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7 Min. Read

How to Bid a Paint Job: Estimation Guide and Template

How to Bid a Paint Job: Estimation Guide and Template

Submitting a bid for a painting job can be a tough challenge. You don’t want to put your bid in too high in case it gets rejected. But, you also don’t want to come in too low. You want your bid to reflect the quality and professionalism of your work with a good profit margin.

But how do you balance between not going too high or too low? The good news is that there are some things that you can take into consideration. Your odds of having your bid accepted can increase and you can make sure you receive the right amount of compensation.

Here is everything you need to know to bid for a paint job.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Things to Keep In Mind Before You Get Started

Visit the Site

Determine Your Material and Labor Costs

Determine the Type of Paint

Bidding for a Paint Job Estimate Template

Key Takeaways

Things to Keep In Mind Before You Get Started

Some paint jobs can be quick and easy, and others can be much more time-consuming and tedious. Knowing some of these variables can help make your bid estimate more accurate. Things like how much preparation work you will have to do, how long it will take to paint and your total materials cost.

There can be other things to consider as well. Like how difficult the paint job is, any time constraints to finish the job or any other specialty materials you might require. Knowing these details will allow you to develop a more accurate estimate.

Visit the Site

Visiting the site where the paint job will get done can be one of the best things you can do. You will be able to see the entire space and account for any other factors that can affect your ability to do the job. Finding out the square footage can help determine the amount of paint you will need or if you require additional materials.

To figure out how much square footage you need to cover, you can simply multiply the width of a wall by its height. To make this as easy as possible, break down your square footage calculations on a wall by wall or room by room basis. You can then add the different square footage together to get the total square footage.

Determine Your Material and Labor Costs

Are you bidding on a really big job? Or is it a smaller job? Are you going to need to hire extra contractors or additional labor to help you complete the work? There are several factors to take into account depending on the demands of the project and the cost of supplies.

Common materials to factor into your bid:

  • The amount of paint needed
  • Masking tape or painters tape
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint trays
  • Drop cloths
  • Different types of caulking
  • Primer if needed
  • Ladders

Common labor costs to factor into your bid:

  • How many workers do you need to complete the job if you can’t do it on your own
  • The amount of prep time or work needed
  • This could include things like removing old windows, fixing wood damage, removing vegetation or scraping old paint off
  • The amount of time to complete the job

Labor costs can be difficult to estimate accurately. But, it’s always better to account for more instead of less. This way, you can avoid any delays or work stoppages if you didn’t account for enough labor to finish the job.

Determine the Type of Paint

What colors are needed? Is there a specific type of paint that the client wants? Is it an exterior paint job or interior? What’s actually getting painted?

Knowing the answers to those questions will help you develop an accurate estimate and be able to budget accordingly. You will not only find out exactly which areas need to get painted, but you will also find out if any trim, doors or ceilings also need to get painted.

It typically takes around a gallon of paint to be able to fully cover 400 square feet of surface area. So, if you determine the area to be 375 square feet, then one gallon of paint would be enough. However, the type and overall quality of the paint can impact the surface area it will cover.

Discuss some of your options at your local paint store. They can provide more information on the differences in types of paints.

How to Determine the Final Estimate

To calculate the final estimate for your bid taking into account all of the above details, just use this formula.

Cost of materials + cost of labor + any overhead or marketing costs = total estimate of the project

Different types of paint jobs are going to require different materials and labor costs. But physically visiting the site and getting a better sense as to the size and any obstacles to overcome is a good first start.

You can then take the information that you find in your site visit and use it to formulate an accurate bid.

Bidding for a Paint Job Estimate Template

Here is a checklist of how to develop an estimate for a paint job using the information outlined above.

  • Visit the site - determine the square footage and overall condition of the areas that need to get painted. Multiply the width by the height to get the square footage of a wall or area.
  • Calculate the cost of paint - divide the total square footage that needs to get painted by the surface area that one gallon of paint covers. Let’s say one gallon of paint covers 400 square feet and the job is a total of 1,500 square feet. Four gallons of paint would cover 1,600 square feet, which would be more than enough for your job. You then would multiply those paint prices by the price it costs for one gallon. For example, 4 gallons x $25 per gallon = $100.
  • Calculate the material costs - anything that you need to complete your job. Materials can include things like ladders, tape, paint trays, paint rollers, caulking or drop cloths, for example. Just add up the cost of the different materials you require.
  • Calculate the labor costs - there are some areas to consider when calculating labor costs. Things such as a professional painter's experience or any obstacles that can affect their ability to work efficiently. Hiring the right labor can reduce costs in the long run by avoiding mistakes and delays in completing the job.
  • Estimate marketing costs - if you are going to market your services, be sure to account for those costs. Things like online advertising or having marketing materials created should get added to the estimate.

Key Takeaways

It can be a daunting and overwhelming process to try and develop an accurate painting bid. You want your estimate to reflect the quality of work you will provide but you also don’t want to bid too low or too high. Knowing exactly what you need to account for from the beginning will help set you up for success.

Visiting the job site will give you a better sense of everything you need to include in your bid. You will be able to see the size of the job and determine if you will need to purchase additional materials or hire extra labor. The bid that you end up submitting will be an accurate price for what is required for the job. And it will also suit your individual business goals and the project budget.


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