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Old 08-30-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
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Default Any painters in here? Need help on bidding a job.

I'm curious if anyone here is a painter for a living, or if anyone here has some painting experience to help me out.

I got word that our shop owner was looking to have both our buildings repainted and with work being slow and everything I ******* jumped on the opportunity. I've painted before, but I have NO IDEA what the going rates are. When I was in Sherwin Williams today I was tempted to ask the guy, but I didnt want to be one of "those" customers, as I assume they probably get that a lot. Good thing too, cause after some talking with the manager I will be doing an estimate for their store for some concrete work this week as well!

Anyways, the 1st building is 3,579 sqft. 3/4 of it is masonry and 1/4 of it is wood. Its currently a medium blue and they want it changed to dark gray. He wants it power washed first, and then any spots that are flaking to bare block he wants coated in primer. I don't have to touch the trim and he doesn't even want me to remove the downspouts (although I probably will seeing it only takes 5 mins and will make it easier to paint). Basically he's not looking for a million dollar job. lol

According to the guy at Sherwin Williams today, 10 gallons should cover everything for 1 coat. I bought a qt of the dark gray today and did a test patch behind the building to see how well one coat will do it, also to show the owner the color, seeing I just kinda picked it out of all the other grays. He said that his 15yr warranty paint runs $28 a gal for satin, so say roughly $300 for paint, and maybe another $200 in drop clothes, brushes, rollers, etc. Then maybe $100-$200 for the pressure washer, depending on how long it takes me. So I'm going to say $650ish for materials up front.

My problem is I'm not sure what to charge per sqft. My buddy that has painting experience said .65 a sqft, but I don't know how accurate he is and if I can take his word for it. If I go for .65 that brings me to $2326.35 for labor. I don't know if that's on target with the competition or what, nor do I know if that's fair for my compensation.

When I first looked at the building and thought about it I was figuring $3500 total (labor and materials), and that it would take me 1.5-2 weeks to finish. I'm not looking to **** anyone here, but I don't want to sell myself short either.

I attached a little drawing I did of the building when I took my measurements.
Attached Thumbnails
Any painters in here? Need help on bidding a job.-img-5-.jpg  

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Old 08-30-2010, 10:26 PM   #2
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Default No F'ing clue.

But this answer sounds pretty thorough

If it were me though... I would be sure that I was up to the task. I don't know anything about you... not making judgements about your ability to perform this task to his expectations. Business owners love to save money where ever they can, so he probably loves the idea of having you do the job. But if it doesn't come out the way he expects it, you will still be there working for him (or not) and have to deal with it. You might not know the going rate... but even if he tells you he doesn't either, I am sure that he does. Even if he hasn't had someone come and inspect the job, he has looked around, probably talked to pros or other business owners he knows that have had similar work done. Whatever figure you come up with, there is no way he is going to agree to it if it isn't saving him enough compared to a pro job. Small business owners just don't stay in business that way.

Good Luck
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:44 PM   #3
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First off remember your not licensed nor a professional so you cant really ask and charge the normal going rate of what a real business would charge.

What you should do is give the dimensions of your work place to a real painter, ask how much he would charge and just take 25% off what he quotes you or what ever you feel like is fair.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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Something to consider....

If the building owner had the idea to get professionals to do the job, thier quote will be "fat". They will have the overhead to cover, like workers comp, gen. liabilty and taxes and such....

There were times in my previous life (stuctural steel erector) when I was stumped as what to bid. Often, if I had a decent rapport, was to ask what kinda money they were thinking it was gonna cost. If I got halfway straight answer this gave me some clues...

First, of course what they wanted to spend.

Second, if their number was real low, and I could tell they were being straight with me; that told me to shy away from the job. Doudtful he would be happy at any price, and then pick apart my work without a real understanding of the common practices of my trade.

Third, if they were thinking of a number higher than mine, then I would throw 10 or 20% on top of that and possibly try to flip them to the idea of going T&M or Cost Plus. The benifit of the flip is while the money will likely be the same in the end, if things that are out of my control cause me to run overbudget, then its his budget, and I still get paid.

If you are truely talented with negotiating, I would say offer a "not to exceed" bid, whereas, your bid appears high but because its "not to exceed" it has a good chance of costing a lot less in the end. However you sell them on the idea because you report all expenses to them weekly. (And draw that amount in the form of a check in 7 days.) The reason this looks so attractive to them is because, as an owner they are acustomed to having control, and this form of a bid gives them the appearance of control. Full disclosure is key, feel and believe in your heart that you are worthy of the $35 an hour you are charging and the quality of work you will do. This form of bidding won a lot of bids for me, and was responsible for operating at a 40 to 45% net.

I hope I have helped, tho it doesnt help with the sqft question.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZZYZZZ View Post
But this answer sounds pretty thorough

If it were me though... I would be sure that I was up to the task. I don't know anything about you... not making judgements about your ability to perform this task to his expectations. Business owners love to save money where ever they can, so he probably loves the idea of having you do the job. But if it doesn't come out the way he expects it, you will still be there working for him (or not) and have to deal with it. You might not know the going rate... but even if he tells you he doesn't either, I am sure that he does. Even if he hasn't had someone come and inspect the job, he has looked around, probably talked to pros or other business owners he knows that have had similar work done. Whatever figure you come up with, there is no way he is going to agree to it if it isn't saving him enough compared to a pro job. Small business owners just don't stay in business that way.

Good Luck
I'm definitely up for the task. Like I said, I've painted before, but never on my own being the one that puts the bid in. And he did have another guy come and check the place out to give him an estimate, but that was 3-4 weeks ago and they still haven't heard from the guy. I figure if I get them a price ASAP and they see I already did a test patch for them, I think as long as I'm priced accordingly, the job is mine. Thanks man!

Quote:
Originally Posted by railz View Post
First off remember your not licensed nor a professional so you cant really ask and charge the normal going rate of what a real business would charge.

What you should do is give the dimensions of your work place to a real painter, ask how much he would charge and just take 25% off what he quotes you or what ever you feel like is fair.
I was thinking about this as well. I have a friend of mine that said he would call up a painter buddy of his and ask him what he thought price wise. My only fear is that I let someone know too much and they come and take the job away from me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky64 View Post
Something to consider....

If the building owner had the idea to get professionals to do the job, thier quote will be "fat". They will have the overhead to cover, like workers comp, gen. liabilty and taxes and such....

There were times in my previous life (stuctural steel erector) when I was stumped as what to bid. Often, if I had a decent rapport, was to ask what kinda money they were thinking it was gonna cost. If I got halfway straight answer this gave me some clues...

First, of course what they wanted to spend.

Second, if their number was real low, and I could tell they were being straight with me; that told me to shy away from the job. Doudtful he would be happy at any price, and then pick apart my work without a real understanding of the common practices of my trade.

Third, if they were thinking of a number higher than mine, then I would throw 10 or 20% on top of that and possibly try to flip them to the idea of going T&M or Cost Plus. The benifit of the flip is while the money will likely be the same in the end, if things that are out of my control cause me to run overbudget, then its his budget, and I still get paid.

If you are truely talented with negotiating, I would say offer a "not to exceed" bid, whereas, your bid appears high but because its "not to exceed" it has a good chance of costing a lot less in the end. However you sell them on the idea because you report all expenses to them weekly. (And draw that amount in the form of a check in 7 days.) The reason this looks so attractive to them is because, as an owner they are acustomed to having control, and this form of a bid gives them the appearance of control. Full disclosure is key, feel and believe in your heart that you are worthy of the $35 an hour you are charging and the quality of work you will do. This form of bidding won a lot of bids for me, and was responsible for operating at a 40 to 45% net.

I hope I have helped, tho it doesnt help with the sqft question.
Material wise I have a number that should stay on target for the job, as long as he only wants to do 1 coat. Besides the paint, primer, and a few odds and ends, the only other expense I have would be the power washer rental. I go to the shop on a daily basis anyways, and its only 5 mins from the house, so its not like I need to add in gas expense.

I'm probably going to do most of the job myself, if not the whole thing. My buddy was going to help me but after much consideration and waiting around 2 hours for him yesterday, I decided that if he cant take this seriously now, then when it comes time to actually get it done and he ***** me I'll end up getting in a fist fight with him over it. So, as far as wages per hour, I can figure that for just myself.

I found a forum thats all about painting so I'm doing some research on there now to see what info I can come up with. Hopefully I can have everything sorted out and an envelope ready to hand the guy tomorrow. Thanks for the great advice Rocky!
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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Hope it goes well for you, keep us informed, I am curious how this goes.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZZZYZZZ View Post
Hope it goes well for you, keep us informed, I am curious how this goes.
What a day.

So, while I was down at the shop this guy that's a mason who I've know for years stopped by, and he was talking with me and my boss about how today's his last day to get out of his house (divorce). After awhile I just randomly asked him if he knew anyone that painted and what they charge. He got right on the phone and called a buddy of his to ask him for me, and the guy said he charges $1.80-$2.00 a sqft, I was priced at $0.65 a sqft!

So anyways they helped me come up with a number that seemed fair and I typed up the estimate. Comes to $3960 for labor and materials. I called the lady and asked her if she could meet me down at the shop. She said she was just at the Honda dealership and waited 2.5 hours and they didnt even service her car and she was in a pissed off mood. I figured that would be perfect, now she'll definitely dick me down on the price. lol

We walked around the building and she checked out the color and loved it. We talked about some stuff that wasn't on the estimate and I told her it would be extra, etc. I gave her the envelope and she looked at the proposal and said "this doesn't include materials right?". So I guess I gave them a pretty good price! lol

Her brother came up about an hour later when I was having a couple beers with some of the guys and pulled me aside and said I got the job. I told him I really appreciated them even considering me for it and that I will take pride in the work and this building will be mint when I'm done with it.

So, I'm stoked! I really didnt expect this to happen so quick, or even at all. They are giving me a deposit tomorrow and I'll probably start on it Monday of next week. I'll be sure to post up some before and after shots of the progress to share.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:24 PM   #8
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Congrats! and god bless ya, I HATE painting with a passion....
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Old 08-31-2010, 11:39 PM   #9
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Congrats.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:16 AM   #10
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There aren't many things that make me happier than when I hear people doing well. Good for you.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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Thanks guys!

Yeah, I'm not to crazy about painting myself, well at least the trim work that is. Luckily I don't have much trim to do on this building.

I figure with the way work has been for the past year that I need to take what I can while its there for the taking. Who knows what next month, or next year will bring.

I'm also in the works on trying to buy out the other half of the concrete company from my boss, but right now its just talk. I really don't know what direction I'm going to take with my life at this point, but I figure as long as I keep working and don't give up, something is bound to happen sooner or later.

Who knows, maybe even one day I'll get the miata back on the ******* road! Knowing me it'll probably be just in time for winter....
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Old 09-01-2010, 07:02 PM   #12
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I hate painting, but there's a certain herb that makes the job less shitty. Take pride in your work and by word of mouth you'll end up with a new business.
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