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How to Bid on an Interior Paint Job

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In the construction industry, jobs are awarded through a bidding process. Subcontractors, such as painters, estimate what the job would cost to complete. The bidder with the lowest bid usually wins the job, but sometimes experience, relationships and manpower come into play. To bid on an interior paint job, you'll need as much information as possible about the project, including size and scope. By submitting a thorough bid, you'll improve your chances of getting the job and also of making it a successful project for your company.

Determine the size of the space that will be painted. You can do this by using scaled drawings or by visiting the space and taking measurements. To calculate total square footage, multiply the length of each wall by the width and ceiling height.

Gather information on the scope of the project. Will the ceilings be painted? What about doors, door frames, cabinets or furniture? Go over this information carefully so you understand the scope and have included all necessary items.

Calculate labor costs. Examine your records to determine how many square feet each of your employees can cover per hour. Decide how many employees and man hours will be needed on the job, then multiply this by your employee's hourly wages, plus labor burden. If you are bidding on a commercial job, see if a wage scale should be included.

Figure out material costs. A gallon of paint will cover about 350 square feet. Decide how many gallons you will need and what kind of paint you will need. For instance, eggshell paint or custom colors will cost extra, so if you need these materials, include extra money in your bid.

Add in a percentage for overhead and profit. Depending on the size of the job, overhead and profit might range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the total cost of the project. Make sure to include permit fees, insurance costs or bond premiums, if applicable.

Submit your bid. On your company letterhead, include your price and a detailed scope of work. Indicate whether sales tax is included to help the contractor or homeowner evaluate your bid.


Consider partnering with a company that specializes in exterior paint work. By combining your services, you can provide bids for a complete paint package, making it more likely both of you get the job.

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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