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"Buy Quality, Cry Once"
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As you guys may or may not know Ive been in business almost 6 months, things have been going well with the exception of a string of lost deals due to low ballers.

Then there was yesterday. I went and bidded a job, entire ext. all cedar shake siding and trim. No doors windows to be painted. About 6K sq of siding, not to mention quite a bit of prep. I bid the job at $6500.00 plus matieials.

I took the qoute to the owners home and we commenced to discuss said contract. Guy used to be a head project manager for RJR tobacco. We hit it off real well, hell of a nice guy. Any ways he says this is quite a bit higher than I wanted to pay, but I do like the way youve presented yourself and you seem to be very upfront. So after chatting it up for a while he gets into how I determined the price.

I told him time to do job x hrly rate. He ask me my hrly rate....all this in a very man to man discussion you understand. I tell him....$40.00 per, he then ask about how many hours did you have figured for this job, 150 hrs I say.....all the while knowing this was NONE of his business...propritory info and all that.....but on and on I go. Now I bid this job VERY competetively and I know it. I go on to tell explain to him that whats covered in the contract I will do i.e. patching rotton wood columns, rotton wood frames etc.. very time consuming.

He ask what hours to I plan on being on site per day, again none of his business, but now it seems Im a puppet on a string :eek: I tell him yes I will be here about 10 hours a day, but I may need to leave to give another qoute etc....but you will come right back right I mean youre not gonna be runnin around givin qoutes all day. Again none of his business..so long as Im done within the timeframe discussed, but again....I say yes, I will try to be here as many hrs per day as possible. So he tells me he is 99.8% certain Im the man :Thumbs:

Just got a call, he says Don, I cant believe it but Im going with someone else, ok I say, can I ask what the guys bid was.....he says he bid the job at 80 hrs and he's only gonna charge $20 per....huh? $1600 plus matierials??!! :eek: Yup says he thats what his bid was, I thought I was gonna puke. Played me like a fiddle....but what the hell is with all these damn low ballers??!!

Well says I you have my card. If I get a call in two weeks sayin this guy has screwed this thing up, the damn price just went up $1500.00 Im sick of the low ball crap. But the lesson learned was worth its weight in gold.

This is my price, I believe it to be fair, and competetive. How I arrived at that price is none of your damned business. Have an outstanding day :evil:
 

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Peace Bro

We all have a story like that.

You really need to goto square footage bids. That way, you have one set price. Whether you leave to go quote twenty jobs, you finish 2 days early; dont matter, you still get paid.

I at one time did hourly. When you quote an hourly job, it seems that the customer takes more interest in you every time you take a smoke or coffee break, or answer you cell.

If you need to make 40 per hour, it would be very easy to come up with a sqft price that would amount to that.

Peace
 
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Painting Contractor
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Painter.Josh said:
Peace Bro

We all have a story like that.

You really need to goto square footage bids. That way, you have one set price. Whether you leave to go quote twenty jobs, you finish 2 days early; dont matter, you still get paid.

I at one time did hourly. When you quote an hourly job, it seems that the customer takes more interest in you every time you take a smoke or coffee break, or answer you cell.

If you need to make 40 per hour, it would be very easy to come up with a sqft price that would amount to that.

Peace
Josh,
Don did not price this job on time and materials as it may seem.
Every job should have a production rate. So should your by sq. foot
unit pricing. Figuring how many man hours something takes is a must.
Even unit pricing should have historical information on that.
This so called businessman confused Don's company rate with what
he thinks a painter should be making in wages per hour. When he takes
his car to the dealership I wonder if he wants to see the dealer's book's
to decide if the dealer has the right shop hour rate.
Don, this job was never to be had and the painter that got the job
is not your competition.
In 6 months you seem to be doing everything right. Keep trying to
differentiate yourself and this problem will take care of itself.
 

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How is it some people live this way - they must be living from job to job with no money or time to spare. I bid some houses the other day - around 1400 for one coat - semi gloss, extra per interior and exterior doors, extra for staining decks, etc... The grand total war around $2200 per house. 1800 sq ft, 2 story and a person came in below $1000 for everything!!! I told the contractor to call me if there is ever a problem.

I can't believe it sometimes.
 

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"Buy Quality, Cry Once"
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Discussion Starter #5
George....correct, I dont do T&M work I just got off wayyyy too much info. And I appreciate the confirmation George, thats what everyone tells me. Anywho...lesson learned ;)
 

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Those prices are ridiculous. $1600 for 6000 sq. ft. of cedar! Completely insane. I deal with it all the time as well but not usually with big houses and wealthy people.
 

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Custom Builder
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Don, should have asked the customer if he found the other painter at a soup kitchen.

As far as using hr rates to bid, I use them as a glance measure only, just to compare my labor, materials and overhead to find the size of the soft zone.

Bob
 

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Pro Painter
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I experienced one somewhat like this. However, the customer asserted that he could get his own price on BM paints which were best in his mind and he had to have. Anyway, I can't remember the square footage, but it boiled down to the homeowner arguing the amount of paint I told him he would need. He had a large area of his home done in dark mocha brown color that he wanted painted white. I told him two coats and 6 gallons of paint....he revealed he had been told only 3 gallons followed by "you know that stuff's like $30 a gallon?"

Guess who didn't get that job? .....oh, and guess who I'm willing to bet didn't get that brown covered with 3 gallons?
 

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OUCH!

I personally would never get into the detail he requested of you, I feel the only reason sombody wants that type of detail is to use it against you.

When people get into it like that with me I just try to convey to them that the prices they are given are based upon the level of quality of work that will be performed. I usually tell them that I am not the cheapest in town, but nor am I the most expensive, and that with enough time spent you can always find somebody to do work for a few dollars less then somebody else, but at some point you need to make your decisions based upon how comfortable you are with me and your understanding that I will do my very best to deliver to you a project that both you and I will be proud of when it is done, and the prices I quote you insure this delivery.
 

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Verbal dancing. When someone asks about the price I give them a verbal dance, like a politician. Well we figure square footage and figure difficulty variables like heigh and access, landscaping, detail, prep etc... it's actually a very complicated formula and no two houses are alike. We also have to figure labor burdens and the overhead necessary to be a ligetimate contractor like General Liability and Workamsn COmpensation insurance, which some guys skip.

Well I answered his question without giving him the info he needed to use against me. I also got to plug my company and how we are better than the next guy.
 

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Don you lucked out big time. Can you imagine actually working for a nob liked that? Been there done that.

I pity da fool who got the job.
Dale
 

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I turned down a job

I reading these post and suddenly I don't feel so alone.lol I absolutely hate the pricing part. I'm already fair priced...and then people always want a professional job for pennies.i priced out a sun room that was approximately 24 x 12 with 20 ft vaulted ceiling at around 1300 inluding materials. Also a days work of spackling and prep,plus trim....she was shocked. She wanted to pay 500. No thanks.stress free diet.
 

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I tend to steer away from the hourly rate question when having to explain my pricing to someone. I tend to respond by saying I don't quote based on hours, but rather on the job.

Only time I ever mention hours is when building RTA furniture, pre-fab gazebo's, bbq and exercise equipment.
 

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Brush Bender
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As you guys may or may not know Ive been in business almost 6 months, things have been going well with the exception of a string of lost deals due to low ballers.

Then there was yesterday. I went and bidded a job, entire ext. all cedar shake siding and trim. No doors windows to be painted. About 6K sq of siding, not to mention quite a bit of prep. I bid the job at $6500.00 plus matieials.

I took the qoute to the owners home and we commenced to discuss said contract. Guy used to be a head project manager for RJR tobacco. We hit it off real well, hell of a nice guy. Any ways he says this is quite a bit higher than I wanted to pay, but I do like the way youve presented yourself and you seem to be very upfront. So after chatting it up for a while he gets into how I determined the price.

I told him time to do job x hrly rate. He ask me my hrly rate....all this in a very man to man discussion you understand. I tell him....$40.00 per, he then ask about how many hours did you have figured for this job, 150 hrs I say.....all the while knowing this was NONE of his business...propritory info and all that.....but on and on I go. Now I bid this job VERY competetively and I know it. I go on to tell explain to him that whats covered in the contract I will do i.e. patching rotton wood columns, rotton wood frames etc.. very time consuming.

He ask what hours to I plan on being on site per day, again none of his business, but now it seems Im a puppet on a string :eek: I tell him yes I will be here about 10 hours a day, but I may need to leave to give another qoute etc....but you will come right back right I mean youre not gonna be runnin around givin qoutes all day. Again none of his business..so long as Im done within the timeframe discussed, but again....I say yes, I will try to be here as many hrs per day as possible. So he tells me he is 99.8% certain Im the man :Thumbs:

Just got a call, he says Don, I cant believe it but Im going with someone else, ok I say, can I ask what the guys bid was.....he says he bid the job at 80 hrs and he's only gonna charge $20 per....huh? $1600 plus matierials??!! :eek: Yup says he thats what his bid was, I thought I was gonna puke. Played me like a fiddle....but what the hell is with all these damn low ballers??!!

Well says I you have my card. If I get a call in two weeks sayin this guy has screwed this thing up, the damn price just went up $1500.00 Im sick of the low ball crap. But the lesson learned was worth its weight in gold.

This is my price, I believe it to be fair, and competetive. How I arrived at that price is none of your damned business. Have an outstanding day :evil:
Ha, story of my life it seems. No matter how well you think you qualify those HOs, there is always a surprise waiting in the wings. Sorry you had to go through that in order to find out you're a fender. Fender guitar or just a fender to have all these people bounce their fishing lines off of. Either way, it sucks.
 

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Brush Bender
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I reading these post and suddenly I don't feel so alone.lol I absolutely hate the pricing part. I'm already fair priced...and then people always want a professional job for pennies.i priced out a sun room that was approximately 24 x 12 with 20 ft vaulted ceiling at around 1300 inluding materials. Also a days work of spackling and prep,plus trim....she was shocked. She wanted to pay 500. No thanks.stress free diet.
Yeah, it definitely helps to find you're not alone in this bs. Hope you're getting some ideas about how to price, word it and make some money.
 

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Construction Girl
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yeah, that's the name of the business. You get all of these people always wanting to get a cheap price and then complain later on to their friends about how contractors suck.

All I can say is you get what you paid for. There is no need to change your prices if they are fair and competitive otherwise, you will just get a bunch of cheapskate as customers and one thing I have learn is that the cheapskate customers are the ones that always complain the most
 

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Part of the problem with being a painting contractor is everyone THINKS painting is easy. Look at the Home Cheapo TV adds. With a roll of blue tape, you can do anything!

Let's face it. Most people can paint their bedroom. Will it take them a lot longer than a pro? YES, but they all think it's their weekend project. So the fact that it takes 2 days instead of 2 hours isn't that big of a deal. And look at all the money we saved! They don't get it that your material price is probably 1/2 of theirs (especially if they buy at HD).

No one really understands prep either.

Unfortunately, it doesn't take much capital to be a painter. In most cases, there's no licensing issues. Yes, you may eventually need to buy a sprayer, but you can rent them.
 

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I realize this thread is 8 years old, but it looks like people still find it useful. I'm just going to share what I've learned in 3 years of business so far. First of all, me: My business is my career now. I'm not some "fly-by-night" dumba$$, who doesn't actually know anything about what he's selling. I'm 29, and the construction business is all I know since I'm 17. Painting/remodeling is my niche, and I pride myself on custom finish work. Recently a very wealthy person asked me to give a bid on an exterior paint job for a big house. White on white, no problem. Here's the thing....The ground is not level AT ALL. The house has VERY tall peaks(gothic revival). 2 sides require 32-40 foot ladders or a man lift. Uneven ground made me choose boom-lift. Previous paint job was 10 years ago. Sections of paint are coming off in sheets, so plenty of scraping, sanding, priming. Lots of cracks, holes, etc to be filled. Not to mention washing this damn thing THOROUGHLY(I live on the coast). Also, throwing another coat of concrete finish on sidewalks. Plus, painting doors red, and trimming many windows, eaves, etc. So my final bid is $8000. This is for 100 man hours, top of the line paint, manlift, overhead, spray and backroll etc. He tells me I'm substantially higher than the guy who did it last time. He goes on to tell me that the guy who he will hire is not licensed, not bonded/insured(in other words, not legal at all), is a school teacher with nothing to do in summer, and is using $20/gal paint. I was stunned. I politely explained to him that he will be getting what he pays for, and that if the guy screws him in any way, he will have no legal recourse. He said he will take his chances. I have half a mind to drive by and turn the "painter" in when I see him. I pay out the a$$ to be legal and licensed, and offer great services, only to be b!tch slapped by some jerk-off posing as a painter for the summer. This work should go to people that put the time and effort into being legal and professional. I believe this house would garner bids of $7k -11k from the reputable painters in this area. I'm younger with less experience than guys twice my age, so I'm at the lower end.

Story #2-
I have a customer that owns a small 1 bdrm cottage on the beach. I've done some light maintenance work for her the last 2 years, nothing major. She asks me to give her a bid to stain/seal the exterior siding(cedar) and paint trim, soffitts. I put my bid together....small house, single story, few windows to trim, but there is a deck to stain too, also soffitts were in rough shape(sanding, scraping, primer, the works). My bid is $2300. Keep in mind, it needs a hard wash and treated with Deckscapes revive to make the color pop. She tells me, "Oh boy, I was thinking like $500.)
$500, are you kidding me?! That would maybe cover materials, gas, and lunch! Maybe! I felt like telling her "Oh yeah, that's what I do, charity work, lady!" Sheesh!

Between clients like her, and unlicensed wannabes, it's no wonder so many contractors have heart attacks in their 40's and 50's! It's a wonder any of us stays in business. Luckily, these experiences are rare, but it is frustrating.

Felt good to vent!
 
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