Second, brings us directly to the next step which is to know your costs which will bring you to knowing your “Hourly Rate” as opposed to some fictional number like the “Going Rate”. The way to find your hourly rate is to gather up all of your yearly expenses and divide by the total number of hours worked in a year, then add profit.
Third you need to know how long it takes you or your crew to paint individual items, for example, how long it takes to paint 100 square feet of wall or ceiling. How long to paint a door, windows and baseboards.
Fourth, once you have your list it is easy to measure and count all the individual items, multiply by the times for each item and add them. Estimating paint is pretty straight forward, just read the coverage on the paint label.
Fifth, Preparation is a subject that requires special consideration. Preparation is sometimes the most difficult item to estimate on a paint job. And almost always is different from job to job.
Sixth, Estimate and allow time for protecting your client’s surfaces, setting up the job and cleaning up.
Seventh, although you are prepared to work an 8 hour day, no one actually works 8 hours, most professional painting estimators build their estimate around actually working a 6.5 hour day.
So you see that there is no magic formula to creating an accurate paint job estimate but it does take time and thought. Since the profitability of the whole job is based on how thorough you are when collecting your information, don’t rush the estimate. As you become more experienced you will become faster at the estimating process and more accurate. This is the way that I have been preparing my estimates for years and the method has not failed me.
By P E Cavanaugh