Interior painting & hourly rate

leaveswaveMay 5, 2008

[I don't know how I missed this forum the 1st time through; anyway...]

I'm looking to have some interior painting done. A friend of almost equal exactitude recommended someone she knows personally (& professionally, I think). The painter charges by the hour. I will probably at least have him out to estimate the time involved.

Most estimates I've been able to dig up on the 'net are broken down to $/sq.ft. so I can't convert this guy's charge until I hear his time estimates...and assuming he's fairly accurate. (I'm seeing from $1.25-1.80 per square foot.)

I live in the Midwest in a large metropolitan area.

Can anyone say from experience, or point me to data for hourly rates for interior painting in a comparable market?

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Painters vary in ability and price as much as the customers they serve. In the outer banks, they usually charge $2.25 $2.75 per square foot for repaints. This price includes the paint and all necessary supplies to paint the room. Ask your local paint store where you purchase your paint for good painters and what the average range is in your market. Painters will typically charge between $25 to $50 an hour if you furnish all materials, depending on their ability and what the local market allows. If you have actually seen the painter's work and are satified that he or she can meet your standards, then hire the painter. Also, ask what product they want to use and make sure it is a good quality product. Some painters will use lesser grade products to save money, which ends up making you repaint sooner. It keeps them in business on repaints.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 4:06PM
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I was coming down to the wire to get my prep painting finished before the contractor arrived to work his magic in my three rooms last week.

I hired two women to finish painting one room and ceiling,(two paint colors) and one large closet (a third color) in another room.

I also needed about 500 linear feet of baseboard, crown molding, fluted window and door trim, and picture rail to be sanded, primed, and finished with two coats of paint. I was frantically working on the 34 rosettes, 14 plinths, 7 corner blocks, and 11 crown blocks at the kitchen table.

To further complicate the job, I wanted the trim divided and painted two different colors; "Cotton Balls" for my sewing room and "Lemon Chiffon" for the office and our bedroom. The color difference is barely perceptible, but important to the look I want in the rooms.

The two women I hired are angels in disguise. They're painting fools, professionals, not young women. Amazing. They put me to shame.

They brought their supplies; I supplied the paint. They worked quietly and efficiently; I don't think they wasted one motion.

We had trim stacked in two rooms and out in the garage. It was far too cold and wet to paint out there, so they carried all the trim, and three sets of sawhorses, down to the basement den, covered the floor with tarps, and began sanding. Due to health issues, I can't carry anything up or down the stairs. They knew this in advance.

I was so amazed at the quality and speed of their painting. It took three days to finish; everything turned out exquisitely beautiful. Each artist charged separately for her hours. Each charge a flat rate of $15 per hour. They wouldn't accept a penny more; but I did slip a generous tip into their paperwork.

I was truly blessed to have their help.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 2:27AM
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I forgot to mention, these women have their own part-time painting business. They were recommended by my contractor.

I live in rural North Dakota; it's often difficult to get workers to trek out here.

The electrician came from nearly 100 miles away! He did a wonderful job so it was worth the expense.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 2:34AM
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Richard, where is the outer banks? Would that price include 2 coats? Priming? Prep work (patching/sanding)?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 7:37AM
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Most pro painters do not price repaint work by the square foot. There are just too many factors involved that make each job different. Also, painters that work by the hour are not really pros IMO. Real professionals will present you with a bid for your job and will supply the paint. Why would I ever let the customer choose and buy the paint? Most homeowners know nothing about paint which is why they are looking to hire someone in the first place.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:23AM
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Oh, I believe that all interior painters (who take their business seriously), no matter how they present a bid/estimate/price/whatever are in the back of their mind going for a pretty specific hourly rate. The words are just the window dressing out front.

Can anyone say from experience, or point me to data for average hourly rates for interior painting in a large, midwest city?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:48AM
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leaveswave, You are correct stating that a pro has a specific hourly rate when giving a flat bid rate. That is the base that they start with. Then overhead concerns as well as a markup on materials are the norm. A painter has to figure materials plus time picking up or having delivered. This all takes time that they should be paid for. Unless you get lucky and find someone like the gals that caroline found, you should consider rolling with the m.o. that the painters use in your area. Out here it is generally a bid on the job not by the sq.ft, but rather by that particular project on a re-paint as each one is different. Painters that operate hourly here charge time plus materials plus 10% to cover overhead expenses. There are handyman type services that include painting in their service and are generally reasonable, but you take a chance of inexperience and lack of knowledge of quality materials. Bottom line is that more times than not, you get what you pay for. Always check references from more than one estimate and ask to see current and past projects from those that are giving you a bid as well as those who will work hourly.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Yes it is true that all painters operating professionally have a bottom line target per hour rate they are shooting for. But, that is different from a guy charging T&M, and those are the guys you need to be careful of. If somebody is charging by the hour instead of presenting you a fixed bid, that could mean they don't know how long it takes to accomplish various jobs so they charge by the hour so they don't lose money. This is bad for the painter and bad for the customer. What is keeping the painter from milking the job forever because it is guaranteed hourly pay?

I honestly don't think you can find data reporting average pay rates of painters. You can check with the painters union to find out scale wage for a journeyman painter probably, but that won't tell you how much overhead business owners tack on to that rate. The overhead is what makes painters pricing vary so much from company to company.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:36PM
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Hey Caroline!
I grew up SW of you!
I'm not an "original" Fargoan...but have ALWAYS been a "Dakota-Boy"...;-)

I STILL haven't made it to Northwood, but am SO glad the recovery is going-on there!!!!

(I'm a Steele-County Boy myself!)

Normally...I can't stand Country Music, but I caught some of a song "...on my International-Harvester...!"
THAT song could've been EXACTLY Me...'cuz it happened many times!! In the early 80's, we bought one of our IH tractors from Northwood Implement.
I WAS guilty of blocking the road many times...but it was usually in our big Steiger, with the 50' digger!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 10:29PM
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The Outer Banks is the northern barrier islands off the mainland of North Carolina. Kitty Hawk is where the first airplane flight took place. I am three blocks from the ocean, salt air, sand, wind, sun, and hurricanes as well as Noreasters.

Paint takes a beating here at the Outer Banks. I see it all, mildew, paint failures due to moisture, bad paint jobs, good paint jobs, and great paint jobs. Contractors come in all levels of quality and workmanship. Caroline sounds like she found a winner in those two women. I know a couple of women painters. Some do great work(much better than some of the men paint crews), others are not so good.
You have to look and check references on any painter. Ask to see some of their work and talk to the homeowners.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 10:18PM
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there are all kinds of painters,from the guys who did 1 job and was told by a relative or friend they did a great job so they decided to start a painting buissness,to someone like myself with 30+yrs in all phases of painting from faux-drywall finishing-wallpaper etc.a true painter can mix/match colors along with a wide variety of other skills as commercial vinyl-texturing to name a few,so,its true you get what you pay for,my rate varies because all jobs are different,i only offer a bid after i have examined the job in mind or viewed blueprints

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 9:06AM
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I charge $1.75+ a sq.ft to do interior painting to cover cost of materials and man hours...those pervious statements about flat hourly rate works into the sq.ft. price by figuring out how many men you need and how long it should take to paint the asking what the hourly rate is depends on the company used. I charge $40 an hour for my self and $25 for help but like I said if the job is 10,000 sq.ft. then my price to do 2 coats and doors and trim is 1.75.. there is alot of work involved and it would take a crew of men a 4 days to paint this with a sprayer, and that includes the paint the tape the plastic, and overhead cost so convert that down to a small 2600 sq.ft. home and apply it there it's going to take 2 men 2 1/2 days and the paint and supplies if it's a repaint with patch and scaffold work that cost $2.25 a sq.ft. keep in mind you are paying for skill and what those ladies did for $15 an hour was nice but most painters aren't old ladies looking for part-time work they are pro's that want a living wage so consider that when paying your tradesmen, you like to get paid a fair wage for your job right, that man or women has spent the better part of their life's perfecting their skill so give the some credit

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:42PM
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That is awesome that you found quality for that rate. 25 to 35 is normal depending on the boss or lack of. And the technician knowing exactly what they are doing. Painting takes skill. Always look at the painter and see how much paint they have on their self. Get bids. I am a finish carpenter that can apply finish to the work. A bad painter can ruin a great piece. So do some homework and hire accordingly. Just my two cents. Let's make it pretty out there...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 2:07AM
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I think most painters will price their jobs by the square foot or linear foot, and also take into consideration the type of surface being painted (interior vs exterior, porousness, how much prep work is involved, accessibility, etc.). You can usually get a break in price the larger the job is. I recently used a service online to get a going rate for refinishing my hardwood floors to compare to a bid I got. It cost me $5 to get the rate info, but it was well worth it since it ended up saving me more than $1,000 from being overcharged and led me to get another bid. I will post the link below. I hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:48AM
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I notice you just joined today, and one of your 1st posts is to a paid service.

No thanks.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Wow...this must be a record!!!
A 5-yr. old thread bubbling back up!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:36AM
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And the original poster even returned! lol

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:43AM
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We operates with painter contractors who are dedicated in performing wall painting solutions for interiors and exteriors of buildings. They can make designer wall using innovative colors and painting as per the requirement and exposure of buildings to various environments. It offers home painting service for every class of individual at reasonable price.

For more details
Call or SMS :- +91-8459025648, +91-8459326001
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    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 2:29AM
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