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Hello,

I have been getting alot of requests for faux finishing. I do alot of paintings and murals that I charge by the piece. I know there are many different square foot charges depending on what faux technique you are applying. My question is do you charge by the actual wall space that you will be painting, or do you charge by the floor square footage?

Any info will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Rick Anderson said:
forget square footage...if you can figure out how much you can get done in a day then you are golden....

try to make $500-$1000 a day for your work..

materials are extra...if they ask how you charge...say you charge by "your worth" and leave it at that...

regards
rick
That works as long as your the one doing all of the estimates and you have a lot of experience. A lot of new guys will totally under bid a job by using the eye ball method.

Its also makes hiring an estimator later (if you get big) really hard.
 

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Maybe this will help. To figure out what to charge, figure out what your annual salary needs to be. Divide by the number of hours a year you want to work. For 8 hr days x 5 days/week that = 1920. Subract any vacations. Divide annual income by the number of hours you plan to work per year and that will give you an hourly rate. So, if you need to make $60,000/yr - and plan to work 40 hrs a week = 1920 hrs - 2 weeks vacation = 1520 hrs. 60000/1520= 39.48. So your hourly rate is $40. Add any materials (+markup) and transportation. By doing a sample you can determine how long it will take you

Now the industry standard is to price by the sq. ft. of the surfaces to be finished. I do this myself, to a point. I also take into consideration materials, products used and other factors. I don't particularly like the straight sq. ft. pricing method because than you have the newbies and seasoned professionals all charging the same.

Pricing for murals is also dependant on location and skill level. Here is a guildline chart that may be of interest to you. Sorry I have not posted enough to be able to post the full url. But you know where to put the ww..
themurals.com/pricing/pricing.
 

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kbdesigns said:
Maybe this will help. To figure out what to charge, figure out what your annual salary needs to be. Divide by the number of hours a year you want to work. For 8 hr days x 5 days/week that = 1920. Subract any vacations. Divide annual income by the number of hours you plan to work per year and that will give you an hourly rate. So, if you need to make $60,000/yr - and plan to work 40 hrs a week = 1920 hrs - 2 weeks vacation = 1520 hrs. 60000/1520= 39.48. So your hourly rate is $40. Add any materials (+markup) and transportation. By doing a sample you can determine how long it will take you
Kathy-

Not to be harsh, but posts like yours are what get so many guys to go out of business when they don't charge enough. First off, 8 hours/day, 5 days a week is 2080 hours a year, not 1920. Then you take 2 weeks out for vacation (80 hours) and somehow lose 400 hours to get to 1520. Hmmm....

But the bigger bust in your formula is that you say "$60,000/1520 = $39.48, so charge $40/hour". Did you forget about the employers contributions to taxes (7.65%, or $3.06/hour), or are you not paying taxes? What about workers comp premiums? General liability premiums? License costs? Vehicle costs? Tools/supplies? Legal/accounting fees? Or, most of all, what about factoring non-productive time? No one in the construction industry actually "works" 8 hours per day, unless they're putting in another 20-30 hours a week selling, doing paperwork, and running the business. In reality, your 1520 is probably a good number for the actual "productive" hours someone can expect to bill for in a year, but that's not what you were conveying.

Using your quick and easy formula, you'll either end up bankrupt, or giving the free faux finishing seminar at Home Depot before long. Again, not to sound harsh, but it just drives me crazy when people throw numbers out there- too many of the readers around here don't know any better and will end up getting burned.

Bob
 

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Don't get worked up. Shmoo sounded like a decorative artist not a painting contractor. First the formula is a general outline only. I do not profess to be a math whizz, this is what I have an accountant for. And I think Shmoo is smart enough to figure out that when I say "Add any materials (+markup) and transportation", that he will add what is needed. Second, (there are exceptions) most professional decorative painters and muralists work solo, and do not need to figure in the costs associated with having employees. And also as of last year there are only a couple of states that require and/or have any licensing for decorative painters and muralists.
 

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Kathy-

I'm not worked up at all.

Schmoo isn't smart enough to realize that you would price faux finishes by SF of wall, not SF of floor area, so why are you automatically assuming that he/she is smart enough to realize that he/she needs to add for taxes, insurance, and other costs of being in business? Somehow a simple statement like "Add any materials (+markup) and transportation" bears a little further explanation, don't you think?

Oversimplifying a topic- especially one as vital as calculating hourly rates- doesn't help anyone. It'd be like trying to explain how to create an elaborate faux finish effect by saying something along the lines of "you brush the paint on the wall, and then you 'do a few things to it' and you get the desired effect". In a sense, that explains what you've done, but it's of no help.

BTW- you started by making it very clear that "Shmoo sounded like a decorative artist not a painting contractor"- what's that got to do with anything with regard to the cost of operating a business? Are you "artists" exempt from the costs of running a legitimate operation?

Bob
 

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interesting thread. I'm with you, Bob. Seems like too often folks post pricing costs that don't seem realistic to what a business really has to pay, even without employees. Also, they don't take into account that a business should make a profit well beyond the cost of a salary.
 

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As a guy who has run a very successful business for over 25 years, I thought I would chime in here. I see nothing wrong with what KB posted. In fact I applaud her for posting in an effort to help someone else. Anyone can see that the formula that she posted was meant as a general formula, in fact this is one that is taught in many of the decorative and faux painting business workshops. And of course, it would have to be adjusted according to an individuals needs. Her posting was in fact a lot more helpful than the first 2 posters. This whole topic is pretty mute anyway, the guy who originated the post seems to have left for greener pastures.
 

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here is what i charge on a faux finish

1. usually faux finishes are done by home owners with some panache and attitude..they have money and often have company over and flaunt their castles..i charge the well off home owners $5.00 a sq. ft. of wall space and 25% mark up allowed by law on materials..this gives the home owner a legitimate price..and with the wealthy..gotta remeber...if it to low they wont take it..thast why they drive bm's and lexus'..cause they are not cheap and everyone can afford them...so find your own niche and go with it...just a lil help from an honest contractor....i hope i:thumbsup: t helped


yw
rog
 

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What to charge?

I think good job costing comes from experience. Thou I respect Shmoo's question theres alot of factors involved in bidding. Materials and techniques can make the same faux job easier or more difficult. I have bid plenty of faux jobs and have made great profits even thou I may be alittle lower on price. Believe me Ive seen alot of good faux finishers and artists that are terrible business people. Its like the artistic side has taken over the common since side. I think the key to success is to be able to do both. So the answer to your question is BLANK. You need to fill in your own blanks with past jobs, documenting hours,sf.,materials etc... and come up with your own formulas. What good is 5.00 per foot if it takes you a week to do the work. I think we have all heard the addage........................Buy a man a fish and you've fed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you've fed him for life. Hope this helps. Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #15
hmmm...

I appreciate your input Doug. The only reason I asked the question was due to another person in a previous thread stating they charged a project by the floor sq footage.

By the way Bob, I am intelligent enough, I'm good enough, and gosh darn it... people like me!

By the way,I am an "artist type"; and have made a very good living painting fine art and murals for almost twenty years now.

It would be nice to be able to ask a simple question and get a simple answer without all of the "painter types" rolling their eyes, sticking their big, proud, cow chests out, and acting like we are beneath them since we don't complete projects "their way", "the right way", the "only way".

I thought this was a forum for questioning others about ideas and techniques.

So thanks to those of you with some helpful input, those of you with the attitudes... I'm pointing and laughing at you and your hurtful remarks!:thumbup:

Much love all.
 

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Im sorry you have to deal with the bs over a simple question Shmoo

We charge by wall space or surface space... we facor in the operating conditons and or complications.

Generally we charge by the hour for decorative or custom finishes therefor we are not eating the cost to acheive the look they desire.
 

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Just my .02...I would think you would have to charge by the hour over the square foot...especially with murals or detailed faux paintings.

You can correct me if I am wrong....It seems like if they wanted reproduction of the Sistine Chapel's ,The Last Judgement , or a painting of Homer Simpson would sorta have a bearing on the price.
 

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We always charge by the hour- time and materials for most of our faux jobs, unless it is a simple wall glazing. But then we also do a lot of high end homes that don't balk at our prices, and we always give a fantastic result.

We just finished a venetian plaster/stencil job for a client that had a tight budget. It was impossible to give an exact quote of time involved (most complicated stencil work in our history), but owner insisted on an estimate.

We gave an approximate quote, but indicated it was approximate only. We ended up going over in time, but the result was so fantastic, owner didn't squabble.

So if you're having trouble closing a deal, give at least an approximate time line (3-4 hours, day and a half, etc). Translate that into approximate dollars for client, most will go for it if you're realistic and have some good samples.

BAy Area Painting COntractor
 

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It is often hard to charge time and materials. How much do you ask for up front in those cases, so you can buy materials and get the job started? In my experience, you definitely want to charge by surface area square footage, not the footprint. I started a thread about this very subject earlier today for straight interior painting. You can find it on the "painting and finish work" home page.

Of course, with faux finishes it all depends on the detail. For a simple two-color color wash I'll charge $2.50/square foot of surface area. That's a base coat with a glaze coat scumbled over it. For more detailed fauxs like marble and woodgraining it goes up to at least $4.00/square foot for the most basic, up to $6 or $8 for greatly detailed, many-colored techniques. Murals can go up to $20+ per square foot. There are many variable like heights, awkward areas to get to, heavily textured walls etc. that make the price go up. If you simply explain all these things to your client beforehand it's not hard to make them understand why it costs so much - but the results are worth it! That's where sample boards are very handy to show them what they'll get for how much. I make 1' X 1' sample boards, that way you can show them a marble sample and they can see exactly what they'll get for every $4.00 they're going to spend.

Don't be hesitant to charge what it's worth. You are selling artwork here, not simple straight painting. How much per square foot does a painting that hangs on your wall cost?

I have a pricing page on my website where you can see what I charge per square foot (of surface area!) for different finishes: www.atmospherepainting.com

Anyway, hope this helps.
 
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