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I'm always curious about the non existent "going rate" for things so when I was in the big orange box the other day and noticed a book rack with some Means books in them I picked up the Means Residential Square Foot Costs book and flipped thru it looking for base prices on painting. First it seems like the hourly for painters is about $35/hr...but when I looked at specific things it was confusing and I must have misunderstood how to use the book.
First I looked at windows. A 4'x4'6" double hung window is priced at 1 coat @ $24.79 and 2 coats @ $24.89...WHaaa?? Then primer and 1 [email protected] $27.07 and primer and 2 coats @ $33.05...the second coat on a 4x4 double hung for 6 bucks?? Thought I misread it so I look at doors. Standard interior and exterior paneled door 2 coats @ $80.05 . Primer and 2 coats @ $75.10????

I know I'm probably interpreting the book wrong and will feel foolish when someone points out an obvious misreading...but seriously, what am I misunderstanding about the book? I know i wrote the numbers down right. These prices are supposed to include O&P. Its only a guide but still...primer and 2 coats cheaper than just 2 coats??? Help!
 

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That's way off if you ask me. I'm just getting into business on my own after painting for over 5 years with other companies. However, I wouldn't touch a double hung window for less than double what it says, and that's without the cost of materials. As for a door....no way I'm doing both sides for anywhere near what they're talking about. The hourly rate sounds close....but even that is different from contractor to contractor because we all have different overhead costs to consider.

I truely wish there was an easy way to estimate in the business, but there are so many factors that it's hard to nail it down. The market that you are working in has alot to do with what kind of money you can get for your work. If you're doing repaints for realtors, they want CHEAP and FAST. If you're doing custom work speed is not so much an issue as quality.
 

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Yeah, i was curious also and i bought a paint estimating book, and the prices seemed wrong. I have been painting for 10 years now and just recently went off on my own. I went back to relying on my own judgement for estimating. I know how fast i work and how long it takes me to paint. it has worked out better.

The going rate of 35 dollars and hour that you mentioned seems right. I charge 36 dollars and hour. But remember that you have to add on more for taxes and for insurance costs and all that. the total package for me comes out to 45 dollars an hour.
 
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