How to Create the Perfect Residential Painting Proposal

May 12th, 2017 | Eric Barstow | Painting Business Articles | 4 Comments

One of the biggest mistakes painting contractors make is how they deliver their painting proposal to a prospective customer.

First, you need to deliver it on the spot. Do not send an email proposal after the fact.

Second, you need to make sure it’s written in a professional way, it’s detailed, and it provides options and customizations for the customer.

Third, you need to have a strong close when you present the proposal.

We’re going to look at why these are such important aspects to selling a paint job, and how can immediately improve your sales rate with a couple of minor tweaks.

1. You must deliver your estimate “on the spot”

We always run across painting contractors who meet with the customer and then promise a bid later. Most often, this happens when we directly compete with people. Customers are constantly “waiting” on the other guy to “send them the estimate”.

Customers have a sub-par experience with companies that don’t deliver the estimate on the spot. If you don’t even have time to get them their estimate right away, how do you have time to take care of their job properly?

And when you email the proposal, you miss out on the opportunity to answer questions, clarify concerns, and earn the job.

At every estimate, you should have some financial incentive for the customer to decide on the day of the estimate. You lose this opportunity when you don’t deliver the estimate on the spot.

Action #1: Schedule enough time for your estimates to take your measurements, write up your proposal, and review it with your customer.

2. You need a professionally written proposal

Customers are going to spend thousands of dollars painting their house. A half-assed agreement does not justify thousands of dollars spent.

A verbal price certainly does not display value and professionalism.

Even worse, we’ve seen people write their quotes on the back of a business card.

Now… this may work. But it will never command a strong price point. The only jobs you are going to book on the back of a business card is a low-ball price. And nobody is making money on low-ball pricing.

To command a strong price and value for the paint job, you must display a high level of detail and professionalism. In order to do that, your proposal should include the following information:

  • Customer information
  • Company information and detailed contact information
  • Warranty information
  • Liability insurance and workers’ comp
  • The areas of the house that are being painted
  • The prep work that is being included for the unique problem areas on the house
  • The materials being used including type of caulk, primer, and paint
  • Notes about the job that are unique to that customer’s house
  • Multiple options and prices to meet their needs
  • Discounts available for taking action today
  • A 3-day right to cancel
  • A signature and date line for them to sign on

This will ensure that the customer is getting exactly what they want, that everything has been written and included, and that you will be on the same page with your customer about what work is being done and not being done.

It gives customers peace of mind, and creates value in your offer allowing your painting business to command a higher price.

Action #2: Create a template for your proposal. Print out 20 of them for your next 20 estimates. Be detailed, thorough, and make notes about everything you talked about.

Want a professionally crafted proposal? This is a custom made contract, very similar to the ones used by a national multi million dollar painting company. Just add your logo and it’s ready to go.

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3. You need a strong close when you present the proposal

A strong close is a direct close. It’s when you ask directly for the job.

For example, you sit down with the customer and begin reviewing the written contact from the top down. As you go through the agreement, get them to say “yes” a lot.

  • “Is your information correct?”
  • “This is all the areas that we’re painting, look good?”
  • “We’re going to scrape, sand, and prime the peeling areas, like the ones we looked at outside.”
  • “Before we review the options, is this everything we talked about and everything you guys want?”

Once you’ve reviewed the entire contract, you need to review the options. After reviewing the options, this is where you need to close. Here are a few examples of a good close:

  • “So, which option do you want to go with?”
  • “So, all I need is a 25% deposit and your signature here at the bottom and we can get you in our schedule.”
  • “Do you want to do the whole house or just the trim?”
  • “So where do you want to go from here?” (weaker, but still good)

What NOT to say:

  • “What do you think?” → They’ll tell you what they think. They think that looks like a lot of money to spend on a paint job and I’d rather spend it on vacation. Now you are having a conversation with them about all the things they think. We don’t want to go there.
  • “How’s the price look?” → Same thing. You do not want to know the answer to that question. It’s never a good answer. It’s always “that seems high”; “that’s a lot of money”; or “I don’t want to spend that”.

As the question you want the answer to.

Action #3: Choose a close you will use. Once you say the close, set your pen down, and shut up. Don’t say another word until they do. Let it be awkward. Make them talk next.

Implement these three actions, and watch your sales rate improve immediately! You’ll instantly stand out from the competition and start closing more sales!


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