Business Tips For Applicators
Plaster application is very profitable for applicators, contractors, architects and designers. For applicators especially, plaster is 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 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 exclusive only to the very high end. We want to change all that. Whether you're buying our product or not, we want to contribute to the plaster industry as being the standard for wall finishes, not on 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 create a misconception for customers as a shiney accent piece.
First, a few numbers on plaster application and products
Competitor lime plaster brands (not ours) can cost up to $100 per gallon, and many are synthetic. Veneziano from imported brands ends up costing up to $2 per square foot in material cost, in addition to special primers or sealers. Marmorino can cost $3 or more per foot from other manufacturers.
Vasari products made from crushed marble and lime, are $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 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 available. The dry mixes are about half the cost of the wet. The only difference is you have to mix the dry mix and the Veneziano does require straining.
The US average price for applying two coats of lime plaster to an interior is somewhere around $8 per square foot. Sometimes its less, sometimes a lot 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 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 for product cost, or $.90 - $1.20 per square foot for two layers. The cost depends on the color of plaster (the darker tints are more expensive) and on how thick it's applied.
Dry mix is about $.60 for a two-coat application. Tint may cost another $.10 - $.50.
The first coat takes about 30-45 minutes to apply appromately 100 square feet. The second layer, because it must be finessed a little more, takes about an hour per 100 square feet. On average, for a basic two coat application, one can cover about 250-400+ square feet of finished product per day. That estimate includes masking and unmasking. Of course, this figure can change depending on size of wall, nooks, details, and how fast the applicator is.
Let's assume your cost for Marmorino is $.60 per foot for dry mix, and you're applying 300 square feet per day. Assume another $.20 for masking, gas, etc. Bringing the cost up to $.80 per foot. Everything after that is profit. If you charge $3.80 per square foot, you profit is $3 per square foot. Multiply that by your average daily coverage of 300 square feet per day, and you have $900 per day profit. If you charge $4.80, you have $1200 in profit, $5.80 is $1500 in profit, etc.
Of course you should charge extra for extra coats, sealers, and waxes if they're needed. Charge what's fair for you and your client.
For two coats (or even three), it costs about $.40 - $.60 per square foot. The dry mix costs $.20 - $.35 per square foot.
Like Marmorino, a basic two coat Veneziano application averages about 300 square feet of finished products per day. It may take less time but can also take much more. With Veneziano, your material cost is much less because it's a thinner material and your coverage is much greater than Marmorino.
Charging $3.80 per foot at 300 square feet per day, the daily profit can average out to $1,020 per day, assuming everything goes smoothly.
Our Stucco, if used for interior, is about the same cost and application speed as the Marmorino. It's used when 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.
Dry Mixes are about half the price of wet mixes. 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. Two people can average 1000 square feet per day of finished product.
You can spray plaster with a hopper or mastic pump and apply thousands of square feet per day. Make sure to thin down the plaster with a little water to the right consistency.