When you call us for a free estimate you will receive a quote in writing that will cover the cost of all labor, materials and equipment as well as a description of the scope of work, including surface preparation, and the products to be used.  This way you will know up front what you will be paying and what you are getting in return. 

Contract Pricing vs Time & Materials:  Receiving a fixed price quote (Contract Price) with a written description of the scope of work and products to be used gives you the best scenario for comparing "apples to apples" on price.  Beyond price, there are also the matters of quality, timeliness, communication and reliability among other things to consider in selecting any contractor.  A fixed quote means that the price you are quoted will be the price that you pay. 
With Time and Materials pricing your final cost is not just a function of the cost per hour, but also the time to complete the work.  A lower hourly rate does not guarantee a lower bill in the end.  If a "lower priced" worker takes a longer period of time than some who charges a higher hourly rate, you could end up paying more, not less. 
Don't get me wrong there is nothing inherently dishonest about Time and Materials pricing and there are reputable, quality painters who bill that way. There are even occasions where, due to the uncertain nature of some work (such as wall paper stripping), that we will bill based on time and materials. 
Contract pricing puts the pricing risk of a job on the contractor- if the job takes longer than expected, the contractor makes a lower return on his time but you pay the same amount for the job.  Time and materials puts the pricing risk on the customer - if the job takes longer than expected, the customer pays more for the same job.
Some conditions that can affect pricing: 
No two jobs are exactly alike and there are factors that can greatly affect the price of a particular job. That is why we insist on doing an on-site evaluation of each project before quoting a price.  Below are some of the major variables that that can affect pricing.

1) Surface condition- (proper surface preparation is crucial) 
Is there sanding or scraping of old paint required?
Is there dirt, mildew, smoke residue or stains that need removed?
Is the surface weathered or dried out... how recently has it been painted or stained?
Are there areas in need of patching, spackling and caulking?
Does the surface to be painted need to be deglossed?
Is there wallpaper or border that needs to be removed?

2) Techincal nature of the painting:
Some types of painting are much more time consuming per square foot than others.  When you are paying for a painter, the majority of what you are paying for is time (and the talent and knowledge that comes with it!).  Some example of more time consuming elements:
-Painting trim; doors; window frames, sashes and grills
-Transitions from one color to another (wall to ceiling, wall to trim, chairrails, wainscot, transitions between accent colors).  
-Accent walls or specialty finishes (faux finishes)
-Color changes vs just a freshening up of the existing color?

3) Accesibilty of surfaces:
Painting from ladders, scaffolding and roofs also adds time and expense.  It takes time to move, set up, ascend, descend and tear down ladders and other climbing equipment. Some areas are very difficult to reach safely and require extra set up time to ensure the safety of the painter. Work done at height also just takes longer and requires more precautions to perform than ground level work.   
Some particularly tricky areas to reach are:
- Vaulted ceilings and high entryways over staircases.
- Siding and trim that lies above a steep roof line. (Dormers, Above garages and 1 story portions of multi-story houses, Contemporaries)
- Exterior surfaces that are surrounded by large, old shrubbery and trees that are close to the house.
- Siding along a side of a house (or building) that has a steep or uneven landscape or large drop-offs.

4) Other factors:
Remoteness of the location: If you live in the country or far away from supplies centers travel time and expense may be a consideration both for daily communting as well as acquistion of additional materials when needed.
Time Constraints: Rush jobs, constrained work hours, weekend work... these factors can all affect pricing.


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