How to Sell, Bid, or Estimate a Painting Job or Project: Free Training

How to Sell, Bid, or Estimate a Painting Job or Project: Free TrainingIn order to be successful, painters must understand the foundational principles of a selling system that works. If you’re stuck at billing rates that are much lower than you want and your profit margins are lean, then your painting company probably has a poor sales system in place. Having a high-quality, persuasion-driven sales process is an essential step in growing your painting business.

The big problem with a bad sales system is that it will cost your business a lot of money, and it leaves so much money on the table. At Painter’s Academy, our business professionals have developed a tried and true sales process that performs and, in doing so, allows painters to increase their profits and gain financial freedom. Outlined below is the importance of the sales process and how an effective sales system will help your painting business excel.

The Importance of the Sales Process

Many painters are getting a bill, and it’s just not coming in the mailbox. It’s the bill for having a poor sales system. This comes with two big problems: low closing rates and low billable hours. A low closing rate means that you meet with lots of potential customers but few of them actually buy from you. Low billable hours means that you’re billing your hours at a much lower rate than what you deserve or could potentially get. Both of these problems present big challenges for the bottom line of any painting business.

The Problem of Low Closing Rates

Let’s talk about the cost of a low closing rate by looking at some hypothetical metrics. Let’s say that you see ten estimates per week, your closing rate is 27 percent, and your average job size is about $3,500. While this is not a good closing rate for painters with a lot of cold leads, it is a common one. For this example, we’ll assume your net profit rate is 25 percent.

With these numbers, a painter would be making about $2,362 a week, which equals out to about $100,000 a year. However, if you were able to increase your closing rate by just 10 percentage points, you would be making $3,237 a week, which is an increase of $875. With this small increase in your closing rate, you could add $3,589 to your monthly profits—that’s a big difference in your earning potential.

The Problem of Low Billable Hours

Many painters are plagued by the problem of low billable hours. Let’s go back to the example in the closing rates section. Let’s say that you have ten estimates per week, you’re still at a 27 percent closing rate, your average job size is still $3,500 per job, and your net profit margin remains at 25 percent. Your net profit margin is where billable hours come into play. Higher profit margins occur when you can bill your painters out per hour for a higher rate. In this example, let’s assume an increase in billable hours allows you to increase your profit margin from 25 to 35 percent. From being able to charge more, you would make an extra $945 per week, adding up to $3,876 per month.

Your hourly rate has everything to do with the sales process. It has nothing to do with your overhead or the quality of your services. When it comes to increasing your billable hours, it’s about putting on a show.

Our Approach to the Sales Process

At Painter’s Academy, we have developed a tried and true sales process that provides painters with profitable business returns. Our sales process focuses on:

  1. Putting on a high-quality show using our PowerPaint presentation
  2. Establishing trust with potential customers with effective prepositioning, post-positioning, and follow-up strategies
  3. Eliminating the blue-collar sales process and replacing it with white-collar techniques

With these three approaches, painters can increase their closing rates and billable hours and, in turn, their profits.

Putting on a High-Quality Show

When it comes to closing a sale or getting customers to pay a premium for your services, the quality of the work doesn’t matter—at least not initially. Many painters are so confident in the quality of their product that they lose sight of the customer’s vantage point.

Since you haven’t done any work yet, customers can’t really gauge the quality of your work, and many of them will make decisions based on the quality of the sales process. They will assume a good sales process foreshadows high-quality work and vice versa. In deciding who to give their business to, customers will compare your sales process with that of your competitors and determine whether the margin of the additional cost—if they choose you—is worth it. So, to increase your closing rates and profits, you must focus on creating a high-quality presentation.

Establishing Trust

Making sales is all about establishing trust. At Painter’s Academy, we like to use a trust formula when developing our sales strategies: the number of interactions with your customer multiplied by the quality of those interactions is equal to your established trust. This means that to create an effective sales system, you need to increase the number and quality of your interactions with your customers.

Eliminating Blue Collar Sales Strategies

Many painters fail to realize that they are competing with white-collar professionals. Sometimes, the cost of an exterior paint job can be $7,000, which is comparable to dental implants, cosmetic surgery, or a middle-class divorce. You can’t sell white-collar expensive services with blue-collar methods and expect to close at high rates. Instead, you need to implement an authoritative sales approach.

Use the Business Coaching Services at Painter’s Academy to Increase Your Profits

At Painter’s Academy, we know the struggles painters face in becoming successful business owners, and we’re here to help. With over thirteen years of experience helping painting businesses grow, we have the expertise to take your business to the next level. Our services have a proven track record of helping painters develop the revenue streams and gain the contracts that provide profitable returns. If you want to grow your painting business, call today at (423) 800-0520 or fill out our online contact form.


  1. David Barnes on September 26, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Wanted to say that I really enjoyed your audio clip. I don’t have a painting only business but a handyman business instead. I have been open for 10 years and have only had one year that my gross hit six figures. Would love to have this Christian based business turn into a serious money maker that I might be able to show my kids and grandkids that it can be done with hard work and determination. I have listened to your webinars, read some of your articles and have enjoyed your videos. Thanks again for your material. It’s good to see that a fellow Alabama boy can do good. Blessings, David

    • Brandon Lewis on September 26, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      You are too kind David. Bidding a painting project and selling handyman services takes the same structural, trust building approach. IN fact, that’s the case for all home-service estimating processes. There are folks in the man-in-a-van industry who are doing well, and those who struggle year after year. The industry is sound and the model is proven – if you’ll just spend your time working on the business end of the painting business. Thanks David and stay in touch!

  2. Max R on April 14, 2019 at 2:43 am

    I am one of those 30 year painters with my own business that has been doing it all wrong. I would put my guys up against any painters as far as quality goes. I’ve been going at it all wrong. Going to be a lot of changes from here on out. Thank you

    • Brandon Lewis on April 15, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Max, it’s easy to do. After a few years of owning a painting business, we FORGET how to think like the client. Selling, Bidding and Estimating a paint Job requires more than just pricing – it demands persuasion! Let us know if we can help you better market or manage your painting business!

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