Mrs Smith Consumer, We Have a Problem

Pricing a paint job
… What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”

We provide full proposals for painting estimates and quotes. The price is what this specific painting company needs to charge to:

  • perform the job exactly as specified, with the materials and paint as listed
  • pay our professional painters a decent wage, benefits etc
  • cover our overhead (admin, marketing, rent, etc.)
  • allow a net profit of about 10%

Reality is, the price is firm and what it needs to be for our company. Once in a while, we get some responses informing us that other estimates they’ve been quoted are so much cheaper. They ask why that is, and what can we do about it?

Can we re-quote? We are asked that sometimes. Thinking that there was a mistake the first time around, or maybe we missed the mark and if we re-quote “properly” the problem will be fixed.

The truth is, we did not miss the mark. We know our costs. The bigger question is: do the other painters know their costs? And if they don’t who will pay for it?

The profit margins in this business are very tight. All the same materials are available to everyone.

In a competitive market like today’s, different professional painters’ pricing should be very close to each other, in an “apples to apples” type of comparison. Despite all this, the cheapest price is often chosen.

Who is then responsible if the painters are bad, sometimes don’t show up, or even run away before a job is complete?

When paint is all over the carpets and nothing is patched at all: who is responsible? When the brush cut-in lines look like “Molson Canadian” lines, as we call them here, who is really responsible? Homestars, Angie’s List and other review sites are full of consumer complaints. A lot of them are obviously warranted, but I would also have to say that some consumers do not do their due diligence.

On this topic…

The following response was sent to a prospect who informed us we were very “expensive”

“Hi R….,
Thank you for taking the time to tell me.
I might as well take some time to tell you about our company. We can’t lower prices, our net profit margins are less that 10%. I think we have the best, most thorough (and very fast) painters. We also use the best products available for the job.
So what is really missing on a cheap paint job?
Our painters get paid good wages to support their families,  get full benefits and love their job. We also train them on customer service and upgrading their skills constantly. We are the only company our size that uses regular employees on payroll, We don’t use cash/disposable type painters, or so called subs. As a result of the above, we always deliver a good paint job and have hundreds of hand written testimonials that say so. I just thought I would take some time to explain our pricing and the value in it.”

After all this Mrs Smith Consumer, you can see why there is a failure to communicate. Sometimes the BBB or any pseudo-consumer protection agencies will not help you. Not even the Mike Holmes types of the world will fashion their cape on for you. There are professional contractors out there, why not just hire them?


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