Why Do Painting Prices Vary So Much?

Stressed Homeowners

When you request estimates from more than one contractor for the same painting job, the range of prices submitted may often amaze you. It is not uncommon for high bids to be twice as much as low bids. This range of prices can lead you to considerable uncertainty and anxiety in the decision-making process.

You’re left with important, but complex questions. Why do the estimates vary so much? Can I trust the low bid for basic quality? Can I trust the high bid for value? 

By understanding the factors behind price variation, you will be better able to identify risky or predatory pricing in the estimate process.

Common factors that drive price variation in home services include:

Estimate Approach­

Prior to Homespree, there was no standard way to estimate painting job prices, but many painters have traditionally used a cost-plus approach. Variations in the costing and markup will create significant job cost variations. Some painters use material and labor costs from recent, similar jobs they have performed. Others estimate from a standard cost/productivity reference book. Others may have portions of the work bid by a subcontractor(s). Once a cost total is estimated, the markup or profit (usually in the range of 10% – 20% of the costs) is added to create an estimate.

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