Estimating the Costs of a Residential Painting Project

  • admin
  • February 6, 2018

To thrive in the residential painting market, you need to have good bidding skills. That means being able to look at a home and then calculate an estimate that is fair enough to entice the prospective client, but also high enough to leave you with a healthy profit.


Coming up with that perfect number may take a lot of preparation, but clients expect clear answers to their questions when they hire a professional painter. Read on to learn how to estimate the costs of a residential painting project.


Interior Painting Cost Factors

Consider the following factors when calculating the value of an interior paint job:


Room Size(s)

This is the most important factor in determining the cost of an interior paint job. The larger a room is, the more labor and supplies that will be needed. The rule of thumb is a gallon of paint for every 400 square feet. Don’t forget to account for windows, doors, ceiling trim, and baseboards when calculating the area that will be painted.


Number of Rooms

If the job involves multiple rooms, determine whether the client wants a uniform color scheme for the whole house or wants each room painted individually.


Whatever his or her demands, the same cost factors come into play: the paint, the gloss, the size of the rooms, and the amount of time the project will take to complete.


Textured Walls

Texture adds more surface area, which is why textured walls require more paint than smooth walls. When providing an estimate, add additional surface area to the square footage calculation to account for the texture—most painters will add about 300 to 350 additional square feet for a room of average size.


Length of the Job

How long you take to complete a job depends on your style. Are you slow, methodical, and thorough? Or do you emphasize swiftness and efficiency? You must take the material of the surface and the drying period of the paint into consideration as well.


Don’t overestimate yourself, but give an honest figure. Otherwise, the client may call you out about your claims later if the job takes longer than expected.



Unless the job is small, you will need a crew to complete the job. Whether you decide to hire painting subcontractors or go with your own company crew is up to you. Just don’t skimp on paying employees. Provide better treatment and pay, and you’ll get better quality work and loyalty in return.


Paint and Other Materials

Determining the finish of the paint is only the beginning. There’s also primer, brushes, tape, drop cloths, paint trays, paint rollers, ladders, small brushes, and other tools and materials to consider.


Try not to skimp on tools since they can make or break the quality of a painting job. Top-notch tools will not only last you a long time but also help you produce exceptional work that makes your clients very happy.


Exterior Painting Cost Factors

Painting a home’s exterior involves a lot of the same considerations as interior work—and then some. Here are the few extra factors that residential painting crews should consider when calculating the cost of an exterior painting job:


Costs of Paint Siding

The cost of an exterior painting job will vary depending on the home’s exterior construction material. Some materials cost more to paint than others. The order of materials from cheapest to most expensive generally goes from metal to concrete, vinyl, wood, and stucco.


Additional Exterior Features

The client may ask you to paint other additional exterior features like doors, fascia, gutters and downspouts, porches, shutters, and/or window sashes. You may include the extra work as part of a package, or charge for them separately. As always, make sure to consider all the details, including size and material, when calculating the costs.


Home Exterior Painting Prep

Unlike interior rooms, home exteriors are exposed to the elements. As a result, paint jobs require a lot more prep work to last: dirt and dust must be power washed off the surfaces; broken or loose siding must be fixed; loose paint must be removed with a scraper or stripper; siding must be sanded; holes and dents must be filled with caulk or putty; and so on. Prep work is important so don’t overlook it in your estimate.


Lead Paint Testing and Removal

Older homes, especially those built before 1978, must be tested for lead paint, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Depending on whether you opt to get a testing kit or hire a lead testing and removal professional, this may add anywhere from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars to the total cost.

When you provide accurate estimates, not only will your clients be happy, but your business will benefit as well. Good estimates lead to better preparation, and better preparation leads to better production and profitability.

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