One of the most difficult things to do as a painting contractor is confidently price and sell consistently profitable projects. The good news is that there is a way to do this... It's called **Time-Based Estimation. **Check out the video below for an introduction to time-based estimation:

**What is Time-Based Estimation?**

Time-Based Estimation** **(or production rate estimation as many contractors refer to it) is the number of hours it will take to perform a project multiplied by your hourly rate plus the materials needed to perform the job (unless materials are already combined into your hourly rate).

This method allows you to save time, produce predictable profits, and grow your sales.

**What’s a time-based rate?**

A time-based rate is the average amount of time it takes to complete a task. It uses two variables which can include sqft/hr, lnft/hr, or hrs/item.

**How to estimate a project using time-based rates **

**Step 1: Count and measure**

You’ll need to start with the task of measuring your space and counting the items that need painting. When you enter a room, use a laser measurer to determine the space's length, width, and height. These dimensions will make up your wall square footage, ceiling square footage, and linear footage. Then, count the number of items in the area grouping like items together (windows, doors, etc).

**Step 2: Determine how long things take**

Once you have all your measurements and items accounted for, you’ll need to figure out how long your team takes on ** average **to paint these different surfaces – your time-based rates. (See appendix A for an example of the calculation)

**Step 3: Determine your hourly rate**

Now that you know how long each task takes, you need to figure out *how much*

*to charge for your time. *Your hourly rate is your business broken down into one number. Knowing exactly what you need to charge will give you confidence in how you value your business. But how do you determine your hourly rate?

👀 **Check out this article to learn how to calculate your hourly rate!**

**Step 4: Add it all up**

Let’s put our first two steps into practice with an example.

*The room being estimated is 12ft x 15ft, with an 8ft high ceiling. The customer wants the walls, ceiling, baseboards, two window frames, one door, and frame on one side painted with two coats, no patching, and no setup time to take into account.*

**How many hours will this project take?**

Using time based-rates you can then calculate the total number of hours it will take to paint this bedroom: **13.5 hours**

**Ok, so what does this bedroom actually cost?**

Once you have the total number of hours, you simply charge by your hourly rate to get your price (plus materials if you price them separately).

**Hourly rate: **$67/hr

**Labor: **13.5 hours x $67/hr = $904.50

**Materials: **$155.71

**Total:** $904.50 + $155.71 = **$1060.21 for the bedroom**

# How time-based rates are calculated

This example shows just how easily your time-based rates are calculated!

You’re working in a room with 425 sqft of previously painted walls and it took you 5 hours to paint two coats.

The calculation would be:

**425 sqft ÷ 5 hrs = 85 sqft/hr**

Therefore, you can paint two coats across 85 sqft per hour on this surface. This will become your time-based rate going forward.

*💡 Tip! Make sure to check these rates periodically to ensure they are accurate with your painters.*

**Commonly Asked Questions **

**What if my team paints at different speeds?**

In your business, you might find that as you calculate time-based rates, some employees paint faster than others, some produce better quality, and others move slower to achieve perfection. If this is the case, you’ll want to calculate your time-based rates at an average level.

**What do you mean by “average level?”**

The average level is the speed at which an experienced employee can paint a given surface at a comfortable and natural speed. To offset the difference in speed among employees, you should be paying them different wages to account for their varying skill levels.