(This is probably our most important page on this site, do spend some time here).
We offer FREE estimates, but only by email.
We charge a fee for an in person estimate.
Unfortunately, we find we need to do things this way due to:
"Painting Contractors" are not all alike - they are not all selling the same thing.
Please send us photographs of what it is you would have us price for you, so that we can see what it is you are talking about (Recent photographs of what it looks like right now - not what it looked like a few years ago).
The more photographs the better - try to get different angles and up close shots when necessary. Three pictures of the outside of your house is not enough - your house has FOUR sides to it. Two pictures of your deck is not enough, take several, and from different angles, including from the backyard. If we don't have enough information, we can't price your work for you.
Please give us a description of what work you would have us do, including;
Photos of the entire area (or areas)
Areas of concern or of note.
Any finish type, manufacturer and / or color(s) you prefer we use.
When we respond back to you, we will send you an Idea of cost, which means:
an IDEA of cost.
it may not always be the acual cost.
Our "Idea of cost" is usually spot-on, but we only charge for what we put into a project, meaning;
The price we submit to you is the base price, we will accept no less, however,
if we find it costs less than what we estimate, we will refund/credit you.
If it costs more, we expect you to be honest and pay the difference.
You either want it done, or you want it done right.
In Person Estimates
Considering all the people who stumble upon our site, view or photos, realize we actually ARE the painters - doing what we say we do, and would like to have us drive out and price their project (and we get many); we choose not to run all around Virginia pricing work - because it is a lost cause; costing us money, time, wear and tear on the vehicle (enjoying being stuck in traffic), taking time from our busy schedule, or our day off, etc...
...just so we can meet with a potential client, offer our best presentation, answer questions, take notes, drive back through traffic, put it all together, submit....
...and NOT land the contract - because of one of the reasons listed above.
We will either go out of business visiting every potential job sent our way, or we will go out of business because people seem to think that our time is worth nothing - and it's our duty, nay our obligation - to drive out and price work for anyone who is curious. ...and we're just not going to do that.
We don't want to go out of business.
We have no choice but to charge a non-refundable fee to come out and price your work.
Estimating companies for all kinds of contractors charge a fee, so do HVAC contractors, plumbing contractors, electricians, your auto mechanic - and I guarantee you can't get an architect to come out and draw you up some blueprints for a house you may or may not buy - without paying a fee.
Their TIME is worth something, so is ours. Isn't yours?
The fee we charge is non-refundable and different for each Customer, and must be paid in cash immediately upon our arrival.
Determining the fee will depend on how far away you are, and how large a proposal we need to prepare for you.
Well then; why do other painting contractors drive out and give free estimates?
Because they can.
Many "painting contractors" are not painters at all, they are salesmen.
Their job is to land sales.
They drive around pricing work and collecting checks. They keep half of the money for themselves, then use the remaining half to buy the materials and sub contract the work out.
It's actually a great job. Driving around in airconditioning collecting money, doing nothing other than meeting people.
The only competition they have is against others who are doing the same thing.
Joe LEGAL vs. Jose ILLEGAL
Many contractors hire illegal immigrants because they work for low pay; "cash under the table".
This means big money for the contractor - even when they underbid the work.
Many of these Illegal immigrants are not experienced in the field of painting, they just can't get a real job, and so they take what little money they can get.
Unscrupulous contractors profit big in paying them low wages or just setting a price for them to get the job done, and they are his "crew", they might even wear the company T-Shirt or have a magnetic logo representing the company on their van.
The government is aware of this, and they haven't done much about it.
The following is an article that’s been circulating the internet for a while...
You have two families: “Joe Legal” and “Jose Illegal.”
Both families have two parents, two children, and live in California . . .
Joe Legal works in construction, has a Social Security Number and makes $25.00 per hour with taxes deducted.
Jose Illegal also works in construction, has NO Social Security Number, and gets paid $15.00 cash “under the table”.
Ready? Now pay attention . . .
Joe Legal: $25.00 per hour x 40 hours = $1000 per week, or $52,000 per year. Now take 30% away for state and federal tax; Joe Legal now has $31,231.
Jose Illegal: $15.00 per hour x 40 hours = $600 per week, or $31,200 per year. Jose Illegal pays no taxes. Jose Illegal now has $31,200.
Joe Legal pays medical and dental insurance with limited coverage for his family at $600 per month, or $7,200 per year. Joe Legal now has $24,031.
Jose Illegal has full medical and dental coverage through the state and local clinics and emergency hospitals at a cost of $0 per year. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.
Joe Legal makes too much money and is not eligible for food stamps or welfare. Joe Legal pays $500 per month for food, or $6,000 per year. Joe Legal now has $18,031.
Jose Illegal has no documented income and is eligible for food stamps, WIC and welfare. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.
Joe Legal pays rent of $1,200 per month, or $14,400 per year. Joe Legal now has $9,631.
Jose Illegal receives a $500 per month Federal Rent Subsidy. Jose Illegal pays out that $500 per month, or $6,000 per year. Jose Illegal still has $31,200.
Joe Legal pays $200 per month, or $2,400 for car insurance. Some of that is uninsured motorist insurance. Joe Legal now has $7,231.
Jose Illegal says, “We don’t need no stinkin’ insurance!” and still has $31,200.
Joe Legal has to make his $7,231 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, etc.
Jose Illegal has to make his $31,200 stretch to pay utilities, gasoline, and what he sends out of the country every month.
Joe Legal now works overtime on Saturdays or gets a part time job after work.
Jose Illegal has nights and weekends off to enjoy with his family.
Joe Legal's and Jose Illegal’s children both attend the same elementary school.
Joe Legal pays for his children’s lunches while Jose Illegal’s children get a government sponsored lunch.
Jose Illegal’s children have an after school ESL program. Joe Legal’s children go home.
Now, when they reach college age, Joe Legal’s kids may not get into a state school and may not qualify for scholarships, grants or other tuition help, even though Joe has been paying for state schools through his taxes, while Jose Illegal’s kids “go to the head of the class” because they are a minority.
Joe Legal and Jose Illegal both enjoy the same police and fire services, but Joe paid for them and Jose did not pay.
Condsider this when looking for a contractor to do your work.
Support your local painter / painting contractor!
The Price Curious
"Price" is secondary - Remember that
Although price is always a concern, it should not be your very first concern, nor should it be your only concern.
Your first concern should be; WHO is Qualified?
If you are price curious, You will find a broad range of pricing that is anywhere from a low $25 to a high $125 per hour, with most contractors priced somewhere in the middle, and our price is very much the same of what everyone else is charging.
Unfortunately, not everyone who advertises painting services is a painter, so even when you do find that great price, are you sure you're getting someone who knows what they're doing?
Those Who Are Comparing Prices
All Painters Are The Same ...Right?
Painting is not a commodity, and neither is deck cleaning / sealing / staining.
It can not be packaged and sold in a box on a store shelf with another store down the road offering the same product at a better price, and if you think that "anyone" can do what a professional painter does - you are only fooling yourself.
Comparative shopping works in many areas, but it does not work when looking for a painting contractor.
If you are comparing one contractor's price with another contractor's price, you need to make sure you are comparing a qualified painter with a qualified painter, or a sub contractor with a sub contractor, or a franchise with a franchise. You can not compare oranges with apples with lemons.
Those Getting Several Estimates
"Always Get Three Estimates" ...Really?
I don't know who originally said; "getting several estimates is always a good idea", but they are wrong. Why do people believe everything they are told?
If you need an electrician, a plumber, or an HVAC technician; you definately want to get several estimates (but they won't come out and give you an estimate for free; they have a "service charge" - to "inspect" and "determine" your issues).
These tradesmen will be working on and / or installing the exact same devices. These people have job performance rules and standards they are required to follow.
Other than having a business license, each one of these is properly trained in their field of work and carries certification that they are authorized to do their job, "proof" that they are experts and fully capable of working their trade.
Each electrical contractor, each plumbing contractor, and each heating / air-conditioning contractor has their own price, so it makes sense to get several estimates; because one of them has a better price than the other - even though they all are offering the same service.
...but what about a painter or drywall / painting contractor?
What about someone who cleans and seals fences and decks?
There is no certification.
Your best solution is to research them, look at examples of their work, read their reviews (no, not the reviews they themselves wrote, or their family wrote - read reviews that are from real people).
Anyone can start up a painting business or deck cleaning / staining company, or go into the field of fixing drywall, or power washing houses - and they don't need anything other than registering their company name with the state.
This means that when you are getting several estimates to have your deck sealed, or your house painted, not only will the pricing be different;
...but now you need to figure out which ones are actually qualified, which ones are real, and which ones are just advertising/marketing businesses out to make money by selling your project to the lowest bidder or day laborers. You really should do some research before you hire.
(These are images of (ME) back in the day - when I was younger, it's all I could find.)
The "Tire Kickers"
Oh What FUN...
Tire-kickers are people who aren't going to use our services anyway, they're just checking us out.
Tire kickers interrogate, ask lots of questions, never commit.
When we meet with a tire kicker, they waste endless hours in person or on the phone, looking for the professional solution, asking about techniques, the products we would use - which is the best product, and why we would choose one brand over the other.
After we waste our time driving out to meet with them, answering their questions, taking notes, and spending time putting together a detailed written estimate for the work;
...we never hear from them again - not even a simple "thank you for your time".
Those Getting Insurance Quotes
Price it for us ...Please!!
Sometimes insurance companies require home owners to get a few written estimates (on "Company letterhead") from legitimate painting contractors; in order for the homeowner to collect the insurance check.
...so the homeowner calls up a few qualified painting contractors and has them come out and price the work.
After submitting the contractor's pricing to the insurance company, the homeowner collects the insurance check.
Now that the homeowner has the check, many homeowners either hire the cheapest contractor they can find, or they do the work themselves, or they just don't do the work at all; and keep the money.
How nice of us to help them get their money - while we waste our time and get nothing.
The "Firm Price Quote"
Not Gonna Happen...
After discussing the cost of a project through email and/or telephone conversation, and with the homeowner finding our price quote agreeable, they would then have us drive out and give them a more "firm price" by "viewing the project in person" .
Sounds like we pretty much got this in the bag. Sounds like the homeowner likes the email estimate we gave them, and are going to hire us,
...they just wants to pinpoint an exact; - a more precise cost.
...and all we have to do is;
drive out on our day off - or when we have time - meet with them; walk their project, take notes, drive back, put together a detailed proposal, send it to them; ...and we got the job!
(now that they have that firm price!)
...but that's not what happens, and that's not how it's been working.
After we arrive; the project we discussed no longer exists, or the price discussed is now all of a sudden lower, or we are asked to price some other project that is most urgent (and needs to be done right away), along with "we will call you later in the year to do these other things we initially discussed".
The reality is:
We don't "have the job in the bag"; we have no contract, there is no obligation, there is no commitment.
Asking us to come out and give you a "firm price" after already discussing the cost; is just one way - to have us come out and give an "in person" estimate and avoid paying for our time and mileage (our estimate fee).
We've been there and done that (too many times); a complete waste of our time.
It's just one reason we charge a fee for an "in-person" estimate .
...even if you just want us to come out and give you a more "firm price", or to have us "get a better look at your project in person";
we don't do that
...unless you are willing to pay for our time, (because we already know) it's not our project just yet.
You really should
research who you are considering to hire (or do you even care? - do you really believe that everyone who claims to be a painter actually is?)
Is the lowest price all that you are looking for?
I promise you this:
when they mess it up;
it's going to cost you double (if not triple) to fix what they did wrong - in order to make it right.
Research who you hire!
Our Competition includes...
- Honest experienced qualifiable legitimate licensed painters and contractors.
- ...those who are not what they appear to be.
Due to the economy, there are many new start-up companies (and many contractors who sub their work out) who have no idea of what a fair price would be to charge for painting, drywall or deck sealing.
In order to find out; they call several real contractors for their "free estimates", and they end up getting a pretty good idea - and the poor contractor who drove out to price the work just wasted his time and shared his pricing methods.