business tips for applicators
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Plaster application is very profitable for applicators, contractors, architects and designers. For applicators especially, plaster is might be one of the most lucrative and rewarding building trades around. There is tremendous potential in plaster.
There are billions and billions of square feet of walls and ceilings in the world. Most of it is covered in paint, wallpaper or paneling, and not enough plaster. Plaster should be almost everywhere. It looks great, it's natural, it's environmentally proactive, breaths, hypoallergenic and easy to fix. It's been used for thousands of years in every part of the world for a good reason. It's beautiful stuff in every way. It can look however you want it look. Why cover the inside of a house with paint (plastic)?
Most customers aren't aware of what natural plaster is. It's always surprising when designers or architects never really heard of it or know what it's about. And those who heard of it might think it's an unaffordable luxury and is once again exclusive only to the very high end.
We want to change all that. Whether you're buying our product or not, we want to elevate the plaster industry as being the standard of wall finishes, and not just the exception. It should be everywhere. Well, almost.
We sometimes try to steer away from the term 'Venetian' Plaster. There are so many synthetic looking 'Venetian' products and so many unique artistic jobs, that the term sometimes can get a mixed understanding amongst customers as a shiney accent piece. We might recommend refering to it as lime and marble plasters, or color integrated natural plaster or whatever works for you.
First, a few numbers on plaster application and products
Competitor lime plaster brands (not ours) can cost up to $80 per gallon, and many are synthetic. Veneziano from imported brands ends up costing up to $2 per square foot in material cost, not to mention the special primers or sealers. Even the synthetic ones are often pricey for what they are. Marmorino can cost $3 or more per foot from other manufacturers.
Vasari products (our stuff), made from crushed marble and lime, is $28 to $32 per gallon for the wet mix of Marmorino and Veneziano... and only $18 per gallon for the dry mix. That's as low as .20 cents per square foot for 2 coats.
The following is a cost and time analysis for applying each of our products. We have wet and dry mixes. The dry mixes are about half the cost of the wet. The only difference is you have mix the dry mix.
The US average price for applying a basic 2 coat lime plaster in an interior is somewhere around $8 per square foot. Sometimes cheaper, sometimes alot more. For example, a 3000 square foot house would end up costing $50,000. We want to make ot more affordable. The bottom line is that even most affluent people, in good or economy or bad, can hardly afford it. It has to be more affordable for the rich, and not so rich. Otherwise plaster will remain another exclusive luxury and the industry will never reach its true potential.
Charge what's fair to you and your customers. We don't want to tell you how much it should be, but we'll tell you what it could be...
The wet mix is $.40-$.60 per square foot, per layer product cost, or $.90 - $1.20 per square foot for 2 layers. The cost depends on the color of plaster (the darker tints are more expensive) and on how thickly it's applied.
Dry mix is about .60 cents for a 2 coat application. Tint might be another .5 or .10 cents.
The first coat takes about 30-45 minutes to apply about 100 square feet. The second layer, because it must be finessed a little more, takes about one hour per 100 square feet. So that means that on average, for a basic 2 coat application, you cover about 250-400+ square feet of finished product per day. That estimate assumes masking to unmasking. Of course, this figure can change depending on size of wall, nooks, details, etc.
So let's assume your cost for Marmorino is .60 per foot for dry mix, and you're applying about 300 square feet per day. Assume another .20 cents for masking, gas, etc. So now you have .80 cents per foot. Everything afterwards is net profit. So if you charged $3.80 cents per square foot, you net profit is $3. Multiply that by your average daily coverage of 300 square feet per day, and you have $900 per day. If you charged $4.80, you have $1200, $5.80 is $1500, etc.
Of course you should charge extra for extra coats, sealers, waxes, etc, if they're needed. Charge what's fair for you and your client.
For both coats included (or even three), it costs about .40-.60 cents per square foot. The dry mix costs .20-.35 cents per square foot.
Like Marmorino, a basic two coat Veneziano application averages about 300 square feet of finished products per day. Sometime less, sometimes much more. With Veneziano, your material cost is much less because it's a thinner material and your coverage is much greater than Marmorino.
So even for $3.80 per foot, at 300 feet per day, your daily net profit can average out to $1,020 per day. Of course it's assuming if everything goes very smoothly.
Our Stucco product, if used for interior, is about the same cost and application speed as the Marmorino. It's used in case a thicker, more robust finish is desired.
Lime Wash goes a very long way and application is very fast. 100 square feet should take about 30 minutes or less to apply. You can stretch a gallon to cover 600 square feet or more. Each layer costs around $.5 per square foot. You can add many layers, and the cost will rise accordingly. You can charge $.50 - $2.00 per square foot for each layer of Lime Wash.
About half the price of wet mixes, as listed above. With dry mixes, you can charge very little and still do very well. Each bucket of dry mix takes about 5-10 minutes to mix and tint.
Rolling is a quick way to apply large areas in little time, especially with Veneziano. You can roll on the plaster with a thick roller, and have someone else trowel it out with a large trowel or knife. 2 people can average 1000 square feet per day of finished of finished product.
You can even spray plaster with a hopper or mastic pump. This way you can apply thousands of square feet per day. Just thin down the plaster with a little water to thin it down to the right consistancy.