How do I charge for graffiti removal?

How do I charge for graffiti removal?

So, you’ve got your Starter Pack, you’ve read the book, eaten the pie, got the T-shirt and now you’re ready to start making money. How are you going to charge for this sort of service?

Graffiti removal is actually fun and when you are doing something you love then it is never work. This makes things tricky when figuring out how to charge for jobs. You need to use your discretion which gets easier with experience. Here are a few pointers which should help guide you in the right direction:


  • Firstly, graffiti removal is a skill/trade that is learned and honed over time and requires specialized products and equipment. Don’t be afraid to charge accordingly, but be mindful not to charge clients like it’s your first and last job either.
  • Remember: once you take your hat and coat off to work you will never get rich quickly. However, you can still earn a fabulous living using our advice.
  • Good and reasonable work often results in a referral, and there is always the likelihood that recur-ring graffiti will have them back on the phone to you in the future.
  • Become a friend in the trade to everyone. The cost of products when using our system will not be more than 10% of the total, the balance being your time and equipment etc.
  • Although it may initially seem simpler to break jobs down into time and material, we recommend having a ball park rate in square footage. Approximately $3 per square foot will keep your product cost % in check for typical jobs. If extra product is required you will have to add this on to the total.

The team from GRS (Graffiti Removal Services Inc.) in Sacramento CA celebrate after cleaning graffiti from an entire pedestrian bridge in Oakland CA.

Developing a square foot rate is helpful to you and your customer. It helps your customer by making the cost more predictable. It also helps you as with a little practice you’ll be in and out of jobs very quickly and often short-changing yourself with your old time and materials formula. It can also ultimately help you in employing someone else to do the work with you in the long term.


If you intend on taking our advice, in billing by the square foot, you need to have a standard ‘call out fee’ which may include the first several square feet (say 5-10 sq.ft.) or 1 square yard. This will vary depending on the travel distance involved. We suggest around $90 within 5 miles of your base.


The second square yard or 10 square feet can be $30 and subsequent sq. yards/feet $25. This way the client will know exactly how much to expect before you arrive, and avoid any unwanted arguments.


Remember that filled in bubble writing, multiple tags on top of each other or graffiti on previously sand/soda blasted surfaces can significantly add to the time, and product required.


For example, your rate may need to double on filled in bubble writing or spray can mural removal. You may also need to reduce your rate for jobs which required a color match and a paint over, as you may be bidding against professional painters. Jobs on historic buildings are worth a lot more because of the boffins and regulatory authorities. Be warned. They take 5 times longer than normal graffiti. If you don’t win them then nothing is lost except prestige in your trade. However bad business is worse than none at all.


CALCULATING SQUARE FOOTAGE

In order to calculate the total square feet, draw an imaginary box around each tag.


Multiply the height x width to calculate the square footage of each box.


Where there are multiple tags, add the sq. footage of each box together to estimate the total price for the job.


60ft wide x 10ft high = 600sq ft

On larger removal jobs, such as the one pictured here, we always recommend establishing a modus operandi by removing a few square feet perfectly, before embarking on large scale removals.