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How to Compare Painting Estimates

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

It is pretty likely that you will be getting more than one estimate for your painting project. At Warline we know that informed customers are the best ones, so here are some tips to make comparing painting estimates as easy as pie.

Face time matters
There is no way you can get an accurate painting estimate over the phone. If a painter won't take the time to come look at your job (even small ones), consider that a red flag and call another one.

Get it in writing
Okay, so they came out to see your job and gave you a verbal price on the spot or called you later with a price, but no written estimate. That's pretty dicey since you are now working on a verbal agreement for what work will be done and what products will be used. Get it in writing.

Apples to apples
Once you have a couple written estimates you want to make sure you are comparing similar work and products. The areas to pay attention to are:

  • The work being done is the same. For example what is the prep work to be done? Does the painting include walls and trim or just walls? Are ceilings being painted? What about the insides of closets?
  • The number of coats of primer (if being used) and paint are the same. Is there an extra charge for dark colours or significant colour changes?
  • Are comparable products being used? If product details aren't incuded in the estimate, read this article on why you should throw out the estimate.

Extra services
Does the estimate include extra non-painting items such as wood repair that might be required, power washing and professional colour consultation.

Start dates and completion dates
Nobody wants a project to drag out over time and a professional painter will give you a timeframe of when the project will begin, how long each phase will take and when it will be done.

The warranty
This is especially important for exterior work and don't mistake product warranties by the paint manufacturer for warranties on workmanship. Ask about warranty details and any exclusions and omissions. You can learn more about the differences in paint warranties in this previous post.

Price and payment terms
The price needs to be clearly outlined with HST. Don't accept an estimate that provides an hourly rate with an estimate of the time required. If a deposit is require, it should not be for more than 25% of the work to be done and never pay it in cash. If it is a large project and payment draws are requested, the estimate should clearly outline what work will be completed at each phase. Be careful of draws based on timelines instead of performance.

Taking the time to understand the differences in estimates makes it easier to find and hire the right painter. If you need to, once you have all your estimates, feel free to give us a call with any questions you might have about the differences in your estimates. You might find that the lowest price doesn't mean you are getting the best deal or that the highest price doesn't necessarily mean you are paying for the best either.

Posted by: Tessica
Kudos! What a neat way of thinking about it.

Thanks Tessica. I hope you enjoy my blog.

Posted by: Scott
Its easy to see with these 6 points that you folks deal with the same type of clients we do in Colorado. We touch on every one of these points in every painting estimate. I like what you have written here! Education is definitely the key for homeowners.

Thanks for visiting Scott. Look forward to more of your comments.

Posted by: Colleen
Great job you have done on the painted ladies!

Thanks Colleen. This was a great project to work on.

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