If you’ve been doing your house painting estimates the hard way, consider this your sign to make a change in 2023!We know that when you start out as a house painter, you’re trying to juggle customers, getting jobs done and invoiced (and probably the invoicing, too!), and probably a whole lot more besides.It’s really no surprise that many house painters fall into old-fashioned estimating methods, but the truth is, if you’re still using a pencil and paper or even spreadsheets for any kind of construction estimate, you’re probably compromising on accuracy, and you’re definitely taking too long to get quotes out the door.As the developer of the easiest house painting cost estimator on the market, we’ve put together some of our top tips to improve your house painting estimates in 2023. Let’s get started!

1. Crunch Your Labor Numbers

Labor costs are always the trickiest part of any construction estimate, but if it’s been a while since you calculated the true cost to get your house painting projects done, now is an excellent time to get it done!

Small business owners across every industry in nearly every part of the country have been hit hard since the pandemic started, and there’s no end in sight when it comes to wage volatility.

As your business grows, your labor and associated costs will evolve too. You’ll pay more for worker’s compensation, to equip your workers with the right PPE, and on transport to and from site, to name but a few changes you might be facing.

Spend some time reviewing your actual labor and production costs and recalculating your rates, so you cover all your costs. Even better, create a template that you can use to quickly and easily analyze your labor costs in future, so you can update your costs whenever you need to.

2. Do a Time and Motion Study

When you first start your painting business, chances are you’re on-site with your crew, getting things done.

However, over time, as your business expands and you have more people on more sites, your production rates might change, which could have an impact on your house painting estimates. The term “time and motion study” might seem a little daunting, but all it really means is spending some time on site, timing how long typical tasks take. You can use a stopwatch for shorter-duration tasks or simply write down the start and finish times for things that take longer.

Once you’ve collected time data from several crews on different job sites, you can calculate an average or worst-case scenario if there’s a big difference between your fastest crew and your slowest and then use those production rates to create more accurate house painting estimates.

3. Collect Updated Product Datasheets


If you or your house painting cost estimator don’t already have a library of product datasheets, it’s time to start one. If you do, it’s a good idea to check that nothing has changed.

Product datasheets can tell you lots of important information that you need to know to create accurate house painting estimates, such as:

The product coverage, bearing in mind that this may change depending on the application method

The application method, which might require special equipment or additional products like thinners or others

Safety equipment required to apply the product

The drying and overcoating time, which will help you to plan the different coats for each project

Recommended preparation and prior coats – for instance, some products might require a specific primer or undercoat

Spend a little time reviewing all of the products you use and make a note of any additional cost-related information you need to include in your house painting estimates.

4. Streamline the Products You Offer

If you haven’t already developed a few standard specifications that you routinely offer your customers, it’s a great idea to start 2023 with this figured out!

Offering any product your customers want is nice in theory, but it becomes a little like a Chinese restaurant. There are just too many items on the menu!

There are several reasons to choose a few high-quality specifications that you offer your clients:

You can build relationships with the manufacturer or distributor and may be able to negotiate better pricing over time

You won’t have to spend time sourcing products before you can complete a construction estimate or start a project

You will be able to tell your client what kind of manufacturer’s warranty is offered on each specification without having to look it up

You can plan the most efficient way to apply your paint process specifications, so you can get more done faster

Make sure that you choose high-quality paint products for your standard product offerings and try to find a local product if possible. With the supply chain issues we’ve had over the past few years, availability is a definite wild card.

Choosing a few core specifications for products and processes you offer your customers will make producing house painting estimates a lot easier. If you use software like Bolster for your house painting cost estimator, you can create all of these as assemblies in the system, which means you can get your estimates done faster.

5. Pay Attention to Presentation

Probably the biggest secret to winning more jobs with construction estimates is that appearances matter.

Your customers not only look at the price on your quote but also everything else. So, if your estimates are handwritten in a duplicate book or look like they might have been printed on a dot matrix printer, you’re going to create the wrong impression.

Whether we like it or not, construction is no different from any other industry, and your customers will be judging your house painting estimates based on what they see. It’s the same reason it’s important to have a nice company website. Since most people haven’t seen your work, your quote is often the first opportunity they have to gauge your professionalism, proficiency and more. It might not be fair, but we all do it all the time!

6. Embrace Technology

There are many reasons why construction industry businesses don’t want to use new technology.

Sometimes they’ve been using the same old system for twenty years, and they just don’t want the hassle that comes with change. So even though it only runs on one ancient computer in the back office, and the company that made it closed a decade ago, they’ll keep trying to invent workarounds.

Other companies started out as small, even one-man operations, and there just hasn’t been time to evaluate, set up and learn new software.

Some are worried about the cost but haven’t factored in the labor saving that a great house painting cost estimator can offer their business.

Modern-day construction software is based in the cloud, so it’s accessible everywhere. It’s user-friendly and easy to learn, and there are so many features that make getting accurate, impressive house painting estimates and quotes to your customers faster.

It’s time to stop making excuses and to find a construction estimating software that works for your business. There will never be a perfect time to improve your business, but it still has to be done.

Bolster Is a Game Changer

If you’re looking for a house painting cost estimator that can help you to do all of the above (and more) at a competitive price and with all the support and help you need to get set up, Bolster can help.

Our system was built by people who have actually worked in the construction industry. We’ve built construction and trade companies from the ground up, but we never found the perfect solution for our construction estimating needs. So, we built one.

The Bolster system is like no other house painting estimator you’ve ever used.

It’s completely customizable to your business, and you can create as many assemblies and line items as you need to create accurate, easy-to-adjust estimates. It uses clever web crawler technology to ensure that you’re always working with the latest prices from your suppliers, and it makes it easy to offer your clients multiple options.

The e-commerce-like quote presentation that your customer gets allows them to choose the exact options they want and is proven to upsell clients on most quotes – without any intervention from your sales team.

It’s hard to make necessary changes in your estimating, sales and marketing systems. There’s never enough time to get it all done. But with help to set up your system and industry-leading tech support, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your house painting estimates.

Contact the Bolster team to find out more about our system and how it can help you. We’ll even book a live demo, so you can see exactly why this is the last construction estimating system you’ll ever need.

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