Could You Estimate this Painting Job?

If I said that you could accurately bid a painting job for a 2,000 square foot house without leaving your office, would you believe me? Probably not, and understandably so. But if you read on, you will learn how I could do it, and how you could do it too.

Let us say that our fictional house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, family room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, laundry room, and a hallway from the entry to the bedrooms. Each bedroom has a closet and there are 2 closets in the hallway. There is crown moulding in the living room, dining room, and master bedroom. The cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are painted. Do you think that this is enough information to bid this job?

However, what if you knew the size of each room? Could you bid this then? I could, and my bid would be accurate.

All things being equal, a painter should perform a specific task in X amount of time. If he can prep and paint a 6 over 6 window in 45 minutes at Mrs. Brown’s house, he should be able to prep and paint a 6 over 6 window in the same time at Mr. Green’s house. If we know the time required for each task, then the estimating process is simply a matter of identifying the tasks on a particular job and how much of each task.

Of course, all things are seldom equal. The windows at Mr. Green’s may have peeling paint or need some wood repair. The windows at Mrs. Brown’s may be on the second story. But we can attach numbers to these tasks as well. For example, we can identify how much longer it takes to paint a 6 over 6 window on the second story versus the first. If we attach a number to each of these variables, then estimating simply includes identifying the extent of each variable.

So, if I know the size of each room, I can calculate the quantity of each task. I can determine how much wall space there is to paint, the number of doors, etc. And because I know how long it takes to complete each task, as well as the material requirements, I can calculate how many labor hours and gallons of paint will be needed. If I were bidding this job sight unseen, my proposal would clearly and carefully state what prep would be included, and thus my price would accurately reflect the scope of work proposed.

(I hasten to add that I do not recommend bidding jobs without seeing them. We must see exactly what prep would be required, if there are access issues, and more. We want to propose a job that meets the customer’s needs and desires, and we cannot do this without visiting the job site.)

If it is possible to accurately bid a job sight unseen, imagine what is possible when you actually put your eyes on it. Imagine what is possible when you have an estimating system.

We will soon be releasing Estimating Paint Jobs. This video course explains how to develop an estimating system, and comes with forms, sample production rates, and more. You will learn the theory behind a measurement based estimating system, and see actually applications in the field. Click here to learn more.

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