What are the barriers to expanding your painting contracting business?




Posted by The Painters’ QS in Estimating for Painting Contractors

We are regularly approached by smaller painting contractors (1-5 painters), for help pricing commercial painting projects.



The have quite rightly identified that for any painting contracting business to expand, they need to move more and more into the 'commercial world' rather than domestic.



So what are the barriers that immediately need to be addressed if they are to have any chance in securing more commercial work?




1.  Lack of knowledge in pricing commercial painting jobs from drawings:


Most new commercial jobs are sent to you in the form of drawings and specifications.  Your are expected to price the project from these tender documents.  This may be very different to what you are used to, especially if you have focused mainly on the domestic market where you will price most jobs on an estimate of number of days plus materials.



If you don't know how to price jobs from drawings, then you have the following options:



(a) You can attend one of our commercial estimating training courses.  We are probably the only company in the UK to offer such a course delivered by a 'current' commercial painting estimator.



(b)  You can use panddonline to measure and cost your projects.  The way we work is that if you think you may have a project that you would like us to price, email over the tender documents or link.  We take a quick look and tell you how much we would charge.  At this point you either instruct us to proceed, in which case what we have quoted is what you would pay or you decline, in which case it hasn't cost you anything.



(c). You can purchase our painting rates calculator software (Quick Pant Rate).  Quick and easy to use.  Means you can calculate painting rates to your own labour rates and material prices.



(d)  You can purchase on digital drawing takeoff software package:  Bidscreen XL.  A direct MS Excel add in.  Allows you to measure digital drawings directly from your computer screen.




2.  V.A.T. Registration: 


If you are not V.A.T. registered, it means that you can't claim the V.A.T. back from your material purchases and so need to factor this into your price.  If you don't do this, then your materials are automatically 20% higher than your V.A.T. registered competitors.




3.  Material Prices:


The commercial painting market is very competitive so you need to


approach your paint supplier to secure the lowest prices they can offer (best to speak with an Area Sales Rep rather than the branch manager).  Not easy, as it's a bit of a 'chicken and egg' situation where you need lower prices to help secure work, but the paint supplier says he can't offer you better prices until you buy more paint!!!




4.  CITB CSCS card


In order to work on many commercial construction sites, you will be required to have a CITB CSCS card relevant to your trade.  These can be applied for if:


(a)  You have an NVQ level 2 in painting and decorating.


(b) You have passed a CITB health and safety test within the last two years.


If you do not have an NVQ, you can try to obtain one through 'On Site Assessment and Training Scheme (OSAT).  Contact your local FE college that offers painting and decorating courses to see if they offer this.




5.  Health and Safety requirents of Principal Contractors


If you are a domestic painting contractor, you will not be used to the health and safety requirements of a Principal Contractor.  Risk assessments, method statements, health and safety policy, source of competent health and safety advice.  The good news is that in addition to being paintng estimators, panddonline also specialise in providing competent health and safety advice for painters.  So if you need help with RAMS, health and safety accrditation applications such as CHAS, SafeContractor, EXOR etc., just give us a call.




For further help or advice, give one of our painting estimators a call.


Tel:  01782 835764




panddonline-Painting Estimator


Written by P&D Online

The Painters’ QS


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