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The Economics of Painting Your Home: Quality Versus Cost

April 21, 2011

As a painting services provider, I continue to be absolutely astounded by consumers willing to focus primarily on “low or lowest price” as the main criteria for selecting a painter. Failure to conduct a broader analysis is a mistake. You really need to consider more than initial pricing in your decision making. Let’s take a quick look at the analysis and how this might be applied to selecting a painter for your home or business.

Exterior Residential Paint JobScenario: Selecting a Paint Bid

A typical Central Floridian wants to get their home’s exterior painted. They obtain four estimates. Low cost provider one bids $1,500, mid priced dude bids $3,000, double up bids $4,000 and OMG bids $6,000. Paint is paint right? With the exception of artistic quality, these will all look the same when the house is painted? Gee… I don’t know. I am suspicious of the low and high bidders. I’ve heard we should throw these two out. Guess the best deal is mid priced dude. The second coat of finish paint is probably worth the extra price, but just can’t afford this option. Done! The consumer signs the mid-priced contract and they are off to the races.

(Disclosure: The numbers, names and products here are fictitious. This scenario is to help you understand how to make better decisions. Any relationship to anyone is purely coincidental. No animals were harmed in the making of this scenario. Not an attorney. Not a doctor. No way! No how! Please consult a licensed and insured painter prior to attempting this on your own.)

Whoa! You Just Made a Very Costly Mistake

Feeling great about the decision making and short-term financial gain but losing sight of the total project is a critical error. While there is no way to make you a decision making genius in a blog post, we are going to attempt to expand your knowledge to gain wisdom.

Key Components to Choosing an Exterior Paint Contractor

The four components in this scenario have been kept simple. They include: price, product, preparation and repaint cycle. We also assumed the consumer would select the same service level in subsequent repaints during the timeframe (hopefully after this brief lesson they won’t make the same mistake twice). The idea is to create a value proposition matrix which includes total cost over the full life-cycle of the decision. Here’s how the data stacks up:

Bidder Price Product Quality # of Coats Applied (3rd is seal or prime) Preparation Quality RePaint Cycle (Years) Approx 15 Year Total Cost w/ Repaints (5% Inflation)
One $1,500 Very High 1 Poor 3 $10,318
Mid-Priced $3,000 Average 2 Good 5 $11,970
Double Up $4,000 High 3 Better 8 $9,215
OMG! $6,500 Very High 3 Best 13 $8,415

In the scenario above, you get 2 stars out of 4 for throwing out the low bidder. This will not always work. Change the criteria slightly for a hungry painter with high quality and you might have thrown out the deal of the day. Not likely, but you should never default to throwing out the low bidder on price alone.

The real pain comes with the view of the two you kept. Your decision making process was flawed and it just cost you well over $3,500. Both solutions are less than optimal. In fact, the one finish coat job from Mid Priced Dude selected is your most expensive option. And … this doesn’t even account for the hassle of multiple repaints during the timeframe. Yikes!

This could get a lot worse! Given the historical norm for economic recovery, the 5% inflation number in this scenario is likely understated. Some economists believe we could see double digit inflation in this cycle. Imagine the difference here if inflation is higher. Yes, economics matter. Do not ignore them.

Professional Painters can provide a valuable consultation

Ok, the scenario is a bit stretched to prove a point. Point is …don’t be stupid. You do not repaint your home frequently enough to fully understand the economics of painting. It is a lot more complicated than price. Make sure you are working with a professional that can fully explain these issues. Most cannot. If you have any doubts, call me. I will try to help you even if you do not select ProTect Painters. At least, you will be able to make a better informed decision about the investment on your project.

Quality that lasts, typically requires a higher initial investment. But …it’s frequently the optimal solution. ProTect Painters of Oviedo ~ Winter Springs is the first choice provider for interior and exterior painting solutions throughout Central Florida. Call us today for your free evaluation and detailed estimate.

Related Posts:

Selecting the Proper Paint for Various Surface Types

Painting Preparation Tips

Gordon Boardway Winter Springs, FLGordon Boardway is Owner & President of: 
ProTect Painters of Oviedo and Winter Springs 1809 E. Broadway Street, Suite 313
Oviedo, Florida 32765
407-542-9036

Request a Free Estimate – Contact us today for a free on-site analysis of your interior and exterior painting needs or call 877-881-8971.

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