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Job pricing

Seems everyone has there own methods of pricing jobs either by going of how long it will take or by charging per square meter but which method is best for you and your client, is a day rate better than a quote or estimate?

To my mind, I put the client first, and to do that I put myself in their shoes, and so as to get a very clear picture in my head of what it is like to deal with a tradesman, I think about every time I go to get my car repaired!

I know zilch about their line of work, and have to go almost completely on trust with what they tell me. I have no problem agreeing to a “high” quote if it is going to solve my problem, but I just never lose the ache in my stomach at pay up time, wondering will they charge what they said, or is there some issue that cost an extra £250.

The reason the ache never goes away is because I have yet to find a mechanic who treats me in a way I consider fair to both sides.

Where small jobs are concerned, (e.g. a kitchen,) as a professional, I should be able to assess within a few percent what a job involves, and that comes with a fixed price quote. The only changes to the price are if the client asks me to do something not quoted for - change the colour, paint some extra furniture. And that is cleared and priced and agreed before that extra work is done.

I give an estimate on larger scale jobs, (a whole house) but again, as a professional, I have gone to great lengths over the years to build up a log of how long jobs take, what obstacles are likely in the way, so I see most obvious (to me) problems before they arise - other trades in the way is the buggy in my experience. So in my mind, an estimate is as close to as fixed price quote as is humanly possible, and I would definitely never do any extra billable work without clearing it with the client first.

To my mind, day work rates apply if

a) there is no clear idea what work is involved.
b) the situation changes - I have priced work and then the chippies have turned up and no area on a property is “accessible from 8 to 5” so the quote is void and usually it would be carry on on day work.
c) the decorator wants a steady run of work, and foregoes the chance to put in extra work to improve earnings per job
d) the client thinks they will get a “deal” on a long run of work paying a good decorator a slightly lower day rate than the rates they base their prices on.

Personally I think they are all flawed in this trade and almost every time, it comes back to the best for client and decorator is an accurate price based on a clear appraisal of the work involved and an understanding that additional work is either genuinely unforeseen, or is a clients wish for extra work, to be itemised, agreed and paid for.

No doubt there are plenty of what ifs, and exceptions, but we aren’t building space ships here, there are fairly set patterns of work and processes tried and tested. Whatever the pricing method, if the decorator doesn’t make a profit, they don’t stay in business for long.

Thank you Andy :slight_smile:

Just been to look and quote for doing a 3 bed house myself, the client wants to provide the paint have it all done in a few days, no prep and one coat on walls/ceilings even though it is a colour change on the walls! when trying to explain why 2 coats would be needed, prep work and a realistic time scale his answer was he has others coming to quote if It was to big a job for me or he would do it himself…

Not all enquirers want what you provide!

Thing is Andy do you go with what they want even though you know the end result is not going to improve what they already have much or do you stick with the standard your comfortable with and would expect if it was being done for yourself?

Thats an easy question to answer - your name is on everything you do. Step outside the mundane decorator world for a minute, go glam, what would Mr BMW say if a customer said they only want one coat of paint on their M3!

Your business is not BMW but are you really going to put your name to a job that you know is sub standard? Work to your standard, not a price. You have to tell people bad news sometimes!

Thinking long term, the price is long forgotten, but everyone who sees your work will only remember the appalling standard of work. Word of mouth referral is the most powerful means of developing your business.

Thank you Andy that has put my mind at ease as that is how I dealt with it by saying how I would prefer to approach the job and at a more realistic time scale especially as some walls ad ceilings were in poor shape, sadly the client felt he may have more luck with other decorators or doing it himself. I really do take pride I my work ad always aim to do the job right :slight_smile:

Good decision Dazco! - ‘work up to a standard and not down to a price’

That’s a great tag line Andy