FAQ – The Value and Costs of Outsourcing

How often have you given a quote to a potential customer for them to reply “What! How much?!”
  There may be several reasons: they’ve never had a decorator and have no idea of the cost, they don’t know how much prep might be involved, they’ve no idea how long it takes to do the job properly, they don’t know how much paints and other materials can cost… It goes on.
  The costs of doing the work and the perceived value of getting the work done are two very different things.

We all know there are a lot of ‘hidden’ costs of being a decorator; insurance, vehicle, equipment, clothing, materials, training, accountancy and bookkeeping, marketing, trade body subscriptions, bank fees, phone, tablet and computer, software, parking, stationery, lock-up or workshop rent, employees… and then, hopefully, your own profit.

Whatever you’re charging as a day rate, plus project expenses, you must take all those costs into account.


To a customer, though, much of this may be largely irrelevant. They will have their budget, and it’s what they’re prepared to pay to get the job done. That’s the monetary value they’ve put on the job.

Some of this perceived value may have been decided up front, but you do have an opportunity to increase the perceived value in how you communicate with them.

You can talk about your years of experience and problem-solving skills, you can mention the professional equipment you use to get a great finish; from dust extraction sanders, to top quality brushes, to sprayers, or just the right platform to get to that stairwell top corner.

Whether you like it or not, it’s a critical part of your job to get a customer to understand the value of all your professional experience and professional equipment, the value of outsourcing to you.


When someone gets a decorator or contractor in, they’re outsourcing a project. They’re trading their money for your skills, time, equipment and experience. They’re saving themselves time, hassle, and risk.

But who do you outsource to in your business? I don’t just mean taking on decorators for particular projects, I mean for all the other jobs you don’t want to do, or just can’t?

That might include getting plumbers in to remove rads, chippies in to do carpentry, glaziers to repair windows. Some of those jobs you may be able to do, but make sure you’re insured to do them. Sometimes it’s best to get an expert in, freeing up your time to do what you’re best at.

Outsourcing goes beyond getting other trades in though. I hate doing accounts and it’s taken such a weight off my mind to get all that done by a PA and an accountant. Yes, it costs me money, but it saves me not only time but also the stress and headspace of worrying about it.

What else could you outsource? Maybe a new website? A new logo and branding? Social media management and blog writing?

You can spend more time doing what you’re good at, or more time with family, or on the golf course?