I’m doing my first major commercial painting project. What do I need to know to build my best bid?

October 9, 2022
painting a building

If you're used to taking on residential or small commercial paint jobs, then you already know what information you need to put your best bid forward.

But - if you're on your first or second large-scale commercial painting project, you probably don't have all the answers you need to build an accurate estimate.

So, here's our gift to you: This checklist of questions to get your painting bid started!

  • What # of SF-per-gallon should be assumed?
    Typical range is 250-400 SF/gallon
  • What's my total gallon count for this project?
  • Does the GC require me to create separate line items for colors and paint types in my bid?
    Ask the GC “How do you want your estimate organized?” The most common answer: Separate floor-by-floor, then within floors separate ceilings, walls, trim work. An uncommon (and expensive) answer: Break out room-by-room.
  • How many primer coats and finish coats should be included on this project?
  • Will I roller-paint or spray-paint this project?
  • How should I include sanding costs?
    Painting crews spend a large amount of time sanding surfaces between coats, as well as sanding work installed by others
  • What protection costs should be included in my estimate, so that I don’t get paint on other trades’ work?
  • Do I include/exclude wall coverings like wallpaper, FRP board, etc.?
  • Do I include/exclude fire-rated painting on steel beams?
  • Do I include both interior and exterior painting?
  • Will I be renting and/or subbing out scaffolding work?
  • Do I want to include man lifts or scaffolding rental costs? What size man lifts do I need?
  • What setup/teardown/cleanup costs should be included?
  • Do you want an allowance included for go-back work?
  • How much SF of painting can you do per man-hour or per crew-hour/crew-day? How many installers are on your crew?
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