How to estimate a paint job. Or It's not guess work.
You can do all things correctly; but, if you mess up here, you can get hurt. It's not rocket science to estimate a paint job. It's actually fairly easy. I have seen everything in the way of paint job estimates, from something scribbled on a torn off sheet of scrap paper to ones like mine which are broken down into each room, and within each room, the individual elements.
The one thing that I don't think a painting estimate is, a guess. For some reason, some painters think that it impresses their potential clients, to walk through a job, and just throughout a number, based solely on that walk through. I imagine somewhere along the way, somebody saw the painter do that, and said, “Wow, you are good you can do that in your head!". Most of the time the owners of the homes that we paint, did not get impressed with that little of that trick. They all seemed to say the painter didn't really care enough to take the time to measure and really look at the job. People are too sophisticated to feel confident in what the contractor is trying to pull off as some secret mysterious intelligence used only by them.
We lose a really powerful tool, if all we do is measure. It is much better that we spend time asking questions. Asking things like, How long have you been planning this job?. Are you painting to sell?
What is the reason that you are painting? I am usually amused by their reaction to some of my questions. It's as though they couldn't even imagine a painting contractor asking those questions, or they can't imagine why a painting contractor would ask those questions. If you are good you ask these questions as you measure and walk around the house, and pet Scooby Doo at the same time.
When I walk into a client's home, I will ask them if I should take my shoes off. I always wear good socks.
More and more people are leaving their shoes at the door. It does make the home much cleaner. It seems to give them the feeling that I am being respectful of their property. It also is a direct result of walking into someone's house on their white rug, and leaving muddy footprints.
Some painting contractors are working with their laptops, and printing their estimates from the printer in the truck. They are doing what is the “one" call estimate. I have tried it, and I prefer a two step. That is the measure call and then a sit down with all deciding people. The advantages of the one stop are obvious. The estimator gains a big time savings. If the contractor has many estimates to do, then it is a real time saver.
Personally I have tried it, I prefer the two step measure call and then sales call. The reason is that I get a chance to sit down and go over the Proposal with the decision makers. I firmly believe that more sales are made this way than just leaving the estimate.
Patrick Cavanaugh has 30 years running a successful painting business , and helping others improve their business, and raising the standards of painters everywhere.