Why Estimates From Professional Painting Contractors Can Vary From Company To Company

January 1, 2009

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Should you ask for multiple bids from painting contractors? Is the lowest bid always the best? Here is why bids vary from company to company and how you can be an informed buyer. 

Pricing Factors

Getting the best deal involves understanding the six major pricing factors used by painting contractors. These will help you discuss your needs and analyze if the bid is realistic. 

1. Cost of materials. Quality and cost of paint vary as does the buying power of the painting contractor. Be specific. Do you need caulking, sealing or repairs done? Ask for an objective evaluation from someone who is knowledgeable that will not be bidding on your project. 

2. Labor costs vary with skill levels. Learn the standard going rates for painting contractor’s workers and understand the labor hours and skills needed. High intensity projects require highly trained and skilled professionals to do it right. Don’t overlook surface preparation, as this is crucial to your project’s success and longevity. Inexperienced painters may cut corners during the prep phase to save money and your project will suffer. 

3. Working conditions. Inclement weather, difficult access, scaffolding, lifts, lighting, excessive heat, cold and humidity problems must be dealt with. Painting contractors differ on their evaluations. 

4. Time factors. Be realistic, but don’t lose sight of your target completion date. A seasoned professional can customize a timeline to fit your needs. Be prepared that this may cost more if overtime and weekend or night work is needed to complete your proposed schedule. 

5. Insurance. Many contractors have little or no insurance, which is a recipe for disaster if you don’t do your homework. A professional contractor will have industry standard insurance limits in place and will gladly provide you their insurance information. 

6. Seasoning. Ask if your painting contractor has experience with your specific type of project. What issues have they faced and how did they remedy the situation? This knowledge and expertise can save you lots of time, and ultimately money, if you know the realities up front and are prepared. 

You can get your job done right at a price you can afford if you will leave nothing to chance

First, work out bid instructions that are comprehensive, realistic and accurately convey your requirements.

Second, maintain a good relationship with your bidders. They want your business, but the responsibility of making the best selection is yours. 

Third, never fail to ask for and check out references. Ask questions. Problems are always better avoided than solved. Multiple bids protect you from the incapable and unscrupulous. 

Finally, avoid “lowest price” blindness. Look for quality work at a fair price and a contractor who is interested in maintaining a long term relationship with you. Both you and your painting contractor will benefit

Questions or comments?

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