Estimating Courses and Schools for Painting Contractors That Double Estimator Closing Rates

Here’s the problem with 99% of estimator and estimating courses and schools for painters: They’re focused on PRICING instead of PERSUASION. You can be the best at PRICING your painting services and still end up DEAD BROKE or making far less money than you deserve (even if you’re already successful.)

Growing a painting business is all about PERSUASION. Let me explain…

PRICING Painting Services Is Simple and Easy

A lot of money has been made over the years by making the painting estimating process appear more complicated than it is. They’ll sit you in a school for hours showing you more ways to “price” than Carter has little liver pills. For an owner whose business consists of 90% residential repaints, the estimating process (PRICING) is simple and straightforward. There’s no need to complicate the matter.

The first thing you do is calculate how much time it takes you to paint a surface and come up with a production rate. How do you do this? It’s easy…

1 – Pick the Surface You Want to Paint – Maybe it’s the walls in a bedroom, the siding on a house, or windows. For this example, we’ll talk about siding.

2 – Set the Timer on Your Phone and Start Painting – Before you start the painting process, set a timer on your phone. Once you’ve painted for about 3-4 hours, stop and write down two things: A – How much time has elapsed. B – How much square footage you have covered.

3 – Repeat the Process Three Times – Do this two more times and document the same information. Now, you’ll have three sets of data. Let’s say they look like this…

4 Hours Painting, 380 Square Feet of Siding Brushed = 95 Square Feet of Siding Per Hour

4.3 Hours Painting, 325 Square Feet of Siding Brushed = 75.5 Square Feet of Siding Per Hour

5 Hours Painting, 425 Square Feet of Siding Brushed = 85 Square Feet of Siding Per Hour

4 – Average the Production Rates – In this example, we have three metrics to average: 95 + 75.5 + 85 = 255.5. Divide 255 by 3 and you get a round average of 85. This means your production rate for painting siding with a brush is 85 Square Feet Per Hour. The mystery of the ages has been solved in an afternoon…

5 – Apply This Method to All Surfaces and Painting Processes – Now that you have real-world, field tested methods for this surface, repeat it for doors, windows, trim, etc. Also, you can repeat it for different methods of application: Brush, rollers, and sprayer. You can apply this to pressure-washing, scraping, spot-priming, set up, break down, ladder work, commercial, industrial, you name it!

You see, you don’t need an estimating course to do this. All you need is a watch, a legal pad, a pen, and a calculator. Heck, you can even do this on your OWN HOUSE!

6 – Apply the Optimal Rate for An Hour of Production* – What is an optimal rate for your services? Is it $55 per hour? $45 per hour? $65 per hour? In reality, it’s all going to depend on your ability to PERSUADE someone to purchase from you. It will depend entirely on your SALES SYSTEM and whether or not it depends on PRICE or PERSUASION.

You see , many courses have been rehashing the same-old pricing strategies since the administration of Jimmy Carter, schools of estimating need to be focused on today’s most persuasive techniques in order to be effective.

If you have a terrible sales system, you’ll get paid less and less often. If you’ve got a process-driven, persuasive sales system, you’ll get paid top dollar. It’s not about overhead, profit margins, or any of that bunk. The customer and the market determine what you get paid and if you can’t persuade them, your cause is lost.

PERSUADING Someone to Pay Top-Dollar for Your Painting Services and to Choose Your Company Instead of Lower-Priced Competitors Is Challenging

This is where the painting industry is decades behind all other white-collar service industries. When it comes to the art of persuasion and building trust, we are still in the Stone Age.

The typical painting contractor has an estimating process that looks something like this:

Step 1 – Don’t Answer the Phone and Let It Go to Voicemail

Step 2 – Talk to the Customer on the Phone without Building Any Value or Offering Any Information On How Their Company is Different or Better Than the Typical Painting Contractor

Step 3 – Show Up and Make Small Talk About Kids, Dogs, or the Bowling Trophy

Step 4 – Eyeball the Project and Continue to Make Small Talk

Step 5 – Tell the Customer You’ll Email and Estimate Without Providing Any Information On Why They Should Choose You or Pay More for Your Services Than Your Chuck-In-a-Truck Competitors

Step 6 – Email the Estimate without Any Persuading Information

Step 7 – Maybe Follow Up a Couple of Times Then Write Off The Customer Forever

If Your Estimating Process Looks Like This, You’ve Probably Been to a Course or School on Estimating for Painting Contractors That’s Focused on PRICE – Not PERSUASION

So, what makes for a PERSUASIVE estimating process? Let me give you two steps to take so you can quickly figure it out:

First, watch this video I did for APC magazine. It unpacks every major component of a successful, persuasive estimating process.

Second, request the free report, CD, and video training series on this webpage before you leave. It digs deep and reveals all the steps in the PowePaint Presentation Process™. One of the best home-study courses on estimating for painting contractors you’ll find.


  1. Chuck Reger on December 30, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Brandon, I always enjoy and find your recordings a great refresher for me. I have been a PDCA member for some time and former franchise owner.
    Am I correct in assuming that the “QI” variable should equal 1 in your equation to maximize the solution? Have a great new year!
    Chuck Reger

    • Brandon Lewis on January 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks Chuck! Mathematically speaking, since we’re trying to maximize trust, there is no upper limit. You want all variables to be as high in value as possible. Obviously a zero in any variable would make the equation a null set. Are you still painting? Matt still over there at Dwyer?

  2. Mark Gonzaba on June 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm .
    Please call me at. 619 251 4673. Currently searching for the best instructors., for estimating painting / floor covering .

    • Brandon Lewis on August 1, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Mark, I will have Jennifer in our office reach out to you. Thanks for posting.

  3. Edwin Lau on August 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    • Brandon Lewis on August 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Did you have a question about our marketing, sales, or management courses for painting contractors? There isn’t any content in your post. Thanks.

  4. Tim Harden on January 12, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Hello my brother in-law and myself are in-line to take over our families multi million dollar paint company and we could really use training from you through classes if possible, could you please give me a call to possibly schedule us in your classes, thanks for the great information shared.
    Tim Harden

    • Brandon Lewis on January 12, 2019 at 7:56 pm

      Tim, we have reached out and look forward to helping you grow your painting business!

  5. Ruddy montesflores on March 1, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    How can I enroll in an estimator course?

    • Brandon Lewis on March 4, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      Call 423-800-0520 and ask for Jennifer! Thanks!

  6. Dino on March 21, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Estimating is a breeze, finding workers in this economy is not. I am turning down high dollar jobs daily.

    • Brandon Lewis on March 27, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      There are lots of resources on hiring and recruiting painters to be found on this website,, and on your YouTube Channels. If you need help solving these problems, call 423-800-0520.

  7. Marvin@ Estimator on December 12, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this important thoughts. Negociation is the most interesting and challenging thing in construction work.



    • Brandon Lewis on December 12, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks so much Marvin! Let me know if we can ever help you better marketing or manage your painting business!

  8. Nadia on December 16, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    How can I enroll into the estimator course?

    • Brandon Lewis on December 16, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      We just replied to your email about courses for estimating painting projects:

      We teach painting contractors and painters how to work on the persuasive elements of their sales process and also how to learn production rate estimating for repaints.

      However, we do not teach blueprint reading because the commercial new construction market is high risk, low margin, slow pay and produces zero equity for the owner because the company cannot be sold.

      I would stay away from this market if I were you.

      Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

  9. Twocare Home Services on May 3, 2020 at 4:19 am

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Brandon Lewis on May 3, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      Happy to help grow your painting business!

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