Can I get a painting estimate over the phone?  Can I send pictures and measurements by email to get a rough idea how much it will cost to paint my house? Can I get a ballpark figure to see if it fits the budget?

These are common questions we as a painting company in Ottawa are asked frequently.  While most will assume that a painting estimate or quote is easy to do blindly and that any expert painter can and should provide, we like to explain why not all painting companies are the same, and why painting contractors do not give painting quotes by phone or email.
painting estimate form

Why Painters Do Not Give Quotes Over The Phone Or Email

The best way to get an accurate painting estimate is to have an expert painter visit the job site to visually see the scope of the work and discuss all the details.

Painting contractors do not give price quotes over the phone or by email because not all painting projects are the same.  What might seem like a small crack in the drywall may be something different to the trained eye of a professional.

Not all interior or exterior painting is the same and to get a painting estimate over the phone or by email would not be accurate without visually inspecting the project.

If you are getting painting estimates and quotes by phone or email know that they will not be accurate, nor will they be fair.  Also be aware that over the phone or email painting estimates are not binding and may leave you open to extra or hidden charges.

While some homeowners are shopping around looking for ballpark figures on how much it will cost to paint based on a flat square footage rate for painting, most expert and professional painters look at the entire scope of the work involved, right down to every fine detail that may not be known to an untrained eye.

You might think all paint is the same, but it is not.  There are different types of paint finishes to choose from and knowing which is best is something a good painter can help you with.

You might think that stain on the ceiling is nothing, but a professional can detect if it is damage from a water leak and advice on the best course of action.

You might think that crack in the drywall is nothing, but a knowledgeable painter can tell you if there is more damage than something a quick repair can fix.

Here is a quick breakdown of how some painting companies estimate a quote the cost of painting a house.

Cost To Paint A Newly Built House

If you are building a house and  looking for a cost estimate for painting it you can find painting companies that will spray the paint on the interior walls and charge by the square footage.  These painting companies typically have several sub-contractors or employees that will come in to the newly built house and quickly paint the entire space with a paint sprayer, using one or two paint colours.  On average the cost of painting a new build ranges from $2.00 to $3.00 per square foot making this method the quickest and cheapest way to get a brand new house painted.

If you are looking to have a professional painter do the work, they may typically charge a little more because their work is more detailed.  They will ensure small details such as crown molding, trim, baseboards are painted with a professional painters brush and the right type of paint finish for woodwork.  Their work is more refined and precise compared to a paint spraying of the entire house making the average cost for professional painting anywhere from $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot.

Cost To Paint A Home

When hiring a professional painting company you want to be sure you get the quality and service you are paying for.  On average professional painters cost anywhere between $40.00 to $60.00 per hour.  The more years of experience, knowledge and expertise the higher they may charge.  The average cost to paint a house of 1500 sq feet ranges anywhere from $4,500 to $9,000 and depends on the quality of paint used, and includes the cost of paint supplies, materials and labour.

At first that may sound expensive, but it may not seem so bad after you see the difference of when you hire a qualified painter vs professional and experienced painters.

Why Painting Companies Do Not Give Quotes Over The Phone or Email

Painting companies want to provide the best in customer service by being thorough and accurate.  To be able to provide the most accurate estimate and quote for either an interior painting project or an exterior painting project it is necessary for a painting contractor to visit the job site to discuss the details of the work to be done and determine the best services for the individual projects.  These are some of the things that are considered in a painting quote and why you will not get an accurate price over the phone or by email.

  1.  The condition of the walls is taken into consideration.  Things like nail pops, holes or damage to the drywall that needs repairs are inspected and discussed with homeowner.
  2.  The height of any ceilings that need to be painted and if there is woodwork like crown molding to be included in the painting price.
  3.  Filling of holes, nail pops and drywall repairs and sanding
  4.  How many colours will be used in painting the entire home.  On average most painting companies will include 2 paint colours in their estimate and anything more than that will be additional charges.
  5.  Are the current paint colours dark and will the new paint colour be lighter.  This makes a difference in how many coats of new paint needs to be applied and for the use of a paint primer.
  6.  Will the trim, baseboards, crown molding, ceilings, closets, doors and windows be included.
  7.  If the home is currently occupied there will be furniture that needs to be moved and covered to be protected, along with window coverings, and light fixtures.

As you can see there are several factors involved before providing the most accurate quote for painting.  Even though you may be precise on providing the exact measurements of the square footage to be painted it is the finer details that may be more visible to the trained eye that make up the difference between getting an accurate quote or a guesstimate.

How To Get A Fair and Accurate Quote To Paint A House

To ensure you get an accurate quote for the cost of painting your home or condo apartment, you should take the opportunity to find the best painters and book an appointment for a consultation.  This will provide both you the homeowner along with the painter the opportunity to discuss the full details of the work to be done.

Don’t leave yourself open to surprises or hidden charges at the end.  At the on-site meeting take the opportunity to ask the painter what they will include in their price so that you may have all the information to make an informed decision.  This meeting also provides the painter the opportunity to estimate more accurately the time to allot for your specific project, the amount of paint products and other materials need to be ordered and purchased, how much extra manpower may be needed, along with a few things you can do to prepare before the painters get started.

The pricing and cost of painting a room or entire house is best given when painters have had the opportunity to visit the site and review the scope of the details.  To best determine the most accuracy to provide a quote there are details in every project that cannot be seen over the phone or in an email, making it difficult to provide the right cost for painting.

Every home is unique and needs to be treated the same way.  Getting all the specific details cleared at the on-site meeting ensures that everything is discussed so that things like overestimating the time needed, paint supplies to purchase and whether additional manpower is required are all additional costs that are passed on to you.

Verbal Agreement vs. Written Contract

If you have arrived at making the final decision to choose the painting company you want to work with make sure you have done your due diligence.  While many painting contractors may start off with a verbal estimate, they should follow up with a written agreement especially if asked for one.  Do not leave it to chance, if you want a written agreement simply ask for it.

Here is the information that should be included in the quote for painting:

The painting contractors contact details should be listed on the written quote.  It should include the company name, address, telephone number and a website to make it easier for you to connect with.   Trust your gut instinct when reading online reviews and do not hand over cash to anyone who gave you only their first name and a cell number after asking for a deposit and then never showing up again.

Word of mouth references from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are always great sources for great reviews.  Explore the testimonials of past clients experiences with the painting company so that it can help you make the right decision.

The painting quote should also include a detailed list of the work that will be done, including all the prep work, paint products, paint primer and paint finish or sheen that will be used.  The total costs of paint, and hst taxes, along with an approximate start and end date for the project.

Note that the best painters may be booked up to six weeks in advance and the reason for that is that the quality of work they provide and their experience and knowledge has them in higher demand than the painters that are available to start the next day.  When deciding on a painting company to work with, investigate their previous work, the products they use so that you do not end up being scammed with cheaper products while paying for higher end.

Hire Painters You Can Trust

Because we strive for perfection, take pride in our work and really care about your experience with us, we want to make sure you are 100% satisfied with every detail of the scope of work we provide and the end result.

If we can’t see it we cannot provide an accurate painting estimate, and by not being able to visually see the scope of work and detail involved in your painting project it would not only be inaccurate but may be unfair.

You might think our quote is too high, but we’re going on a guess, you might think our estimate is too low, again we are only guessing.  Why leave it to chance on a guesstimate when you can easily schedule an appointment to book for a free no obligation painting estimate.

Give us the opportunity to better understand your vision of bringing harmony to your home by schedule a free painting estimate appointment with painters in Ottawa.

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This post was originally published on Feb 02, 2015 and updated on May 07, 2020