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Are You Making These 3 Mistakes During Your Estimates?

3 mistakes not to make while you are doing your next estimate. I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor here in New England.

I have made thousands of mistakes all over my career being a painting contractor, and these are the 3 that I would like you to avoid or try to avoid on your next one.

1. The guesstimate.

You pull up to a house, you walk inside and they show you the room, and you say yeah, it is going to be about $600 and 2 gallons of paint.

Well, that depends on if you probably know, when you’ve worked your numbers out on a piece of paper or a tablet, it is going to cost that much.

But you are really doing a disservice to the customer and showing your professionalism by not measuring the room, explaining the process while you are there, and then presenting them with the written proposal.

On the written proposal, let them know the prep sequence you are going to do, let them know how many finished coats they are going to do, what brand of caulking you are going to use, and what brand of paint you are going to use.

That is true when they are then comparing your estimate to someone else’s estimate, and you are $600 and 2 gallons of paints, so you are roughly around $700 and the other guy is about the same.

Who are they going to choose? Even if you have $50, $100 more, whatever it is, are they going to choose a professional or they are going to choose chuck on a trial?

So many people want to go from low price and you can avoid that and you don’t want to work for them anyway, but stop guesstimating.

You might guesstimate in your head, and then actually do all your calculations and find out if your guesstimate is even correct.

2. Production Rates.

Everybody hates this, production rates. I have talked about it in videos in the past, how do you get your production rate?

Now, I am going to give you something a little different now, don’t time yourself, because when you are timing yourself during production rates, you tend to go faster.

If you tell someone else, I am going to time you, go! They are going to speed up, at least in the beginning, they are going to speed up and it is going to be a kind of falsified production rate.

But next time when you have someone working with you, time them when they start painting those walls, let them finish first coating the walls and then stop it.

Don’t let them know you are doing it, because those breaks during the production of the painting of the room are normal breaks that someone would take, those all factor into your production rates.

Very rarely we will have someone start cutting and then rolling out a room with a no-stop, the phone doesn’t ring, they don’t pick it up when it rings, and they don’t run out to use the bathroom or have a smoke outside or whatever there is, or chit-chat and then things like that.

Just do a normal timing of someone painting, the next time one of your guys or one of your girls are going to start painting a door, 6-panel door, click your timer on your phone, let them do the entire door.

Let them put the drop cloth underneath it, let them take the door down, let them brush it down, sand it, whatever else you do to the door, and then paint the door for the first coat, stop your timer.

Maybe they stop during that time to use the bathroom, maybe they stop to tell a joke, these are important because these are going to factor to your everyday life, doing your production rates.

3. Estimates on the Spot.

Practice doing estimates on the spot. When we started doing estimates on the spot… you can’t do every estimate on the spot, we realized that sometimes you need a little research, maybe it is an entire exterior, there is paint involved, and maybe there is scaffolding.

But probably 8 out of 10 times, you can sit back for about 15 minutes and put the estimate proposal together.

Before I started doing estimates on the spot, I would promise them that I would have the estimate to them within 24 hours, and I would aim to over-deliver and get it done as soon as I can.

And then I started giving myself more time in between estimates, would allow me to sit at their table, or I will sit in my truck to put the estimate together.

With all the new estimating tools out there; Estimate Rocket PEP, Joist, there is no reason why you can’t get to pull it up on a tablet or a laptop, in your truck and put the estimate together and deliver it right then.

One way to do this is you tell the homeowner, if you don’t mind, I am going to take about 10 minutes, 15 minutes off in my truck and then put the proposal together and then I am going to come back and present it to you.

They are thrilled because they are sick and tired of waiting for other people to give them estimates.

How many times have you heard a homeowner say, I called two other contractors, one of them came out, the other guy never returned my call, and I never got the estimate from the other contractor… Don’t be that guy.

In fact, I went out and I purchased canon printers, we keep it in the truck, open it right up, Bluetooth, print, they are not fast, but you can print 2 or 3 pages in no time.

Anyways these are very reasonable and I believe they are worth $100 or $200, but it allows me to present my estimate on the spot, but not only can I provide them the estimate on the spot, but I can also ask them any questions.

There might be something that I am including, the ceilings in the house where I am going to be giving a proposal to, and they say oh no, we don’t want the ceiling.

But we can cross them off and talk to them right there, I know what is going on in their head, you can kind of start reading people after a while, and you get the verbiage where you can kind of answer or ask those questions that are not yet to know, does this work for you?

You don’t want to ask them and say, no, we are all set, any question? Can I explain anything? You’ve got to dig deep to get those questions out of them before you know it, it will be signing right on a spot.

Anyways, so what we want to do is, we want to remember guesstimates, production rates and sell on the spot.

Anyways, I dare you to try this, get rid of those, don’t make the mistakes I did, and try to correct mistakes that you are making.

I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor, if you would like to reach me, it is Find me on Facebook, I am on there a lot, send me a message, I would love to chat with you.

Anyways, if you make any mistakes, odd as they are, I would love to hear it, you can write them in the comment line, you can send them my way.

Happy Estimating!

About the Author

Ron Ramsden is the owner of the successful Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING, who implemented the DYB SYSTEM, and crushed it in 2015, and now coaches other painting contractors around the nation to do the same.