Things to Consider When Calculating Home Painting Estimates

I recently received a phone call from a new homeowner asking for me to give them an estimate over the phone for painting the interior of their 2,500 square foot home. Actually, I get these phone calls all of the time, and many times they tell me that they won't hold me to the price. I know the homeowners are just price shopping, but to be fair to not only the homeowner but also the contractor, it is better for the painting contractor to actually visit with the homeowner and see the interior of the home.

What I have learned in my 40 years of painting, is when you give a homeowner a price over the phone, then actually go to see the job that they want to get done in person, if your price is higher than the price you gave the homeowner on the phone, they are upset, because they already have this number in their mind and they can't believe it actually will cost them more money.

When meeting with a homeowner to give an interior estimate, there are so many factors to take into consideration besides the square footage of the home. In reality, the square footage of the home does not really make a difference, because the square footage is just the square footage of the floor space, not the actual area space that is going to be painted.

Here are some of the inquiries I make, questions I ask and things I look for when giving an estimate for interior painting:

  • Please tell me exactly what you would like to get painted.
  • Would you like the ceilings painted?
  • Will all of the ceilings be painted the same color, or different colors in different rooms?
  • If you have coffer ceilings, will the inside of the coffer ceilings be painted the same color as the rest of the ceiling in the room, or will the coffer ceilings be painted an accent color?
  • When we paint the coffer ceilings, many times there is crown molding in the coffer and many times the homeowner will want the step under the crown molding panted to match the coffer ceiling color. Is this something you would like?
  • Often times, when homeowners paint walls and ceilings an actual color besides white, we will prime and paint the air conditioning vents to blend into the back ground, so that they do not stand out. This is something to consider.
  • How any steps are in your coffer ceilings: 1, 2 or 3. This is something I always look for.
  • Do you want all of the walls painted and what about inside of closets?
  • Will all of walls be painted the same color, or different colors in different rooms?
  • Would you like accent colors painted in any of the rooms or individual places within any of the rooms?
  • Would you like all interior trim painted, which includes doors, door casings, baseboards, bi-fold doors, chair rail, handrails, spindles?
  • What is the flooring in the home? Is it carpet, tile, or hardwood flooring? Based on the type of flooring, I will have to use some type of material to protect the surface. For example, if it is hardwood or laminate flooring, many times I will put down Ram Board to protect the surface from scratches.
  • Does the home have a second floor and if so, would you like the stair well painted? Painting stairwells is not a problem, however, I need to know so I can bring the proper ladders and walk picks in order to be able to safely paint the ceilings and walls.
  • How high are the ceilings – are they 8, 9,10,12, or 14 foot? Are the ceilings different heights in different rooms throughout the home?
  • Are there any problems that you are having, such as water stains in ceilings or walls, loose tape joints, cracks in ceiling and walls, or loose drywall from water intrusion around windows? If you have any of these issues, we need to know so we can repair them.
  • What type of texture do you have on the walls? Are they smooth, skip trowel, knock down, or orange peel?
  • Do you have round corners or square corners on the ceiling and walls?

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that go into giving an estimate for interior painting and this is exactly why I do not give pricing over the phone. Not all homes are the same and depending on the home, what the client would like to have done, and the responses to the above questions, the pricing will vary. When we do interior painting, we usually figure in that there will be two coats on the ceilings of Sherwin Williams Eminence as well as two coats of Sherwin Williams Cashmere on the walls. When painting the trim, we usually use PPG Advantage 900 in a semi-gloss finish, or Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in a semi-gloss oil enamel.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Painters King County wrote:
Thank you for putting together this article.
This is a great list of questions for both contractors and customers.
It is critical for contractors to know all of the information you listed to give a fair estimate.

Thank you!

Tue, November 6, 2018 @ 10:36 PM

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