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Serving the Outer Banks since 1995

Competent Estimating

Competent Estimating

With the approach of fall and winter, this is the time to hire a contractor for any painting or carpentry jobs that you might want to have done before the next rental season. As you probably know, it will be difficult to get estimates in the spring, since most reputable contractors will be booked for months in advance.

Do yourself a favor and scrutinize the companies that you invite to estimate your work, because not all companies can competently estimate the work that they perform. You may think that a low-ball price wouldn’t be much of a concern to you, but that is far from true. What happens when the contractor runs out of money, time, and motivation? If this happens to you it will surely cost you more for another contractor to finish the work left by the guy who won’t return your calls anymore. Most likely, the contractor who finishes the job won’t give a warranty either, since he can’t vouch for the quality of the priming and prep work already completed.
Many contractors on the Outer Banks don’t know how to accurately measure and apply production rates, so it’s no surprise that they are simply guessing, rather than estimating their jobs. In some cases, that guess may be an educated one, but it is still just a guess.
Unfortunately, most homeowners trust that each competing company has the expertise to provide an “apples” quote that he or she can compare to the other “apples” quotes provided. However, this is rarely the case. If you have ever hired a contractor, you know that the estimates can vary wildly in scope of work and price.
To estimate properly, a contractor must first have an hourly rate based on the actual cost of fixed and variable overhead, labor costs (including labor burden), and a reasonable profit.
Once the hourly rate is established, the estimator must know capabilities of the employees who will complete each aspect of the job. The production rate for each given task is then applied to the measurements for that specific scope of work.
If the proper measurements and production rates are applied to an estimate, this allows the estimator to factually negotiate any aspect of the quote honestly and ethically. A measured item won’t change, but the scope of work and specified materials can change to fit within budget constraints. While this doesn’t seem too complicated, it does require plenty of work for the business to document and establish production rates. For many small business owners, this never happens. Often they are too occupied working for the business rather than working on the business.
According to the R.S. Means Company (the oldest and most reliable source of construction data) the national average for a professional painting contractor is currently over $55.00 per hour. While there is some variance regionally, beware if your contractor is charging significantly less than his competitors. He probably has not come to that figure by any scientific method. Make sure that your contractor knows how many square feet of siding or lineal feet of trim he’s installing or painting. If he can’t tell you exactly how much, you could end up as the victim of a badly flawed estimate.

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Why Customers Choose Beach Painting

  • Expertise - we have the experience and versatility to take on the most demanding painting and residential construction projects.
  • Integrity - we only use the highest grade materials and take the time to do the job correctly.
  • Dependability - our employees are directly employed (not subcontractors) and covered under our liability and workers' compensation policies.
  • Professionalism - we carefully measure all components of the work and provide a detailed scope in our estimates and proposals.
  • Longevity - with over 20 years of steady growth, we have become the largest full-service painting contractor on the Outer Banks.
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