Bidding on a painting job can feel like almost as much work as the painting itself. You have to consider the size of the building, the kind of paint to use, how many workers to include, as well as the best way to present a proposal.
This can feel like an overwhelming task, and it’s not one to take lightly. After all, the proposal is the only time you have to really sell your skills as a painting contractor.
Mastering the art of great proposal writing takes time and patience, but it’s not difficult to learn how to make yourself shine on paper.
If you’re a top-rate painting contractor but you’re ready to take your painting proposals to the next level, this article is for you.
Throughout this guide, we will go over how to create a full-service painting proposal package, starting with a personal introduction and finishing with an example legal contract that you would present to a prospect.
Let’s get started by going over the basics of bidding in the painting service industry.
Painting Proposals: How To Price Your Services
Before you write your painting proposal package, figure out how to price your services. Whether you are doing interior or exterior painting, you can break your costs down into these four areas:
- Other materials
- Your markup
Although the price will be totally different for each job you do, the formula remains the same. If you use these criteria to come up with your price, you should be creating accurate bids every single time.
Let’s go over each bullet to further determine our costs.
A gallon of paint could cost you anywhere from $20.00 to $80.00. The price discrepancy exists for a number of reasons; part of it is the brand and style of paint you are using, but a lot of it has to do with the amount you are buying.
If you are doing commercial paint jobs and are buying hundreds of gallons of paint, create a good business relationship with the store you use. It is likely they will offer you a better price per gallon for your loyal business.
There are additional materials you must supply in addition to paint when bidding on a paint job. These include;
- Masking tape
- Masking paper
- Plastic tarps
If you are doing an exterior paint job, you’ll want to consider the roof line and how much brick there is. If you’re doing an interior paint job, remember you may be working around things like windows or wall protrusions. These things could alter the additional materials you need. Remember that this list is not exhaustive; use it as a guide to start assessing your own personal costs.
Labor is one of your biggest expenses in any job, and it is also the hardest to estimate. However, here are some good figures to get you started.
For residential painting projects, a crew of 2-3 can finish an exterior painting job on a 2,500 square foot house in 2 days - but that is only if there are no obstacles and very little prep work. It costs roughly $800.00 per day for a full crew based on national averages.
For commercial projects, most contractors charge somewhere between $50-80.00 per hour for labor. It is difficult to assess what an average day will look like because the size of commercial projects varies greatly, but an average painter should be able to cover 150 square feet an hour. With these numbers in mind, you can better figure out your labor costs based on the size of the building.
At the end of the day, the idea behind doing a painting job is that you make a profit off your hard work. To do this, you’ll need to factor in a markup for your painting services that allows you to make an income.
An average markup in the painting service industry is 35%. You can figure your markup by taking the total cost in each category (paint, materials, and labor) and multiplying it by .35. This will give you what to charge to hit your profit margin.
The Proposal Package
Once you’ve done some legwork on your prices and expenses, it’s time to craft the actual proposal.
This part can be fun and educational for both you and the prospect.
You don’t want to jump straight into the contract portion of the proposal because this doesn’t make you or your business look personable.
Instead, start by writing a cover letter that introduces your business to your potential client.
Your cover letter needs to be no more than one page in length and should explain who you are, what you do, and how you’re committed to excellence.
Start by addressing the prospect personally, then move into your statement. Below is an example of an introduction.
“At Clean Finish Painting, we exist to give a bright new look to all your residential or commercial spaces with our expert knowledge of interior and exterior painting services. Our experienced team of professionals has done over 7,000 paint jobs for clients who love our work.”
After you introduce yourself, you may want to write a paragraph about your staff, what you specialize in, and why the prospect should choose you. Look at examples online of cover letters to help you go further.
A very useful page to include in your painting service proposal package is one that highlights your past jobs. If you’re using Route, you can access reviews from clients within the platform, which you can include in your testimonials. Always encourage your current clients to review you on Route to build your professional network and to give you more feedback to reference later.
You should also include before and after photos of some stellar jobs you did. This will give your prospect something visual to remember you by.
Writing The Contract
Once you have your introduction and testimonials in place, it's time to create the actual contract for your painting service proposal.
There are many ways to write a painting contract but we’re going to explain how to do in on our platform, Route.
To start your contract, open Route on your desktop or tablet and navigate to the proposal generator. This tool allows to create custom contracts in minutes, and it provides shortcuts for some of the legal information needed.
In the proposal generator, name your proposal at the top of the page, something along the lines of, “Painting Service Contract”, or, “Painting Estimate”.
Below the title you can add your logo and the prospect’s logo if you prefer.
Now you need to list out the painting services you will be doing. You may want to separate them into sections based on the kind of service to be performed, such as, “preparation”, “priming” and “finishing coats”.
Under preparation, list each service. This will include tasks like washing, caulking, glazing, scraping, and sanding. Write a brief description of each service for added clarity. Add in the total price for each service using the editor in the proposal generator.
Do the same process for priming and finishing coats.
Under “priming” denote what type of material will be primed- metal, wood, brick, etc. Also list out the brand of primer you plan to use.
In the “finishing coats” section, list the type and brand of paint you will be using, and the number of coats you plan to do.
At the bottom, list the total price for all your services.
You may also add any additional notes or areas of special concern within the editor of the proposal generator and import your company’s standard legal verbiage.
Then hit “save” and you’ll have a .pdf contract that’s ready to be shared with the world.
Please note that this is a very broad overview of the contract and the proposal generator; your contract will not be identical to this, and this is only one way to structure your estimate. Do research on painting contracts and practice writing a few before sending one out to a prospect.
Painting Proposals: Review
When bidding on a job in the painting service industry, presenting your proposal in a professional way will make a world of difference. But there is a lot of work that goes into making the proposal stand out.
Start by carefully figuring out your prices by assessing the cost of the paint, the other materials, labor, and your markup. Since no two paint jobs are the same, having a baseline price doesn’t usually work, but you can figure things like how many square feet a worker can cover in an hour, and how much labor per day you’ll need.
When you start writing your proposal package, begin with a cover letter that introduces you and your company. Give the prospect a reason to want to do business with you.
After your cover letter, include a page of real client testimonials. Prospects will respond better to real-world examples of your work. You can also use before-and-after photos to upsell your services.
When writing the contract portion of your proposal, use a proposal generator tool like the one on Route to help you lay out your service agreement. Make sure you list every service you plan to perform from prep work to the finishing varnish.
List individual prices for each service and a total price within the contract. Make sure you’ve done research on prices and you’ve worked through the math yourself to ensure you’re hitting above your profit margin. It’s tedious, but well worth it in the long run.
Send your painting proposal as a package with your cover letter, testimonials and service contract all together. This gives your prospect a sense of your professionalism and commitment to the job.
Follow the tips in the guide in the future and you’ll find yourself landing more painting service bids thanks to your great communication and fantastic presentation skills.