J Scott estimates don't apply to painters in California?

8 Replies

I am in the midst of a remodel for a property in Long Beach, CA. It is a SFH, one story, 1480 sq ft., 3bd, 2 ba, with a detached garage.

Working with a GC for most of the work on the bathrooms, kitchen, and replacing some of the windows and he had a very reasonable charge and schedule.

Now the painters in the area are another story.  I have 4 bids from painters for the interior and exterior of the house and am getting quotes in the 8k to almost 10k range.    

That seems pretty insane to me!  

J Scott in his book, states that a $1-2 per square foot range is reasonable.  That would make the estimate somewhere around $6k.  Being in California, I figured maybe $7500, but not close to 10k.

That being said, does anyone have a good painter that they are using for their rentals in the Southern Los Angeles County or Northern Orange County area?


@James Peters - I learned how to paint decently from 30 minutes of YouTube videos. The key is in the prep work. Can you find any day laborers for $100-150? That’s what I pay in Jersey. I found a guy this past month who painted a master bedroom suite probably 300 sf for $240. Painting can get really messed up and cost loads to fix (spills, bad caulking, etc.) so you have to know what quality is and stop / fire someone if they suck. One of the worst Paint jobs I had cost me $500 for a room from a guy with “ten years of experience” and it was super sloppy. (I agreed to that price because drywall spackle needed sanding and he just painted over it.) pay by the job not the hour.

First you are doing the interior AND exterior . That sq ft pricing J Scott mentioned does not include the exterior thats interior only . That pricing doesnt generally include painting trim and doors a different color . 

@James Peters Welcome! I just paid 6k in Northern California for an interior and exterior job. 8k is reasonable I would think in your area., maybe even 10k. Keep shopping I guess. I have other investors in my area paying that 8 to 10 k though. Just fyi.

@Matthew Paul  That estimate is for the interior and exterior.  

@Dylan Vargas The price you paid seems more reasonable.  I should probably reach out to some painters that live in less expensive parts of LA. 

@Natalie Schanne I have done a good amount of painting on my own residence so I know how much time the job should take, which I was so blown away by the quotes.  Part of me is thinking of doing the interior myself.  

James I fortunely it does sound about right for SoCal. You welcome to pm me and also give you another referral I have used for years. Heads up they all so busy. Lately I feel like I am riding them to do the work!

@James Peters If I take an 8k job for all interior, exterior, doors, trims, and ceiling, I’m bound to lose 2-3k. All the painters right now are demanding $5-7/hr more than what it was 8-12 months ago. If my base pay is 15-20 and out the door rate without profit is 25-30/hr then we add their raise minimum so my out the door becomes 32-37/hr, then it gets pricey. 8k is the least “I” would pay for that work. Next time, when you refer to J Scotts book (yes, i’ve read it), add 25% and that will come close to SoCal rates (except electrical) then to top it off add 10-20% during peak season (these months and last quarter). These months people get their taxes and december bonuses where people wanna impress people.