For many beginner paint contractors, estimating the cost of a project can be a challenge. You don’t want to quote a high bid because it can cost you the job, and you can’t offer a low quote or you won’t make a profit.
Understanding how to estimate a paint job to account for each cost could be the difference between breaking even and increasing profits. Thankfully, technology has become a crucial part of every industry, and it’s not any different for paint contractors.
According to Ibis World, there are more than 200,000 house painting and decorating contractor businesses in the U.S., an increase of 3.3% from 2021. This growth is attributed, in part, to the introduction and adoption of dedicated painting estimate software that makes managing painting projects much easier.
In this post, we look at all you need to know about paint estimating software and how it can help you get the most value out of each project.
Paint Contractor Software
As a painting contractor, your work goes beyond painting a segment. You have to organize appointments, estimate costs, and perform other administrative tasks. These tasks can consume a lot of time and resources instead of generating revenue. But with software for painting contractors, you can easily and efficiently manage your business.
Paint contractor software offers powerful tools that help painters with their day-to-day operations. You can save money and time if you let the software handle your tedious administrative tasks and business processes. Here are some essential features that the system should have:
1. Compatibility with Processes and Programs
The best paint contractor software should integrate various aspects of your business, synchronizing your appointment scheduling and accounting processes into a single place for easy access.
2. Painting Estimate Software
Estimating the cost of a project is vital for any painting business. Most paint estimating software comes with templates, allowing you to produce professional estimates, issue invoices, and secure clients faster.
3. Subcontractor and Vendor Management
In most cases, painting contractors don’t work alone; a network of suppliers, vendors, and subcontractors play a part in the project. JobNimbus can help contractors manage their partner network through the Calendar feature, where you can track shipments and subcontractor schedules.
4. Scheduling Tools
Maintaining your team’s schedule is vital for every paint contractor’s business. With JobNimbus, you can pick tasks and assign them to individual team members. Scheduling will also help prevent missing client appointments and double-booking your teams.
5. Mobile Apps
Since paint contractors are mainly in the field for most of the day, the software should have an integrated mobile app for Android and iOS. A mobile software app allows contractors to get job orders and perform administrative tasks like estimating costs on the spot.
How Paint Estimate Software Can Help Your Contractor Business
Generally, painting contractors will offer different quotes for their projects (meaning the prices differ). Some contractors estimate their costs by multiplying the paint’s price by four or six times, while others use a rough rate of $1–2 per square foot.
Although these estimation techniques are usually effective, they aren’t always recommended. If you want to establish a reputable business with reasonable prices and consistent, reliable service, a painting estimation software will serve you best.
Estimating software for painters is a valuable addition to the paint contractor industry, allowing contractors to make evidence-based decisions. Here are some ways software for painting contractors can help your business.
Estimate the Cost of Painting Materials
The first factor most contractors consider when estimating the cost of a project is how much paint the job will use. Paint estimator software allows the user to enter every aspect of the project, including:
- Whether you are painting interior or exterior (interior jobs usually need more paint)
- If it’s a repaint project or a new construction job (a new house requires more paint and caulk)
- Square footage of the space to be painted
The software allows you to thoroughly estimate costs based on tape or laser measurements collected during an on-site visit.
Paint estimate software is also helpful in estimating the cost of other essential supplies for the project like:
- Paint trays
- Painter’s tape
Calculate Labor Costs
Labor costs are tricky to estimate due to the many elements in play. While your hourly rate is a major part of labor costs, a painting estimator allows you to factor in other considerations, such as interior/exterior jobs and projects that might require specialized skills.
Interior jobs can take two to three extra hours to complete as the same amount of exterior square footage. When using paint contractor software to calculate labor costs, it can automatically adjust for new construction projects by adding 30% more for priming and caulking.
When calculating labor costs, you should take timing into account. Factors like weather or other on-site issues like plumbing could delay the job. You can also use the software to factor in costs like insurance, taxes, and commissions.
Account for Overhead Costs
Overhead costs are a smaller fraction of the budget, but according to the National Association of Home Builders, overhead costs should be around 10%. Overhead costs mainly cover your standard business costs and are an element that most contractors tend to overlook.
A paint estimating software allows you to distribute these expenses across different jobs throughout the year evenly. The software also allows you to factor in your salary as a business owner, which is something that most small business owners forget to do.