Last Updated Sep 1, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
The first thing many people ask when they contact a painter is: "How much do you charge per hour?" When they get a range of replies, they are sometimes shocked by the differences in hourly rates. Hourly rates can be deceiving, though. Here's what you need to know to get accurate quotes from painters.
Painters hourly rates vary between $18 and $40 per hour for interior work and more for exterior painting. Many painters avoid advertising their hourly rates, focusing instead on the quality of their work. It's not because they want to be deceptive -- it's because they calculate their rates according to the demands of the job. They have to include travel, set-up and clean-up time in their calculations. One job may require one type of paint for the walls, another for architraves and yet another for the ceiling trim. Another job request might just call for a fresh coat of paint on an interior wall. Although the job may only take half a day, they are unable to get on to another job that day and have to charge more in order to make a fair day's wages.
According to industry sources, if a painter charges less than $35 an hour, the money they make at the end of the day is less than an employee is likely to make. As a client looking for the best deal, this may not seem to be your concern, but if you look a little more closely, you can see what can happen if you choose the cheapest hourly rate:
Of course, it's always possible that a painter who charges the least per hour will do a terrific job that costs less, but how can you know in advance if this will be the case? Aside from asking for their rates, ask them how long they've been in business in your area and to provide you with references you can contact directly. Also make sure they are licensed, if necessary in your state, and insured. Professional painters will always carry insurance, while amateurs usually do not.
Today, getting quotes from painters online is becoming commonplace. This way of getting quotes has tremendous advantages. The disadvantage is that you may not get accurate quotes from per metre or hourly rates. To get accurate quotes online, you'll need to give them details about the job. For interior painters, some of these details may include:
Exterior painters will need to know:
The painters may have other questions as well, but if you include as many important details in your request as possible, you will get more accurate quotes back and be better able to accurately compare them. Then you can make an informed choice with greater confidence of getting the best painter for your job at the best price.
*Cost and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces. This article was updated 18 June 2015 to reflect current market pricing.