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Painting It: Estimating Paint Quantity and Cost

 

In the process of estimating a project, always include the amount of each paint product you will need to use. That means: Number of pints, quarts, gallons, and five-gallon quantities.

 

When the project is small and requires only one type of material, priced at under ten dollars, there’s rarely a problem. It becomes more complicated when you have an entire house, or a commercial building, to paint.

 

When costs enter the picture, accuracy and precision are the rule of thumb. It is possible to bid a job, receive it and later find that you have underbid the work. Let’s say by twenty gallons, and at a cost of $340.00.

 

There’s no problem if your total estimate is in the thousands. But, if the bid is $700.00, then you have just lost 50% of the gross payment. Add those mistakes add up big time over the course of a year. You will barely realize a profit.

 

A permanent solution so you don’t underbid – unintentionally.

 

1. Estimate (accurately) the total square feet and linear feet of the project.

A. Square feet: Measure length and height of longest and adjacent wall. Multiply.

B. Linear feet: Measure length of longest wall/area. Multiply by number of walls.

 

2. Establish a spreadsheet on the various products by name, and cost per unit.

A. For each product, list the manufacturer’s color name and code number.

B. Specify the manufacturer for each product you intend on using.

 

3. Calculate a base figure for sales tax for all quantity units.

 

4. Establish a spreadsheet detailing specific surface coverage for each material.

 

5. Design a chart comparing surface texture with volume of material used.

 

6. Figure in a transportation charge for pickup and delivery of supplies.

 

General Rules of Thumb – based on quality of product you choose.

 

1. Average gallon of latex paint covers = 400 sq. ft. at cost of $9.00 – $21.00.

2. Average bedroom = 1.5 gallons of paint.

3. Clear coating a wood door = 1 quart of finish at cost of $12.00 – $15.00.

4. Semi-gloss latex for bathroom ceiling = ½ gallon at cost of $6.00 – $9.00.

5. Latex paint for 2500 sq. ft. house = 7 gallons at cost of $120.00 – $160.00.

6. Oil stain 10 Oak doors = 1 gallon at cost of $22.00 – $30.00.

 

Estimating paint product quantity and cost takes time. It deserves your full attention. Even the top estimators –eg. in construction, or engineering/facilities management – know the tradeoffs for doing their job right. Every time.

 

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Estimate each time as though your job depends on your accuracy.

Probably, it does. And, so do the jobs of others!

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Enjoy your New Year. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Balancing a Painting Budget

When sizing up the expenses for a painting project, what should you ask yourself first?

Normally, you want to know what the final finish products will cost. Reasonable enough, since

they are comparably the most expensive items.

 

Painting to achieve durability and quality is what establishes the basis for a budget. It’s very simple: you get what you pay for.

TIP: When two gallons of paint are separated by costs greater than half the price, the most expensive is not necessarily the best. Don’t let a paint salesperson tell you differently.

 

The type of paint. Well, that’s a different story.

 

A specialized coating, such as acrylic clear coat for protecting wood, may cost $50 a gallon.

A urethane for painting exterior metal could cost up to $125 for the catalyst, base and solvent. A finish that you’ve selected for your garage floor could cost you at least $70 a gallon.

 

I base the total cost of a painting project on the following things:

 

  1. total square feet of surface to be painted, and the number of coats of paint.
  2. total linear feet  of moldings, trim, fascias, soffits, etc.
  3. type and number of doors – eg. louvered, flat, recessed paneled.
  4. time in labor for preparation, priming, and finish painting. This can be underestimated!
  5. cost of preparation and painting products and materials.

 

The cost for paint and materials is a fixed price based on the present market value.

 

Where money is dramatically lost or saved, labor comes into play.

 

The time estimated to perform the work is critical to the total quoted price of a job. Usually, this is figured on the total number of “man hours multiplied my dollars-per-hour charge, or as a contracted price per unit.

Example: Painting a door costs $25; painting 10 doors costs $250. To each total, add cost of paint, preparation materials, and necessary supplies.

 

The labor charge must also be adjusted for the degree of difficulty or the extensiveness of the process. Bottom line: It is “experience” that establishes competitive labor charge or rate.

Example: Refinishing a piece of furniture.

What’s involved: Stripping, then cleaning the surface; using wood filler, process of repeated sanding, application of multiple coats of finish, and waxing.

What can happen: An “inaccurate estimate” in any one of these steps could cost you your entire profit in completing the whole piece.

 

The inventory for painting tools and supplies can be charged as a fixed monthly expense.

Example: You purchase 10 rolls of masking tape and 25 sheets of sandpaper on average per month. Cost: $40 per month, times 12 months: $500 a year expense. Items such as brushes will be purchased based on use. TIP: Always make allowances for projects which require more.

 

Productivity is another area which can offset the budget, in a positive or negative way. The quantity of work performed in any given time period can create a profit, cause you a loss,

or allow you just to break even.

 

“Why so much of a difference,” you might ask? The business model says: By decreasing time in labor, your profits will increase. That’s not true, necessarily.

 

What happens to that anticipated profit, when a rush job results in poor work and client rejection? You need to redo the job. And, YOU have to foot the bill for materials and labor the second time around.

 

Typical labor-saving materials, tools and equipment in the painting process.

 

  1. Airless spray painting for large spaces, or areas such as vertical/horizontal siding.

 

  1. Airless spray painting for large amount of preinstalled moldings.

 

  1. Conventional spray equipment to apply oil stain to preinstalled moldings.

 

  1. Easy-release masking tape to prevent pull-off of existing finish.

 

  1. Pressurized roller system when painting a lot of walls in one color.

 

  1. Industrial-grade paint stripper when removing wood finish.

 

  1. Largest size roller cover you can manage for the specific work to be done.

 

  1. Plastic sheeting to cover furniture when painting overhead.

 

All application methods, materials, tools, and equipment serve to save time. The use of a spray finishing system far exceeds the level of productivity of brush and roller work.

 

Budgeting is all about saving money. And everyone wants to do that.

 

When quality is your prime concern, however, make sure to save enough money for what is most important.

 

A TOP TIP: Always shop around for products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment. Including rentals! Prices can vary between different supply houses – same company.

 

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Thanks, everyone, for staying on-course — and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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