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What to Look For When Bidding On New Construction

Bidding on new construction; especially something like this which is a custom home. I’m Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, also a painting contractor up here in New England.

How do you build something like this? A lot of us at sometimes it is overwhelming.

This is not a track home so we’re not doing an entire development, but we were called in to actually price out the interior of the home.

A couple of things we want to go over first before we put any kind of bid together is we want to ask a bunch of questions.

We usually put this in writing, send out an email because we want to make sure we’re on the same page and know what’s happening in something like this.

What’s going to happen on these walls? What’s going on these walls? Are these plaster or are these sheetrock?
There are two different preps, we do for those different items.

Also is there any crown molding, obviously in the second floor here which is the peak, there won’t be any crown molding because everything comes to a peak up at the top but is there going to be crown molding?

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And this is a question, these are the little things that can hurt you or can actually break a job.

Crown molding is something that for years I’d say I don’t worry about it.

But if you actually thought about the work that goes into crown molding and how much it costs you to prep and paint, so you thinking about crown molding.

You not only have to fill the holes, but you also have the sand the wood, you have to prime the wood, if it’s not pre-primed, you have to caulk above and below it.

You’ve got a caulk the seams and then you’ve got to actually add the paint… all these on a ladder.

So you know, those little things that you could say, we will just throw it in, throwing it in is going to cost a lot of money and if your mechanic is like my mechanic, he doesn’t throw in a free oil change or a free set of tires.
So, think of that when you’re putting your prices together.

Also, you want to ask about finishes, you want to ask about doors.
What kind of trim packages is going to be?

So what I’ll do in my proposal is I’ll actually take a screenshot of a trim, a piece of trim or a profile piece of trim and let them know this is something that we’re bidding it as.

We are assuming that the trim is going to be this, please let me know if it’s not, so we can actually paint and bid it out the right way.

The same thing with the window trim, we want to make sure the window trim, the door trim, the baseboard profile.
Is it a simple one or is it maybe a couple two or three-piece?

We’re going to have to caulk in between those pieces, depending on the kind of home we’re in.

Also, are we going to be able to get in there ahead of time and prime out this entire place and paint the ceilings and then let them do their trim?

We’d love to have that done ahead of time just after that, all we’ll have to do is maybe a touch up on the ceiling when something bumped it, we won’t have to be painting the ceilings after the other things are already built in.

We’d love to do that; we actually love to give the contractor a schedule of what we’re assuming it’s going to be.

This is all done before our estimate is even done for these contractors. A lot of times if they are just looking for a price, they won’t even answer these questions.

If they’re not going to answer these questions, that’s someone we don’t want to work for.
That’s a couple of the other things. Another thing we want to know is, is there going to be power in this job? Are we going to have electricity? Is there going to be heat?

We also specify that in our proposal to make sure that there is onsite electricity and onsite heat. Many at times, we have come to a job like this when they say it’s ready and it’s nowhere near ready for us to work in.

So, those are a couple of the simple questions we ask them when we’re getting ready to bid an interior job.
We want to do surfaces, are these going to be plaster or sheet rock walls?

We want to know trim packages, we want to know if there’s electricity, if there’s heat, is there crown molding?

Is there a chair rail in the dining room? Are there raise panels? All of these things cost money, they are much, much different than having just basic sheet rock walls.

Also, what’s happening with the floor? Are they expecting us to stain the stair treads? What’s going on with the railing?

We have a lot of railings now that are coming in as metal, ballista. We don’t have to paint them; it saves a lot of time for us.

Also, the schedule of events happening at one of these jobs.
Who’s getting in where? When can we get in? And are the other trades going to be in our way?

I know a few contractors, we don’t have this on our proposal, but the solo trade that can be on the job site when they’re ready to paint.

If any other trades are on the job site, the job automatically switches over to time and material it’s a pretty big ask, but if you’re in here to make money and not just generate a weekly paycheck, you have to have these things written down so you can provide these to the general contractor or the homeowner and have them signed off on them.

Please follow me on the next interior videos, please comment here.

Things that you put in, question you ask your general contractor… I’d love to see them, I’d love to read them, and I’d love to share them with the rest of the viewers on this.

I’m Ron Ramsden, and I am a DYB coach. You can reach me at, find me on Facebook, send me a message, I’d love to chat.
Have a great day, and happy bidding.

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.