Cut Down on Paperwork as a Decorator

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Jun 27, 2021 | Professional insight, Business, Life of a Decorator | 2 comments

I’ve been a decorator for roughly 20 years, 10 of which were spent self-employed. I used to always email a full quote over after seeing a job. I’d type every detail, name every surface in every room, talk through the prep, the products and the process. I’d then type a full list of materials and give my price.


How to Cut the Paperwork


This is good practice and in an ideal world I’d still be supplying quotes like this for all my jobs. The problem is the time it all takes. I go to see a job, talk through everything with them, come back, type the quote up, then send it off. You’re looking at 2-hours or more for each one!! I work on domestic jobs which are often only a couple of days long. I sometimes have to provide three or four quotes every week!! I decided there needed to be a way I could cut down on paperwork as a decorator!

Did I really need to type a detailed specification for each quote? Surly it’s the professional thing to do? The other issue is I’m cr*p at keeping up with my paperwork, so I ended up keeping potential clients waiting for their price anyway.

So, I changed how I work. When I go to see a job, I talk through the work in detail anyway. I leave a client knowing exactly which products I would use and why. I make sure they know the preparation process and how I’m going to carry out the work. They even know how long it’s going to take me and roughly when I can fit them in. They don’t need paperwork to prove any of that that.


Before I leave, I ask them if they’d mind if I text the price over, offering to email a spce if they’d prefer. Nine times out of ten a text is all they need, so that’s what I do. I jump in my van, work out the price, type it all out on WhatsApp, including a mini spec, then send it to them the next morning.

I don’t win or lose more jobs doing it this way and it dramatically cuts down on paperwork.


Final Thoughts


My “texting a quote” method isn’t the best process on some occasions. We all like to chase the better paid work, and often we need to show how professional our process is. Plus, typing up a full quote gives us chance to email our terms and conditions over and explain how we need to be paid, or how we need the room preparing for us.

But, cutting down on paperwork as a decorator will give you your evening and weekends back. It’ll take the pressure off, so you can focus on other things. Your work/life balance will be restored.

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Jun 27, 2021 | 2 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Ian Cooper

    That’s why I started using joist, you can set up basic templates then just include them for each job rather than typing them out, it also keeps track of payments / part payments etc, generates invoice etc.
    Some people don’t get on with it but I found when I’d done several jobs with it I could cut down quote times significantly.

    • Steve Smith

      Yeah I the same Ian. I have pre-determined templates in Invoice2Go and just click on the room(s) I need and edit if necessary. Saves so much time now


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