How to price commercial painting projects

Master the art of pricing in commercial painting and decorating. Learn the nuances of estimates and measurements, and discover modern tools for precision pricing.

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When it comes to commercial painting and decorating, companies often have an issue with how to set their prices. The first battle is to get to the stage where you can bid on a job, but once you’re there, what are you supposed to do next? This can be a huge stumbling block for commercial painting and decorating companies who are trying to grow their business. They can not get a foot in the door without being able to accurately price a job.

This article is aimed at helping people like you. Decorating contractors who want to increase their turnover and profit by picking up the most desirable commercial painting projects. You’ll already know that pricing too high means that no one will even give you the time of day. You also know that pricing too low can lead to disaster. Let’s have a look at how to avoid both of these traps.

The very basics

Before we delve in too far, it is worth looking at the basics when it comes to commercial painting and decorating pricing. On the most basic level, there are two methods used by commercial painters and decorators. These are:

It may seem a little obvious what each of these methods includes and, potentially, which one works best, but here’s a proper look at them both:


Painting contractors who use estimates for pricing are simply looking at the number of days of work that will be needed as well as the materials that are going to be needed. The problem with estimates is that they often become guesstimates. They may work out well on occasion, but at other times it could go horribly wrong. Estimating/guesstimating is a skill that improves with experience but that experience can be costly to gain.


This method is more accurate than the first. It sees you measuring all painting works and then applying what is known as your ‘all in’ painting rates. Whereas there is nothing wrong per se with estimating, using measurements will mean that your pricing is always on the mark. Done properly, you are protected against the potential losses that you could encounter with the first method.

A look at the ways of old

For domestic painters, there is usually no issue at all with using estimates when it comes to pricing a job. Even if you are looking at carrying out small commercial jobs you can probably still get away with this. However, if you are looking at scaling your commercial painting and decorating business, you will need to move away from this method. That’s all well and good, but how do you go about it?

Until recent times, the answer was to be found in just two books: Wessex or Spons. Now, we have nothing against a good book, but the truth is that while these were certainly good, they were far from great. Just some of the problems commercial painters and decorators came across when using these books for pricing include:

So, as you can see, this old way of pricing commercial projects may have had its uses, but it certainly wasn’t without its flaws. If it is a method that you choose to use going forward, just make sure that you are fully aware of the limitations.

A new, more accurate, approach

Having seen the issues faced by painting contractors who rely on certain books to price their commercial projects, you may be pleased to hear that there is a new way of doing this. Now, newer is not always better, but in this case, it definitely is! Why? Because it is far more accurate and gives commercial painters and decorators a fantastic tool to use. So, ‘What is it?” I hear you cry. Well, it is a snazzy piece of software made for commercial painting and decorating companies just like yours.

Quick Paint Rate comes from P&D online and was created to allow commercial painters and decorators to quickly and easily price for their projects. This software requires an annual license but it can see you quickly cost for jobs that you have measured yourself.

Another option is another one that also comes from P&D online. This is a company that specializes in helping commercial painters and decorators to get their pricing right. It works by you sending over the tender documents. P&D will review these and then let you know how much they will charge for their service. If you go ahead, P&D will then handle it all.

By opting for these approaches to pricing you can have the confidence that you are getting it right. There are no worries about being uncompetitive or about underpricing and taking a hit. These are great options when you are wanting to grow your company and break into the bigger commercial projects out there.

Painting and Decorators London

How we price for commercial projects at GSD

The reason that we can advise on how commercial painters and decorators should be pricing their commercial projects is that we have over 10 years of doing just that. At GSD we are able to provide prices for our clients based on:

This means that when we are approached by potential clients they can have confidence in the fact that our pricing is both accurate and competitive. If you are looking for a commercial painting and decorating business that covers the whole of London, get in touch now and let us give you a quote and share our expertise.

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