Author Archives: Lynn Jackson

The Exciting World Of Proposals & Contracts

As a painting contractor, writing proposals and performing contract administration are just two of the many job functions you will find yourself involved in. How well you manage these tasks will be critical to your company’s success. This includes creating a professional proposal, drawing up and submitting the contract and negotiating with the owner or general contractor.

Types of Contracts

There are commonly two types of contracts: prime contracts and subcontracts. The first is when you are providing the only work involved on a project and are dealing directly with the owner or their representative. In this case, you will be the prime contractor. The second is when you are bidding to provide work on a portion of a project that involves several trades and is being managed by a general contractor. In this situation, you are the subcontractor.

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The Bidding Process

The bidding process is one many of us go through each and every day. While many jobs are similar, each lead or job we receive deserves it own unique bidding process. I am going to break down the bidding process one should go through each time you present a bid.

Let the Bidding Begin

The first step to any bid is of course gathering the quantities, whether you are measuring an existing structure or doing a takeoff from a set of plans. From there, you must “extend” your numbers, either manually or by entering the information into an estimating program. There are many such programs available, such as eTakeoff, Eagle Bid and PEP Cloud.

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How To Read Blueprints

As a contractor, you’ll likely come across blueprints regularly, regardless if you specialize in new construction or remodeling. For some types of contractors, they are an integral part of the job. For others, such as painting contractors, blueprints are useful tools that can help you estimate projects. Though it is a skill that is much too complex to be fully covered in one article, we’re here to walk you through the basics of how to read blueprints.

Our focus here will be blueprint reading for painting contractors. However, the information presented is useful for contractors of any type.

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A Paint Contractor’s Guide to Hiring, Firing & Training

There are several things to consider when you think about what type of work you want to do. Generally speaking, it’s better to do a few things well rather than trying to do it all. Consider what types of work are available in your area, what you are best equipped to do and what it is that you do well. This will help you to determine what niche you want to aim for and, in turn, the makeup of the crew you will need.

Hiring

Depending on the size of your operation, I would suggest a mix of skill sets and levels. A strong superintendent to help oversee your operations is key to your success. This is especially true as you grow your company. At some point, you will realize that you can’t do it all yourself; marketing, estimating, contract administration, supervising, hiring, and the list goes on, doesn’t it?

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What Should I Charge For My Labor?

When it comes to deciding how much you should charge for your labor, there are a number of components to consider. Basically, these include salary, load, burden and profit. Let’s walk through the process of building a “Sell Rate” for your company.

Salary

We will begin by taking a journeyman painter who, just as an example, makes $21.71 per hour. To that salary, you will need to add the other items mentioned below.

Load

The term “load”, or “burden,” is used to describe several expenses that are related to employee salaries. Normally, these include federal government taxes (FICA and FUI), worker’s compensation, state unemployment tax, liability insurance and health insurance benefits. You can check with your accountant or calculate these percentages yourself. Either way, you should be sure to keep them current as they are subject to change. For the purposes of this example, I will plug in a hypothetical number of $6.64 per hour. Adding this to the salary comes out $28.35.

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