How to Choose the Best Bid for Commercial Painter Jobs

If you’re new to commercial painter jobs, you might find yourself a little confused when it comes to selecting a bid. Often, commercial painters have a difficult time accurately assessing what their bids should be and an even harder time breaking down costs. That’s because, while it might seem simple, commercial painting requires a fair deal of intense labor and planning. Choosing the best bid for commercial painter jobs comes with a few factors.

Doing the math


Every commercial painter you meet likely has a different rule of thumb for calculating their bid prices. Some might be piling on the costs and tossing in upcharge after upcharge. However, at the end of the day, many commercial painters tend to agree that only a few factors really matter when it comes to assessing the bid. These include paint and materials, labor, marketing, and markup.

Some of these should be fairly easy to explain. For instance, paint and materials should typically always be billed to the client unless they were purchased for warranty-covered touch-ups or error corrections. As for labor, that’s simply your hourly rate multiplied by how long the job took. Yet, while these factors are a little easier to understand, their counterparts require a bit more finesse by the painter.

For instance, because marketing is a more nebulous concept, it’s hard to value it in terms of rates unless a painter is making payments towards direct marketing materials such as flyers, pamphlets, and mailers. However, if the commercial painter in question has gone fully digital, it’s hard to put a price on their specific marketing efforts. It might be tempting to simply charge labor for “hours worked” on a site or social media page, but it isn’t often the best practice. This is where the idea of the markup comes into play.

A markup also seems self-explanatory at the start. Instead of commercial painters breaking even on paint and materials, they charge a slight markup to make a profit on their initial expenses. Often, marketing efforts, annual licensing, and continued job training are marked up as well. Because the monthly fees for site hosting, advertising, and social media can vary greatly, some painters add a markup to offset any larger costs because leads from marketing efforts are never guaranteed.

Often, the person choosing a bid might not even see an itemized breakdown of these numbers. Instead, they could wind up seeing a flat rate for projects of certain sizes. Many businesses are more than welcome to share this info, but it isn’t the industry standard. That’s why it’s important to be shrewd when it comes to choosing a bid.

The selection process


Generally, a simple online search will let you know the average going rate for your area. Too high of a price could indicate an in-demand painting service or simply someone who’s being a little greedy. Too low a price could be the sign of commercial painters just starting out who want to prove their worth to secure first clients. It could also be a sign that the service has been forced to lower its prices to stay in business, which can be a red flag.

At the end of the day, going with a painter who possesses a combination of positive feedback and honest pricing is what many clients tend to do. Commercial painters who price themselves fairly while remaining competitive tend to have greater success in the long run. Granted, no set rules exist for this. That’s why it’s important for both painters and clients to remain informed of local market rates and to do adequate research.