November 22

4 Necessary Elements of a Painting Estimate

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When you’re looking for a contractor to paint your commercial or residential property, one of the first steps is to request an estimate from them. Some contractors have standard forms that they fill out; others may use estimating software. Regardless of the estimating method used, the factors in preparing the estimate should be similar across the board.

Factors that Should Be Included in a Professional Paint Estimate

The Painters Contractors Association (PCA) advises their members to include the following elements in their estimates:  

  1. Scope of Work—identifying all items and surfaces to be protected, prepared, or finished.
  2. Quantity Takeoff—measuring all surfaces or counting all items to be finished.
  3. Labor—calculating the labor cost to perform the job.
  4. Materials—calculating the cost of materials to perform the job.

Some painting contractors use livable square footage to estimate their paint projects. This is not an accurate portrayal of what will be painted. For example, if your home is 2,000 square feet, the estimate to paint the exterior of your home shouldn’t be based on this number. This is a reflection of your floor and ceiling square footage; the ceilings and floors won’t be painted, so why are they included? 

ACP Painting’s Estimating Process

The estimates provided by ACP Painting are based on the guidance of the PCA. We take the measurements of the surfaces that will be painted, and what is actually being painted (walls, ceilings, exterior stucco, fascia, cabinets, etc.). In other words, the measurements and itemization to paint the walls of a room will be different than painting kitchen cabinets. 

This method is referred to as the Developed Area Method of estimating, which is recommended and  approved by the PCA for consistent and accurate painting estimates. 

The detail and level of prep involved will impact the estimate in all four areas. Of course, like all businesses who wish to remain profitable, we have overhead costs and need to make money on our work, so our estimates include those percentages on top of actual labor rates and material costs. We do, however, believe that our rates are fair and competitive with other licensed painting contractors in the area.

ACP Painting uses a software package called Estimate Rocket to prepare estimates for our customers. This online package allows us to calculate the estimated cost on-site by entering the job measurements on an iPad tablet. The program will automatically calculate the estimate, accounting for labor, materials, and already has profit and overhead built-in. 

Is Your Painting Estimate Too Good to Be True?

The purpose of a paint estimate is not to win the job. That’s why you need to be careful not to choose your painting contractor by price alone. Unfortunately, some contractors will low-ball the bid, then increase the price due to “new requirements” they claim arose during the course of the project. Other contractors may not charge extra, but will rush through the job and use lower quality paint and materials to cut costs. 

The old adage, “You get what you pay for” rings true here. Any painting estimate should itemize the costs of all factors involved in producing quality results. If you think your painting estimate is lacking detail, ask the contractor to explain. 

Some things you may want to ensure are covered:

  • Repairs. If you know the surfaces to be painted need work prior to painting them, make sure that’s factored into the estimate. Otherwise, you may get surprised when they charge you for the repair work later on.
  • Paint. You should know the brand and more specifically, the product line and sheen of the paints that will be used prior to signing the contract. All of these factors affect the cost of the paint. The estimate should also specify how many coats of paint will be used.
  • Prep Work. Preparation is the key to any successful paint project. Some surfaces will require more prep than others. If the prep amount isn’t specified in the estimate, ask for details.

A few extra words of caution: there are scammers in the painting business. 

  • Beware of any contractor who requests full payment up front. Most reputable painters only require a percentage of the final fee to start the project. 
  • Make sure the paint they specified in the estimate is what they actually use, and not a lower quality. 
  • Never settle for a verbal contract. Make sure the estimate and details are documented.
  • Read online reviews. Contractors cannot edit customers' reviews on trusted sources like Google and Facebook, use these insights to your advantage.  

Hire the Local Trusted Painters in Maricopa

You can be confident that ACP Painting is above board in all our dealings with customers. We are all members of the local community, and our priority is to provide the highest quality results and outstanding customer service. 

Our painting estimates are always complimentary (free!). We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the estimate and provide further details, if desired. We want to be your go-to painters for all your residential and commercial painting needs.



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