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Estimating time

Hello, my first post!

I have been asked to quote on painting some metal gates. A single path width and a double drive width.
They are in a bit of a state currently, client has paint - hammerite.
I need to work out how long it’ll take.

Any clever ideas on how to estimate the time to prep & paint?

Thanks in advance

If the amount of preparation is hard to estimate, you can be upfront and explain the prep is the most important part and suggest you do the prep on day rate, and give them a fixed price for the remaining painting part of the project.

The more you do the easier it is to estimate, but you never escape the potential for unforeseen problems. And there will always be clients who want a fixed price and you have to explain that you will have to price high.

To estimate the painting, find some old railing and practice at home? I am sure some pros will say you should know all your timings. True, but I can assure you, there is a huge gulf in estimating knowledge in the trade, so to improve your chances of getting a non standard item right, be a bit creative before you commit to a complete guess, which could, depending on size of contract, sink your business. (I was part of an estimating team where the building “expert” guessed a few non standard items and were £100k off the money!)

Main thing is make sure the ground is set before you start!


Thanks Andy

I took a bit of a punt and guestimated, based on having done something like this job it along time ago (only remembered after talking to an old work buddy).

Bit of a gamble, but it’s part of a bigger job so I’m happy I’m covered on timings.

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It’s all a process, building up your own database of timings. Just make sure you keep notes!


That’s what I do dairy size everything.

Started on these gates today. Not sure I’ll be taking on metal gate painting again… so blinking long to prep. Painting fiddly as well due to all the scroll work. However, I priced out at 8 hours and I’ll be covered in this, I think I’ll be done in 6 - 7 :slight_smile: