Knowing how much to charge a customer to paint an interior room can make or break a painting business. If the job is bid too low, the business may break even or lose money. However, if the job is bid too high, the customer might pass on the bid. A general knowledge of how much materials cost and basic mathematical skills can give a painting business the advantage when determining how much to charge a customer. Knowing how to get an idea of what a customer's budget is for a job is a skill that can only be developed over time.
Research Material Costs
Visit the local paint supply store and find out which brands of paint are sold. Write down the different brands and how much flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss paints cost in quart, gallon and five-gallon sizes.
Write down how much paint brushes, roller frames, masking materials and roller naps cost. Painters are usually expected to have their own tools. A customer doesn't want to pay for tools he doesn't get to keep. A paint sprayer is also a tool that a painting business should own, but renting is always an option.
Visit several other paint supply stores to do price comparisons. Write down the name of each store and the brands they sell, as well as the prices of each product. This information will be invaluable when providing a customer with options. It will also allow a painting business to know how much materials will cost to do a job.
Determine How Much To Charge
Measure the area of the room to be painted with a tape measure. Measure the width and length of the wall or ceiling and multiply the two numbers together to get the square footage surface area using a calculator. Paint quarts, gallons and five-gallon buckets list the approximate coverage on their labels. If a room has four walls that are ten feet wide by eight feet high, then the area to cover with paint is 320 feet. The ceiling would be ten feet by ten feet, adding another 100 feet. Sufficient paint would need to be purchased to cover 420 square feet.
Ask the customer which paint sheen and color she wants to use to paint the room. Write down the time it will take to wash brushes, rollers and sprayers in between color changes, how much the paint and masking ingredients will cost, how much prep work will be required to prepare the room for painting and an estimate of how many hours it will take to do the job. Ask the homeowner if she wants to buy the materials or if she wants the painting business to purchase them. Let her know what her product options and prices are. Be sure to include sprayer rental costs.
Write up an estimate of how much the painting business will charge the customer to paint the room. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the materials and labor costs. Do not itemize the estimate or the hourly rate the company will charge the homeowner. The only three things the estimate should include are the time it will take to do the job, the cost of the materials to do the job and the labor cost. Make a profit by keeping employee wages low and marking up the materials. There are special contractor wholesale prices when purchasing in bulk or becoming a loyal paint supply store customer.