Blog Estimating and Quoting

Published on June 21st, 2016 | by Grant Barnard


How To Do A Quote For Painting & Construction – Estimating Made Easy

Acquiring a customer is a make or break for professional painters. Of course just doing a good painting job will get you far with getting referrals from customers, however, you need to sell the job to show them your painting skills in the first place! Selling yourself and your painting company is a priority. It all comes down to proper communication. Preparing a quote or estimate in a professional manner and supplying your customer the correct information to proceed with hiring you is essential to your success.

Know How To Paint!!!

Of course you know how to paint! You’ve been doing it for years and even in “million dollar homes”, Right? You painted mansions in your day. The fact is that you are better at some things than other things. Aim for the business that you do best and can be the most efficient at.


Nobody wants to have a willy-nilly hack job painter, so don’t act like that during the quote. You don’t need loafers and a cheesy smile but you do need to be personable and professional.

Being professional means many things so don’t think because you dressed up and did your hair that the customer views you as a professional.   Read TechRepublic’s fantastic guide on professionalism. I couldn’t agree more with everything they said except, I do believe a bit more pride is necessary in the construction field. However, when talking yourself up be informative and not just big headed.

Collect Information & Give Information

Communication is key! Communication from the start builds the groundwork for equally matched expectations. Sometimes this information, and sometimes the most important information, is communicated via body language. If you get to the end of a project and the customer expected a piece of trim to be installed where there wasn’t then you’ve got a problem, that ruins a whole day and the profit that could have been earned on another job. Likewise, if you rehung pictures because of a miscommunication during the quote then you quite simply wasted money.

Relaying important information is key! Let the customer know all of the great things that you will be doing and how you will be completing their job with the utmost respect and while applying your gained knowledge. The customer needs to know that you will be caulking the crack. However, they need to know that the service will be “extra” they just need to know that you pay attention to detail and have included all that needs to be completed to meet their expectations.

You can read every rule online about body language but start with the basics and keep it simple.

  • Smile and animate yourself. Quite simply if you cannot make even the mopiest person crack a smile then you failed at this part.
  • Act like you want to be there and you want their business. NOT like your drowning in a pool awesomeness so everybody wants to hire you. Trust me, the customers that will fall for this act are not the customers that you want.
  • Don’t ever look at the customer like a possible paycheck. Look at your customer like a friend that you would like to do business with.


Pricing Your Bid

This is of course the juice that everybody wants. I cannot price your job as I was not there for the quote. I have no idea of the customers expectations of workmanship and the scope of work that is being quoted.

Price your bid based on your expenses. This is a no brain’er. You cannot run a business based on how much you think you may want to make that day or how much you think that customer will pay for a job.

Actually knowing how long it will take you is just plain old experience. However, expectations and communication is key here again! You need to know if the customer expects you to paint that black wall red, and the customer needs to know that you planned for their expectations to be met.

Don’t forget to read our post on Average Interior Painting Pricing. Remember that its just a guide and not prices you may want to run with.

Value Proposition

Win bids by offering value in an area that you can still profit. Value may be interpreted differently by you and your customer. Although you see value in doing the most prep work but maybe the customer is moving in a year and would rather pay less. Flip that situation around and the customer may want the more durable product.


Timing is important. If you stay too long you may be annoying. If you leave too quick, you may be seen as hasty. If your quote or follow up call comes to soon you may seem pressuring or desperate. If you’re too late you may seem as you don’t care. Until you can read your customer well enough you should err on the side of “Too Involved”.

Topics To Cover

  1. Time frame for getting the job done. This will tell you when you need to follow up.
  2. Expectation of how long the product should reasonably last.
  3. Whether or not weather could change the timing and how that would effect the customer.
  4. How long the job should take and when it can be completed according to schedules. If you need to accommodate for their needs to be done quicker than you expect.
  5. Cover their expectation on the quality of product used during the project. This conversation can let you know if you need a little extra time also for a bit of “white glove service”.


You cannot sell your work by just doing a good paint job. In today’s world you must adapt to at least being an average salesmen that does great work. To be at least an acceptable salesmen you need to at try to sell yourself and your services. Do this through communication in which both you and the customer can come to an equal ground of understanding. Always keep in mind that some customers will want to downplay their expectations during the quote and then stick you in the end! Use communication to set expectations and document everything. Good Luck!

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About the Author

Grant Barnard started painting in 2000 and started Grants Painting in 2008. Originally doing business in northern Indiana, the business was moved to Indianapolis and Greenwood shortly after. Today the Grants Painting has blossomed into a reputable painting contracting company with an ever growing extensive website including our How To DIY Articles. Grants Painting covers all aspects of coatings and specialized in epoxy flooring, interior painting, exterior painting and cabinet painting.

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