How to figure how much to charge for painting a house

Written by kristine tucker Google
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How to figure how much to charge for painting a house
Painting a house can be a time-consuming home improvement project. (Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Painting a house can be a time-consuming home improvement project, but the investment can provide a valuable upgrade to any home. Homeowners are often looking for reputable painters who can provide dependable and affordable house painting prices. Determining how much to charge for painting a house depends upon the square footage, the cost of paint and materials, the labour expenses and the insurance costs. A simple breakdown of those expenses will help determine how much to charge for painting a house.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Visit the home and measure the space. Measure the square metres of the space that is to be painted. Use a measuring tape and measure the length and width of each room and multiply those two numbers together. If ceilings will require paint, measure the length and width of the ceiling, multiply and add all of those measurements to the total. Add all of the room measurements together and record the total square metres that requires paint. For an exterior paint job, measure the length and height of each area that needs to be painted, multiply those numbers together and add to get the total. If interior or exterior painting of the trim is requested, allow another 4.5 litres (1 gallon) for interior and 9 to 13.5 litres (2 to 3 gallons) for exterior paint.

  2. 2

    Figure the cost of the paint. There is no exact science to figuring the cost of paint, but general guidelines will help you with a rough guess. An average-sized room that is approximately 3.6 x 4.2 m (12 feet by 14 feet) will require 9 litres (2 gallons) of paint. If the room will require a primer, add another 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of paint to the total. In general, a high quality gallon of paint runs between £19 to £39 as of 2010. For a 3.6 x 4.2 m (12 feet by 14 feet) room that requires only one or two coats of paint, you will probably spend between £39 and £78 for 9 litres (2 gallons) of paint plus £19 for primer. On a larger scale, for a 140 square metre (1,500 square-foot) home, paint will cost approximately £260 to £520. If you are using a high quality brand name paint or the paint job requires additional coats of paint, the price of paint could be even higher. Many paint companies offer reduced prices to repeat customers and may even provide delivery to the job site.

  3. 3

    Add the cost of materials. Paint brushes, roller brushes, drip cloths, painter's tape, ladders and scaffolding all add to the expense of a paint job. Many of these items can be purchased at discount shops and chain hardware centres in bulk amounts. In general, high quality paint brushes are worth the added expense, but dust sheets and painter's tape can be purchased at a discount shops. Scaffolding and ladders can be quite costly and aren't usually worth the investment for only one painting project. Typically, average supply costs, not including ladders and scaffolding, run approximately £65 to £130. If paint brushes and rollers can be used repeatedly, the cost will be on the lower end. If there are many colours of paint being used and each tin requires its own brush or roller, supply expenses will be on the higher end.

  4. 4

    Determine labour rates. Labor rates vary widely from one neighbourhood to the next, but according to Painter Source, £130 to £260 per day is common in 2010, and an average sized room will probably take two days to paint. These two days include one day for set-up, preparation and priming and a second day for another coat of paint and clean up. Whether you have an interior or exterior painting project, labour rates include planning, time gathering materials, preparation work, house painting and clean up. Labour rates can also be charged by the hour. On the cheap end, a painter can charge £22 per hour. A more expensive painter could charge up to £48 per hour. For some projects, heights do require extension ladders and scaffolding which increases the amount of labour involved.

  5. 5

    Opt for insurance. House painters should have several types of insurance, including business (liability) insurance and worker's compensation. Choose liability insurance to cover incidental problems like a ladder falling on a valuable home furnishing or the accidental destruction of a costly piece of furniture. Worker's compensation insurance will cover the painter, and the painter's employees if someone gets injured on the job. These costs range from £97 a year to thousands of pounds a year depending upon the number of employees, the area of the country and the annual number of painting projects. Research insurance companies and policies carefully before choosing one that best suits your needs.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't sacrifice quality for cost when it comes to paint and supplies. Poor quality paint and inferior supplies often result in unhappy customers who demand that the painting project be redone.
  • Avoid adding extra expenses into the contract offer. Clients want and deserve to know exactly what they are paying for.

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