October 18

Include Painting in Your 2020 Budget


painting budget

Business owners, facility or property managers have the great responsibility of planning improvements to their respective buildings.  One of the most visible ways to improve a building’s appearance is to re-paint it. Maintenance, renovations and remodels all require methodical planning. You must decide when to start a project as well as how much to spend on capital improvement projects.

One of the key elements in planning for improvements is developing a property maintenance or capital improvement budget. During the fall season, many facility managers plan their budget for the next fiscal year. In this case, you would plan for a property maintenance project such as interior and exterior painting.

A budget will help you decide and organize what exactly needs to be painted. It will also give you an estimate of the total cost of the project.  Investing in new paint for your business means planning ahead.

With this in mind, facilities managers usually request bids from prospective painting contractors early in the process.  You usually start with estimates that encompass everything that needs to be done, then adjusting the scope of the commercial paint job, if necessary, until it meets your budget.

Planning and Creating a Budget

Managing a commercial or industrial facility can be stressful, especially if you don’t plan properly. It’s important to create a budget that lists all the pertinent details for your painting project.  This will give you an estimate for the total cost of the project.

So, what can you do to plan and budget your next commercial painting project? Several essential factors go into the creation of such a budget.

determine what needs painting

Determine What Needs Painting

Inspect all your building’s features, surfaces, and equipment. Check for chipping, peeling, cracking or severe damage to the interior and exterior surfaces.  Some features might need a touch-up, while others might need an entire new coat of paint.  Make a list of categories such as interior, exterior, mechanical, and other features.

Once you know what needs to be painted, calculate the total square footage of those areas. Having accurate information will help you make good decisions throughout the process.

Bottom-Up or Top Down

Choose your approach for planning.  If you start bottom-up, that means talking to painting contractors first and requesting quotes. Working with the top-down approach means setting a cost limit and trying to fit the painting contractor’s services into that estimate.

There are advantages to both methods: the bottom-up approach should reflect a more accurate cost estimate, while the top-down strategy makes it easier to remain within a fixed monetary target.

Create a Painting Budget

Any building or facilities manager must have a budget that covers every aspect of the painting process. Make sure there is some flexibility in your budget. There’s always a chance that something will not go as planned during the painting project. A contingency reserve inside your budget should be set up to cover any unforeseen issues.

A budget is also necessary to get approval from superiors if needed.  There are other factors to consider when calculating the cost.

  • Surface preparations required
  • The type of paint to be used
  • The number of coats to be applied
  • Equipment and personnel needed
  • Utilities like generators and water
  • Timeframe
  • Unforeseen issues during the project
  • Impacts of disruption and congestion in the area to be painted
  • List of equipment that must be protected

Select A Painter

select a painter

The single largest factor in your budget will be the painting contractor you choose. You might be tempted to hire the first contractor you find, or the cheapest one. However, your business deserves the best treatment from experienced professionals, so consider the whole picture.

Screen potential painting contractors by looking at their website, reviews, testimonials, and past work to see if they’re a good fit. Once you’ve compiled a list of painters, contact each one to request an inspection of your building. A professional painter has the expertise and may see areas that need additional work.

Once the inspection is complete, the contractor should be able to provide you with a detailed proposal of the work or an RFP . For example, an exterior painting project will include:

  • Information about the building, such as the type of exterior and surfaces to be painted or excluded from the scope of work
  • Power-washing/cleaning
  • Priming, caulking, and sanding
  • Repairs to wood and metal railings. This is usually identified after power washing is done and is based on “time and materials”.
  • The number of coats of paint
  • What products will be used? This can include a brand of products, such as Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore.
  • Crew size and time needed to finish the job

All painting contractors need to base their proposals on the same set of specifications. This information will aid you in the bidding process. Estimates should be similar. Be cautious of unusually high or low bidders. This can indicate possible poor material usage or a “bait and switch” strategy.

When to Start the Painting Project

start a painting project

Once you’ve hired a reputable commercial painting company, you’ll have to decide when to start the project.  Minimizing your business operations’ downtime is important as it affects the bottom line.

Schedule According to Your Needs

Consider your normal hours of operation when choosing start dates and times for the painting project. You may decide to have the contractor work when your building is closed to the general public. 

Begin painting the areas of your facility that need more work than the others. Or if machinery or equipment is being painted, see if your paint contractor can get started on those when they’re not in use.

Ensuring Access to Areas to be Painted

One of the biggest factors that affect the time to complete a commercial paint project is access to the facility. The easier you make things for your painting contractor the less time the job will take, and the less it will cost you.

Making it easy for the painting company and their team to get in and around your building prevents resources from being wasted.  Moving pieces of equipment out of the way or allowing access to bathrooms can save a painter (and you) valuable time. 

It’s better to give your contractor access to a water line rather than pay separate fees for a water tanker. You should only avoid doing this if there are specific reasons to do so based on water costs or availability.

Another area where money can be saved is with an air compressor. Make sure your facility can support the correct requirements your contractor needs. This can save you air compressor charges.

Make sure that you talk to all your company’s employees about the painting project specifics.  You want to ensure you get the best results while not complicating the painting process by getting in the way of the professional painters you hire.

Maintain Open Communication

The more you know about what your commercial paint contractor is doing, the better. They should also know about the company’s operations and procedures. Good communication ensures the safety of painters.  All your employees need to be informed of when the project will start and the areas that will be affected by it.

Miscommunication can lead to staff members and commercial painters getting in each other’s way, safety hazards, or other issues that could cost time and money. The goal is to make sure the painting project goes well from start to finish.

Important Tips Once Painting Has Begun

As your business building gets painted, you should keep tabs on its progress and work with your painters to ensure that things go smoothly.

  1. Ask Your Painters Questions
    Questions about the type of colors being used, the protection level of the primer, and much more help to keep you and your painters on the same track and protect you from serious mistakes. This process also lets your contractor understand where you stand on the progress so far.
  1. You Can Change Your Mind
    You shouldn’t be afraid to either change your mind about something or to ask them to improve their design. Painters will appreciate these changes more when you make them early in the painting process.

    Make sure, however, that your decision to change something is well-intentioned or it could cause project delays and cost overruns. For instance, you may change one color because you want another one that best reflects your company’s logo or branding elements.
  1. Stay Out of Their Way
    The most important thing to keep in mind when working with a commercial painting company is to let them do their job and stay out of their way while they work.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to them or ask them questions during the process. Just don’t be a hindrance.

Hire the Best for Your Business

When it comes to choosing a painting contractor, you want professionalism and superb results.  The Painting Pros will give you that and more.  Our team of experienced painters is knowledgeable about surface preparation, color selection, and the most appropriate products to best suit your commercial painting needs.

You will not be disappointed in the results. We take pride in our work and service that is provided to every new and repeat customer. If you’re needing a fresh new look, contact The Painting Pros today.


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