Is there anything worse than finishing a job only to find out that you virtually did it for free? The only thing that can be harder to swallow is if you actually paid money to do it. If you aren’t estimating your commercial job properly, not only are you losing revenue and decreasing your profit – you might end up working for free.
There are many hiccups that can come up when you are working on a job. The only way to minimize the potential that you are going to underestimate is to know what you should anticipate and have it built into the cost of the job, just in case.
The mistake that most commercial painters make is to think that the estimate is what sells the job when really it is the painter, their expertise, their quality, and their sales pitch that seals the deal. Don’t underestimate what you are worth. Sometimes if you focus on getting as many jobs as you can instead of getting jobs that pay well, you are going to end up making a whole lot less and working a lot more than you have to.
Figure out how much the paint itself is going to cost
Make sure to measure things correctly so that you know exactly how much the paint is going to cost, as well as the tools and labor. If you forget the minor details of how much a paint job is going to require in material or labor costs, you are going to end up spending money that you don’t need to. Calculating actual costs is imperative to not giving your time away for free.
Your labor costs should be about $20 an hour times the number of hours that you anticipate it will take you. So multiply $20 times the hours that the job requires.
The material costs aren’t just about the number of gallons of paint you will need; you will also need tools, paint brushes, drop cloths and other materials to make sure that the client’s home can stay mess-free. Make sure that you add up all those little things that a job needs to get done that will come out of your pocket.
The total cost of the job is going to be the labor costs plus the material costs. To the total cost, you will want to add things like time necessary for cleaning up, the time it requires to set things up to keep the homeowner’s valuables safe, and the time that you will have to travel if the job is far from your home.
Remember you are in it to make a profit
Now that you know how much the actual costs to you are going to be, remember that you are in the business to earn a profit. A company can’t survive if they don’t turn a profit. That is why once you have calculated actual costs, you have to markup the price.
The markup is there not just to help you turn a profit, but also to make sure that you anticipate any additional costs that you don’t see initially. If you get halfway through the job to find that there is water damage or that the drywall needs to be prepared, that is going to be on you if you didn’t markup the price to ensure that you covered for those little things that can go wrong and add up to big money.
There is a whole lot that goes into running a commercial painting company. Before you commit to a painting estimate, make sure you are thinking about all your costs – your real costs.
Don’t discount things like marketing, buying the equipment necessary, and what your time is worth. If you underprice your services to gain clients, then you are doing yourself a disservice. When you give an estimate the key is not to gain a job at your loss, but for profit. If you forget that, then you can end up not getting very far in the commercial painting industry.