Overview on How to Estimate Painting Jobs

How To Estimate Painting Jobs

Estimating the time and effort a painting job will take is one of the most important parts and the central activity of managing and operating a profitable painting business.  We’re going to focus on how to estimate painting jobs and cover the most important things you need to consider each and every time you go to estimate a painting job.

Correct estimates will improve your bottom line – incorrect estimates could mean losing money even on projects you complete on time and within budget for the client. The following are the most important things to know and consider when making your estimates, and after you’ve done a few jobs, you should have a better idea for how long each one will actually take.  The following are examples of questions you need to ask yourself as you examine the job site in order to produce an accurate estimate:

  • Job Scope: How big is the job, really? What are you expected to do, and how many days will this take to do?  Is it likely you can complete it in the time required by the client especially if you need to consider weather conditions?  Will you need to hire subcontractors to meet the requirements?
  • Surface Conditions: How easy will it be to paint in a given area? Will you only need to give a single solid coat of paint, or will you have to carefully apply multiple layers to cover flaws, problems, or a dark surface?  Is the condition of the surface damaged and will repair be required before painting?
  • Number of Items: What objects or items are included in the paint job?  Consider the number of walls, doors, windows, crown moulding, baseboards, other trim, and ceilings you will need to include in the paint job or will you need paint around the items?
  • Measurements: How many square feet and linear feet will you need to paint for each item the client wants you to include in the job?  Once you have the item list and the number of each item, all will need accurate measurements.
  • Interior versus Exterior: Is the job interior residential, exterior residential, or commercial? How easy is it to access the job site and the areas to be painted? Remember, high places, both inside and outside, require more time going up and down ladders; setting up staging for the job; and accessing the staging or scaffolding if required.

How to Estimate Painting Jobs with Accurate Production Rates

Knowing how to estimate painting jobs will help maximize your productivity and allow for more accurate estimates in the future.  When you perform estimating correctly, this will help you get more jobs, track your jobs, and maximize the profit from each one.  If your employees or sub-contractors are not able to do the job in the amount of time and money quoted to the client, this of course impacts profitability and your business reputation.

The process of estimating using a program such as PEP Cloud minimizes the errors and is simple and straightforward once you understand how to create your own unique production rates. Starting out in the painting business, it is difficult to know how fast you can paint a particular job.  With the PEP Cloud program, contractors learn how to create their own rates, which are stored in the program for reuse on the next job.

The PEP Cloud program starts with rates that are based on industry standard rates but are modified to take into consideration your unique circumstances, which are plugged into the PEP program.  Although, the initial numbers the system reports are based on industry averages, over the course of a few jobs, the program learns to provide numbers unique to your business. This makes it fast, easy, and affordable to provide consistent, high-quality estimates for all jobs.

For example, consider a basic repainting job. The system will likely ask for the length, width, height, number of doors, and number of windows – the final estimate for the job will ultimately be a balance between each of these factors.

While most of the variables are about things that add time to the project, it’s important to remember that some variables can reduce the time it takes to paint the room. Such as using better painting tools, and if you’re regularly changing equipment between jobs, due to limited number, perhaps you’ll want to take that into account when making your estimates.

Finally, the system will automatically estimate the number of hours of labor needed for each type of job. Consider offering customers a range of prices (e.g. “between $600 and $700, but not over that”) until the program’s accuracy increases.  This will give you a valid justification for the final price provided to the client upon completion and no surprises.

For more information on how to create your own production rates and to use these rates in estimating different types of jobs, please review the following educational videos:

Production Rates – link to video on how to create production rates:

Creating Easy Estimates – link to video on how to do an interior estimate:

Creating Exterior Estimates – link to video on how to create an estimate:

Creating Advanced Estimates – link to video on how to create an advanced estimate:

PEP, LLC presents PEP Cloud and PEP Cloud PRO as the leading edge estimating and business management cloud-based software program designed by a painter, for painting contractors.  PEP Cloud is a strategic business tool that guides you in constructing a professional, legally binding proposal and contract for your clients which is quickly and easily delivered electronically for the convenience of all parties.  PEP Cloud PRO, is designed to aid you in keeping your business organized, allowing you to easily track your jobs and clients, manage your employees, and correctly calculate your fees and expenses of all jobs, so you can achieve consistently the profitability you require.  PEP Cloud and PEP Cloud PRO will help take your business to the next level and demonstrate the professionalism you desire for your company.  Call us to schedule a demonstration of PEP Cloud and PEP Cloud PRO painting management software or sign up here to show you how to estimate painting jobs with PEP Cloud and PEP Cloud PRO; and why it is critically important to do it right for the profitability of your painting business.