Interior Painting Prices

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Old 08-11-07, 07:08 PM
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Interior Painting Prices

I am starting an interior painting business in St. Paul, MN. How do I set the prices for bids?
 
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Old 08-11-07, 07:41 PM
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Go to the arcitecture forum (I spelled that wrong) and look at the thread on estimating from Noguru. I have a section on estimating interior painting there.
It is toward the bottom of the thread but there are helpful hints for you in the entire thread. She does interior painting also.
 
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Old 08-12-07, 04:36 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Here is the link to the thread Jack mentioned
http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=301074

Estimating cost/price for painting is pretty much like any other bid - you figure approximate cost both for labor and materials, don't forget to include overhead [license, taxes, insurance, equipment,etc] I like to add a little extra [often 10%] to cover anything I under estimate or miss.

A generic price per room/house seldom ever works. There are many variables which will affect the amount of labor or materials needed.

Will you be pricing repaints? or new work?
 
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Old 08-12-07, 09:04 AM
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decorwood interiors

the way i do it is i look over job,i figure how many days it will take,i have i fixed rate per day so if i charge 500 a day and its going to take 5 days price would be 2500 then i add 10 percent for material,if there are major repairs as in holes dry wall repairs,wall paper etc i charge for each can bump price up quite a bit even if its still 5 days but it looks good on quote lol.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 03:24 AM
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Estimating is an art form that you get better at the more you do it. The easiest way to begin is to break down the job into the various comonents. Preparation, Prime, Paint Field, Paint Trim. Give your self an estimate that looks at each of these things separately. An easy way to begin is to establish a cost per sqft of floor space. For example

12' x 12' room = 144 sqft....at $1 per sqft per coat you get $144 per coat.
Prime + 2 coats would then be 3 x $144 = $432 labor to do the field (plus ceiling)

Then you add for trim - 48 Lf base plus 18 Lf door casing = 66 LF x whatever price you deem appropriate.

Plus, add what you think you will need for sanding, caulking and spackling.

Plan on $30 to $35 per gallon for a good wall paint and don't skimp on the tools you use. I alway use lambskin rollers and high end brushes. Canvas drop cloths and lots of plastic to cover furniture as needed.

There are several companies that offer estimating programs that you can use on your computer. There are some that are specific to painting. These can be found at your Larger National Bookstores or may be downloaded from the internet. They help you "get a bid in the ballpark" so that you are competitive with other contractors bidding on the same job. If all the bids are similar, you will be chosen based on reputation and your presentation skills. Homeowners need to feel comfortable with who they allow into their homes. Turn on the charm, be honest, do what you say, show up on time, and be professional. Good luck and I hope your business soars.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by czizzi View Post
Plan on $30 to $35 per gallon for a good wall paint and don't skimp on the tools you use. I alway use lambskin rollers and high end brushes. Canvas drop cloths and lots of plastic to cover furniture as needed.
If you set up an account with a local paint store, you will not pay retail for your paints. The more stuff you buy, the better your price. Depending on the product, you may pay $20/gallon for a product that retails for $30. or less. talk to a rep from the store and they can work with you for pricing on paint and sudries.
 
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Old 08-13-07, 10:26 PM
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Pricing jobs is a difficult part of the trade
There is no one answer...no right answer...
I know people that have been in business for years with no real clue

I can tell you to research it, try a few things, and see what works for you
Keep track of ALL expenses and production rates
Remember, if you use a piece of paper to write a contract, the paper is an expense
Remember that you or your crew may be able to paint a 6 panel door in 1/2 an hour and use 2/3 a quart of paint, but they still had to drive there, and someone still had to answer the phone, estimate the job, sell the job, bill the job, and deposit the check....and the other 1/3 can is useless for something else
Even if those people are you, they (you) still need to get paid for their time

Sq. ft. vs. T & M bid is always an on-going debate
IMO most repaints there's too much other stuff involved to use sq. ft.
New const. it's a little easier to do sq. ft.
 
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Old 08-15-07, 10:40 AM
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I like czizzi's approach. I painted on the side for several years and always used $1/sq ft as a starting point. Add on from that for multiple coats, cutting due to a different ceiling color, and so forth. Fudge your estimate on the high side. Have a $/hr figure in mind that you would like to average. After completing a project, calculate your labor/material costs. If you made a killing on the labor, give the customer a break. Nothing makes a customer more happy than a bill lower than the estimate. They'll give you more business if they have, and you'll gain more jobs through word of mouth. Always keep stats on materials, sq footage, hours, and odd ball stuff such as cabinets and doors. Then refer back to these stats when you find similar circumstances that you have to consider when quoting other jobs. Good luck.
 
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Old 08-16-07, 05:10 PM
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The reason to go with SF pricing is for consistency. It speeds up the estimating process and gives you a consistant number that you hit each time across all jobs. A year from now, you are not going to remember how long a certain job took, but you will remember if you made any money. By having a consistent pricing program in place, you can adjust as needed with little effort as your speed and skill level increases.

The only time a SF calculation does not work is if you are only asked to paint a small bathroom or closet. Then you have to adjust to a time based estimate.
 
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Old 08-17-07, 05:32 AM
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I agree that a sq ft price can work well for new work but there are too many variables with repaints. How much furniture has to be moved/covered and repair work if any are just 2 factors that can make a big difference in pricing. There are times that the actual time spent applying the paint is the smaller portion of the labor.
 
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Old 08-17-07, 08:45 AM
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As I mentioned, there will be proponents of both sq. ft. and per job pricing

I can appreciate the sq. ft. approach for repaints, but take issue with "he only time a SF calculation does not work is if you are only asked to paint a small bathroom or closet...."
Sq. ft. doesn't take ANY unusual factors into considerations, so the chance of it not "working" accurately for repaints is high

There are many unusual time consuming factors that can seriously affect production rates for repaints

I also take issue with the statement "A year from now, you are not going to remember how long a certain job took..."
A keep records of my production rates, test them and even adjust them every once in a while
I absolutely know how long each section of a job from a year ago took

In affect, that means I do use sq./li. ft. pricing to a point, or as a pricing tool

Don't get me wrong, I know other contractors that use sq. ft. totally for repaints
Not many, but they are out there
The consistency is in the PRICE, not in the production and cost and profit
Even they will freely admit they win some, and lose some
They need the "kills" (high profit) to cover the ones they were "killed" (a factor affected or eliminated profit) on
I prefer a more consistent income/profit margin/percentage myself, rather than making it easier to bid the job

I also disagree that the market sets the price
("help you "get a bid in the ballpark" so that you are competitive with other contractors bidding on the same job.")
The way to figure pricing is not on someone else's arbitrary numbers
First off, what if they are wrong and driving their business slowly into the ground, or simply "own a job" rather than a business
One should figure out one's own numbers, then figure out what one needs to charge to make them, then find a market for the service
This is only a problem if you are using "price to close" the sale
And frankly, cheap people aren't your best/target customers
In fact, they are the worst
They'll drop you like a hot potato the minute someone cheaper comes along

Just like any other business like cars, computers, whatever
Yes I know some of these businesses use "the market" to set price...like I said, there will be proponents of both sides
Most that use market though, use it as a guide, or adjustment
Or using "what the market will bear" try and maximize profit on a temporary basis (for ex. a new video game's higher initial price), or trying to capitalize on the "cheap person's market", like dawoo cars (<-note they are no longer in the US)

I'm not saying czizzi and spackle are wrong in the way they bid jobs
There is no "right" way
If it works for you, it works for you
I have tried a few different ones
But I use an approach more like classicdesign's
It works out much better for me, and I'd strongly recommend it for any one, two, or three man painting business
 
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Old 08-17-07, 08:46 AM
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"There are times that the actual time spent applying the paint is the smaller portion of the labor."

There are times doing repaints that applying the paint is a teeny tiny portion of the labor
 
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Old 08-17-07, 12:44 PM
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I think we are missing the spirit of the original posters question. We have a rookie, just starting out and he needs some guidelines to assist him. All the things you have mentioned are valid points. Things that are learned over time. Yes, no two jobs are exactly alike. If you re-read my initial post you will see that the sq ft calculation serves as a base to BEGIN the estimate and pertains only to the final wall paint application (your teeny tiny). Then you ADD for all the prep, trim, & repair items on top of that specific to the requirements of the repaint.

Yes, I think it is important for Carlee to be competitive in his pricing. This gets him closer to making a profit right out of the starting block. Remember, it will take some time for him to build a reputation and base of satisfied customers that will spread his name around and use as references.

I think you oversimplified the intent of my suggestions. I too know contractors who measure a room and throw out a price. I use a few as subcontractors when I am backed up. That is not what I am talking about. Each job stands alone and is tailored to meet the requirements of that assignment.
 
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