If you don't know how to bid it, SKIP IT! Wanna lose money, start bidding work without a clue how long it will take or what the customers expectations are.
Time and materials. And don't forget markup for the pita factor.
Not many customers will go for a time and materials contract. Who keeps track of the time and materials? Oh...the honor system?
Maybe a family member or someone who trusts you implicitly. Or, someone there on the job whose willing to verify your hours.
Even then, you leave yourself open for a possible small claims court appearance.
Give them a bottom line contract instead. Lol...and add 15% onto the total if you even suspect they are gonna be a hard case.
Not satisfactory to them? Tough...walk away. Some customers are just the kind to be difficult and make your life harder.
I don't do many, but when I do, I have never had an issue. I can understand not feeling comfortable doing them yourself, but saying that not many customers will go for it is false. When the situation warrants it, you should never have a problem providing a good persuasive argument to the benefits to all involved.
A T&M contract has the potential to be a can of worms. Substantiate your hours. Who records that?
A time and materials contract pretty much makes you an employee of them. I'll pass on time and material contracts most of the time.
Small claims courts are ripe with T&M disputes between painter and customer.
T&M contract disputes are rarely defensible, from what I know. I used to watch The Peoples Court, lol. Small claims court judge will ask the painter if his has a contractors license. If the painter answers no, usually the judge will favor the owner, who in cases like this is a like general contractor. Anyways, a homeowner in CA is seen by law to be like a general contractor in regards to hiring T&M workers. Contractor laws differ from state to state.
...what were we talking about? nevermind
It's obvious that you really don't know how to handle a T&M contract. It does not come close to making you an employee. There are many more factors.
They are quite easy to keep track and you always give them a ball park number before starting. There are even guys on here who do the majority of there work on T&M.
A lot of states don't license or only license a few trades. Painters are not licensed here so asking then if they have one and then being biased because they don't is ridiculous. That would never happen here.
Sorry but someone who gives legal examples from Judge Judy should not be giving out legal advice.
Sorry, but someone who agrees to T&M is basically giving out a blank check and going on trust. That's fine if you go on mutual trust. Do disputes get settled in small claims courts (Judy's or whoever) or is it pistols at dawn? Her "legal examples" are as typical as any heard in small claims courts, making her about a zillion times more knowledgeable than you.
So the kazillion service outfits around that charge an hourly rate typically betray that trust and wind up in court? :no: