Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Beth n Rod

      The Grime Scene Terms Of Service and Forum Rules   08/23/2007

      Terms of Service Warning: The contracting trades are an activity in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ALL Users must read and agree to these Terms of Service before using this site. This web site is dedicated to the contracting trades, an activity which is inherently dangerous. You should not depend on information gleaned from this site for your personal safety. Your safety depends upon your own judgment based on competent instruction, experience, and a realistic assessment of ability. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, that the information on this website are accurate and reliable. Your use of this site indicates your assumption of the risk of death or serious injury and is an acknowledgment of your own sole responsibility for your safety. The following terms and conditions are in reference to the The Grime Scene web site and discussion board (www.thegrimescene.com), here in referred to as "The Grime Scene". These terms and conditions apply to all sites, services, and resources within the The Grime Scene. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS The Grime Scene provides its service to you, subject to the following Terms of Service (referred to as "TOS"), which may be updated by us from time to time without notice. You may review the most current version of the TOS at any time in the Announcements. In addition, when using particular The Grime Scene services, you shall be subject to any posted guidelines or rules applicable to such services.
      [*]DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE The Grime Scene provides users with access to informational resources including communication and interactive resources pertaining to the contracting industry. Under no circumstances shall The Grime Scene be liable to any user on account of that user's use or misuse of the site or reliance on the site. Such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, punitive and exemplary damages (even if The Grime Scene has been advised of the possibility of such damages). Such limitation of liability shall apply whether the damages arise from use or misuse of the site or reliance on the site, from inability to use the site, or from the interruption, suspension, or termination of the site or services offered on the site (including such damages incurred by third parties).
      Such limitation shall also apply with respect to damages incurred by reason of other services or goods received through or advertised on the site or received through any links provided on the site. .Such limitation shall apply, without limitation, to the costs of procurement of substitute goods or services, lost profits, or lost data. These limitations shall apply notwithstanding any failure of essential purpose of any limited remedy. The Grime Scene makes no warranties as to the accuracy of its information and due to the volatile nature of the information contained within The Grime Scene. The Grime Scene can not screen or authenticate all articles, posts, listings or other information.
      [*]TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP & USAGE RESTRICTIONS Site Membership Membership is available to any person over the age of 13 who registers and accurately provides all the required information, provides a legitimate electronic mail address and obtains a unique The Grime Scene member name and password. Membership is non-transferable. The use of web-based email accounts may be denied due to abuse.
      All membership information must be accurate and belong to the person registering. Invalid, incomplete, or falsified information can result in the immediate termination of all membership privileges for that user and, possibly a permanent ban, restricting the member from using any of The Grime Scene’s services at any time.
      Usage of this site is restricted to persons under the age of 13. (you must be over 13 to participate here)
      The Grime Scene is not responsible for the content of any member's posts, and the views expressed on The Grime Scene are the responsibility of the posting member and not The Grime Scene. The Grime Scene does not preview member posts in any way before they appear on the site. Any link posted to a third-party internet address does not imply an endorsement of that site or its content by The Grime Scene.
      The Grime Scene forums are for the discussion of the contracting trades and related topics. While the administrators and moderators of The Grime Scene will attempt to keep all off-topic messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of The Grime Scene Room nor the moderators will be held responsible for the content of any message.
      The Grime Scene forums may contain profanity.
      As a condition of buying and selling items listed in any forum of The Grime Scene, Buyer and Seller agree that The Grime Scene is not brokering or otherwise participating in any purchase or sale. The Grime Scene has no knowledge of the terms of sale, the condition of any items offered for sale, the accuracy of any aspect of the sale or the use to which any item shall be put. Buyer assumes all responsibility for proper use of any item so purchased. Buyer acknowledges that improper use of some or all of the items offered for sale on The Grime Scene may cause serious injury or death. Buyer shall seek qualified assistance and instruction in the use of all items purchased.
      Pornography of any type is not allowed.
      The owners, administrators, and moderators of The Grime Scene reserve both the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason, and the right to suspend or delete any user account for any reason we feel is in violation of the TOS, both explicit and implied.
      Membership in The Grime Scene is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to deny service to any person at any time without cause.
      [*]INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY It is the policy of The Grime Scene to respond expeditiously to claims of intellectual property infringement. The Grime Scene will promptly process and investigate notices of alleged infringement and will take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). Should a violation of intellectual property be discovered, the document(s) or messages in such violation will be removed in a timely manner after any and all investigating has been completed to prove the authenticity of such a claim.
      [*]PUBLIC CONTENT ON THE GRIME SCENE Any and all content posted for inclusion in publicly accessible areas of The Grime Scene are the responsibility of the creator. The Grime Scene makes no claims or warranties about such information or its authenticity. Upon posting any content on The Grime Scene, you grant The Grime Scene the non-exclusive right to publish, modify and use such content solely for the purpose of displaying such content.
      [*]LIMITATION OF RE-USE You agree not to reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes or noncommercial purposes any portion of the services or content contained within The Grime Scene and its subsidiary sites. In order to use any content, graphical art, photos or files owned by or published by The Grime Scene, direct, written authorization must be obtained from The Grime Scene with no exceptions at any time for any reason.
      [*]LEGAL RESTRICTIONS This agreement shall be constructed and controlled by the laws of the State of Maryland, without regard to its conflict of law provisions. Any dispute arising hereunder will be governed by the laws of the State of Maryland. Each member agrees to personal jurisdiction by tile state and federal courts of the State of Maryland.
      The Grime Scene reserves the right to change, modify or update this TOS agreement at any time without notification. Membership in and the use of resources contained within The Grime Scene constitutes full agreement and acknowledgment of the restrictions, limitations and terms set forth in this agreement.
      [*]Forum Posting Rules The following is a list of basic guidelines about what is and is not allowed while posting on The Grime Scene. These rules are in addition to what is listed in our Terms Of Service . Please read through all of these sections before using our site and contact us if you have questions. Users shall treat each other with respect at all times on The Grime Scene. Name calling, personal attacks, or other inappropriate behavior will not be allowed and may cause your account to be banned.
      Advertising on our site is specific to Contractors and to those Manufacturers and Distributors serving our industry. All Manufacturers and Distributors must have a signature, and should not solicit in the main forums. Please use the vendor area. Members who try to sell products and/or services to contracting professionals in the main forum area may have their accounts privileges suspended or revoked.
      No pornographic material or links to pornographic material may be posted on this site.
      Profanity shall be kept to a minimum. Words that appear to be blanked out with stars (*) are not allowed.
      You may only post material and content that you own. Posting copyrighted material, trademarks, and other violations of the DMCA is prohibited. Anyone posting an article must credit the author and provide a link to the original data.
      These rules may be altered at anytime without notice so please check the Announcements often.
Beth n Rod

Building your own price

Recommended Posts

The best information I can give on pricing is how to build your own price.

-How long does it take you to wash each piece according to what it is?

-How much to you charge per hour for labor?

-What is the cost of your cleaner and how much will you be using on each piece?

-What is the cost of your neutralizer and how much is needed for each piece?

-Are your sanding any of it?

-How much do you charge to for this service?

-How long will it take you for each piece?

-What is the cost of your sealer? What is the coverage rate? How much will be used on each piece?

-How long will it take to apply the sealer?

-What supplies and tools do you need?

-What are the costs of each item you need?

Here is a simple formula to figure your costs:

Wage per hour X hours required = Labor cost

Product cost / coverage rate (in sqft) X sqft required = actual product cost

Supplies needed for project (brushes, rollers, pads, tarps, plastic, cleaners, rags and any depletable items you may use which are required to be replaced for each job) = supplies cost

Travel time expenses; Wage per hour / travel time + fuel costs (mpg / miles X $ per gallon) and a % for insurances and vehicle maintenance (oil changes, tires, brakes, belts and fluids)

Now let's sum it up:

Labor cost + Actual product cost + Supplies + Travel = job cost

If you want to put it into a simpler form you can take job cost / sqft and get a price. But it will need to vary as the sqft goes up because it will not adjust for set up and breakdown times which on larger jobs vs small jobs could be more. Travel expenses can be made a basic formula add in for a service area and only increase if you go out of it and be based upon the increased time and costs.

If your state requires you to charge sales tax, you will need to account for that in the equation by charging a % based on what your states guidelines require.

We use a sliding scale which is more complicated than the formula above but it is based upon OUR specific business costs (marketing, advertising, office costs, staff wages, insurances such as business, vehicular[drivers and equipment], medical and workers comp., then there are license communications and utilitiy fees.) Safety equipment for employees (gloves, respirators, pvc rain gear, ear plugs, safety glasses etc), Replacement parts for equipment (seals, 'o' rings, QC's, hoses, tips etc), vehicles and equipment leases/purchases, licenses and inspection fees.

This represents the overhead of what goes into calculating business costs which ultimately end up in a spreadsheet which helps to maintain margins and in this economy some profit for re-investment in the business.

The formula above only represents direct costs to the consumer but without adding in all the rest, most companies go out of business because they do not account for them and when it comes time to pay taxes...oops! There is another one.

This is for your benefit and anyone who would read this thread. I would hope it will encourage others to sit down and seriously look at all business expenses and take them into account when making a bid for work and not just pulling a number out of their behinds.

I only wish the best for anyone trying to make it on their own in business since taking that first step is a daring one. I hope this helps to get people interested in educating themselves on how to run the business and not just the operation.


There is this article as well.

Take this post for what it is, help. I don't know how far you have gotten or what your knowledge base is regarding business so I will start with the basics. This of course is based upon wood restoration and will vary depending upon which facet of pw'ing you are currently focused on. House washing for most is pretty cut and dry as they measure by sqft/stories or by the type of house and siding they will be cleaning.

The following will give you reference and transcend into other pw'ing based upon what you have already learned to do.

Charging by sqft -vs- hourly. Well, you need to have a handle on both as I will explain before you can present either.

Charging by the hour is a good measure but in order to determine your rates, you need to first determine your productivity rate...ie sqft/hr.

Once you have a handle on this, you can be more accurate on your pricing without losing money and still maintain your margins.

Solidify your methods for each service you provide. Time yourself or your workers to determine how long it takes under normal circumstances to complete each service (washing, stripping, neutralizing, sanding, defurring, staining/sealing, etc.) How long does it take to do 'X' sqft of ...

You must establish a benchmark not only for pricing purposes but also for tracking employee productivity.

As you gain experience with this, you will also be able to account for difficulty factors and compute them more accurately into your pricing.

Now, let's go hypothetical for a moment.

Let's say you want to get paid $50/hr for one man to perform a service.

Let's assume that your worker can wash a deck at the rate of 100 sqft/hr and the deck including rails is 250 sqft. Given these variables your formula would look something like this:

250sqft / 100sqft/hr = 2.50 hours

2.50 hours X $50 = $125.00 to wash

Now for staining it takes some a little more time and should include prep and in that figure the total time should be averaged based upon when you arrive and start till all is packed up and the job is finished.

-this may not be in the exact order but the typical services are here-

Set up time = :30

Light sanding the handrails = :20

Application time 1:15

Break down time = :15

Total job time = 2:20

2:20 X $50/hour = $110.00

Carry forward the wash price of $125.00 + $110.00 to seal = $235.00

Now remember, the figures here are just for example. You can plug your own actual numbers in to come up with something more realistic.

This is the most basic way to price a job and once it is based upon real time productivity will give you insights into your labor costs. This does not however include prices for products, fuel expenditures and supplies which should be a part of this equation.

To determine them lets start by asking these questions:


-How much plastic will be required?

-How much tape will be required?

-How many brushes, stain pads/handles?

-How much product will this job require?

-How much Sand paper will this job require?

-How much fuel will the wash require?

-How much stripper/cleaner and neutralizer will it require?



Pump sprayer cost?

Sander cost?

Ladder(s) costs(s)?


Most will assume that the tools are already bought but the products and supplies to complete the work will be consumed or disposed of after a few jobs depending on use and durability. But the costs associated with them needs to be included in your pricing.

Once you have been able to make a list of all the necessary implements of destruction you need to perform your service you will have the costs that go into your service to plug into your formula based upon which service they are a part of.

I'll stop here before I write a book and have to charge everyone who reads a plug nickel for my carpal tunnel syndrome. :)


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

After a long career in Marketing (high-tech stuff), all of your post is excellent to understand the fully loaded cost incurred in a job.

There are 3 ways to establish the price to be given to a customer. Cost-based, competition based, and value based. Your post is perfect to understand the cost element (albeit leaving out the discussion of what kind of profit margin should be tacked on). The first step in pricing is to understand what it is worth to the customer in light of their other options. One option is always the "do nothing" option. Here they may not be aware of the costs and risks of not maintaining their property, and avoiding those longer term huge bills can set a pretty high value to the cleaning. If they are in an obscure niche of the market and you have no competitors, a price offer that is well under the value of "do nothing" may be much higher than the cost-based price . If they are in a well serviced market then competitive bids will determine the price range of acceptability to the customer. Inefficient higher cost vendors in this case will either price themselves out of the deal or price below their cost and eventually be forced to exit the business (or adopt more efficient methods). Cost-based price sets the floor for lowest price you can take the deal and stay in business. Value to your customer sets the ceiling price above which the customer will chose to do nothing or go with your competitor. If the floor price is above the ceiling, you do not have a viable business. If the ceiling is well above your floor, you can make huge profits (for a while and risk inviting new entrants), or have reasonable profits (and secure a very satisfied and loyal customer base).

Understanding costs is key to staying in business as the prior post points out. Understanding the customers perceived value and the competitors capabilities give you profit margins to enjoy and is even harder to gain.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the 3 self employed industries I have been involved in I have seen more people screw this up than you could believe. They ALWAYS want to know what others are charging. You pretty much nailed it when you said "figure out what you need to make." There are so many variables involved here its unreal. Are you gonna price yourself the same as some guy who does low end work and tons of volume? Same goes for some guy who is a total craftsman and just lives it one day at a time. My advice is figure out your expenses, and figure out what you need to make an hour.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now