Professional Painter Pricing Tools and HomeAdvisor

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Professional Painter Pricing Tools and HomeAdvisor

One Step Estimating, Job-Flex and Painting Contractor Estimates are some apps used by painters and home contractors for job pricing and bidding. Some forum threads in Paint Talk regarding job bidding and apps include handling client bid pricing complaints, estimating complex projects and recommended software for bid proposals. These and other findings are outlined below.

One Step Estimating

  • One Step Estimating is a mobile painting contractors' app best used with Microsoft Surface Pro.

Job-Flex

  • Job-Flex is a mobile app used by painters, home contractors and construction professionals for project bidding, estimating, invoice, and payment tasks.

Painting Contractor Estimates


Go Canvas Painting Proposal Mobile App


Go Canvas Handyman Bid Mobile App

  • Similar to the Painting Proposal Mobile App, this app also simplifies the proposal process by creating a quick estimate form.
  • The Proposal Template gathers job details such as proposed work and contact information to generate a job bid.
  • Job Bids can be emailed to the client using a smartphone or tablet.
  • The app also features a Digital Job Estimator for repairs, construction bids, and other contractor services.
  • The Estimator tool includes drag-and-drop customizable fields for projects, estimated costs, payment terms, pricing quotes and bids, and client details.

Snappii Construction Estimator and Bidding App


Joist

  • Joist is a purpose-built app for all contractors including painters, home builders, plumbers and others.

PaintTalk Thread 1 - "Bid Pricing Complaint"

  • Using the search function in PaintTalk to find threads containing the keywords 'app' or 'pricing' or 'bidding', the "Business, Marketing, and Sales" forums yielded 27 total threads.
  • One of the relevant threads was entitled "Bid pricing complaint" and posted by JA Paint in January 2020.
  • JA Paint wanted to know how to handle a customer complaint that the project bid was too high.
  • kmp replied, "I tell them that I have been doing this for a very long time and I feel I should be compensated for it. I also ask them what they do and will they lower their fees or prices. Why should I not be allowed to make a decent living. I stopped working for beer wages a long time ago."
  • Moderator RH replied, "What HOs expect to pay is in reality what they had hoped to pay since most don’t have a clue as to what is involved, and hence the time needed, to do a good job. If they are comparing my number to another PC, then I just ask them to be sure to compare all aspects of the bid. Just because somebody else turns in a lower number doesn’t mean it’s a better deal for the HO."
  • MrWink replied, " The fact that they are taking the time to ask questions why the bid is high means something. You left an impression on them. Don't just write them off. Take the time to answer their questions and explore the options, you might be surprised with the outcome. If you didn't leave a favorable impression, they would've just gone with the other bid."
  • The main theme of the thread was that painters generally have at least an uncomfortable time justifying their project bid to homeowners especially if they are only doing a side job.
  • However, taking time to address homeowners' questions and delivering a professional estimate can help clarify pricing issues in projects.

Thread 2 - "Estimating Commercial Projects. Need Help"

  • A second relevant thread under "Business, Marketing, and Sales" was posted by AGpainting in July 2017.
  • The thread was entitled "Estimating commercial projects. need help" and asked for advice on how to estimate a project for a retail building company based solely on architectural drawings in an email (as opposed to a site visit).
  • kmp replied, "Yes it's all per plans and spec's on the plans. Sometimes on remodels you will do a walk through but on most ground up jobs there is not much for a finish trade to look at as they are generally for the g.c. Architects are famous for not including enough info on the plans and spec's so you have to ask questions through the g.c. which can take time so getting your final numbers together can be frustrating."
  • Brushman4 replied, "Make [sure] you pay attention to the scale of the drawing as this will be key in figuring lineal and square footage. For painting most of what you need to know, like specked materials, number of coats and method of application will be contained in the Finish schedule. ...And finally make sure you are bidding off of the latest revised print!"
  • centralalbertapaint replied, "Hire an estimator! That's what I did!"
  • The main theme of the thread is that estimating a project bid from architectural drawings can be tricky as there may be changes in plans or discrepancy with the actual structure.
  • Forum members who replied to the thread generally advised erring on the safe side by being conscientious on details, hiring an estimator, or overbidding.

Thread 3 - "Bidding for Multi-Millionaires"

  • A third relevant thread under "Business, Marketing, and Sales" was posted by Vylum in May 2017.
  • The thread was entitled "bidding for multi millonaires" and asked fellow painters whether they would bump a project bid's price if the client is a multi-millionaire or opt to give the same price as to anybody else.
  • CApainter replied, "Who wouldn't think it'd be tempting to gouge a person with deep pockets, and get away with it? Oh..that's right. People with integrity. I'm sure there's a business best practice and business ethics chapter that covers that somewhere."
  • PACman said, "That's why i have several price points. But for a service like painting? I don't know if i would do it. I'd probably stay pretty consistent for everyone. Those types of people have a lot of connections and working for them could lead to some more primo work."
  • SemiproJohn said, "If you are doing nothing but high-end work, I would think it wise to maintain a relatively consistent pricing structure. If you aren't accustomed to bidding high- end jobs, you probably aren't bidding this one as highly as you should... As long as you provide quality work, I say go for as much as you think you reasonably can. Perhaps keep your labor rate the same, and bump up the percentage of profit, or increase your labor rate."
  • The main theme of the thread is that painters can raise prices for a high-end client's project as long as extra labor time is spent on achieving high quality results.
  • However, members acknowledged that adjusting labor rates to deliver high end results can be subjective based on the contractor's goals as well as expectations of the client.

Thread 4 - "Help Bidding Exterior Apartment Complex Railing Systems"

  • A fourth relevant thread under "Business, Marketing, and Sales" was posted by KT Painting in March 2016.
  • The title of the thread was "Help bidding exterior apartment complex railing systems" and asked how fellow painters would estimate an unconventional job of painting the railings of several garden style apartments.
  • journeymanPainter replied, "$30500".
  • Timberhill Painting replied, "For standard, simple railings, we usually use 10 lnft of railing per hour as our painting standard. If it's ornate, I go to a lower amount, say, 7-8 lnft an hour."
  • Timberhill also provides a breakdown based on a casual calculation: "So, there are 2,000 lnft of top and bottom railing per building, or about 24,000 ln inches. That would be about 144,000 sq inches. Unfortunately, there is a top and bottom to each piece, as well as two sides(at maybe 1.5 inches), so that makes it 360,000 sq inches. Which is 8.33 gallons of paint. ...So, altogether, per building(1,000 lnft of railing), my poorly-educated guess would be about 22 gallons of paint. I'd probably add a safety factor."
  • Roamer replied, "Most times when trying to figure out a price for a large job, I will just compartmentalize a small section of the job and then multiply it by however many sections there are. ...Your paint costs should be anywhere between 12-15% of the cost of that labor. Add that to your price and you've just done an estimate on a 250 foot long building."
  • The main theme of the thread is that a project bid estimate for a large painting job can be broken down into smaller parts and then scaled afterwards as needed.
  • However, complex aspects of a large painting job such as additional features ex. railings, textures ex. wooden railings, and conditions ex. traffic near the job site, can complicate an estimate for a project bid.

Thread 5 - "What's a Good Software for Estimate and Bid Proposals?"

  • Using the search function in PaintTalk to find threads containing the keywords 'app' or 'pricing' or 'bidding', the "Technology" forums yielded 8 total threads.
  • The first relevant thread was entitled "What's a good software for estimate and bid proposals?" posted by steve916 in December 2013.
  • The user stated that he was trying to find the best software to complete estimates and bid proposals, and that he had used the free version of Benjamin Moore estimate tool.
  • Danahy replied, "After leaving quickbooks pro I went for Invoice2go enterprise edition."
  • daArch said, "This may not be in your wheel house, but I found that my estimating needs were so unique that I had to build my own with an excel spreadsheet. ...I found the problem with commercial; estimating software is that they try to be all things to all people, which make them bloated and complicated. "
  • Steveqpp replied, "Steve - Great advice here. Everybody's needs are a little different. Try them all find the one that works best for you. What ever you do DO something! You need a system of some kind to build your business with."
  • The main theme of the thread is that painters have different needs and must find customized solutions for individual pricing and estimates.
  • Most of the replies mentioned commercial software like Brats, Estimate Works by DevWave and CPR Soft paint estimator while others suggested using a customized spreadsheet for pricing and estimates.

Thread 6 - What Do You Use Microsoft Excel For in Your Business?

  • A second relevant thread under "Technology" was posted by chaoscow in July 2016.
  • The thread was entitled "What Do You Use Microsoft Excel For in Your Business?" and asked fellow painters if they are using the software in an "ingenious way".
  • MurphysPaint replied, "I use excel for pricing out jobs, I input the measurements and select a few criteria and voila. I also use it to track my payroll and issue pay stubs. I use invoicing and CRM software to track all of my opportunities and projects, which had been a great tool for keeping up with everything on my plate."
  • jpacelt said, "I use it for doing estimates."
  • jaipurputaiwala replied, "Excel or google docs i am using for estimate or data for use for future use. i am using my own created system to track all customer query and all members data and calculation part also. own created system is the best thing to manage you can search any entry and by security it's your own server."
  • LynnJ also said, "I use Excel as a tool for my estimating program. I have programmed formulas into the first sheet that refer to a Relational Database on the second sheet. They draw labor rates, material and equipment costs, as well as production and spread rates and plug them into the first sheet. I also have formulas in place that calculate the overhead and profit mark ups, and then generate the totals for each category, as well as the bid Total. Once my takeoff is done, I plug in the totals for each task/substrate and a short code for each one, and the program does the rest. Quick and easy."
  • While the main theme of the thread revolved around using Excel as an inventory tracker for painting jobs and client contacts, many members also mentioned using the software as a pricing tool for project bids.

Thread 7 - "Timeclock app"

  • A third relevant thread under "Technology" was posted by teejay024 in October 2015.
  • The thread was entitled "Timeclock app" and was the only thread with the keyword 'app' in the results.
  • It asked fellow forum members whether they use an iPad or smartphone app with a time-in/time-out function for employees.
  • George Z replied, "Tsheets.com. Used it and happy with it for maybe 6-7 years."
  • DeanV said, "TimeStation is what we use. iOS only or through browser, no android app yet."
  • Schmidt & Co. replied, "Tsheets here also. I've been using it for two years now and would never go back to the old way."
  • The main theme of the thread revolved around recommendation of Tsheets as a mobile timeclock app for employees.
  • No threads were found in PaintTalk Technology forums with the keyword 'app' discussing pricing, estimate, or job bidding functions.
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