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How to Estimate an Interior Paint Job

Here's the secret on how to estimate a painting job, slow down and pay attention to detail.
Seriously, everybody loses when an estimate is not done carefully.

When I do an estimate, I try to imagine in my mind, actually doing the paint job. For example, is it easier or more difficult to bring all the tools into the house? Are there pets or children to contend with? Are the walls dirty? Are there a lot of nail pops? Basically, what are the conditions before painting? How much time will it take to get the area ready to go on?

Protection, what is needed? What needs to be removed prior to starting? What about switch plates, lighting, pianos, grandfather clocks or anything that is expensive and will require special handling. If you think that is overkill just wait until one of your painters scratches a piano and you have to get its expensive lacquer finish redone. Again how much time to move and protect?

Preparations, how much time will it take to spackle, sand, and prime or spot prime prior to painting?

Next, measure the room, width then length. Then multiply the width times the length. That will give you the square feet of the ceiling. How much time does it take to paint a ceiling of this square footage?

Second, measure the height, then multiply the width times two, then multiply the length times two, finally take that total and multiply times the height of the walls. This will give you the square footage of the walls. Now how much time does it take for your crew to paint walls of this square footage?

Third, back up, the baseboard lineal footage is 2 times length plus two times the width. How much time does it take for your crew to paint baseboards?

Count doors, windows, shelving and any other single item such as crown molding, chair rail, etc. Add them up individually and multiply times the amount of time your crew takes to paint these items.

Are you all done measuring for painting? Great, now replace those things you removed prior to painting. Add up the time it would take.

Cleanup, figure the time it will take to remove drops and ladders etc. Now compute how much time to vacuum, wipe down etc. Put everything back into the truck, how much time did that take?

Finally, add all these times up and multiply by the hourly rate that you have calculated to be what you need to make money, and you are done.

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