How to Bid a Paint Job | A Guide To Refer

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Even if you are an experienced paint professional in the market or a newbie, bidding for a paint job can be a tricky task. It is not just about the material and labor cost, there are many crucial factors involved in both residential and commercial painting jobs.

As a professional painter, you don’t want to set your bid too high than the painting market price to lose it, yet you don’t want to set it too low either to compromise on your profit margins. In addition, you also have to think about your competitors and pitch a bid before them to get more chances of landing the painting project.

So, let’s understand every key point that as a new beginner painter or most experienced painter you should know when you want to propose a compelling bid for any of your painting jobs. In short, you will get to know how to bid a paint job.

Taking an Overview

taking an overview

It can be confusing and exhausting if competitors are also very keen to get a specific paint job; especially when a bidder knows little to nothing about how to bid paint jobs. Before drawing your substantial bid, you need to collect some important information related to the project, site, and client.

  1. The Difficulty Level of the Paint Job

    The first thing that should be analyzed properly is how difficult or easy the project is. Here, a building or a site can be built anywhere with any kind of construction and plan. That’s why it is important to see how well you can finish your paint jobs without involving any risk or extra expenses. This can be understood with a good place visit; however, you can directly raise a question to the client over a phone call before getting into the estimation and bidding procedure.

  2. Availability of Resources

    This is not necessarily a primary concern for all the painting companies and contractors but it can be a very helpful aspect to consider before giving all the hard work to any calculation of your painting estimate. Possibly essential resources should be available at the right time and right place to make your job effective.

    If they are unavailable in the market or too far from your reach then you might have to find a way to serve your need and the project’s needs as well without putting a burden on the bid.

  3. Research of Competition

    Competition research is not essential with every bid and every business owner. Nonetheless, some basic research can be proven very helpful if you know how to make use of the research data. Especially when you are a new player in the market, then knowing your competitors will surely help you in your business.

    The number of competitors, which competitors are bidding for the same project, their bid amount, and market values is some of the factors that you should research to stay ahead of them.

Scheduling a Site Visit

Without practically reviewing the work no one should take up the estimation work. The visit is the first step if you are skipping the theoretical analysis and research part. Moreover, it is the most determining step apart from final bidding. Sometimes, clients can delay or avoid such visits if they feel work is quite simple and visits may not be necessary.

However, a painting job is a painting professional’s subject and in order to get the right picture of the required work, he must take at least one look at the site and check for some details.

  • First go fully prepared with your tools to measure, calculate and note the essential data.
  • The initial step should be measuring the area. You can get the exact square footage of the area by measuring the height and width of the walls and then multiplying them together to get the final cost for your calculations.
  • Just measure the required area not an entire site to avoid confusion.
  • A detailed list of measurements will be very helpful in the estimate thus, it should not be mistaken in any circumstances.
  • You should also check other factors such as furniture, light, any special treatment if required, and environmental conditions for better results.

Now, you can not skip the location visit so, how can you save time and get a quick estimate to issue?

Well, you have to visit the site, but do not necessarily come back to the office. You can create an accurate estimate from the site itself with InvoiceOwl. All you need to carry is your smartphone.

Carefully Calculating All the Costs

carefully calculating all the cost

The visit provides accurate information on the area which will eventually become the foundation for the calculation of material and labor cost. It is up to the bidder if he wants to calculate his accurate estimate or wants to hire a professional estimator. Any business owner wants to know how much paint is required. However, in both cases, a business owner or a painting company should consider the below-listed factors for the constructive bid:

  • Cost of the amount of paint required
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint trays
  • Primer
  • Ladders
  • Painters tape
  • Caulking

These are the common materials that should be in your estimation for a painting job. In addition, you also have to consider various other materials and equipment. With a commercial painting job, you get restricted area and work conditions but with a residential paint job, many other things may take part.

The Individual Calculation for Each Area

individual calculation for each area

For any large residential project or busy property, painting professionals have to assign different pages for each area such as interior paint job, exterior painting job, vegetation coverage, furniture painting, windows and doors, and all the other parts as per the requirement.

In the end, the painting estimate should say how many gallons of paint will be used in all the sections of the working surface area.

  1. Calculation

    Usually, a gallon of paint is enough to paint around 400 sq ft of surface area. So, as per the site measurement, the contractor or an estimator gets it from the paint store and can count the approximate paint job requirement and then come to the final price. In the total material cost, a painter must think about how many coats will be required to finish the job on the given surface. Furthermore, how much time will be invested in the prep work should also be a factor to consider while estimating the bid.

  2. Estimation of the Workforce

    The area and material costs calculations might give an idea about how many skilled painters, helpers, and other workers will be needed in a project at the good starting point. The other thing you should think about is the timeline and the client’s budget. To finish a certain paint job within a given time and money is a highly risky and challenging job. A large number of workers may affect the profit margin and chances of accidental damage.

    If the work is demanding for a specific professional then his specification should also be considered in the estimation of his labor costs and other charges.

  3. Equipment and Rental Costs

    As per the client’s requirement, the bidder needs to use different types of equipment that he may purchase or rent to deliver the committed painting job. The final bid will be incomplete without a clear calculation of equipment expenses and rental charges.

    So, without forgetting these resources try to make a strong plan including certain use of all the necessary material costs and equipment.

  4. Marketing Costs

    If you are planning to do marketing of the service as well then your bid should be inclusive of your marketing expenses. Agency charges, expenses of online advertising, and print media costs should be precisely calculated from the bidder’s side before sending the final bid.

Deciding The Paint Type

Paint type is the core pillar of the painting business which makes the estimation process more accurate in a pre-planning step and takes the work closer to the intended results when it comes to execution.

  1. Who is providing the paint?

    Sometimes, clients want to take care of the supplies to ensure the quality and their valuable project. However, most of the time it is always a subject dedicated to the contractor or company. So, the bid should be made according to the calculation including or excluding paint cost with exterior jobs, or anything that is as per the client’s preference.

  2. Factors related to the paint

    • As a contractor or company, you need to decide your quality before bidding for the project. Clients will never ask for anything but high-quality results but their budget might not allow you to do so. Therefore, a project bid should be submitted with careful consideration of quality, budget, expectations, and profit to satisfy both parties.
    • The client’s requirement about a specific type of paint also plays a vital role in estimation. Paint prices differ a lot with different types of paint and pigments. That’s why availability, price, and output should be clearly mentioned in the bid to avoid conflicts.
    • If coverage is required for ceiling, trims, and doors then the final calculation must include these kinds of exterior paint jobs as well.

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Including Insurance charges

Insurance helps business owners to secure their accidental losses which can arise from anywhere on the actual working site. A painter’s insurance policy is very common among painting business professionals. Nevertheless, business insurance or general liability insurance is something every painter, contractor or company should consider getting financial protection in the cases of accidents, losses, and damages.

Significance of the Insurance

If you are bidding for a project and considering the expense of business insurance then indeed it’s a very practical decision. Without the insurance, you and your client might not have the peace of mind that everything will be taken care of if something unexpected happens during the project or at painting apartments.

For instance, if mistakenly anything gets painted on the site which wasn’t supposed to be touched by the paint or any accident occurs with some crew member doing paint jobs then insurance will come to the rescue and provide the necessary ease.

Therefore, taking valid insurance and adding the cost to the bid should be one of the primary elements of any smart painting professional’s checklist.

Presentation of the Bid

The final document of a bid is a combination of accurate estimates and format style. Usually, contractors and all the painting bidders have a basic common format but with project and time, it is always changing.

If the bid is confusing or cluttered then the client might not even choose to go through it. On the other hand, if the bid is too focused on the attractive design part then also it might fail to present the professionalism and sincerity of the bidder.

Painting contractors and companies need to dedicate their sheer focus on the estimate first and for that outsourcing or estimating software can also be used for better and faster results. The next thing is reviewing the bid to ensure all the terms, contents, costs, and commitments are very well explained with a clean, readable, and formal layout.

With painting bids, so many factors and lengthy information is not necessary because you will get to place your detailed content in the final contract. Moreover, the bid is a final offer from the applicant’s side, that’s why it should not be taken lightly as basic estimates.

Lastly, it must adhere to the industrially accepted language and market standards in order to avoid legal matters.

For more understanding watch this video:

Credits:DYB Coach.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do you estimate a paint job?

    You estimate a paint job by calculating cost estimate= material, labor, and overhead cost.

  2. How much should I charge for a paint job?

    It depends on the site size and cost estimate. However, usually $25/ per hour should be charged for a paint job.

  3. What is the best way to bid a painting job?

    There are multiple ways to bid on a painting job as mentioned in the blog but one of the preferred ways is a calculation of square foot.

  4. What is the best way to bid a painting job?

    There are multiple ways to bid on a painting job as mentioned in the blog but one of the preferred ways is a calculation of square foot.

  5. How much do you charge per square foot for painting?

    A painter or painting business charge approximately $2 to $6 per square foot.


The painting project is very simple in nature but bidding for a paint job with a final estimate and promising service experience is a bit of a tedious responsibility for any painting contractor or company in the painting industry.

Sound knowledge of the latest market rates and trends can be very helpful in this process. Moreover, proper site understanding and client’s requirements make the pre-planning even easier and more practical.

To successfully get a project one should make the bid with acceptable and profitable numbers, standard material, and a skilled workforce in order to present the company or contractor’s service quality and professional impression.

This is exactly why you should rely on estimating software for subcontractors like InvoiceOwl. It lets you create and manage estimates accurately and win more jobs. So, don’t wait.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the Founder of InvoiceOwl and is the main curator & writer of the content found on this site. With ideals of quality, commitment, and perseverance, he believes in creating lasting business relationships with the clients.

United Kingdom