Can you get an estimate for your home painting project without meeting with an estimator in person? Yes, we can do that for you! We call it a “virtual estimate”, and it’s a convenient and safe way for us to estimate your home painting, cabinet painting, or wallpapering project, without having to come to your home to see your space in person.
Many of us are reworking how we do business lately, and it’s not just due to specific concerns like minimizing contact during COVID-19. We’re all busy, and time is a precious commodity. If there’s a way to get an estimate for your home improvement project remotely, without having to take time to meet an estimator at your house, then why not?
How does a virtual estimate work?
Virtual estimates are done using any means of communication that isn’t done in-person, either through email, or through a live video chat such as FaceTime or Zoom. The estimator will need to gather details about your project, both photos and measurements, in order to give you an accurate bid. Traditionally this is done by setting up a time to come to your home. But this can also be done remotely. They key will be gathering a bit of information about your project beforehand:
- If yours is an interior painting project, take measurements of your space (length, width, and height of your room, for example). Count the number of doors and windows. Make a note of special features like crown molding or judges paneling, or issues such as water leaks or dented sheetrock, which we’ll take into account when we prepare your estimate. A wide shot of the room, usually taken from a corner, will give us an idea of what it looks like.
- For exterior house painting, we’ll need to know the condition of your home’s surfaces. Are any of your fascia boards rotted and need replacing? Are there cracks in your stucco? Is the paint on your wood siding “alligatoring” or bubbling up? And of course let us know what you want done. Do you only want to change the main color of your home, or also your trim, such as fascia, soffits, windows, doors and door frames, or garage doors? For photos, take one of each side of your house, as well as special areas like outdoor kitchens to be painted. We need to see your landscaping in the photos, so we can see if there might be places where trees or shrubbery block us putting up any extension ladders.
- For cabinet painting or refinishing, we’ll need photos of each wall or “elevation” that contains cabinets you want painted. In a typical kitchen, that means at least three walls (one with your range, one with your sink, and one with your fridge or built-in wall oven, for example). We also need photos of the inside of one of your cabinets, so we can see whether they’re clear-coated on the insides, or painted. And that way we can see what kind of hinges and hardware you have. Please photograph both sides of your kitchen island, and don’t forget to include any smaller areas like a butler’s pantry or built-in desk. And be sure to let us know if you’ll be changing your existing hardware and need us to fill any hardware holes.
- For wallpaper installation, we’ll need to know the dimensions of your space, plus what kind of texture is on the surface now. Is there existing wallpaper you want removed? Are the walls heavily textured? And of course, let us know the specifications of the wallpaper you’ve selected, so we can tell you how much wallpaper to order along with your installation estimate.
When it’s time for your scheduled virtual estimate, we’ll get in touch with you by whichever method you prefer (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.). Then we can gather your project details, and you can show us the areas(s) in question, right through your phone. We might ask you to bring your phone closer to any key areas, to see things like existing wall texture up close. We want to capture all the information we would see during a live, in-person consultation, so that nothing is left out of your bid!
And of course you can email us your project details, along with photos. That’s another way to get a “virtual estimate”. With email, you can send us your information any time, day or night. Just remember we may need to follow up if we have additional questions or can’t see what we need from your photos!
What if we miss something during your virtual consultation? We’ll give you a quote based on the information we received from your email or video chat, but sometimes things get missed, like the Sheetrock patch behind the door, or the heavy dings and dents on your kitchen cabinets. In that case, we’ll update our estimate once we arrive on-site to start your project. No one likes surprises, so we try to be very thorough during your virtual consultation! Here’s where you can really help us out, but giving us as much detail as possible. If there are a lot of variables in your project, we might give you a range, rather than a specific price, to allow for any last-minute changes.
Once we’ve done a virtual consultation, how long til I get my quote?
Just like with in-person consultations done in your home, our goal is to get your estimate to you by the end of the next business day. If you haven’t received your estimate by then, please reach out to our office to make sure we have your email written down correctly.
Are there any downsides to getting a virtual estimate?
Actually, yes, there are. The principal downside is that you won’t get to know and love the sweet, charming people that we are! Seriously . . . getting a good “vibe” from the people you’ll be hiring to work in your home, with your family, pets and valuables, is a huge factor in making the right choice of painting contractor. Human beings are very good “BS detectors”, but this only works in person, face-to-face.
And for cabinet estimates, we won’t be able to show you our awesome painted cabinet samples! We paint these using our standard process on heavy-grain oak sample cabinet doors, so you can see (and feel) how well we fill the grain and how beautiful and silky-smooth our cabinet finishes are. We’re super proud of our cabinet finishes, and we love showing them off!
If you’re getting a couple of cabinet painting quotes, please don’t just pick the cheapest bid! If our estimate seems like it might work for you but you’re still undecided, do yourself a favor and swing by our office so you can see and feel the quality of our work. (Just call first, in case we’re out doing a color consultation!) We’ve seen too many sub-par cabinet painting jobs out there (and usually we’re the ones called to fix them later and make them look as good as originally promised).
What if I prefer an in-person, in-home consultation?
We do those too, as always! And that way you can leave the measuring and photo-taking to us. Our estimators respect your time by showing up at the appointed hour, and keep you safe by wearing masks and social distancing. Usually we can get all the info we need within the hour (often less), and you can meet us in person and see samples of our work. We love getting to know our clients!
But if it’s more convenient for you, virtual estimates are a great way to plan for your project, even if you can’t meet a Paper Moon estimator in person. It’s an awesome feeling to see some “forward motion” on your project and check off that to-do list, while saving time and staying safe.
Ready to schedule your virtual estimate?
Just click on one of the red “Schedule an Estimate” buttons below, for either Austin or San Antonio. Select a time that works for you, and fill out the form with your name, contact info, etc. Check the box that let’s us know whether you want a live (in-person) or virtual estimate. We’ll get in touch to arrange the tech details (which video chat to use). We think getting a virtual estimate for your home improvement project is a convenient option, and we’re here to help!
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