Painting - Estimate For Applying Kilz

Hello,
I am hoping for some reasonable opinions on the amount of time necessary to do some painting.
Some background:
My son in his early 20's and has spend the past 11 summers doing a variety of chores for neighbors. He has done light electrical work, mowing, landscaping, light HVAC, light plumbing, powerwashing, painting, moderate construction and demolition, auto detailing, gutter cleaning, some carpentry, snow removal, varmint control, etc, etc.
His current minimum hourly rate is $15 per hour up to $25 per hour, depending upon the job. Through Boy Scouting and Eagle Scout projects he has a lot of additional experiences, such as window repairs, hardwood floor refinishing, some trim work, painting, ceiling & wall replacements, etc.
He has had almost no complaints over his 11 years or work. He has had a few "complaints" from divorced women who think that $12 to mow an average lawn is about twice what it is worth. A few of these tightwads have commented that they work for $7-8 per hour and they feel that a kid mowing a lawn shouldn't be paid any more than that. We always offer to go with then to Lowes to assist them in buying their own mower, gas container, and service contract. :) They always decline. :)
Ok. In this specific case, he has had his first significant complain for a job. The customer wants to paint a 20x24 foot garage which had green walls. They wanted the garage re-painted using white "Kilz" stain blocker. Two coats of paint for the walls and ceiling, plus two cycles of trim painting and cutting in at boundary areas. This also included a few hours of prep and clean up: Spackling, sanding, priming, emptying the garage, sweeping, vacuuming, drop cloths, etc.
Specifics: Approximately 1088 feet of wall and ceiling area to be painted. Almost half of that is ceiling work. This includes the 20x24 garage, with a few cut-outs, included a double door.
200 linear feet of "cut in" painting. For corner areas, we are counting each linear foot twice, since he paints one side then comes back later to paint the second surface. Over half of the "cut in" work requires a ladder and frequent ladder moving.
Over 100 linear feet of "trim" - this includes case molding, difficult 2x4 rough trim around the garage door, attic access opening, etc.
There are several items to work around: A variety of cables and wires running through the garage, a concrete chimney, garage door rails, garage door, garage door opener, etc.
The customers were extremely surprised that the prep work plus the first coat took him a rather long day to finish. They had expected all prep, 2 coats of Kilz, and clean up in an 8 hour day. Comments?
I stopped by and watched my son working on this job. He is not a professional painter, but he does have experience and he worked extremely hard with no breaks except a 15 minute lunch break. I felt that he started off overly careful and slow for the first hour or so, but worked at a very fast pace after that.
I've worked with Kilz before. I've done large areas with it and I love the results. But the coverage is a lot less than with regular paint and I feel that it takes much longer to apply. I felt that my son was working at a very respectable rate for this material.
The customers are not particular happy - they feel that he should be moving much faster. As I said, we discovered after the first coat that they expected all prep, 2 coats, and clean up done in 8 hours. My son is also not particularly happy. He busted his ass and isn't coming close to half the pace that they expect.
Obviously, we are going to suggest that they get somebody else to complete the job. But, how far off is my son in his performance? I had my first employment as a painter exactly 45 years ago this summer. I've done a lot of painting since then and I'm starting to wonder just how quickly a pro can do a decent job of paint and trimming. I certainly can't come close to working at the speed that these customers expect.
One final comment: The homeowners claim that they got an estimate from a "pro" who paints for $10 per hour. They got an estimate from him for several painting tasks. Without telling my son, they used those low-ball estimates in their expectations on what my son (at $15 per hour) should charge for the jobs. Which says to me, that they expect him to work 50% faster than this $10/hour hack who gave them an estimate. If they hire this $10 "pro", I am very eager to stop by and watch him work.
Once again, I'm going to encourage my son to drop this job. He is worth $15-$30+ per hour to me for work that he does around the house, and I can put him to work every hour this summer that he is not employed for somebody else. But I still need some input for the future to determine what is a reasonable hourly rate and hourly performance for any future painting jobs he may get.
As long as I'm requesting opinions: The customers also want their basement walls painted. They have concrete block walls, approximately 160 linear feet by 7" high. This is about 1120 square feet of painting - a lot easier than painting a garage, but still non-trivial. Any estimates for applying one coat of Kilz? He will probably turn down this job also, but what is a reasonable estimate to complete it?
Thanks, Gideon
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$360, your son could have either walked away, convinced the customer that $360 was a good price, or negotiated a different amount that both found acceptable if he'd given a firm quote up front.
One idea for future work is to have the primer tinted to approximate the color of the finish coat. That might eliminate the need for one of the primer coats.
Good luck.
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You walk away from those types. Not worth bothering with. I pay $15 for to get my lawn cut and it takes less than 30 minutes. I'm happy to pay it. Actualy, a bargain as this is done by a professional landscaper with his riding mower and vacuum bagger. My grandson expects $20, plus all he can eat and drink while visiting. That is using my mower and my gas.

He should cut his losses and walk away. What the customer expects and what is reality here differ. No way you can do that job in the time they expect. The fact that they are clueless does not make the job go faster. I'm not a professional painter, but a long standing homeowner that has done lots of painting over the years.
Cheap bastards. Move on.
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clipped

First, don't deal with your son's customers. He is an adult, let him be one. If the owner's did not like the terms of the bid, they should not have hired him. Bitching about the time involved when the work is satisfactory is just bullying. I would encourage him to finish the job gracefully and be sure never to go back. Does he have a license? Insurance? People who allow the work and demean the way it is done are slobs - if they don't like his work, they should dismiss him and pay for work done. If they do like his work, they should shut up and let him work.
The only time I have ever had interior painting done by contractor was for our living/dining rooms - 600 or 700 sq feet floor area, trim, three louvered doors and three plain doors. Primed ceiling, one coat paint. Three days, I believe.
Anyone who wants all that work done in one day is an arse. Standard answer to those kinds of complaints is that I do my best and I hope you are pleased with the results.
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Our garage is almost the same size. In 2000 our builder wanted $350 to paint it with one coat primer, one coat builder's white. The only trim was a single door (prepainted). The builder sprayed the ones he did in our development.
Instead my wife and I did ONE coat of primer. Took both of us all day to do the walls and ceiling and we quit at one coat, rolled on! My wife just looked over my shoulder and reminded me that it was the worst thing we had to paint. If the neighbor wants to hear it direct have them call me. Send e-mail for #.
Gideon wrote:

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When contracting, one should not quote an amount per hour, they should calculate the estimated time and quote the homeowner a total package price. This way they cannot criticise the cost per hour nor the amount of work done per hour. If it takes longer than the estimate to finish the job he must eat the time and estimate better next time, if he finishes the job under estimate, he gets to keep the money. It is best to submit the price in writing, keeping a copy that they sign when they accept the price and give him the job. This is a lesson in running a business that he must learn.

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here's some thoughts from buffalo ny: the answer is that the estimate of time depends on the level of quality of the surfaces including clean dry peeling, whether to be scraped or stripped or torch peeled. you could have rolled on a gallon of paint in the time it took to write this up. :) i remember years ago getting paid for a job that took four coats soaking into beaverboard in a dark porous old painted color before the customer neighbor or i even knew about primer, then took 2 primer coats and 2 top coats for the lighter desired color. painting requires painter plus 2 helpers at $25 labor only per man per hour. all materials are extra including all brushes and rollers to be discarded at the end of the day. no guarantee shall be offered on peeling of any outdoor or basement items of any kind. cash payments daily as work progresses. seasonal house painters only make money when the sun shines and pre-sell their work a month or the whole summer in advance. you need a contract if you can't deal with the customer's evolving demands. their expectation of progress and completion can not be met without a crew of painters. even painting a small bathroom requires two painters to meet progress. no painter wants to step into this because he won't know the original condition of the primed surface. GOOD WORK OR CHEAP WORK, NOT BOTH. :)
Gideon wrote:

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Gideon,
I charge $300.00 and up to paint a 2 stall garage including materials. I would say your son is very fair in his labor charges. If I give someone an hourly rate I also give them and estimate on how many hours the job will take. This way they have an estimate of the end price.
The guy charging $10.00 per hour is either retired and doesn't need to earn money or doesn't know he is losing money with each job.
As Ed P. has stated. Walk away from the tightwads.
Let them go through the misery of hiring the $10.00 per hour guy who in likely not as considerate as your son.
Craig
www.vintagetrailersforsale.com

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Gideon,
More estimating tips:
In my pursuit for $50.00 per hour as a handyman - "home repair specialist" I have started giving estimates as a price range. I am doing a job tomorrow that will take 6 to 8 hours. I gave them an estimate of $400 to $500 including materials. I have been doing this for about 6 months and it has worked very well. I don't always make my $50.00 per hour but I have always hit over $40.00 per hour.
Considering that I don't have 40 billable hours per week and no vacation pay or benifits, $40 to $50 is a bargain in my eyes. I have found most of my customers are willing to pay $40 per hour but very few are willing to pay $50. Giving them a "price range" enables me to reach my $50 per hour with less resistance.
Craig
www.vintagetrailersforsale.com

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One problem is that people have no idea what they really earn. Ask for $50 an hour and they think you are robbing them blind. Just a quick run through of some of my benefits, the company is giving me at least $15 an hour in benefits. This is $15 that I'd have to earn in addition to my "hourly rate" to make the same as I do now but to be self employed. That does not include any other expenses I'd have as a contractor, like insurance and a vehicle, accounting services, etc.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Plus 15% for SE tax in addition to the income tax normally owed on this income. $50-$15-$7.50 = $27.50. Less other operating expenses and we getting down to scary territory.
So even at $50/hr, its not far above break even
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When I was working as a computer programmer, I always told my clients: You can have it: right; cheap; fast. Pick any two.
David
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Good one David. Too bad you can't post some "selected facial expressions" of the clients :-)
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I paint professionally, and I charge 65 per square foot for the entire job. I adjust that rate up or down, depending on the situation. Mostly I adjust it down. The customer's attitude is part of the situation. My bill would have been about $700. Your son's bill will be only about $250. That's a great bargain.

The second coat needs to go on the second day.

I recently painted a garage, and it took me several days. Granted, it hadn't been painted in 40 years, and I had to retape and rebed all the joints, but that was only one day. Moving the client's "valuable stuff" out and back multiple times took WAY longer than I expected. It was maybe a half-day by itself.

No professional painter will work for $10 an hour. I work for $40 an hour if my client doesn't want to pay the 65 per square foot. And they pay for the paint.
Maybe the "pro" was planning to use an airless sprayer and get it all done in 30 minutes. I took over painting once at an apartment complex that used to use painters like that. They did an entire one-bedroom apartment in about two hours, but the manager had to replace all the lightbulbs that had been painted over. Plus, I don't know if Kilz can be sprayed.

Here's a web site that I use in estimations.     http://www.costestimator.com/proj_bid_sheet.asp You can sign up for a free trial.
--
Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
  Click to see the full signature.
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