These are the factors you should consider when bidding for painting contract jobs:
- The scope of work
- The necessary material
- Your other costs
- Your mark-up
It’s a common misconception that the lowest bids always get the job. There are many more factors in that equation. It’s simply not as simple as that. If you offer a quote that’s too low, you don’t make enough profit. On the other hand, a quote that’s too high will see you outbid by your competition.
So, how do you bid for painting contract jobs?
To earn good money doing painting contract jobs, you clearly need to ensure a substantial difference between your costs and the price you are being paid. You can achieve this either by raising your prices or by reducing your costs.
Since your costs are mostly your material, labour and the price you pay to your workers, there is generally very little wiggle room there. There’s no point working if you’re not going to get paid what you’re worth.
So, your other option is to be as precise as possible when doing your quotes. That, plus a fair mark-up are keys to a job well charged.
There are several steps to creating a good bid for painting contract jobs that will work well for you and your potential clients. Let’s cover each of them in more detail.
List all the Necessary Work for Painting Contract Jobs
To give your most precise estimate, you need to determine the scope of your work.
Firstly, you need to know whether you’re working on the exterior or the interior of a house or building. Interiors may be slightly easier to deal with, but not always.
Secondly, you need to calculate the exact surface area to be covered in paint. Don’t forget to calculate the ceilings as well. Besides the walls, you might be required to paint window trims and doors, as well. Check that and include it in your price.
You also need to confirm whether you’ll have to prepare the walls before painting. Sometimes, they only need a bit of a scrub before painting. Other times, they can be in such bad shape that you spend more time prepping them than actually painting them.
Listing all the work that needs to be done will also help you to decide whether you want to do it by yourself or whether you will hire contractors to help you. Their price also needs to be included.
List All the Necessary Material
The first item on your list – paint.
When you know what type of painting contract job you have, it’s not difficult to calculate the amount of paint you’ll need. Figure out how many coats are required. Also, account for cost variances for different types of paint and finishes.
Additionally, calculate the material that you’ll need for the preparation of the surfaces. Will you use a primer? How much? All that goes on the list.
Is it your job to paint the windows and the doors? If it is, list that paint, as well. Besides that, the choice of paint is also relevant when buying the material. If you must use rare or expensive paint, make sure you calculate a premium over the painting price as insurance.
Calculate Your Labor for the Job
If you’re an experienced painter, you can already tell how long it will take to complete any of the painting contract jobs you quote. One of the major items on the list of your expenses is labour, listed in days or in hours, although it’s easier and more transparent to use hours.
If you decide on expressing the time scope of your work in days, make sure that you sign a contract that says how many working hours one day can have and what any overtime is worth.
Decide on Your Mark-up
With all the costs figured out, you then need to decide how much profit you want on that particular project. Let’s break this down and see how it works. This is merely a rough estimate and you should always make your own calculations when you want to bid for a painting contract job:
- Material cost: Calculate the surface area that needs to be covered and add to that the price of the paint you need. For example, you have one room that is 3m x 3m and has a ceiling that is 2.5m high. There are two windows and two doors in that room.
The usual paint coverage is 15m2. This means that you’ll need 4 litres of paint for your walls and 2 litres of paint for your ceiling. That’s 6 litres of paint right there.
- Labour cost: Can you do this room in 8 hours? Let’s say that the average cost of painting a house is between $35 and $45 per hour. If you have helpers, add their working hour price here, as well.
- Total cost: Add the price of material and labour and add 30% to 50% depending on your expertise, job difficulty and other factors. This is your profit. That money covers your time spent looking for work, your marketing efforts and similar expenses.
Use Software to Bid for Painting Contract Jobs
Some people take the easy way out and use purpose-built software to calculate their bid for painting contract jobs. These calculators take into consideration everything that you list as important.
This kind of technology can produce professionally looking quotes that will impress your potential clients, and there are premium products that even provide you with a demo of your painting work. If you think you absorb their cost without bringing impacting your margins too much, they’re worth the investment.
How and When to Raise Your Prices
Experience and expertise are two factors that determine price.
If you’re just beginning to bid for painting contract jobs, make sure you’re pricing is competitive. After you earn a couple of reviews, get some photos of your good work and some experience – you can raise your prices accordingly and be confident of getting the work.
If someone can choose between a newbie painter and an experienced painter who has an impressive portfolio to showcase, they will go with experience 9 times out of 10. Even if it means paying a bit more. Clients want to be sure the work is done well and if you can point to a proven track record, you’re always going to be in front.
So, you can raise your prices once you have a portfolio to speak of. Even better is a healthy collection of testimonials from happy clients. Encourage clients to leave you positive reviews online on websites like Service Seeking so you feature regularly in people’s shortlists.
Keep Your Eye on the Competition
Another particularly important factor when it comes to setting your price is your competition.
It’s simply quite difficult to command prices well above those of similar painters on the market. Which is why you should always check on the competition and maintain an awareness of market prices.
Thankfully, keeping an eye on your competition and bidding for painting contract jobs is as easy joining Service Seeking, a website that connects Australia’s best tradies with all the people who want something done.
Simply list your business on Service Seeking now and start bidding for painting contract jobs in your area. Win jobs, build your portfolio, get good reviews and make a living doing what you do best.