If you’re here, then you have already made up your mind to start a painting business. After going through the various steps to joining the industry, you have to understand how much you’re likely to earn as a painting contractor or painting business owner. 


Before going further, you need to understand how you’re going to price your services. You need to know how you’re going to charge your customers. This is very important since paint jobs are different in labor, materials, equipment, skills, and time for completion. 

How Much Are You Going To Charge For Your Services?

You may charge about $1,000 for small jobs that you’re likely to complete in a day or two. About $20,000 may be appropriate for bigger projects such as painting home interiors and exteriors. You need ideas on how to price your services for various projects over time. 


One of the best ways to charge higher prices is to offer more value to all your customers. A wonderful idea is to offer a warranty for your services. Your contractor warranty covers customers for the paint job they’re paying for. Offering a warranty gives customers peace of mind that you vouch for the quality of your work. 


Now let’s see the factors that determine how much do house painters make.

What Does A Painter’s Salary Depend On?

Various factors come into play when thinking about how you’re going to charge for your prices. Some of the factors that determine how much do painters get paid include the area of operation, experience in the industry, nature of employment, and kinds of projects you handle. 


Let’s go through them in detail below. 

Type of employment

Your type of employment determines how much money do painters make. One type is to work as a contracted painter. The average salary for a contracted painter in the US by April 26, 2022, was $43,940. However, the salary range is usually between $37,650 to $52,545. The salary may vary according to education, additional skills, certifications, and experience in the industry. 


By April 30th, 2022, the average annual salary for self-employed painters in the U.S. was $79,449. This is about $38.20 hourly, $1,528 weekly, and $6,621 monthly. According to ZipRecruiter, the lowest annual salary is about $20,000, and the highest is  $223,500. 


The average salary range varies by about $48,500, suggesting the various opportunities for advancing and getting higher pay depending on location, skillset, and experience. 


Before becoming a painter, you need to know which state is best for your professional. Knowing this will make starting your career as a professional painter less challenging. And, you will have a better understanding of the best state where to advance your career. 


Research by Zippia showed that the best state for painters in the USA is Minnesota, and the best city where painters are likely to earn more is Los Angeles, CA. The ideal state for painters has good career prospects regardless of how many years you’ve been in the industry, high annual wages, and various job opportunities. 


Cities that pay the highest average painter salaries, according to the  U.S News, include:

  • Alaska – $57,460
  • Hawaii – $54,900
  • District of Columbia – $52,920
  • New York – $51,130
  • Missouri – $50,240

Types of projects

As a professional painter, you’re likely to be hired to do various projects, including painting interiors and exteriors of homes and various commercial establishments. Your role is to give any space that needs painting a professional touch. 


It is very important to understand that painting jobs are not the same. Yet, you have to be well prepared to handle any job that comes your way. You have to be with appropriate equipment and employ the right people for the job. This requires evaluating the project’s needs and advising the client accordingly on the requirements for the job before giving them a quote. 


Some of the highest paying painting jobs according to recent job listings on ZipRecruiter, include:

  • Lead painter from $35,000 to $45,500 annually
  • Finish painter from $29,500 to $42,000 annually
  • Paint specialist from $27,500 to $41,500 annually
  • Interior painter from $29,000 to $39,000 annually
  • House painter from $29,000 to $38,500 annually
  • Paint prepper from $26,500 to $32,500 annually
  • Metal painter from $24,000 to $29,500 annually

Your experience

When you have just joined the industry, it is very hard to ask for the same salary as those with experience. And, since you’re building your portfolio, you’re likely to handle most of the jobs that come your way without emphasizing much on price. 


So, you may sometimes get paid less than the industry standard. However, this pays much more in terms of getting positive reviews, recommendations, and referrals from these clients. After a few years in the industry, then you may begin to ask for higher wages.  


The experience levels for painters are from entry to senior level.  

  • Entry-level painter with less than 5 years of experience earns an average base salary of $36,844
  • Mid-level painter with less than 10 years of experience earns an average base salary of $42,149
  • Experienced painter with 10 t0 20 years of experience earns an average base salary of $45,505
  • Senior painter with more than 20 years experience earns an average base salary of $53,011

Average painter hourly wage

The average painter hourly wage 2022 in the U.S is $16.45. Painting jobs listed on ZipRecruiter have the lowest painter salary per hour is $9.13 and the highest painter hourly wage is $25.00. How much do painters make an hour varies significantly to suggest various opportunities for growth and more pay depending on work experience, location, and level of skills. 

How much can you make?

Determining how much do painters make a year requires understanding your potential expenses. Every job is different, and it may require the use of different materials whose cost may lower your profits. You have to keep these in mind to ensure that you quote an amount covering all of them and leave you with a profit to keep you in business. 


Let’s go through some light on some considerations to quote a paint job the right way, so you make a profit.

Administrative Costs

When starting out, you may need just one person to handle administrative duties in your office. So, this may account for about 1% of the total budget for the project. Keep in mind that you’re likely to offer a higher salary as the workload increases. 


Alternatively, you should consider using a painting business management software like Field Complete to eliminate this expense. The software will handle tasks that were formerly handled by your administrative staff, including:

  • Managing communication with field staff
  • Job scheduling and dispatching
  • Creating job estimates and sending invoices
  • Preparing job reports

Cost of Labor

Costs of labor usually range from 40% to 50% of the project’s revenue. It means that a $5,000 job requires about $2,000 to $2,500 to cater to the wages of your field staff. It also includes employment overheads like payroll taxes. 


How much does a painter make per hour determines the cost of labor for a project. This usually depends on the experience of every member of your crew. And, jobs that require specialized skills are bound to cost more skilled staff that usually charge more. 

Cost of Painting Materials

Completing a painting job involves using various materials, including masking tape, paint, rollers, and brushes. These usually take up about 10 % to 20% of the overall budget for the job. The rate doesn’t change much whether you use low or high quality paint. This happens because you’re likely to charge a lower price than when using high quality paint. 


New construction projects that have never been painted before need more work and materials. You have to budget for about 30% more priming and caulking of the walls. Additionally, interior and exterior painting jobs require different prepping, detailing, and cleaning up. Interior jobs usually require more hours compared to exterior painting jobs. 

Marketing expenses 

The type of marketing strategy depends on your target customers, the size of your business, and your experience. So, the budget for marketing ranges from 3% to 20%. You have to choose a marketing channel that will produce the best return on investment. As your business grows, your marketing budget will also become bigger. 


Painters who are starting out depend more on leads, but these become expensive as the need to get more jobs increases. As you build a reputation in the industry over the years, you rely on referrals and repeat customers. These are cheaper marketing strategies with long-term benefits. 


Cost of Other Overhead 

These usually take about 10% of the overall budget for paint jobs. Overheads are essential expenses to handle paint jobs, including painting contractor software, insurance, rent, and legal compliance fees like state licenses and permits. 


You also have to charge customers a convenience fee for paying by credit card. So, you avoid paying a transaction charge of about 3% for all credit card payments. This can significantly add up if you have most customers paying by credit card. 


You don’t pay for some of these costs after a single job. They are evenly distributed on all potential jobs you may handle in a given period. So, you have to account for all overheads to make a profit in your business. 

Don’t Forget To Include Your Salary

You have to pay yourself as a business owner. So, you need to include your salary when generating an estimate for a paint job. Paying yourself a fair house painter salary is great motivation, especially as a new small business owner. Expecting to wait until the business stabilizes and profits grow is not a good idea. It just increases financial strain on you and encourages having unrealistic expectations. 

Set A Profit Margin

Investing in your paint business encourages growth. So, understanding how to calculate job estimates for your paint services determines whether you’ll have cash inflow or not. The profit from your business is not for managing expenses but for its improvement. Some of the ways to use business profits include:

  • Hiring new painters
  • Acquisition of more painting equipment and supplies
  • Investing more in marketing your business
  • Expanding your business operations


The potential profit margin is 8% to 12% and you should aim at using it to grow your painting business. 

Send A Quote To Your Customer

After preparing your quotes for prospective customers, present them on branded letterheads or forms. Using a painters’ business management software is easier. You can create a personalized template outlining the project scope and all services to provide. And, you can use the software’s mobile application to send the invoice. 

What To Do If The Customers Gets Lower Quote From Other Painters

Be prepared for this scenario, and don’t get tempted to lower your rate. Doing this will mean that you’re to use cheaper materials or sacrifice your profit. Being confident that your rate portrays the value the client should expect will make quality customers go ahead and hire you. 


Schedule a free demo today to see how Field Complete can help you get started in the painting industry.