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How long does it take to Prime coat an inside door?

Discussion in 'Decorating and Painting' started by Reedswood, 10 May 2016.

  1. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    I'm a bit torn on this thread. To me, this job sounds like it is someone taking advantage of a client, even though that client has been naive in not getting an estimate to start with.

    While I agree that a decorator has to earn a living, and therefore charges for time taken (and some wasted by travelling back and forth), any pro being asked to just paint a new door will automatically know that it's an hour here, hour there, kind of job. Therefore, you can't really justify a £75 fee, just for priming, with the costs of time for viewing, writing estimates, petrol, etc. A decorator should be able to give a estimate for that over the phone and send it in the post, explaining to the potential client that any unexpected preparation work would have an extra charge - at least, that is the way I always did those kind of jobs. I know that's easy to say, but for a brand new door, there shouldn't be too much to sort out before painting, and you also state that it's a job that you will fit in during your spare time. That would mean calling in to prime for the hour or so on your way home from a job one day, then do the same for the undercoat, and finally for the topcoat (doing those on your way to another job in the morning if oil based paints are involved, to allow drying time). If the client isn't happy this method, then they can look for someone else, which may have been the case in this instance.

    I agree with what has been said about this kind of job sometimes being more trouble than they're worth, but at the end of the day, sometimes us decorators are glad to get these types of jobs to keep business ticking over. It's swings and roundabouts - the customer wants a fair price, while the decorator wants a decent payment, for a fiddly job - and it seems nobody comes out overly happy.
    That said, if you are charging half a day's rate for each coat, and taking into account any extra initial prep work, you will be charging somebody £225-£300 (for effectively 4-5 hrs total labour, excluding materials) to paint a door, and there is no way that would be an acceptable quote for me to give as a decorator, or for me to receive as a client.

    EDIT

    The OP states it's a glazed door, so that would take a little longer than a flat/panelled door, but still only an hour per side, unless the decorator slapped it everywhere and then spent the rest of the day cleaning the glass.
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2016
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  2. Reedswood

    Reedswood

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    the glass has a protective plastic skin on it until the final coat/gloss is dry!
     
  3. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    Lol...it gets worse! :rolleyes:
     
  4. Reedswood

    Reedswood

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    certainly helps speed up the job! ;)
     
  5. Sorry Boss, play fair. You pointed out that you'd turn up, asses the job, and then write out a quote; so why didn't the so called professional Reedwood employed do the same. That guy does a disservice to you're professionalism. Reedwood will have learnt from this inexperience, and the advice you've given him, but I don't think anyone can hand on heart, say he's been treated fairly.
     
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  6. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    One thing I failed to address in my previous post is the use of a water based, combined, primer-undercoat. If the painter used a cheap version of this kind of product, then it may have taken up to 3 coats to get a decent obliteration of the bare wood/knots, before being ready to apply the topcoat(s). If this was the case, then maybe it would have taken several hours to do so, especially when allowing drying time between coats. However, as the OP suggested that a separate undercoat was to be used next, I doubt this was the case.
     
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  7. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    The OP has not told us how he contacted the Decorator in the first place, ( why is it when people complain about workmanship they never divulge the full story ??)

    sounds to me he phoned a"decorator" and said he had an Interior door that needed painting, the decorator (without seeing the job) allowed a days work which was charged at £75. Which was agreed,
    and the first time the Decorator saw the door was when he was going to paint it. The Decorator was unlikely to say " I`ve changed my mind on the price , it will only cost you a "fiver" for me to paint it!"
     
  8. I suspect you're right Boss, but it's the decorator who's supposed to be professional, and the client who's learning by experience - just as we've had to do - and he's come here looking for help, and he's admitted his naievety. But it's interesting that without knowing the full story, you're still knocking the OP. You're assessment may be correct, and if it is, I'd question why he didn't ask for a better description of the job. It almost sounds as though the decorator realised he found a mug. What's the outcome so far Reed
     
  9. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    I disagree, if I am right and this was a "Telephone Guesstimate" The decorators price of £75. for the work was more than reasonable,
    he was guessing on the condition of the door, location of door, how much rubbing down was required, how much filling to make good would be required, whether there were knots in the wood that needed blinding, possible minimum of two coats of primer,
    that would be a days work,

    to charge £75. ( with or without Materials) was at the very low end of a Self Employed Decorators days price level, average for a days labour outside London would be £120/150.
     
  10. Reedswood

    Reedswood

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    it wasn't mentioned, as I trusted he'd be fair since he'd done previous work for a neighbour; the coating was poorly done (not entirely primed) around some of the window edges (Downham Glazed Door) even though there was a factory plastic covering over the glass. I should have gone for a factory primed door if I'd known, that way it would have been perfectly done, and perhaps far cheaper, too!
     
  11. dcdec

    dcdec

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    I think you've taken it well Reedswood, live and learn i guess, but do understand we have to make a living and there's a lot more to it than just turning up with a tin of paint and a brush.
    I still agree with Bosswhite, and think £75 is reasonable, there are only so many hours in the day and an average has to be achieved.
     
  12. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    I find myself taking Reedswoods side more and more here.

    First off, I can't see why any decorator would agree to just priming a door, so presumably he was going to do the door to a complete finish (otherwise I don't see the point of him being contracted). If you are intending to charge 75 quid each time you attend the property to apply a coat, as I mentioned previously, you are pushing 300 quid to paint a door. I know full well that time is money but you still can't justify that amount for labour to paint one door, no matter how you sugar coat it.

    The only reason I can see for charging that amount would be to supply a can of B-I-N to use for any knotting, and also to supply the primer. Even then, you can't justify charging the full amount for can on B-I-N, etc, unless you leave the can(s) behind, because we all know that you can knot dozens of doors with one can. However, if the whole door was primed with B-I-N or another similar product, and the remainder left for the client, then that would push the price a little closer to what was charged.

    Without meaning to cause offence, any decorator that takes a whole day to knot and prime a brand new door twice, is in the wrong trade. Decorators on here have often said that they paint 10-12 doors in a day, and I can say that I would generally get 10 done on a 'door day', when there was minimal prep involved. Therefore, at this job's (guesstimated) rate of £75 per 2 coats, are we saying that we should all be charging around £400-£500 on those days?

    As said, it's been a case of live and learn for the OP, and he is paying the price in several ways, but I still think he has been overcharged.
     
    Last edited: 14 May 2016
  13. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    The decorator has committed himself to a days work, and £75 is very much the lower end of the scale, by the time he has packed up IMO it would not be worth going onto another customer, IF the second customer would accept him turning up in the middle of the afternoon to do a couple of hours work . ( could the decorator guarantee what time he could turn up for the second customer)
    As I said before its the sort of job that is more trouble than its worth, I would call it a " Goodwill" job
    IMO thats how the OP should accept it
     
  14. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    I fully understand your point, but there is no way a professional decorator would (or at least shouldn't) commit himself to a full days work just to prime a door, unless they are short of work and trying to drag a job out. This is why, on these kind of jobs, I would always try to squeeze them in for an hour or two here and there and state that I would only take the job if I was going to bring it to a finish, and give a price for such, allowing for the rigmarole of going back and forth. I'm know I'd prefer to have a happy new client, with the possibility of potential future work and references from them, than a reputation as someone who overcharges.
    I don't think Reedswood would have had such a problem with someone doing it this way, and quoting around £150 to get the door to a complete finish, but it is the fact that the decorator has tried to say he took all day just to prime a door. Maybe the exact meaning of 'took all day' between them is a bit off, but I believe the decorator should have at the least given an idea of what his intentions and charges would be beforehand, which is also where the OP made his big mistake in not getting a price.

    I agree that the price should be accepted, as there is no real way of proving how long it actually took, but, starting at 8:00am, I would expect to get the door hardware off, prep the area and door, prime it and be all packed up by 10:30am at the very latest. Maybe this guy turned up at 10am, put his sheets down, had a cuppa, removed the hardware, had a fag, prepped door, had a sandwich, primed one side, went for a dump, primed the other side, had a cuppa, loosely re-attached hardware, phoned his missus, had another cuppa and a fag, and was packing up at 5pm! :evil: :LOL:
     
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