The Ultimate Guide to Estimating Painting Jobs

Providing customers with quick and accurate estimates is the key to success for many professional painters. Homeowners want to know how much painters charge before they hire a painting company for their home improvement project. They also often compare offers from multiple painting contractors. Whether a customer wants to repaint the walls of their living room or change the paint color of their home's exterior, you should be able to estimate painting costs to secure painting jobs.

A professional painting estimate with fair pricing will help attract potential customers. While you can create estimates from scratch, this can take time away from conducting business. Fortunately, Skynova offers a customizable estimate template that can be sent directly to customers through the platform or downloaded as a PDF. This template makes it easy to look professional without the work.

How to Create a Free Painting Estimate

A good painting project estimate will break down project costs so customers know their financial obligation when booking your services, helping them to make an informed decision. At the same time, this will ensure everyone is on the same page before starting the job. An accurate estimate will also help you appear more professional and credible as a painter.

In general, your painting estimate should include:

  • The cost of painting per square foot (sq ft)
  • Labor costs
  • Material costs (including the type of paint selected)

Skynova's free estimate template makes it straightforward to create paint job estimates. And with Skynova's capacity to keep all of your business documents in one place, you can streamline your business paperwork even more. Skynova's invoice and accounting software can help you manage a range of administration and accounting tasks. This means you can take care of the financial side of your business considerably faster. Without having to spend excess time on bookkeeping, you'll have more time to focus on building your painting business.

Create Estimate Template

1. Enter Your Business and Customer Contact Information

The first step is entering your business information along with the customer's contact information for this paint job. The estimate should include helpful information about your company, including your:

  • Company name
  • Business address
  • Contact details

This gives the estimate a more professional look and makes it easier for customers to contact you if they have questions. Note that if you tend to introduce yourself to customers by something other than your business name, you'll want to include that name somewhere on the estimate. For example, if you introduce yourself as "Joe the Painter" but your business name is "Smith Painting Services," you should put that name next to your official business name. This ensures customers will recognize the estimate as coming from you and help avoid any confusion.

You also want to include the customer's information, including their:

  • Name (including business name if it's a commercial job)
  • Address
  • Contact information

2. Include Your Business Logo

Your business logo is a powerful branding tool for your business, making it more recognizable and memorable to potential customers.

One of the many benefits of the Skynova estimate template includes the ease with which you can add your logo, helping you DIY much of your own branding. All you need to do is click on the customization option from the estimate template page. You can then click to add a logo and upload your image file. Now, your estimates will be easily associated with your business.

3. Assign a Number to the Estimate

To help you keep track of the estimates you create, you also want to assign each one its own identification number. You can follow up as needed with customers who have not yet decided to move ahead with their projects.

Through Skynova, it's simple to track estimates. On the estimate template page, simply add your number to the "Estimate #" box on the right-hand side. You can also automatically convert your estimates into invoices once customers have decided to move forward. The estimate number you've added can then help you personalize the painting invoice.

4. Include the Date

As you continue to build and improve your accounting practices, you also want to make sure that you date everything you create. Including a date on the estimate will help you keep track of the project for both you and your customer. With the date, you can easily see important information, such as:

  • How long it takes customers to hire you
  • Finding and referencing estimates at later dates
  • Knowing when to follow up with potential customers
  • The length of time the estimate is good for (some businesses will have estimates that are only valid for a certain number of days)

You can also edit the date if you don't send the estimate the same day, ensuring everything remains accurate.

5. Figure Out the Painting Cost per Square Foot

Most painters will choose to calculate the exterior or interior painting cost by multiplying the number of square feet of surface area to be painted by their predetermined cost per square foot. Each painter will need to determine their cost based on factors like:

  • The complexity of the project (ceilings, accent walls, baseboards, and trim will result in a higher cost per square foot than simple walls, for example)
  • The experience of the painter (longstanding professionals generally charge more than novices)
  • Local market rates

According to HomeAdvisor, most painting jobs cost between $0.50 and $3.50 per square foot. Meanwhile, SmartAsset estimates that home interior painting jobs will cost between $1.50 and $3.50 per square foot, with complex jobs going up to $4 per square foot. House painting costs can vary based on a range of factors, including features of the interior walls that require special touch-ups.

You can use the average cost in your area to determine what you'll charge per square foot.

How to Calculate the Cost of Goods

In addition to the cost per square foot for the painting job, you also need to include the cost of paint and other goods for the job. You'll need to pay for materials, such as drop cloths, primer, and the paint, and you want to make sure the estimate properly accounts for this. Remember that the quality of paint will impact the price, so take customer preferences into consideration for accuracy.

With Skynova, you can include this information in the estimate template by entering the type, quantity, and cost of materials. Keeping careful notes on past products can help you enter accurate numbers here. In the template, you can select "Product" under the "Item" tab and enter a description of the materials you'll use. Then, you can enter a unit price for the materials and the number of materials you'll need for this specific job. Remembering details like how many coats of paint you'll need to do the job effectively and the paint cost will help you determine your prices.

For example, let's say you'll need 10 gallons of interior paint to complete a particular project. The high-quality paint the customer wants for the space costs $30 for 1 gallon of paint. You know that you'll spend $300 just on paint for the area.

How to Calculate the Labor Costs

Many painters will also need to take into account how much they have to pay their team, including how much time they spend on the project. Consider every professional you'll need to bring in to help you get the job done, such as sprayers, and how much you expect them to work.

Some painters will hire their labor team on a per-project basis. For example, you might pay a few contractors $100 to complete a particular part of the project. On the other hand, you might pay others at an hourly rate. Fortunately, Skynova lets you use both options when calculating your labor cost.

To enter hourly rates, put the amount you'll pay your team per hour under the "Unit Price" portion of the template. You can then enter the number of hours you'll pay for under "Quantity." Use the experience you have from past projects to determine how many team members you'll need and how many hours you expect them to work. For example, see how many workers you needed for projects with similar square footage. When considering the hours your team will need, don't forget to include any prep work, such as caulking, patching, sanding, or drywall repair.

If you need to enter a fixed price, change your selection to "Product" under the "Item" menu and enter the cost for the particular contractor. For both hourly- and fixed-rate labor costs, you need to enter a clear description of why you need these particular workers so the customer will understand. Remember that they might not be familiar with painting terminology; make your descriptions clear and simple.

6. Note Any Customer Discounts

Many small business owners find it advantageous to provide occasional customer discounts. This might include a welcome discount to those who hired you for the first time or referral discounts for those bringing you new business. You might also think about seasonal discounts when business is a little slower. However, regardless of the reason you want to offer customers a discount, Skynova makes it easy.

With the estimate template opened in front of you, click on the "Item" menu and select "Discount." Then, enter the amount of the discount under the "Unit Price" and a description of the discount for both you and the customer to reference. The Skynova template will automatically deduct the discount from the total cost when you finish the estimate.

7. Note Any Helpful Information for Your Customers

Some painters have additional details they'd like to include for their customers. This includes the project timeline, information about special requests from the customer, factors impacting the project, and even how long the estimate is valid.

With Skynova's free estimate template, you'll see a "Notes" section, which is the perfect place to include additional details. You can also use this area to make it clear to customers that this particular offer is tentative. Just because you estimate a timeline doesn't mean you can guarantee the completion date. Unforeseen factors can also impact how long a project takes.

Best Practices That Professional Painters Use

With the Skynova painting estimate template, small business owners will find it straightforward and simple to create professional-looking and detailed cost estimates. This is great for business owners who want to look as credible and trustworthy as possible.

To further enhance customer experience, you should also make a point to follow a few best practices. This can further boost your reputation and client satisfaction with the job you do.

Include a Projected Timeline

Remember that customers interested in using your painting services need to accommodate the work. Regardless of whether it's a residential or commercial job, homeowners and business owners need to consider the impact of having workers moving in and out of the space. They want to know how long they should expect a job to take.

Therefore, it's a best practice to include a projected timeline. Make it clear on the estimate that this timeline is a projection only, as unexpected events can easily change your schedule. A rainstorm for an exterior paint job, for example, can put you off track by several days.

Exterior painting is not the only type of project potentially slowed down. Crown molding that ends up being more time-consuming than expected or high humidity impacting drying time can also slow down projects. Let your customer know that you can't control everything, but you'll try to stick to your projected timeline as closely as possible.

Make It Easy for Customers to Agree to Your Estimate

To help potential customers become paying customers, make it as easy as possible for them to hire you. This means removing any potential obstacles or extra steps that might hinder them from moving forward.

When you create a Skynova estimate, you can send it directly to your customer online. This eliminates having to download and print the estimate separately. Additionally, customers can accept the estimate in the Skynova platform once they receive it. This helps the entire process go smoother, and you don't have to worry about losing customers because of administrative burdens.

Take Your Painting Business to the Next Level With Skynova

Skynova makes it easy for small business owners to manage administrative tasks. When it comes to accounting responsibilities, such as creating painting estimates, contracts, and invoices, the business templates and software products available from Skynova can help simplify the entire process, helping you focus on growing your business.

By using Skynova to send over a well-designed and comprehensive estimate, you help your painting business look professional and trustworthy to potential customers. This increases your bid acceptance and helps you bring in more work.

You can take your painting business even further and operate more efficiently with Skynova's invoice and accounting software. This makes it easier to create expense and financial reports so you can keep track of your finances. Grow your business with the help of Skynova today.