Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It costs how much to paint my room?

You want to paint your bedroom and have no idea what it may cost.

Painting costs vary greatly and there is no wonder some people think a professional painting companies prices may be high. 

When your competition is someone with no insurance, employees and working out of the back of their station wagon or car those prices are not real and will greatly be less than a professional painting company.

What goes into pricing that bedroom? Staff at the office who answers the phones returns your calls and does all of the paperwork such as billing, color selections and sends out information regarding your project. Picking up your materials at the paint store, training of the painters who work for them.
Rent and equipment to keep ahead of the ever-changing paint coatings.

Then the actual cost of the job, workers, supervisor and delivery driver. All of these costs will be reflected in the price for painting your bedroom. Sure you could hire that handyman or the other guy who is a family friend but there is no telling the risk you may be taking with your home.

Painting is a skill, passed down from generation to generation or one that is learned and taught, when something may go wrong like a paint failure will the other painter know how to handle it or will they disappear or make things worse.

A typical room above let's say is 15x15 with 9 ft ceilings. In a painters world that is 504 sq ft of wall space. Painters measure based on the wall space. If they were doing the floor or ceiling 15x15 would be the sq ft. So in paint alone assuming a mid-level paint you need two gallons to paint these walls at $40 a gallon, so that's $80 in the paint, a roller cover is about $8 and a roll of tape $6. Don't forget the plastic $10 and spackle $8. Assuming a professional company has brushes, roller handles and more your costs end here. So your total of materials is about $112 and that's before any labor is added.
We would paint these bedroom walls for about $400, so your total is around $500 to do the walls.

This includes no trim, no ceiling, you can see it takes a lot to put a room together and an estimate and then produce the project to completion. A good company will do touch ups before leaving the residence eliminating any need for a return trip. A lot goes into a project, more so than anyone thinks about and those costs must be put into the job itself or a company would go out of business in no time

Friday, November 24, 2017

What goes into a commercial paint job.

What goes into a typical large painting job

Blood sweat and tears sometimes

Commercial painting can be a cutthroat business but one that is rewarding when a project is running correctly by the general contractor, the other trades, and our own team.

Should one of those areas slip it creates a cascade of aggravation throughout the whole project, however when all is going great it's like watching a synchronized dance and it is wonderful to watch a large group of trades come together to complete a job.

Let's discuss a typical project. It all starts with a bid invite or rfp  (request for proposal)
They can come to you in many ways, from repeat customers, lists you pay for, your paint store etc.
Once you receive that it's time to determine if a project is right for your team, you should not take every project that comes your way for many reasons.

Once you go over the rfp the estimating team gets to work, there may or may not be a site visit, typically we bid off of blueprints only, never seeing a project until the day we start.
We scour over the blueprints using an estimating program that we can accurately measure all surfaces.

Once we have all of that information and numbers we send it for approval and to put a dollar value on it. We submit it wither via our proposal or an online portal for the general contractor. Some projects you may be bidding to 4-5 different contractors. It's nice to develop a relationship with one and become their preferred painter.

Once you submit your bids it may be months or even a year before you hear anything. Once you're awarded a project is where the work begins. From submittals of all paints and materials used to contracts, insurance and planning the project. It now goes to operations where they will begin putting the plan together.

Once we get a start date we mobilize all of our equipment and do a walkthrough, here is where the project is made or not. If you get a project manager onsite who cannot manage a job site you're all in big trouble. We have been on projects where all of the trades had to come together and run a project in spite of the person who should really be doing it.

As the job is going you will get feedback good and bad and at completion a punch list of all the touch-ups needed, We recommend noting every conversation, email and taking photos as you go because they will come up later on most projects. Be prepared and you may be able to have a smooth commercial painting project.

Yes we make mistakes but guess what?

"Everyone is going to make a mistake and those who tell you they are perfect are not telling you the truth" Ryan Amato

When we arrive at a job site we all have great intentions and there is nothing more the painters want to do than please their clients trust me.

Painters all share one thing in common, they love to look back at the end of a project and see a happy customer smiling. This will make any painter proud and believe me painters have and take great pride in their work.

So when there is a mistake, a spill or something simply doesn't work out this can be devastating to the pride of the painter not to mention the customer sometimes may take a small mistake and blow it way out of proportion. We understand to you this may seem like a horrible thing and the world may be crumbling.

Here is where a good company and great painters step up. They take control of the situation and bring solutions to the table and fix whatever small issue may be happening or something that is bothering a customer.

We sometimes look at each other in the office when we get frantic calls from clients screaming and yelling for an issue that will take an hour to correct. We aren't running away and a great company will correct any issue even when it isn't their fault.

So any company you hire, I always ask if they back their work, the review I want to hear or see is yes they made a mistake but guess what? They corrected it right away.

I had a black top company seal my driveway and when I came home it was sprayed all over the siding of my home, I tried everything I could to get it off with no luck. I emailed that night, didn't receive a response but when I came home the next day it was cleaned up. That is customer service and I would recommend them to anyone and certainly use them again EVEN though they made a mistake.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why you should be cautious when hiring a subcontractor.

When you call a company to come out and give you an estimate whether a painter, carpenter or other you typically meet someone from that company as you would expect but what if once the job starts a totally different company shows up to do your project? Plus you weren't told.

Me I would be upset, I made a connection with the person who came out to give me an estimate I had been dealing with their office the whole time and now I have a whole new company who I never met, do not know my expectations and their whole agenda is to hurry up because they need to go fast to make their money.

Why do companies use subcontractors in the first place?

  • Cheap labor
  • No liability
  • They do not do that type of work
  • No taxes paid (payroll taxes)
  • No workers compensation
Some companies this is their whole business model, there is no way to monitor quality because if they really are a subcontractor they can't have any say in the work, schedule or when and how the job is being done or they are not a true subcontractor in the first place which most likely is the case.

One other very important issue is workers compensation, guess who is on the hook if someone gets hurt and you find out yes the company you hired has it but the subcontractor doesn't carry it and should have been. You're opening yourself up to liability with your home and insurance.

If a company is going to use a subcontractor (and some may be good) it must be written in your contract. 
Watch yourself when your hiring a contractor and make them be upfront, you will see in the future this will be a key area the IRS will target and many contractors will be put out of business or at the least owe a ton of back payroll taxes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Behind the scenes of a painting estimate

Have you ever wondered what is involved with a painting estimate?

There is more involved than just showing up at the door

Let's go over a typical estimate from start to finish.

We all get excited when the phone call comes in, the client may have searched online, got a referral or saw the painters on another job.
However they reached us we take it very seriously and pride ourselves on knowing someone will answer the phone, we return calls and emails in a timely fashion.

Someone will answer that call when it comes in and spends 10-15 minutes with you gathering information, name, address, and type of work you're looking to have done.

This is also a great time for us to ask even more questions and get a sense if we're a good fit for each other before the estimate is even scheduled, we will ask questions such as have you used a professional painter before, do you have other painting coming out to estimate this work and timeline to name a few.

Some people are taken aback by this but would you rather waste your time after someone comes out to estimate it just to find out we do not do that type of work, or the job is not our specialty or the time frames just don't match up?

After this phone call we will schedule this estimate and discuss the phone call within the office and prepare to come out, we will gather any literature needed for your project, add this to our schedules and create notifications on our end to make sure we are aware it is coming.

A few days before the estimate we will send out a few emails explaining how the estimate will go and tips on how to make the most of it, so we're already into about an hour spent on your potential estimate.

The morning of the estimate I will gather my notebook and materials and make sure I am either early or on time.

We will walk the project together, letting you explain exactly what you expect and want to make sure we can offer this. After walking through with you I will walk through again on my own measuring and planning. At this time I will know if I can offer a price on the spot or it may require more time in the office to write it up.

Let's say we needed more time, I will head back to the office, sit down and put all my measurements together into a spreadsheet, once we have all of this done I will have a firm number to send over but we have to enter all of this and write up the proposal so even more time is spent on the estimate, we are typically into 2.5 hours now spent on one estimate we may or may not win.

Now comes the tough part, we send the estimate over and typically you have four types of people, the ones who give you a yes or no right away, the ones who need time to "think" and the ones who hide and do not return calls or email.

As you can see to do just one estimate can take about three hours whether we win or lose it, now some may be less and some maybe longer. This is why it is very important the person deciding is home at the estimate to not waste any one's time