commercial shop (100+ painters) about rates. He was saying their T&M rates are around $65-$75, but they can go higher depending on the specifics of the contracts and mark ups.

I’ve been at $50.00/hr since I started my business in 2014. The cost of living is rising so fast that I raised my rate to $60/hr this year.

In the past I haven’t marked up materials, but that may be changing too. We’ll see.





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