How much should a painter charge?


Old 08-19-08, 03:18 PM
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How much should a painter charge?

I'm in a small Kentucky town and I need a small room painted. Unfortunately I cannot do it myself, and all the painters I have contacted, bar one, say it's too small a job for them. The one painter who is willing to do the job has given me a quote for a per-hour rate, with a maximum number of hours so I have a ceiling price. How do I know his per-hour price is a good one, seeing as how I don't have anything to compare it to? Is there a professional painter out there who can tell me what a good hourly rate is so I don't get ripped off? Thanks for reading this.
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Old 08-19-08, 05:55 PM
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Is this a professional painter or someone who thinks they can paint?

It's up to you what route you go depending on how complicated or fussy the work has to be. You might get by, depending on the difficulty of it, with finding someone who can do all sorts of work for you. It is nice to know at least one such person in any town. Someone reliable who does not charge an arm and a leg, and who can help you out in many ways, like unclogging your drain or replacing a broken lightswitch, etc. or do several things during one trip to save you trip charges.

If you were to call up a big yellow page ad painter, lets say, who does even commercial stuff and has pressure washers, scaffolding, spray equipment, can spray steel doors like factory, etc., do you think they are going to charge $8 an hour. Not a chance. But you may find someone who can do some walls and ceilings adequately for reasonable, if you ask around. You could contact your local hardware and lumberyard for example as some handypeople put out cards at such places.
Old 08-19-08, 07:50 PM
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I had to chuckle at ecman's comment about those who "think they can paint." That's pretty much anyone who can hold a brush in his hand, isn't it?


I'm not a professional painter, but you could say that I'm more like a professional handyman who does a variety of different tasks, and does them well.

In my area, also a small town in a rural area, I wouldn't do your job for less than $30/hr, plus materials. Although you could find someone like ecman mentioned, "who think they can paint" that might do it for $10-15/hr. Some who are semi-retired can live off that sort of wage and don't have a lot of overhead or a family to feed and put through college. They may or may not do a good job for you.

In most cases, if a painter doesn't sand the walls before beginning, isn't using a paint pole, and isn't rolling the walls from floor to ceiling, he probably about as good of a painter as your average Joe.
Old 08-20-08, 04:22 AM
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I can't imagine bidding a small job by the hour. Anyone that does a small job bid that way is likely not a pro painter. You might try calling a paint store [not big box paint dept] and asking them to refer some small time contractors to get bids from. As always - check references!!!

One way to determine the prevailing painter's wage would be to ask a couple of the paint contractors what they pay their painters. Call the contractors that said the job was too small - they will be the ones most likely to give you an accurate answer. Labor prices can vary greatly in different regions so any price given here may not reflect the prices in your area.
Old 08-20-08, 05:30 AM
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Thank you so much for replying, ecman51, XSleeper and Marksr. Your comments have helped a lot.
Old 04-25-09, 03:56 PM
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Painting charge

I charge $13.00 an hour for prep, painting, and cleanup. I charge this amount for woodwork and walls. I also charge this amount while I am purchasing the paint and the travel time to purchase the paint. I use good brushes and charge a $5.00 brush use. If I have to purchase rollers etc I charge what I purchase them for. I use a roller, not spraying equipment. I bring all drop clothes, ladders etc. Do you think that this is an adequate charge?
Old 04-25-09, 05:18 PM
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Welcome to the forums jamac915!

It sounds a little low in price to me but wages vary in different locations and also vary for skill levels. I also assume you aren't figuring in the cost of a business license, insurance, taxes, cost of equipment and transportation expenses.
Old 04-25-09, 05:32 PM
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I made that working retail...seems low to me. Guess it depends on your skill's and love of the trade.
Old 04-25-09, 06:29 PM
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Multiply the square footage of the space to be painted, not the floor space by one dollar.
Old 04-26-09, 07:09 AM
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Great questions and responses. Like others have already said, it really depends on your area. I just moved to a rural area from a major Canadian city. In the big city, I could charge $25/hr and nobody blinked.

Like Xsleeper said, I sand walls/trim before painting, use three different size polls depending on area to paint and apply paint from floor to cieling. I use quality brushes (I DON'T CLEAN THEM AT YOUR HOUSE WHEN I'M DONE FOR THE DAY). My cut ins are clean and straight and when I leave a job things are left clean and tidy. I consider myself quite a good painter.

However, lots of people in the rural town I live in now don't expect that and don't want to pay for it. They want a colour change and don't care if you sand the walls first. People rave about what a good deal they got on a paint job, but I walk around looking at it and think "wow, I wouldn't pay someone for this job." Sloppy cutting in, rolling over pebbles on the walls, etc. Some of the painters here aren't even using drop sheets when painting rooms with new flooring installed!!! That's insane!!!

These customers are wanting to pay $12/hr. I won't bring all my own paint gear and skills to a job for that rate. That being said, it's been a tough winter and I've learned the benefits of eating lots of casserole and cutting the heat back!

At this point, I've decided my going rate is $18/hr. This is my first year here and I have to get myself established to break into the market. Now that spring is here, that's starting to happen and I'm slowly building a customer base with people who want a better than average job done. $18/hr is low as far as I'm concerned, but I would rather work than not. As well, given the economy...painting is being bumped a little lower on the priority list in terms of what needs done around the house.

Anyhoo, with regards to the original poster I guess you have to consider what the job is worth to you. If nobody else is willing to do it, your options are slim.

Ouch, I just saw the date on the previous posts and now I feel a bit silly. I hope at this point the OP is enjoying their now year old paint job on the smallish room.

Jamac915, that sounds low. If you're bringing your own gear, can do a better than average job and customers are happy at the end of the they say in poker..."Raise it up!" As others have said though, this will depend on what your particular market will support.

I must remember to look at dates on threads before I spend two Sunday morning coffees worth of time blabbering away on here. Happy Sunday everyone! I'm making more coffee.....
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