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At one time, once upon a time I did it so much a sqft. Got the number from a Means book or something. Did a bunch of condo ceilings from water damage.
Made out pretty well at the time. Sometimes the owners would ask us to do the walls.

Haven't used a formula for that in along time.

Apartments are quick and dirty. And you have to treat as such.
 

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Stelzer Painting Inc.
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I'm a moderator on PaintTalk, so I can with confidence that you'll not find much in the way of current going rates, since we are instructed to close those threads down as soon as we see them. Pricing threads rarely yield useful info with painting anyways, due to the variance in scope, customer's expectations, your expected profit margin, overhead, what materials you use and the price you get them for, your area, etc.

You need to find out if they are referring to square-footage of areas to be painted or floor square footage. Be very careful about agreeing to bid by floor square footage. The 2 bedroom units on the 2nd floor could have the same floor square footage as the 2 bedroom vaulted units on the 3rd floor, except the 3rd floor units have 30% more surface area that you'd be doing for free if you just bid by floor square footage.

Find out what the $1/foot refers to and what it includes. Will you have to supply the paint at that cost and is it included? Will they supply the paint? What type? Don't agree to a price til you know what exact paint they supply. You might figure on something covering in 2 coats with your normal use paint and end up having to do 3-4 coats cuz they were too cheap to spec descent paint, (and that will almost always be the case if they spec the paint).

Ask to see a unit they say is ready to paint so you'll know what you're up against. Maybe drywallers leave a ton of mess on every unit that you'll need to account for. Maybe they do crap work and you'll be expected to pick up the slack.

Find out when the GC cuts checks. Could be net 30 or maybe even 60. Are you prepared to cover payroll until you're paid?

Constantly scrutinize your numbers so after you finish a unit you can come up with your own pricing for the next job.

As an aside, $1/foot for 1 prime coat and 2 topcoats all backrolled is a loser if you have to also pay for primer & paint out of that $1/foot. It's also a loser if they provide the paint, but they provide crap paint to save themselves $ in materials while costing you $ in labor. Backrolling all 3 coats is also a huge time suck and completely unnecessary. I personally wouldn't be interested in bidding on a job where the builder is going to tell me how to go about doing that job, but that's a decision for you to make. Good luck.
 
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