This Took How Long?
September ’15, a guy knocked on the door and asked if I wanted to get an estimate for painting the outside of my house. He said he was a retired schoolteacher, and lived summers in the Northwest, but spent winters here in Arizona. To supplement his income, he said that he paints a few houses while he’s here. Together with his helper, they walked all around the property, looking at everything and pointing and mumbling about a few of the more challenging areas.
Finally, he concluded his inspection and said, “Well, it needs a lot of work, and some places need the drip rail moulding replaced. It’s rotted away in places.” I agreed, and asked how much he would charge to do a really thorough job. He continued, “There’s some places that need lots of scraping too, and some caulk. It needs a lot to make it look nice.” “OK,” I said, “How much?” He paused and thought, and then said, “Well, it’s gonna take us a day to power wash the whole thing, and start the prep. The next day, we will finish the prep, and caulk. Then a day to spray it. I think we can knock it out in 3 days, maybe 4, if we run into any problems.
“I see,” I replied, “How much do you think it will cost?” “We use good paint, you know, not the cheap stuff. Probably need 15 gallons,” he offered. So, by this time, I figured I’d just let him talk, and he’d get around to cost eventually. He continued to describe how they would mask the windows, put down drop cloths, clean up after themselves, and do a great job. Then, finally, the part I was waiting for. “$5500 to do it all. It will look beautiful. And, we can start this week if you like and be done by Saturday!”
“I’ll have to think about it. Thanks for taking your time to give me an estimate. Give me your card, and I’ll call you if I decide to have you do it.” “Alright,” he replied, “but if we get busy, I may not be able to fit you in this year!” “Thanks, I’ll call ya.”