How Much Do Painters Charge Per Hour? Take the Mystery Out of Exterior Painting Bids

Sometimes bidding out work on your home can feel like a magic show, with contractors seemingly pulling numbers out of thin air. When it comes to trusting a painter with your biggest investment this isn’t time for “guesstimates” or hocus pocus. You want to know that your estimate is fair and based on objective criteria. If you’re thinking about painting the exterior of your home you’re likely wondering, “how much do painters charge per hour?” 

You should have peace and confidence when hiring a residential home painter. No one wants to worry about “Chuck in a Truck” conjuring up a number on the spot based on your zip code.

Let’s take the mystery out of it and reveal the factors that influence a home painting estimate.

How to Calculate Labor Costs for Painting

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had some insider information on how reputable professional painters go about bidding on jobs? Guess what? You don’t have to have a friend in the business to get the scoop. 

The Painting Contractors Association (PCA) has developed 25 industry standards to guide everything from color designation, spot repair, the application of decorative finishes, and removal of wall coverings. These standards include the measurement of surface areas for estimating paint jobs.

The PCA provides professional painters with a calculator to help them determine how long specific jobs should take. For example, the amount of time it takes to paint a wall based on square footage. Or how many minutes it takes to paint a 6-panel door. 

Other standards set forth by the PCA include unit pricing based on the number of windows and doors in a home and how many gallons of paint are needed for the job based on spread rates on various surfaces.

While it may not directly answer “how much do painters charge per hour” because that is determined by a specific business, these standards give painters a fair approach to estimates based on objective criteria.

Factors That Impact How Much Will It Cost to Paint My House

At Riggins Painting we use the PCA standards as the foundation for all of our painting estimates. Obviously, home size has the largest impact on the number of gallons of paint and amount of laborers required. 

But what are other factors that influence the cost to hire a painter for the exterior of your home? Let’s take a look:

  • Condition: If it’s been 15 years since your house was last painted and your painter needs to do carpentry work, it will likely increase the cost of your painting project.
  • Cleanliness: All homes should be power washed prior to painting, however, some take longer than others depending on how well it’s been maintained and if bugs need to be removed.
  • Color change: A color change often requires a second coat of paint which will cost more.
  • House height: A two or three-story home may require custom scaffolding. 
  • Materials: As with many industries, supply chain shortages are impacting access to wood, sheetrock, and even paint (due to a shortage of ingredients) which may require a temporary or longer increase in price.
  • Siding: Whether your home is brick, wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, EIFS (synthetic), or concrete will impact how easily the paint adheres to your home and therefore impact the cost.

How Much Does a Nice Paint Job Cost? A Tale of Two Houses

Let’s look at two brick houses that both measure 3,500-square feet. House A’s exterior cost $6,500 to paint. House B cost $20,000 to paint. Why the big difference in cost? 

how much do painters charge per hour
how much do painters charge per hour

House A (3,500-sq ft.) $6,500

  • Six-years-old, well-maintained
  • Painting all trim including fascia, soffits, and shutters
  • Brick siding will stay natural color

House B (3,500-sq ft.) $20,000

  • A 25-year-old home that has not been painted in 11 years.
  • Change from natural brick to painted white brick, in addition to repainting all trim
  • Requires wood repair to porch columns

To sum it up, the three biggest elements that drive the cost of an exterior paint estimate are:

  1. Color change (or not.)
  2. Carpentry (or not.)
  3. Painting brick (or not.)

(If you’re unsure whether it’s time to paint the exterior of your house, read: Is It TIme to Repaint Your House? Look for These 5 Signs.) 

Getting Bids and Selecting a Residential Painter

It’s best to have the estimate done in person. This not only allows you to meet a representative from the business but it allows them to walk your property, take accurate measurements and consider every detail of the project, including architectural features that might not be on your radar. This minimizes any last-minute surprises. It is also critical to get the bid in writing so there’s no backpedaling or disagreement when the invoice comes.

Obviously, price is one consideration. For suggestions on how to find the best painters in Memphis, Shelby County, and the surrounding area, read: How to Find the Best Painters in Memphis & What to Know Before You Hire Them.

Before you hire a painter, here are the “The 9 Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring a Residential Painter.”

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

At Riggins Painting we pride ourselves on honest pricing and an excellent result.  

Depending on whether you are looking to have your interior or exterior painting, our pricing structure includes: 

  • price by square foot (walls and ceilings etc.)
  • by linear foot (trim, exterior cornice, etc.)
  • and unit pricing for windows, doors, and cabinetry

We would love the opportunity to discuss your dreams for your home and how we can make them a reality. You can schedule a free consultation online or call our office.

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