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How to Easily Make More Money on Every Estimate

Do you feel like the only way to make more money in your painting business is to find more clients, but you hate the thought of spending your extra cash on marketing?

This simple upselling strategy can add thousands of dollars (or more) to your personal income each year – without investing tons of money or time.

By Brandon Lewis

Step 1: Understanding the financial impact of upselling

Sound familiar?

The sport package is extra, but you get the turbocharger and the awesome trim package. What do you think? Yes! ($3,200 added to a $27,000 auto sale.)

“People who bought the Slice-o-Matic also bought this 3-Piece Knife Set.” Click… ($23 added to a $112 online sale.) You get the idea…

Owners are surrounded by upselling, yet the majority fail to employ the tactic themselves – to great financial loss.

Roughly 20 percent of clients purchase additional services when offered correctly. Why? People purchase more when they are already purchasing. Clients consider the painting process an intrusion and if they can consolidate two projects into one, they’ll do it.

For a contractor completing 100 painting projects per year at an average transaction size of $3,000, this means 20 will say YES to an upsell. With product upsells equaling 25% of the purchase price, you’ll generate an additional 5% in sales… and here’s why that’s a big deal.

Upselling dollars all happen PAST the point of break even. This means revenue generated through upselling is two to three times more profitable than standard painting revenue, depending on your overhead.

Simply put: Contractors ranging from $300,000 to $600,000 in sales gain an extra $7,500 to $15,000 per year in NET INCOME by using these strategies. Here’s how…

Step 2: Create a blank, stand-alone “Painting Alternatives” form

Contractors fear upselling because they are concerned they’ll lose the primary sale if their prices are too high. A stand-alone “Painting Alternatives” form separates the upsell from the “main sale” entirely, eliminating the risk.

Your “Painting Alternatives” form contains four elements:

  1. The service or product
  2. The price to add or upgrade the service or product
  3. A place for clients to initial line-items for acceptance
  4. A pricing subtotal and authorization signature at the bottom of the form

Step 3: Select three upsells for your “Painting Alternatives” form

A few examples…

  • Add one additional coat of paint to exterior: $2,213.32
  • Include all ceilings in downstairs common areas: $734.56
  • BETTER: Upgrade to Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Paint: $183.90
  • BEST: Upgrade to Sherwin-Williams Emerald Paint: $228.75

Step 4: Make suggestions when estimating

Don’t overcomplicate this. Simply point to a line-item and say: “If this were my home, I’d upgrade to Cashmere. It protects and cleans better. So, your project will last longer. What do you think?” Easy, right?

Bottom line

Upselling can easily produce thousands in personal income for you each year. Why not try it today… before your competition does?

This article was written by Brandon Lewis and originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of PPC magazine. Learn more about Brandon’s quest to empower painting contractors to become successful entrepreneurs at and

Get more management and business building tips on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.