3 Commonly Asked Questions About Pricing Paint Projects


I am often asked from my customers as well as our competitors the same few questions.

Q1: How do you come up with pricing? 


Q2: Does the pricing differ for residential, commercial & industrial projects?


Q3: Have you always done pricing the same way?

A3: NO

I will start by explaining why I am qualified to speak on this as an authority.

For over 30 years I have had hands-on experience as a painting contractor in the Tri-State area. I have been running my own team of up to 12 crews with each consisting of 35 men. I have also overseen 30 teams of over 100 men spread out across the entire nation. 

So my super short answers above to the 3 most commonly asked questions are just that – super short. I will now extrapolate on each in depth and share what I have learned over my 3 decades as a painting contractor. 


In Depth Answers To Above Questions


1st Strategy

When I started as a 16 year old boy painting apartments, I would price my work based on what my clients told me they typically paid. While this made my close ratio very high, it did not help me keep much money in my pocket. Most of my competitors were getting the boot because they did a poor job, often as a result of pricing the jobs too low to give the project the attention it needs. For a job to be done correctly, it needs to be allotted the proper amount of time, so that the crew can give it the attention it needs without rushing. 


2nd Strategy

After having a few years of experience and gaining some data on the time and amount of material it takes to paint certain types of projects, I could start to price work based on “time to complete estimates.” This method worked well for repetitive type projects like exterior homes, apartment repaints, and condo associations, but proved troublesome for the outliers like commercial buildings or anything unique.


3rd Strategy

I was told by all kind of associations like PDCA and SSPC that the square footage method was the best way to go. They said that the best idea was to just use the square footage pricing to bid all projects and I will be good to go…  So, I tried it and it worked and continues to work well for basic projects that do not have a lot of variables such as hard to reach areas or painting areas that have obstacles blocking you from accessing the area that needs painted.


4th & Current Strategy

First, we take into consideration the variables that impede progress of the crew while painting each project. Examples of these variables for exterior projects include the temperature, daylight hours, and hills or vegetation blocking access to areas to be painted. An example of the variable that could impede progress for interior projects would be the amount of obstacles or furnishings that need to be moved inside of homes, offices, or stores.  

Next, if the area is big, wide-open, and easy to access, we price it using the square footage pricing method based on the scope of work. An example of how this is calculated is $x per square foot for pressure washing plus $x per square foot for painting. Keep in mind that each coating system is priced out at its own rate since painting a block wall with SW Loxon XP, which costs $45 per gallon with a spread rate of 80-100 ft per gallon, costs more than painting that same wall with SW A-100, which cost $24 per gallon and spreads at 200 ft per gallon. 

If the project is not a wide-open, easy to access, then we combine the square footage method for the easy to access areas along with what we think will be the hourly burn for the hard to access areas. Add this all up using our standard hourly rate and we get a realistic estimate together. 

There is a lot that goes into creating a valid painting project estimate and we are happy to provide them for free along with a detailed scope of work and paint specification.

We are happy to provide the scope and specification to make sure your project is set up properly from the beginning. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and your project gets completed properly!

I hope this was helpful to all who read it – not only our clients, but our competitors as well.  


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DJ's Painting Local

168 Richards Rd.
Bridgeton, NJ 08302

P: 856-455-5257

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