How to Create a Professional Painting Proposal

Creating a professional painting proposal is a simple thing you can do, that will immediately set you apart from some of your competition. This is one of the easiest ways to win more business while putting in about the same amount of effort.

And any time you can get more with the same amount of effort, means you are making more money per hour. Think of it as giving yourself a huge raise by implementing a few simple strategies.

In this post, we are going to review how to put together a professional proposal, and how to present it to the customer so you can start winning more jobs by simply looking more professional to the customer.

To get a copy of the contract/proposal we use for our customers, you can download it here:

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Preparing to Write a Proposal

Before you can write a proposal, you are going to need to know what the customer wants. Don’t do a stock estimate. Actually find out what the customer’s wants and needs are so you can customize an estimate to them. As a painting contractor, you know how much price can vary based on prep work, what is being painted, how many colors, how many coats, what type of paint is being used, and any other specific preferences the customer has.

I cover more about the sales process in other articles and in my course.

Writing the Proposal

So back the proposal. Let’s assume you have all of the customer’s preferences… what should go in your proposal?

  • Your information and your company information.
  • The customer’s information. Make sure to include their name, phone number, address, and EMAIL. This is going to come in handy later when you implement your marketing strategies to retain customers.
  • What areas of the house are being painted? Be specific.
  • What prep work is included? Be specific.
  • What materials are being used? Be specific.
  • Other considerations or expectations. For example, on our contract, we clarify that the estimate includes sticking with the same color scheme on the house, meaning whatever is body color, needs to be body color. Trim color stays a trim color. They can change those colors, but not add new trim accents onto the house, etc. If they do want to do that it costs more money.
  • A notes section for other important notes and preferences for the job.
  • Prices and options.
  • A section where they can choose the option they want. This section should outline the deposit and balance amount, and have a place for customers to sign.

Proposals can be written or typed. The downside to electronic proposals is you usually can’t deliver the estimate to the customer on the spot. And that’s the best way to win business.

We just used Excel to create a basic contract with all of the above areas included. Do this one time, and then print a bunch of them. We print them on carbon copy NCRs so we get a copy and the customer gets a copy.

Now you have your proposal written up. Time to go back inside and review it with the customer.

Closing the Deal

I go into a lot more detail on closing in my course, but here are the basics:

  • Walk inside. Be friendly.
  • Sit down. Put the contract in front of them and say, “Ok, so let me show you what I came up with”. It’s ok if their eyes go straight to the price, but you don’t start at the price. You go through the contract step-by-step.
    • “So here is your information. Is everything correct?”
    • “Here is my information, my number, email, etc.”
    • “Here are the areas we are painting like we talked about”
    • “This is the prep work we talked about… Scrape sand and prime peeling areas, like those spots on the north side we noticed. We are going to caulk all the cracks like I showed you around the windows and especially those big cracks above the garage…” and go through the prep work reminding them of everything you talked about. You are also demonstrating how detailed you are.
    • “These are the materials we are planning to use, like we talked about”
    • “Here are just some other notes about the job…”
    • Then before you review the options and prices, ask them “Did I get everything? Is there anything else we talked about that I’ve left out or is this pretty much exactly what you guys are looking for?”
    • “Great… so here are the options. Option #1 is _____ and that’s going to be $2,970. Option #2 is _____ and the difference with that one is that we are doing 2 coats. The price on that one is $3990.”
  • Review all options. Then CLOSE. That means – ask for the job. Don’t say “What do you think?” Because they will answer, and what they are thinking is “damn, that’s a lot of money that I don’t want to spend. I sure would like that price to be lower. Let’s think about it for a while and not do anything today.”

Instead, you should say one of these lines:

  • After you show them the prices and options, just shut up and don’t say anything. Set the pen down. After 5-10 seconds of silence, say “So where you do want to go from here?”
  • “So which option do you want to go with?”
  • “Do you want to go with the one coat or two coat option?”
  • “So all I need to get you in my schedule is a 25% deposit and your signature here.”

Then they will say yes, or they will say something else – and how to deal with that is for another article and in my course.

But by doing this, you will immediately demonstrate that you are more professional and more detailed than most of your competition. Detail and professionalism build trust. Trust is why people buy.

We are not the lowest price, not even close! But we win a large percentage of our bids because people are most comfortable with us.

If you want to start using our contract template right away, you can download it here:

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In the Painting Business Pro course, I’ll walk you through each step of how to use the contract and give you a newly designed template.

Do you have something to add or a question? Share in the comments.

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9 Comments

  1. Ken Schill | January 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    You have had the best info of anyone I’ve seen and the most realistic numbers

  2. Robert Rojas | February 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    This is very cool I really appreciate all the information and there is a lot of information . I’m learning a lot thank you. I like painting I’ve done a couple of painting job’s I did ok but I could have done better if I had This information .so you know live and learn. So thank you again

    • Eric | February 9, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you! And you’re welcome!

  3. Lendoria | November 11, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Awesome mentorship. This information was very helpful.

  4. Wealthy Lorde | December 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you Eric. But why did you not make the Proposal downloadable. You request for the email but you’re not yet willing to send any information to the mail and it’s not also available for download. I love your idea and I’d like to have the excel format as you described.
    Thank you

    • Eric | March 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      You should have received an email to open the proposal and download it. Did you sign up and confirm your email and receive the email? If you had an issue downloading it, please contact me via email. I don’t check these comments often.

  5. Yesi | January 19, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Hi, how can i become a contractor in painting? What steps do i need to take, how do i start?

    • Eric | March 21, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Check out my articles on how to start your painting business from scratch. And if you are serious about pulling the trigger on this, I really recommend my course.


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About Me

I’m Eric Barstow, creator of Painting Business Pro, founder of National Painting Group & Foothills Painting, Co-Owner of Painter Choice. I’m disrupting the painting industry, and helping thousands of painters start or improve their businesses. I love what I do!

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