How to Price a Painting Job

by Deborah Waltenburg; Updated September 26, 2017

As a painting contractor, you have to provide competitive pricing that will cover the cost of labor, materials, and time, while compensating you for your skill and quality of work. Whether doing interior, exterior, decorative, residential or commercial painting jobs, an effective pricing method allows you to quickly produce accurate estimates and focus on the real job: painting! Here are the steps you need to take to price a painting job.

Items you will need

  • Calculator
  • Tape measure
Step 1

Measure. You'll need to know square footage of the area to be painted in order to know how much paint to order. You'll also be able to determine how much time the job will take, how many supplies are needed and whether you will need additional help (employees). Taking the time to measure demonstrates your level of commitment and that you care about providing an accurate estimate for your customers.

Step 2

Factor the amount of time it will take to complete the job, from prep work to clean up. You might have to spend as much time preparing a room to be painted as you will spend actually painting. Surface preparation (scraping, pressure washing, etc.), covering woodwork, outlets, and floor surfaces, and protecting the customer's property is just as important as the painting itself, so don't cheat yourself out of money by not including these tasks in your estimate.

Step 3

Determine what supplies will be needed for a particular job. You may need to purchase clean drop cloths, additional brushes or rollers, painters tape, pan liners and other accessories in order to complete a job. Provide a detailed listing on your estimate of all supplies to be used, so the customer can see how you arrive at your price.

Step 4

Include lodging (if needed), mileage and fuel costs. You can keep these costs to a minimum by making sure to get everything you will need before you arrive at the job site. Don't expect a customer to be happy if you underestimate the amount of materials needed and then charge them mileage when you make repeated trips to the paint store to get more supplies. Lodging usually only comes into play when you do commercial jobs that require travel.

Step 5

Factor in the cost of additional labor (employees). If you are doing a large exterior job or a commercial job, where time is of the essence, having additional painters is crucial to your success. You'll want to include their hourly or per job wages, and any benefit costs that you have to pay.

Tips

  • Come up with set fees for certain items beforehand to make estimating more efficient. Set prices for labor per hour, materials (except paint), and a mileage rate, and use these figures for all estimates. Underbidding will only cause you to continually lose money on your work. You can price your work competitively without shortchanging yourself.

About the Author

Based in Ohio, Deborah Waltenburg has been writing online since 2004, focusing on personal finance, personal and commercial insurance, travel and tourism, home improvement and gardening. Her work has appeared on numerous blogs, industry websites and media websites, including "USA Today."