Answers Concerning the Huge Price Difference Enigma of Painting Contractor Quotes

The one thing on every homeowners mind when searching for a painting contractor is… how can you separate the good from the not so good painters? Who can you trust and what criteria do you use to properly determine quality? Top quality painting contractors share one thing in common, they don’t cut corners on the service they offer nor the elements of their business that support those services.
It is risky to throw due diligence to the wind and go with the cheapest price, unless of course quality is not what you are looking for. There exist a great divide in pricing in the painting industry and an even larger difference in quality of service being delivered.
Part of the secret to selecting the best qualified painting contractor is understanding why such a difference in price exist in this industry in the first place. Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that this difference represents a normal price differential, all other things being equal. Most feel it is like finding price differences from car dealership to car dealership, for the same automobile with the same features.
The problem with this understanding is with the “all other thing being equal”. The things that influence pricing vary widely in the painting industry. It is these very things that can make a big difference in the quality of your paint job, service experience, safety, honoring the warranty etc.
Let me share 27 years of experience in this industry. I speak as one who knows and as a representative of other companies like my own who try very hard to run their company in a way that can safely deliver the maximum benefit to our customers.
Below are the most important factors influencing cost of painting and the approximate percentage of the cost that make up your estimate.
1. Labor: 55 to 65 percent off your estimate consist of the labor that goes into actually painting your home – If a company is using substandard labor this can force the estimate price down but compromises quality in most cases. This can easily represent a 20% to 30% departure from the average price on the market to have your home painted.
2. Liability and Workmans comp insurance usually represents 5% to 10% of the total bid. If a company doesn’t carry workmans comp and general liability insurance they can shave another 5% to 10% off the price. Just because they say they carry the insurance is not enough. You better check and make sure. Many companies say they carry it and don’t.
They pay their painters cash and don’t report these wages. If they are injured on the job with no history of payment, the insurance company will not pay the claim and you the homeowner are left with hospital expenses to pay. Yes they may have a certificate of insurance, but the employees may not be covered. This is rampant in this industry. Don’t put yourself at risk.
3. In most cases the low priced bids are originating from company owners who do not pay their share of taxes in this country. This again is an expense all legitimate companies have to consider when pricing your painting quote. After all expenses to deliver the service there is still taxes that have to be paid. This can add up to 10% of your quote.
4. Paint represents between 12% and 15% of the job on average. It can be a good bit higher depending what is beginning estimated. But this is an average. Skimping on the quality or quantity of paint being applied could mean a difference of maybe 5% of the total estimate.
5. Cutting back on the amount of prep work and the attention to detail when painting could shave off another 10% to 15% of labor cost further dropping the price by 5% to 8%
6. Warranties cost painting companies money. If a company decides it’s too expensive to honor their warranties they cut their cost by not honoring them. They do change their phone #s or move. Low bidders in this industry are notorious for doing this. They simply don’t charge enough to cover this part of overhead.
These are just some of the reasons why there is such a great divide in pricing in this industry. There are many more, but the above give you a good idea of how you can receive a quote that is 20%,30% or even 40% lower than another company. If you add the above percentages together then you can easily see why the difference.
I often hear a homeowner say “well my neighbor had this crew to paint their house and they did a pretty good job and for $500 or $800 less. However, is this really a valid referral? What about the other considerations above. The painter didn’t fall off the ladder at the neighbors house, but will he at yours? Only time will tell if he honors the warranty.
What kind of track record does he really have? The neighbors house is only one job. What about the stability of the company over the long run. Is your house the next one he really bombs on. I regularly get calls from homeowners who went down the price path and a year later call us for an estimate to have their house repainted.
Which of the above do you want shaven off your quote? If you are like most homeowners then you are going to say none of the above, because it puts your home and financial future at risk. Be careful with your decisions when selecting a painting contractor.

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