How to Estimate a Painting Job

Before employing someone to come and paint the house, many people ask for a proper estimate. The estimate allows the customer and the painter to gauge how much it will cost to paint any specific area and temper the customer's expectations with regards to the total cost of the project. This article will help you make a painting estimate, especially if you are new to this trade.

Below, we’ll cover:

  • Why Is It Necessary to First Estimate the Cost Before Painting?
  • How to Estimate a Painting Job?

Why Is It Necessary to First Estimate the Cost Before Painting?

Painting estimate is an absolute must before starting a new paint job. It establishes the expectations between the painter and customer of the cost that can be incurred on the job.

How to Estimate a Painting Job?

It can be hard to estimate the total cost of a painting job, especially for newcomers to the trade. We have created a 7-step guide for doing a proper estimate of a painting job before starting the work:

Step 1: Make A Site Visit

Before estimating and quoting a price for the painting job, you need to do a site visit. This helps you gauge how much work and materials are required for a painting job. The reconnaissance also helps find any additional repair work like seepage or peeling that can hinder the painting. The site visit also lets you gauge the amount of time it will take to finish the job, especially if there are multiple rooms and designs to cover.

Take a tape measure along to see how long and broad the walls are. Also, bring the customer forth on the site visit and know if they have any specific requirements for materials or wall finish. Asking all these questions not only makes your job easier but helps you avoid any mistakes. It allows you to quote an estimate based on facts comfortably.

Step 2: Estimate The Cost Paint

This can vary based on the brand of paints used. The typical cost of paint ranges between $15 and $80 a gallon, based on the brand and finish of the paint. The price can vary based on the quality and discount you receive on your total bill too.

If you have a well-established business, you can ask your supplier for a discount on the purchase. As a regular customer, you have greater luck in getting a good price on the bulk materials you buy.

With the paint chosen and additional supplies purchased, it is time to make measurements and buy paint accordingly. Here is a rough calculation to help you measure your paint purchase.

If the paint costs $30 then, the cost to paint room is:

1,500 square foot will require 10 gallons; $ 300 is the cost of paint

2,500 square foot will require 15 gallons; $ 450 is the cost of paint

4,000 square foot will require 25 gallons; $ 750 is the cost of paint

Step 3: Estimate The Cost Of Materials

You need to produce an estimate for the cost of external materials needed for the project. This is depending on the amount of pre-prep a wall or house requires before the actual job. You can determine this cost after making your site visit.

Step 4: Estimate The Cost Of Labour

This depends on the painters' per hour charge and the amount of time it will take to finish the paint job. Since it is difficult to estimate the amount of time it may take to complete a job, we advise you to make your mark-up accordingly.

Step 5: Estimate The Cost Of Marketing

Marketing is a hidden cost of painting. You need to market yourself appropriately to get good jobs. You can recover the investment made in marketing by adding that into your overall painting job estimate.

Step 6: Add In Your Mark-Up

This is the primary way to make your profit in this trade. You need to determine what percentage of mark-up you are going to employ for your business. Most industry experts find that a 30% mark-up works well for new business, while more experienced companies can command a 50% mark-up.

Before you decide on your mark-up percentage, be sure to evaluate your overhead costs as well as a profit margin that will make your business viable in the long run. Don’t make the mistake of selling your time and labor short.

Step 7: Do The Final Calculation

Once you have figured out your estimates, it is time to add everything up and present the total project cost to your client. The final calculation will look something like this:

Paint cost + materials cost + Labour cost + Marketing cost + mark-up = Total project cost

Hopefully, this article was useful for all those looking to start their painting business. Making a proper estimate is crucial when it comes to such trades. With the help of WeInvoice, you can access multiple invoice templates that help you generate estimates and invoice documents, making the process of business transactions smooth and efficient.


What's the average cost for a paint job?

The average cost of a painting job highly depends on the quality of materials, the time and type of labor you employ, and the square foot charge quoted by the painter. The average cost for a 1500 square foot room can be between $1000 to $2000.

How do painters calculate square footage?

Square footage of a house is calculated by adding the length of the walls and multiplying it with the height of the room, floor to ceiling. This gives you the room's square footage.

What should a painting quote include?

A painting quote should include the following items:

  • An estimate of the cost of materials
  • An estimate of the cost of time and labor
  • An estimate of the cost of marketing
  • Your mark-up
  • The total cost of the project and any discount that you are willing to give on the bill.

Now that you have an estimate ready, visit WeInvoice and create a quote based on your research. WeInvoice also provides you with easy to download, customize, and print invoice templates. Check out now.