Bid, Exterior, Painting

How to Bid Exterior Painting


As we are trying to assist some of the contractors, they quite often ask us “how do you come up with these estimates? How do you estimate?”

Well, we are going to touch base on exterior estimates with my drawings.

We going to go over a couple of sides of a house so you can come to a point where you can put your own estimate together; also some of the little extras that maybe you can add on to actually increase the price and what you are going to be delivering to the homeowner.

Here is my example house right here.

estimate, bid, exterior, how to

On the left, we have the front of the house, and on the right is the side of the house.

You’ll see it has three windows on the front, a bay window, and a door.

When approaching an exterior estimate if you don’t have your production rates (production rates take a long time to put together because you need a history of them), if you are going to be doing cedar clapboards and you know you can paint so many square feet per hour, then you can start looking at things and measuring up.

When you take a look you might say, “okay, there are 800 square feet of cedar clapboards, I know I can paint so many and one coat in so many hours” and then you can determine your price in that way.

I encourage you to start writing some of that down in a journal, either an electronic journal or a handwritten journal to start.

Why ? Because that’s when your numbers can really be fine-tuned for yourself and the crew.

We are only going to do two sides of the house, and you can times it by two if you would like to do that.

Anyways, it’s three windows, we have the door, we have the whole front, and everything else.

So what we are going to do is first look at it and see how much the prep is going to be.

If I’m looking at this house I think it would be safe to say it needs two guys for a day of prep.

There you have sixteen hours of prep, so it’s two days.

Then we are going to look at the house and we are going to paint the trim on the windows and so forth and so on.

It will probably take six days to paint that house.

With three guys it should be about two days to paint this side of the house.

It’s going to be about 40 feet up to the peak, so it’s going to be a lot of ladder movement.

Now, let’s look at the side of the house:

estimate, bid, exterior, how to

This is the fancy side of the house.

We have four windows on the lower section of the house. It’s probably 20 feet up to the soft hit and then we have one dormer.

The key for us with the dormer, after talking to quite a few contractors, one of the contractors say for the basic dormer, they automatically add one day for it.

It might work for you, it worked for me.

We’ll give the dormer one day alone to prep and paint that dormer because you might need a guy at the bottom holding that ladder for you during that time.

Secondly, we have the rest of the house.

We have the four windows and the body.

Not knowing production rate we are going to look at it and say “okay, how bad is this? What do we think it’s going to be?”

The guessing is really in the prep. So you really don’t know how much prep it’s going to be because you know sometimes you see it all and it looks like it’s only a few peels and then you start to scrape and then it’s a horror show.

The prep is the unknown. A lot of times asking a homeowner if we can do time and material on prep doesn’t really fly because they want to know what they are getting into.

We are going to say two days of prep on this side of the house also.

We have a little history of knowing it’s going to take about two days of prep.

Also this on this side we have the dormer that’s way up there and then say “okay, it’s probably going to take another four days on this side plus the dormer.” So we have five more days here.

Over here on the side of the house, we have two days of prep, six days of paint, which is eight days total for the side.

So we have fifteen days to paint the house.

Now we are going to go over to our pricing.

Pricing is the awe! Not everyone wants to talk about pricing.

But I’m going to tell you, a day of pricing, we can go by the hour, we could go by the day.

I’m going to break it down into the hour.

After talking to painters who are just starting out and do some very high-end paintings, I’m finding pricing heading up in the high thirties which was really low, to 85, to almost 90 dollars an hour for the inner cities high, high-quality residential painting.

So for this, I’m going to go for fifty dollars an hour.

I’m not saying that you should plan fifty dollars an hour, I’m just assuming it’s a $50 an hour to put a price together here.

In your pricing, you want to make sure you have your salaries or whatever you are paying your crew.

You are going to have matching taxes, you are going to have unemployment.

You are going to have all those employment taxes.

You are also going to have workmen compensation.

You need to have your liability insurance. It adds up when you start figuring all this out.

You are also going to have to have a vehicle, you are going to have that in sight.

You got to have the insurance for the vehicle. It goes on and on.

You have some overhead, you have some equipment that you want to put a little in the kitty for replacement of some equipment and tools, plus you need a profit.

You need a net profit at the end of all this and we’ll get into that in another video.

But we are just going to use $50 an hour for right now. So I like to line item all my estimates.

This way the homeowner isn’t shocked at that price. They don’t know what to say, so they can actually follow it through, and this is a very basic one.

I do use a program that once again we’ll talk about that in another program. But right here what I do is I would separate out the power wash.

Some of the typical power wash, if we are painting the house, we’ll say $250 for it.

To prep and paint we put them together, we have fifteen days.

estimate, bid, exterior, how to

Fifteen days at $400 dollars a day because $50 times 8 is 400. 400 times 16 is 6000.

So right there have $6000 for prep and paint the house.

We have to remember the materials.

I didn’t put any measurements from this house, but I’m going to say at least 12 gallons of paint… I think that’s fair.

It is $50 a gallon, about that, maybe it’s 40, 42 plus your mark up. Your 20% mark up 10% percent mark up when you are marking up your paint.

I always say you should add some percentage to your paint, and the reason why, if you are not adding anything to the paint and all your running around, what happens if one of those gallons doesn’t get mixed at the paint store.

What happens if the gallon is the wrong tint.

Maybe something happens that got switched. What happens if you have an extra gallon? What happens if you need an extra gallon or you don’t have enough gallons?

I usually charge 20%. Homeowners know we mark up the paint.

We are responsible for all that and we buy quality paint. So $600 in paint, $600 for materials and then also we have some sundries.

We have some other things that we not only paint, but we also need sandpaper, we need caulking, we are going to need all those things.

Adding it all up on top of my head I’m going to throw $100 out there.

I don’t like all these rounded off prices but it’s easy for the video here. So let’s add all these up.

We have $6000 in paint, we have $6950. So that would be the price to paint this house.

Of course, we only measured two sides. So this could be a $10,000/$12000 house.

Who knows? But some of the add-ons I like to do were line items.

If I’m walking around the house with the homeowner and I always make sure the homeowner is home, so we can do this together.

I can answer them questions, they can answer my questions.

If there is a fence there that needs painting, he or she might say, “well I might think of doing that another time.” so I’ll take a measurement of that. I would take a picture of it with my iPod or my iPhone.

I can add that in the estimate as a line item.

If they have a shadow detached garage, sometimes they even have a kid’s clubhouse that needs painting.

Those are the things they are going to say, maybe down the road…

Because when they see your price and then you have the add-ons extras that you can kind of know, and maybe we will just get this done at one time instead of having the disruption of someone coming back and doing more work and more work.

You are power washing the house, you can power wash the shed, you can power wash the fence and things like that.

Anyways, we don’t like to give anything for free, meaning we don’t like to add on things to our estimates.

Also when you go to your estimates, make sure you have dressed appropriately.

If you have painter’s whites, nothing is wrong with painter’s whites but maybe you have an extra pair of khakis or really nice jeans in the truck that you can change into prior to going to the estimate.

A nice polo shirt or something like that will make you stand out from the rest.

To make it super easy, make sure you download your free Estimating Bundle here.

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.