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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm fairly new to working for myself. I live in gulf shores, AL. last year Ivan ripped us a new #[email protected], which was unfortunate for most, but the house I live in survived, so it turned into job security for me and hundreds of others. I prefer inside painting but I have been offered an outside job. I have done a lot of outside work, but not an entire house by myself. I have an enormous house to paint. it's all outside work, but it is everything. trim, facie, gables, soffits, decks, railings, etc...I am unfamiliar with pricing for outside work. I charge .32 - .45 /sqft for inside, aside from faux, but this house has a lot of ladder work/ boomlift work, which ever ends up more cost effective. my question is where do I find pricing guides? I have heard that most pricing for work of this nature comes from insurance companies and what they are willing to pay their customers for their loss. I don't know where to find listings from them. I am going to write the companies I can find on the web, and request a list, but I do not know if that is the right course of action. I appreciate any help anyone can give me.

Pro Painter
2,314 Posts
Wow...I wonder how you can stay in business charging that little for interior work. If I didn't have vehicles, insurance, equipment, wages, and profit to consider I might be able to work that cheap. My last interior (which I NEVER price by sq ft) would have come out $2+ sq/ft....

You need a good grip on your production rates, over-head, profit, your own salary requirements, etc before you can figure a price. For instance, it costs me close to $70/day just to walk outside and turn the key in my van. That's just the vehicle insurance, the payment, and the gas...Then there is liability insurance, my salary, and over-head for the company....and the company also needs it's profit paid out of each job.

You need to figure out how much money you want to make for your time, and how much time the job is going to take. Then factor in all the other things on top of that.

I would love to help more, but I'm slowly trying to wrangle all of these things together myself to come up with a pricing system. I know one thing is for sure. I don't have a set price for sq. footage whether it's interior, exterior, or pressure washing, and if I did, it wouldn't be anywhere near even $1.00/sq ft...

7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
first of all, i really appreciate the reply...i can see why it seems i am low. the square foot price is just labor alone, without material. i like to break everything down, such as caulk ($4) a tube, spackling (i like "goes on pink" which i spectulate how much i will use, and price plus per hour), etc.......what i don't know is the pricing of labor per outside work plus boom work. down here a lift is around 150-200 a day. i have the benefit of working under someone elses insurance but he only wants a cut, or better, a finders fee. my question to you did you find your prices? do you quote by the figured hours (say 37.50 labor hour plus supplies) or do you have a price list that tells you the average sqft price for outside/inside, etc...that you go by then you figure in the other costs?

Back from the dead...
6,646 Posts
First off, if you are paying $4 a tube of caulk, I'm about to load up my truck with cases of caulk, come down to AL, and make a killing. :cheesygri
You should be able to find high-quality painters caulk for $1.50 a tube or so, even better with a case price. Talk to some local paint reps from Ben Moore, Sherwin, Porter, etc and get some good quotes on materials. At least set up a cash account at your local paint store. This will also become a good lead generator.
my question to you did you find your prices?
I don't know if that was to me, but I'll answer.
First, do a complete and thorough take-off.
Take all figures and layout out different substrates (all walls, ceilings, doors/windows, sanding, prep, etc.) and compare to your production rates. Since you don't have these yet, you will have to wing this part.
Next, using the production rates, figure out the times it will take to do these areas.
Total up labor hours.
Figure out amount of materials, and price out.
Add percentage for overhead.
Add percentage for profit.
There is your price.

For example, all hypothetical, these aren't my rates, just easy numbers for example:
Area Bedroom 100 sq ft ceiling, 400 sq ft walls, 40 linear ft trim, 1 door/frame, 1 window/frame, all 1 coat, no prep
Production rates, I look under ceiling, it says 1 man, 1 hour, brush/roll
50 sf of ceiling
I look under walls, it says 1 man, 1 hour, brush/roll
50 sq ft of walls
I look under trim, it says 1 man, 1 hour, brush out
40 lin ft of trim
I look under door/frames, it says 1 man, 1 hour, brush/roll
2 door/frames
I look under window/frames, it says 1 man, 1 hour, brush/roll
.5 windows and frames

By looking at my production rates, I know it will take 1 man
2 hours to paint the ceiling
8 hours to paint the walls
1 hour to paint the trim
.5 hours to paint the door
2 hours to paint the window =
13.5 manhours to complete the job X your hourly rate
Labor 13.5 X $28.75 = $388.13

1 gallon of ceiling white $20 (you should also have coverage rates for all your materials, matched to different substrates, just like your production rates)
2 gallons wall paint @ $20 = $40
1 gallon trim paint $22.50
Materials $82.50

Labor + materials
$388.13 + $82.50 = $470.63

$470.63 + (your predetermined overhead) 10%
$470.63 + $47.06 = $517.69

$517.69 + Profit 12%
$517.69 + $62.12 = $579.81

$579.81 is the selling price. If you negotitate this down more than $10%, then your profit is gone, and its starting to cost you money to go to work.

And remember, these ain't real prices for that size room at all. I was just making numbers/quantities up on the fly, and trying to make the math easy.

And thats it in a real quick nutshell.

10,471 Posts
morgan, you are in a new field, the insurance business. Most are overly generous, a few will try to break your stones. Take the easy way out, turn down the tough guys, they will come back more tuned to your terms.

7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks, that makes it pretty simple. as for the caulk, that's what i charge per tube i go through...does $4 seem resonable if i'm doing hourly work or is that cheap? you know, you could make a killing with generators and chainsaws down here if you can find'em at cost.
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