The Questions

So many people ask, “Why do so many painters not show up for estimates or even call back when requested?” A more popular asked question is this, “How is it that painters’ pricing is so widely varied?”

The Answers

The answer is this, good painters and cheap painters get very busy, very quickly. Painters, even good ones, are usually tradesmen first and business people second. This means they often stop returning messages and showing up to estimates as soon as they get busy.

As for the second part…why are painter’s prices so widely varied? Well, the fact is, unlike other businesses, where pricing is usually established via a square footage method or cost per item (ie. cost per door to install + material), most painting contractors use more of an art.

The Varying Methods

We look at the project and determine how long we think it will take and charge based on that. This works unless it is a large open area, such as a warehouse ceiling or open walls. Some painting contractors will do full measurements and use square footage methods to determine pricing. However, there is not really a solid consensus as to what pricing method should be used. To make the business scalable, some form of square footage must be implemented. However, this takes a lot more time to draft an estimate, which may be why the quick hourly method is used so often. Not to mention, that many painters will raise and lower their pricing based on how busy they are. This makes sense especially if they have only have a certain number of weeks to do exterior painting before it gets slower, and they are stuck doing interior work only.

System Variation: Cheap<Moderate<Extravagant

Another reason why the price may vary so widely is due to the scope of work and specification. Since many painters are tradesmen and not businessmen, they may not communicate clearly or do the detective work required to understand the client’s needs and budget. Without understanding the client’s needs and budget, it is not possible to write a detailed scope of work and specify the right products for their project. It is kind of like driving a car blindfolded, just a bad idea. But many, I dare say most of my competitors, will not take the time to listen to what a client is wanting. Therefore, they offer either a super cheap system that will not last or a top of the line system that will be too extravagant. Sometimes, the client wants this. Maybe the property is getting sold and they just need to get through inspection, or they are just buying the home of their dreams and want a paint job that will last a decade or more. Knowing the difference between the systems is just one qualification to be a true painting expert.      

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