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Life During Covid-19 -- Estimating

28 April, 2020

David Cook

David Cook at D’Franco Painting & Wallpaper, Elgin, Illinois, is still open for business, and he even brought some new hires on board just this week. His company received the Creative Marketing and Strategy Award at the recent PCA expo, and he’s still finding interesting ways to make things happen.

Thanks to some good timing, the company has enough PPE to get the job done. “We were lucky; before the run happened, we were on Amazon and bought some. Also, we had just put an order in with our local paint store and when they got the shipment, they earmarked something for us. And then my wife and daughter are some of the many people that are making reusable facemasks,” he said.

Calls have dropped off, and they have done some charity work in churches and the like while the spaces were empty. On the other hand, requests for estimates through the D’Franco website and Facebook page have picked up. They’d always done remote estimates, but perhaps customers weren’t aware of it. Now they’re promoting it more heavily.

A lot of Chicagoland painters are taking advantage of tech that’s already in place. For example, real-estate sites can give you a good feel for a house, inside and out. “We’ve done estimates using Redfin,” said Cook. “Talking with the contractors over the border in Indiana, they can’t do it because Redfin isn't quite populated there yet. But here in Chicago we can use it. It has the dimensions of every single room at the house.” There are plenty of photos there for prospective buyers, so you can see a lot of the nooks and crannies and those famous “hard to reach” areas.

From there, the company uses FaceTime, Zoom or Google Hangout to meet with the prospective customer. Cook likes to estimate a little high as a contingency against finding something that he didn’t see in the photography, then he’ll come down if nothing comes up. “Usually we’ll add a little bit – maybe 10% of the bid as a just in case. I’d rather ask for the higher amount up front than have to go back and ask for more. You look better if you can reduce the price.”

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