Simple Guide to Know How to Estimate a Painting Job

Add color to your clients’ life with fresh coats for a fresh start and look forward to a record-breaking year for your new venture.

Throwing a new coat of paint to embellish the interiors is a common human activity and is considered to be a great stress reliever. And, this has been in practice since prehistoric times. Surprisingly, the use of paints could be traced back to 30,000 years to be more exact.

Even more surprisingly, reports state that the US uses around 1.37 billion gallons of paints each year- that’s a lot, right? And, as per job estimations, 5500 painting jobs would be created in the US!

Are you planning for your own painting business? Go ahead! But do you have the proper estimates? In this competitive market, you cannot bid too high such that you end up losing clients. Even you should not claim too low just to stick to this business and run into losses. You must plan out your business strategies well and make appropriate estimates to have a smoothly running business enterprise.

Need not worry, if you are a beginner to this venture and are unaware of how to estimate a painting jobs, we have listed out 5 simple steps to help you out. Check it out now!

Quick insight:

Follow the below guide to get an idea about how to estimate the average cost.

Being a beginner, if you are planning to establish a painting business, ‘how to estimate a painting jobs?’- is a common question. Get your answer in the section below.

Steps for estimating painting jobs:

Being a beginner if you are planning to establish a painting business, how to estimate a painting jobs is a common question. Follow the below guide to understand how to estimate a painting job in detail.

1. Site Visit:

Visiting the job site is essential to make accurate estimates. Giving your clients a blind estimate over the phone would be quite risky. Check out the job site yourself to plan out the labor cost, estimated time, requirements, and other essentials before providing the estimate. If a wall is dirty or in poor shape you may probably need more time and effort.

Besides, multiple accent walls would involve more time due to multiple color implementations. With the help of a laser, the measure takes the measurement of the space for calculating the estimate with more accuracy.

The area to be painted, the brand used for paints should also be included within your estimate. Hence, visiting the site is a must to get all your questions answered beforehand to avoid any troubles later on.

2. Estimate your business costs

Visiting the job site gives you a rough idea about the job estimate. Estimating painting jobs needs to consider the business costs for more accuracy. To calculate the average cost to paint a room consider the below factors to create a proper estimate for painting jobs.

Check out the below section to know more!

Estimate the Cost of Paint

The paint cost per gallon is nearly around $15 to $80. On average it comes around $45 which includes the brand of paint used, quantity and quality, and your discount. Take the estimated paint cost and calculate accordingly as per the area to be painted.

Supposedly, a 1500 square foot area would need around 10 gallons of paint.
So let’s find out what could be the probable cost for painting a 1500 square foot area:
If the per gallon cost is $45 and for painting 1500 square foot area if 10 gallons of paint is required then the total cost would be:
$45 × 10 = $450
This is an approximate estimate for exterior or interior space.

You can even make a good profit if you purchase a lot of paints every month. This way the contractor would offer you a good discount. But being a beginner you would probably have to wait until you become a professional.

Fun Facts

  • Approximately 570 gallon of paint is required to cover the exterior of White House, Washington DC.
  • Oil paints do not dry, they harden due to oxidation which happens within 2 weeks.
  • Paint dries quicker in around 70-degree celsius.
  • Sistine Chapel in Vatican City exhibits some of the awe-inspiring features and is known for its high ceiling and intricate artwork. It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the ceiling.
  • King Tut’s tomb was painted with the oldest house paint made of lime mixed with milk and some natural pigments.
Estimate the Cost of Materials

Do you think painting a house or a certain part of it includes paint and brushes? Well, you are wrong then! Your painting business includes a lot more accessories than you have ever thought. And most importantly, the quantities of the material depend upon the area that is to be painted. You need to prep up all your requirements before you take up a project and must quote your estimates accordingly.

Precisely, a few things go handy with this task like the primer, caulking, tape, masking paper, masking plastic, etc. In the case of exterior paints, you may need to count the number of windows, doors, and rooflines as well.

Let’s consider that painting a 1500 square foot area involves an approximate expenditure of $110 on materials.

Estimate the Cost of Labor

As per the ongoing rates the labor cost amounts to $20 per hour per labor. While preparing your estimate, figure out the timeframe of job completion, the area to be painted, and the number of painters needed.

Besides, there may be other factors that may extend your completion time like,

  • Multiple coats are needed for a particular area
  • Obstacles, like trees on your way
  • Embedded windows are often difficult to paint.
  • The steep roof and other inaccessible parts make it difficult to complete the work on time.

Just because you are new to this business you may miss out on this point. Quote your prices tactfully to protect yourself from unworthy losses.

An approximate estimate of labor cost on the following square foot area:
1500 square foot: $800 for 1 day
2500 square foot: $1600 for 1-2 days
4000 square foot: $2400 for 3 days
As we have considered the 1500 square foot area we will add the respective labor cost at the end.

3. Include marketing cost

Don’t forget your business needs publicity. Everyone needs to know about your services and this process won’t come in free. You need to print and distribute flyers and posters. Law agreements and contract making also involve certain expenditures besides paying for lead providers.

Not just in the beginning, you need constant support to keep your business smoothly running. Marketing your business agendas and services is essential which would continuously extract money from your project. Monitor efficiently to balance your marketing expenditure to keep your profit margin intact.

Marketing costs should not exceed 10% of the project amount. Therefore a $1000 painting job should not cost more than $100 in marketing.

4. Add Your Markup

Even though you have a new business your estimate should include your markup. 30% markup is good enough for new startups, whereas, some professional companies claim even up to 50%. Before you add your markup calculate your overhead cost which includes your office rent, marketing cost, accounting, service charge, insurance, transportation, etc. Your markup should not be too low nor too high so that you have sustainability in the market.

5. Calculate the total cost

Calculating your final cost is easy. Add up all your expenses to get your total project estimate. Some of the professional painting companies add their marketing cost into markup. It’s simply upon you, how you manage your expenses.

Wondering how to price painting jobs? It may seem tricky! Hence, research on the ongoing rates of painting on the client’s location to give an accurate estimate. Moreover, try rounding up your amount to keep space for unexpected expenses.

Let’s check out the final amount to understand how much it costs to paint a room, as per the square foot we considered.

For 1500 square foot, adding up all the business cost mentioned earlier:
Adding the markup,
$1460 × 0.30= $438
$1460+$438= $1898
Here you go with an approximate estimate for the painting job for an area of 1500 square foot.

Painting estimate template

Billbook invoicing software eases up your calculation and simplifies the process of creating estimates for painting jobs. Get invoices done instantly and track all your payment records without an issue. Besides invoices, you can even try out the painting estimate template for Billbooks for faster and better results. Get your estimate done smartly and win your contracts in no time.

Moreover, this smartly-built app gives timely reminders for delayed payments and monitors your business finances firmly.

Related articleHow to start a painting business

Do You Know?

  • As per industry analysis, the Us increases sales revenue from $1.92 billion in 1992 to $13 billion in 2019.
  • The market size is estimated to be worth USD 146.2 billion in 2019, which is expected to rise 4.3% between 2020 to 2027.
  • As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook reports, the construction and maintenance painter’s approximate earnings were $42,130 in May 2020, which is $20.25 hourly.
  • More than $31 billion in revenue is generated in this sector.
  • Though it is one of the profitable businesses, it is one of the most hazardous professions as paints involves radioactive components.


How much do the painters charge?

As per the ongoing rates, painters charge around $380 to $790 for interiors. The rates may differ as it depends on the area of the room, ceiling height, wall condition, paint price, need for multiple coats, etc. On the other hand, the 1500 square feet exterior portion involves around $1000 to $3000. Prices may fluctuate depending upon the ease of access and the number of stories of the house.
Note: Painter salaries in Australia range between 14,000AUD-47,000 AUD per year. The median salary of the painters is around 31,200 AUD per year.

How much do painters charge per hour?

The per-hour painting cost mostly depends upon labor efficiency. Work may get completed in a day while that same job might take 3-4 days for others. Currently, the per-hour rates vary between $25 to $100. The timeframe of the task completion depends upon certain factors like job location, painter’s experience, and accessibility of the house. As a result, these factors fluctuate the per hour rate of the painting job.

How much do painters charge per square foot?

The interior portion cost per square foot is around $1.50 to $3.50. This amount rises to $3 to $4 per square foot if the ceiling and trims get included. Cost is typically less in the case of exterior painting which amounts to $1 to $1.80 per square foot.

How long does it take to paint a room?

The time required to paint a room involves various factors, like
1. Size of the room
2. Single or multiple colors
3. Painting ceiling
4. Amount of prep work required

How long does it take to paint a house?

Painting the exterior of a house may take one week to several weeks depending upon the following factors:
1. Size of the house
2. Number of stories
3. Amount of prep work needed
4. Single or multiple colors
5. Type of material being painted
6. Weather conditions

How much does it cost to paint a room?

The cost to paint a room ranges between $2-$6 per square foot. Moreover, to understand how much do painters charge to paint a room then you need to consider the following factors:
1. Size of the room
2. Room type
3. Wall height
4. Trim, baseboard, and ceiling
5. Geographic location
6. Paint type, color, gloss, or finish
7. Primer used

Bottom line!

Painting enterprises are earning quite well nowadays. It only matters how you plan your business strategies and how good you are at preparing estimates. Worried thinking, how to estimate a painting jobs? This article will guide you to make your estimates accurately so that you can offer your clients appropriate figures.