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I was contacted by a local assisted living facility to give them a bid to paint the hallways, stairwells, elevator vestibules, office areas, kitchen and dining areas, and common rooms for their 3 story 130 unit building. The paint to be applied is a neutral color, and it is going over the existing neutral color. This all had to be painted while residents were milling around. Special care had to be taken to make sure all drop cloths were taped, and sealed, so as not to present a trip hazard.

The bid was to include making any necessary surface repairs, remove wall paper from three common rooms, some border from various other places, then prime and paint the hallways. I was also to include staining the decks and railings of 86 - 6 x 12 balconies, an exterior shed measuring 15 x 20, 2 large gates, and the columns and entry way of the building. All in all I figured to paint approximately 48600 ft² of wall surface, 7000 ft² of ceiling, one side of 130 doors, and both sides of another 20 or so, about 1250 ft² of trim. Then all the exterior staining. I figured .35 ft² to repair, prime, and paint the interior surfaces. My final bid was $52,731. I figured this was a very good bid, but was told I was way off base from what the other contractors bid. I asked, but could not find out what the other bids were. They were not looking to negotiate price, they flat out told me I lost the bid because I was was too high.

I am a residential builder, not a painting contractor. this was my first commercial painting bid. What in the hell did I do wrong? What might some of the painting contractors here have bid for the job as I described it. I would appreciate any constructive comments you might have.
 

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so you are a builder and now a painter? The problem we have is that there are so many who are just working to keep in their 600.00/month appartment and have enough beer to last all month. We have to bid against these yo-yos. That and EVERYONE thinks they can paint.. so it must not be that hard = we shouldn't have to pay anything to have it done. Grab a tub of popcorn.. welcome to our world.
 

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Kirk,
First off your in Michigan the home of the laid off auto workers who ALWAYS take up painting when they are laid off:rolleyes: I just lost a plaster repair of $3,000 to fix 4 ceilings, the home owner hired two guys and they came in at $1,500 took plaster out and laminted the ceilings with drywall:whistling then I quoted the painting brush and roll 3 bedrooms w/ closets, Livingroom, Diningroom, kitchen, bath, hall. two colors two coats $2,100. They came in and sprayed one coat of each color $1,000 I priced the paint at $592.00:w00t: I'm sure they used Home Depot paints, I use top of line BM Paints.
But here in Michigan when you figure your prices think of what you charged back in the 1980's and then you should start winning bids:laughing:
Cause that's what I have been seeing for the past year now. these guys who took buy outs starting up painting and remodeling companies they under bid left and right, I guess they are just trying to supplement their unemployment benefits:shutup:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
so you are a builder and now a painter?
I am a builder, but we have always done our own painting. I do not advertise painting, but I do not turn it down. In this economy, we cannot afford to turn down any work.

these guys who took buy outs starting up painting and remodeling companies they under bid left and right, I guess they are just trying to supplement their unemployment benefits
Dealing with people of that ilk, has always been a challenge, but you are correct, it definitely has increased as of late. It does not help that our state has no time in trade requirements to become a licensed builder. Any idiot can sit in a class, pay their money, and take the test. If they remember well, they can pass the test, and become a contractor. It has always struck me as strange, that plumbers, electricians, and mechanical contractor's have to prove at least 4 years time in trade to get their journeyman's cards, then another couple to get their master's. But the guy building the house can take a couple day class, and he is good to go. There is something seriously wrong with this picture. Then they wonder why our industry has such a bad reputation. It is infuriating.
 

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All bets are off right now, and your right about the painting. There are guys out there willing to work for peanuts because they are just trying to put food on the table, and to hell with the mortgage. That is how they can afford it. As a GC, i've even had to utilize highly qualified people of this sort just to win bids, so it's a vicious cycle until there starts to be more demand.
 

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Kirk, there was nothing wrong with your bid. I've seen jobs lost over a $100 difference on the painting end. Just the nature of the painting field. Any type of commercial or commercial re-do is so cut-throat, it's not even funny. It's sort of a downhill spiral. Commercial painters are doing anything to keep a crew or two busy and there are some residential painters who are hurting enough they'll tackle commercial jobs. It always seems to be a no win situation.
 

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Kirk
I hear you, I have taken the State Builders test and Passed it only to be told I wouldn't be get my license, that was back in 1998:whistling Now they want you to take all these BS classes and get these pieces of paper they call certificates:rolleyes: for the new Laws the Great Grandhole has given us so she can get more Tax moneys:rolleyes: It's all about the money in this State.
That's why I work as a Plasterer we do not need to be licensed. I have my Insurance and all I do is plaster work and some painting. But being I'm a one man crew I can work these jobs by myself.
 

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Kirk
I hear you, I have taken the State Builders test and Passed it only to be told I wouldn't be get my license, that was back in 1998:whistling Now they want you to take all these BS classes and get these pieces of paper they call certificates:rolleyes: for the new Laws the Great Grandhole has given us so she can get more Tax moneys:rolleyes: It's all about the money in this State.
That's why I work as a Plasterer we do not need to be licensed. I have my Insurance and all I do is plaster work and some painting. But being I'm a one man crew I can work these jobs by myself.
Frank,

You need to be aware that according to article 24 of the occupational code, you need not be licensed to legally install drywall and plaster, but you must be licensed to paint the surface. You must also be licensed to stain or refinish any woodwork. Sounds ridiculous to me, but that is the law.

I have long been a proponent of proving time in trade in order to apply for a builders license. I find the idea of being able to take a class and then become a builder to be ludicrous. It is my understanding, however, the 60 hour course requirement was enacted because Michigan has such a high failure rate of residential building/remodeling companies. Most of the courses are designed to help with the business end of the building.

In 1999, I was diagnosed with a supposed incurable disease. I was told I would never work again. I worked as long as I could, but did have to close the business for just over 4 years. I beat the odds, and made a full recovery. I have over 30 years in the trades. I completed a Carpenter's Apprenticeship. I have been a licensed builder since 1986. I have a degree in Residential Construction, and I still had to take that stupid 60 hour class. Then had to re-take the test before I could get my license reinstated. I find it funny that of the 15 or so people in my class, only one other person passed the test. He took an M&A test. The idea of this class is ridiculous, but it is at least a step in the right direction.
 

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Frank,



I have long been a proponent of proving time in trade in order to apply for a builders license. I find the idea of being able to take a class and then become a builder to be ludicrous. It is my understanding, however, the 60 hour course requirement was enacted because Michigan has such a high failure rate of residential building/remodeling companies. Most of the courses are designed to help with the business end of the building.
What are you talking about here, a GC or an actual hands-on mechanic? I agree a hands-on guy, particularly electricians, plumbers/gas and HVAC mechanics ought to have a certificate. Why painters, I don't know, unless they're contracting. But GCs contract; they don't get dirty, or at least don't need to. They need to know finance and business admin. Don't get me wrong. They'd better know the steps for building or they will get eaten alive. But how do you get experience being a contractor? Work for another contractor maybe. I did it another way. I became an owner/contractor. I bought the lot which made me the owner and then built the house when I had a buyer. I owned it until settlement. You don't have to have a license to do that. But it's risky. Buyers can and do walk leaving their downpayments behind. So, after 5 houses, I attended the courses, took the test and got my CG license. Now I build on the other guy's lot and let him get the construction loan. Actually, right now I am doing remodels and rehabs, since practically no one is building custom homes these days. Sorry you lost your bid and glad to hear you beat the odds on your illness.
 
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so you are a builder and now a painter? The problem we have is that there are so many who are just working to keep in their 600.00/month appartment and have enough beer to last all month. We have to bid against these yo-yos. That and EVERYONE thinks they can paint.. so it must not be that hard = we shouldn't have to pay anything to have it done. Grab a tub of popcorn.. welcome to our world.
Thank You , I needed a good pick me up.......you are 100% right on the money my friend.
 

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I was just out bid by 3 outfits.. One I know has been around since forever... And I came in the highest... And I bid it time/mat/OH no additional profit at all...

Homeowner never hired a painter before, and was snide that I was so expensive...

I about **** when I found out who was low balling..

Im talkn a huge interior res restoration... and they came in 1k lower than me...

Moral of story = EVEN the guys that have been doing this a long while are starting to sink... Contracting was the last to get hit by this depression, and im sure we will be the last to recover!

Ive gone from making 40 an hr down to 30... and it still seems as tho more and more jobs are slipping away... (guys on uneployment are working for a few hun bucks) One of my loyal customers called me and said there are 2 Union workers that are laid off and canvasing her neighborhood for work.. They did some drywall work and painting for one neighbor for 250 bucks ... between 2 guys....


Keep a eye on your gear too! I hear contractors are getting robbed all over.. I knnow my subs van was cleaned out 3mo ago.

IF YOU GET A CHANCE TURN THESE ****ERS INTO THE STATE AND HAVE THEM ARRESTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

or flatten their tires =)
 

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i predict it will be about 15 yrs or so before pricing gets back to normal.. im asuming in order to survive this bull**** ive just got to lower my standards of quality and time = lower my prices...

start pushing crappy products, no warranties like these fly by night laid off cock suckers, cheat on over head costs, and work under the table.... god knows what else..
 

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House Painters Reading PA
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I give 3 tier pricing from least to most expensive. The difference between them all is the quality of paint being used. I do not change the quality of the craftsmanship because in the end its what they are left with. Who cares if it was a good price. If the cut lines to color look like the gobi and the wood work feels so rough you could cut off a body part, was it really worth it?

This section is for homeowners who may be reading this post.
Reasons to be afraid to hire a fly by night low baller?


My contracted paint job for you:
Insured
References
12x12 room with 8 foot ceilings
walls only
1 color
Regal Matte Used
Take before photo
Move furniture to center and cover with poly plastic
Cover floors with rubber backed drops
Remove electrical plates
Patch walls
Scuff sand all walls
Dust walls and vacuum up debris
Apply tape along base line to wall.
Apply Regal Matte, 2 coats brush and roll
Caulk bead along all trim to walls and re caulk window frame to return
Have homeowner do a walk through
Remove all plastic and drops
Put plates back on
Put furniture back in place
Take after photo

Time elapsed:2 Hours

Price:$550 Satisfaction 100%


The competition
12x12
1 color
1 coat
Behr premium
no prep
you move furniture
You buy paint
No insurance
No references

Price:$75, As soon as they leave, catch them if you can.


Price determination is only part of the process. I have no problem losing a job to another quality contractor who uses the same paint quality, preps as I will, applies the same amount of coats, keeps his job neat and clean as well as being insured.

What irks contractors of quality is when you homeowners choose a painter based on price alone with no regard of comparing on a level playing field.


With the scenario above who is being duped? Which contractor is being trustworthy and up front? I know you may hear apples to apples comparisons, but think. There is a reason their prices are cheaper. Somewhere there has to be a lowering of paint quality and craftsmanship. Just like when you hear a politician from any side say they are not going to cut any programs, they are adding new programs, but there will not be any more tax burden. Sometimes you have to think things through with some discernment.


This value will last because of the quality of the vehicle
"Hey, I just got a steal on a Chevy Tahoe LTZ brand new for 41K"


This value will be over when the first payment comes.
"Hey, I just bought a used Chevy Tahoe LS with 100,000 miles for 29K"


People are willing to pay for a champ, but do not want to be a chump!!!
 

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@ 4thgen

Does that include 2 coats on crown, chair molding and kick boards?

Hehehe...

I always have the customers that want the absolute best, perfect, flawless, godly work done, but want to pay garbage man prices...

Heres an example...

Califonia knock down texture in all - living room, upstrairs hallways, 15 ft drop foyer, down stairs halls, 1 master bed room.. Fix all busted drywall seams on ceiling, fix/patch caved in walls, strip n paint stair case, Prime all, Paint all, Trim out all... high grade materials only

I was low balled by a big name for 2800 bucks... I about **** my pants... do the estimated mat cost on a job like that.... un real (shakes head)

funny **** is they didnt even offer the texture - I was (and always am) the sounding board for other contractors... Its almost like they dont know what the **** they should REALLY be doing for the customer!

We should go have a coffee sometime and bounce rants off eachother :laughing:
 

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Kuba,

I know what you mean. Florida is where I was from and lived up until last year. Down there, the illegal work force was making its presence known. They were advertising $50 per room for painting.

I came to Pa and it has not been as bad as Florida, but you have some real uninformed homeowners here. One tried to get my price down and I said I had no problem if they would go to their boss and offer to do the same work they were for a 50% cut in wage. They said thats crazy and I said exactly and walked...They tried to stop me and give me a lashing and then I basically told their non skill having self to do it their self and that the next time I needed a computer tech I would hire a school kid to do so for cheaper than them because they were ripping the public off for what they offer.

When you bring it back to homeowners where it hurts, they take it personally. Funny how they cry foul when you ask them to lower their wage and they do not have to pay out near to nothing compared to business owners...
 

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@ 4thgen

I have never argued price with a customer, perhaps thats just my style. I go over what I speced them and why my price is what it is.. and if they can get a quality job for less, good for them... Then i hand them a card and say "most individuals who dont know how to hire a contractor are usually my best customers in the future - heres another one of my cards, and good luck to you!":thumbsup:

The sad thing about the last one I lost.. the mat cost was at least 1400! and with 2 guys - 10-15days... You do the math.. How the FK!!!! can anyone afford to do quality work for 2500 bucks less the mat/oh cost... That is just flat out NUTS...

The current low ballers are not illegals - they are our local competition

Sigh, you would have thought that the contractor (me in this case) who educated "the homeowner" on how to save money, increase the outcome and quality of the work and appearance for their money would have stood out to be the guy who knew WHAT THE FK HE WAS DOING!!! But, nope.. customers take your great advise, turn around, and then ask the cheap a holes "can you do this ..."

I would hate to become a low baller, especially concidering you are a competitor of mine and I dont like to fk an honest guy out of fair competitivness.. But man, i feel like painting for free for a straight year just to fk everyone in Berks COunty! I still cannot believe the 2 companies that low balled on this last job... unreal who it was.. Youd have thougth these guy worked to make money, but not lately!

I guess contractors that have liability, marketing, maint, fuel, equip costs have to work for 10 bucks an hour like their employees these days...:censored::censored:
 

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Kuba,

I know what you mean. Florida is where I was from and lived up until last year. Down there, the illegal work force was making its presence known. They were advertising $50 per room for painting.

I came to Pa and it has not been as bad as Florida, but you have some real uninformed homeowners here. One tried to get my price down and I said I had no problem if they would go to their boss and offer to do the same work they were for a 50% cut in wage. They said thats crazy and I said exactly and walked...They tried to stop me and give me a lashing and then I basically told their non skill having self to do it their self and that the next time I needed a computer tech I would hire a school kid to do so for cheaper than them because they were ripping the public off for what they offer.

When you bring it back to homeowners where it hurts, they take it personally. Funny how they cry foul when you ask them to lower their wage and they do not have to pay out near to nothing compared to business owners...
Good luck having them call you when the other guy doesn't show up, or starts out so bad they fire them before any paint gets on the wall. Your word of mouth will be shot as well.
 

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I just breifly looked at your specs, and for 48000+ sq.ft of wall in a residential area (occupied, which means expensive zero VOC paint) plus taping off all floors and doing 86, 18 LF railings in stain, nevermind all the other stuff, I would have bid over $80,000 CDN. I wouldn't have taken it for any less, either, because it's a huge pain in the butt.

You should be happy you didn't land the job, because at your price, you would have lost your shirt. Hell, I just landed a small commercial job with a total sq footage floor space of about 4000sf, half of which is a huge pool room. All surfaces are texture (walls and ceilings), and i'm doing walls ceilings and trims. It's all spray work and will take me 8 days (solo) ... price = $9100. The customer didn't even flinch at that price.

Again, be happy you lost the bid.
 

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Good luck having them call you when the other guy doesn't show up, or starts out so bad they fire them before any paint gets on the wall. Your word of mouth will be shot as well.
Seems to me after 100 years we would have been out of business, but still going strong. also, so what if I lose people the cheap homeowners contact list. More than likely they are as cheap and unrealistic as them. In fact I saved myself time and money by not having to deal with their unrealistic expectations. You can have them if your desperate enough to work for p-nuts.
 
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