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President
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Work has been coming in little squirts this year. I have done more estimates than you could shake a stick at ....

right now I am averaging 1 job per 7 looks...

:mad:

The common reason from HO's: Thats way too much!

I actually got aggrevated enough at one couple and asked them if they expect me to work for free?

Their response: 'Well no, but $45 an hour to paint is a bit excessive, I only make $18/hr'

I have begun asking whats their budget, and it seems to me like people have an unrealistic idea as to what it should cost to do stuff... for instance, I had a older guy call me yesterday to paint the ext of his house, a 3 story house. His budget: $3,000 according to him, paint shouldnt cost more than $500... that leaves 2,500 left over for labor... 2 guys, $1,200 a week.. :laughing::blink:

I asked where he got such a rediculous idea from, his answer HGTV :censored:
 

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Talking Head
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I'm really not trying to piss in your Cheerios but you just described the reason I won't give a paint bid. I LOVE painting! It was the first thing I was truly good at. By the time I was 20 I could even do some faux finishes and a bit of trompe l'oeil.

Many people really think it's something that anyone can do as well as a pro if they feel like spending the time and $50 for tools. Look at all the bullsh--t rollers and sprayers on the home shopping network.

There are definitely painters who make a good living but they usually have crews and specialize in commercial and higher end properties. Places where people don't want some hack dripping on their expensive stuff. If you aren't specializing in any area then it's a good idea to start marketing in one direction to pick up that kind of work. I did well with restoration in NYC as the mouldings were frequently chewed up but expensive and difficult to replace. I found a couple blocks of brownstones that all had built in shutters but they had ALL been sealed up so everyone thought they were just paneling next to the windows. That was months of work right there.

Anyway, I feel your pain.
 

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Not trying to kick you but I have some ideas.

1. Work on your attitude about it
2. Qualify your customers better so you are not wasting your time chasing ghosts
3. Fix your marketing to attract the clients you want
4. Keep asking about the budget but only as a point of reference then know what you are going to say when the budget is low. (Write out some EFFECTIVE responses)

If you don't do those things, NOTHING WILL CHANGE
 

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I also won't bid on painting except for existing clients. Buy a scissor lift or boom lift and get into multi family or commercial.
 

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BTW: couldn't you charge less and make more per hour if you owned one of these:


Even for residential I would think it would eliminate a lot of man hours on each job. I'm always surprised that more painters don't own lifts.
 

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if your getting 1 out of 7 you need to make some major changes....i was at your level my 1st year too

i changed my wording on my website/phone book ad.....add the words 'do it right the first time' and you will lose 90% of the price shoppers

you need to get your average down to 1 out of 3 range or better

how are your referrals? or are you too new?

you should get 90% of your referrals

i have flat rate prices for many jobs...i am able to give prices right over the phone.....my new website thats coming out this next week will have pricing right on the website in a further effort to stop the price shoppers from bothering me..

i suggest you market yourself to the higher 50% of the market.....the lower 50% will always go with the lowest bid....and it sounds like thats not you.....so why bother with them.....change your marketing and language towards what the higher end of the market wants and give up on the lower end.......

in my hourly rate i have 1 hour of wages for every 4 in the field to handle office work and bids.....if you dont have $$ in your wage/prices to pay yourself to bid then your not charging the correct price for your services......if your winning 1 out of 7 bids your sell price would have to be much higher to cover your bid time....which would make you even less competitive

i find most contractors/subcontractors bid for free....they dont understand that everything in business has to be paid for by the customer....i never work for free

YOU CHOOSE YOUR CUSTOMER!...right now your advertising is choosing a cheap customer that isnt working for you.......
 

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BTW: couldn't you charge less and make more per hour if you owned one of these:


Even for residential I would think it would eliminate a lot of man hours on each job. I'm always surprised that more painters don't own lifts.
If you are charging less because you are completing jobs faster, where are you getting the money to pay for the equipment?

I've been pricing lifts lately. They aren't cheap.
 

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I rent my equipment to the job as part of my pricing formula, I'd bet a boom would result in a cost savings to the consumer.

If you rented your boom to the job for $800 per week you wouldn't need to save much labor over the week to make it make sense. Also, your body will be able to do more jobs.
 

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I started my business in 89 painting, got every bid, was booked minimum 3 months up to a year. That went on for about 12 years. Then I found myself getting underbid on everything, by that time I was into remodeling.

Now I pretty much don't do much painting except for existing customers and remodel jobs I'm doing.

I'd be hard pressed to find people willing to pay $45 per hour for a painter in this area. I know it's insulting, people think anyone can paint and paint is paint, just buy it at Walmart.

Around here everyone seems to be working for less, I'm always getting underbid and the Mexicans with their greedy employers certainly aren't helping. If I had to find a full time job painting I wouldn't be making much more than I was making back in the 80's as an employee, that's just sad.
 

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The Remodeler
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BTW: couldn't you charge less and make more per hour if you owned one of these:


Even for residential I would think it would eliminate a lot of man hours on each job. I'm always surprised that more painters don't own lifts.
That's gonna be tough to pay for unless all you're doing is commercial or high end residential. I have also found I can't get those in areas I need them the most.

Even if you rent it you still have to add the cost to your bid so you better make sure you're gonna make money with it, not just for the sake of convenience.
 

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Carr, in my experience people think painting is something they can do. They just don't want to. How much they don't want to equates to what they are willing to pay someone to do it.

I may be talking out of my arse too
 

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Carr, in my experience people think painting is something they can do. They just don't want to. How much they don't want to equates to what they are willing to pay someone to do it.

I may be talking out of my arse too
I think you're spot on.

I'm probably gonna get flamed for this, but I'm not paying $45/hr for someone to paint. I've done my share of painting over the years & know it requires a certain skillset, but

IMO, it's not a $45/hr skillset unless you're flat bustin your ass.

My advice, quit working by the hour & start bidding everything if you expect working class people to pay you $45/hr to paint. That way they don't know what you're making per hour.
 

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BTW: couldn't you charge less and make more per hour if you owned one of these:


Even for residential I would think it would eliminate a lot of man hours on each job. I'm always surprised that more painters don't own lifts.

Plus where are you getting the money to pay for restoring their lawn after you drive that all over? Lifts only make sense in commercial or multi family..... Good ladder monkeys will paint circles around someone on a lift
 

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I'm not sure who your target customer is. I would imagine you'd do well in affluent neighborhoods or straight commercial. The blue collar, working class homeowner just can't afford to hire a painter today.

I'm not, by any stretch, saying you're not worth it. I hate painting. Hate it. If I could afford it, I'd pay you double to paint my house. But I can't. So, I paint my own house and cut my own grass.

Contracting is pretty cut-throat, but I would imagine painting and lawn service are pretty high up as being the worst. I don't mean to put you two in the same category, but trying to make a point.

Painting has always been pretty pricey in my opinion. It looks easy and looks like something the average homeowner can do: you don't need a fortune in tools to paint a house. The average homeowner cannot install a new kitchen, a new door, etc. They're not only intimidate, they know they don't possess the skillset or the tools.

However, repainting their house: sure, they'll get prices, but if that price means no trip to Disney they're going to go but a brush and roller.
 

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My advice, quit working by the hour & start bidding everything if you expect working class people to pay you $45/hr to paint. That way they don't know what you're making per hour.
I agree. Whether it's a $45/hour skillset or not is a separate question, but most people won't pay that on a T&M basis for painting, even in my market, where the rate incorporated in any fixed-bid painting work my crew does is considerably higher than that. So, as Pin says, bid fixed price. For change orders you'll need to reveal the $45, but that's special, it's a Change Order, and if they don't want to pay The Change Order Labor Rate, they should nail down the scope before you start.

Don't waste any energy thinking about the guy with the $3K, 3-story house. He's just one of the 19 out of 20 you should disqualify in the first couple minutes of a phone call, and why he thinks that way isn't your problem. Tell him his best bet is to pick up a couple guys from the H.D. parking lot and hope they don't mess up his nice home.
 
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