How to Estimate and Quote A Painting Job ? 7 Proven Tips For Businesses

Do you know what’s the make or break point of a painting business? 

It is a quotation given by a business owner like you for your painting service. How? Let’s find out! 

There is no specific rule book for the pricing of the paint job. Every painting company has its price range depending on the resources and paint jobs they own.

For instance, a customer has approached A, B, and H for estimation; A will offer $300 and B $250, and H gives $500. As numbers signify, all 3 of them provide different prices.

Now, you will be thinking on what basis the price has been estimated and what a customer would select? If you are thinking of such questions, then you are at the right place because, in this blog, we have a solution for all of your questions. 

We will discuss 7 tips that will help you learn how to estimate a painting job.

Tips on How to Estimate a Painting Job

Even if you are new to the painting industry or already part of it and want to know more about it, a paint job estimate will never be an easy task. Then let me bust the myth for you that the quotation is all about price or cash flow.

There are other several factors like labor costs, material costs, paint costs, overhead expenses, and marketing. We will explain each one of them to get a clear idea about paint estimation. 

So, let’s begin with what you need to consider while calculating the painting job.

1. Visit the Site/Location

You should not start your estimation of the painting service before visiting the site. For example, you have given a quotation to the client, then you visit the site and realize your estimation went wrong because of a wrong prediction and now you have to face a significant loss. 

Also, it is a great opportunity to meet your client and create a valuable relationship with them. It will also indicate how dedicated you are to your customers.

You will come to know what the client is expecting. Take a professional painter along with you, it will help you to know how much paint is required so that you can easily calculate.

Pro Tip: Every client would have different expectations from what they have heard/ word of mouth from others or what they have seen online.

In the painting industry, it is essential to keep transparent communication between business owners and clients for better customer service. You will also come across customers who will provide their estimation on a square foot of the job, but do not rely on that.

Show your talent and professionalism, and use your laser measure or tape to measure the per square foot and calculate estimation on that basis. It will be a good starting point for your painting business.

Analyze the potential client’s place, jot down the measurement and how many resources you will require to paint that place. Take your time, calculate the cost and write about the obstacles you may face during the project.

2. Estimate Material Cost

After visiting the site, you will learn how much time and resources you require for the paint job. But that’s not enough to make an estimation and give it to the client, you will need to make an estimation on the most important factors: materials, paints, and labor. 

Let’s start with the essential factor of the paint job: material. Without equipment and materials, you cannot perform or do your role. Painting materials are not just limited to brush and spray; it is more than that.

Also, the requirements of materials will be different for interior and exterior job paint. It depends on the project size, needs, time, and complexity. Whether you are new to the industry or experienced, you have to purchase some business equipment.

Nevertheless, we have differentiation equipment you will require as a painting business and what are specific equipment used and are for painters.

Following is the list of materials you will need for the paint task: 

For painting equipment-

  • Paint 
  • Primer
  • Rollers
  • Brushed 
  • Scrapes
  • Paint spray
  • Caulk and spackle
  • Sandpaper

For painters-

  • Mask
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Coveralls
  • Tape
  • Drop Clothes

Now, let’s consider you want a primer, masking papers, caulking, and tape for a specific paint job. 

  • Primer (1 gallon) = $19 to $35
  • Masking paper( 12 papers) = $50
  • Caulking (6 tubes) = $15 
  • Tape (5 tapes) = $25
  • Your approx cost of material = $125 

If you are doing exterior painting, you will need more material because of extra space, and therefore the cost will be more. Also, sometimes you will require more than you expect, so keep an average calculation of materials.

3. Estimate Paint Cost

As not all paint are the same, the estimation of exterior painting and interior paint jobs will be different. You will require less painting in exterior paint jobs than in interior paint jobs. 

Every paint job owner and painting company in the market will tell you different prices because of their resource, but do not keep your price low because of competitors, or else you will not get your profit margin. 

The more data you collect and use, the better you will get in determining the actual and accurate estimates soon. 

Pro Tip: Ask your customers if they need some specific brand paint.

By having clear communication about the brand paint will help you to give a personalized experience to your customers, and a clear picture in calculating the cost for paint estimation. 

Do you know there are two types of paint? Yes, latex-based paints and oil-based paints are the most used painting. Let us simplify for you with an example. 

Latex-based paints: will cost an average of $15 to $50 per gallon. It is ideal for all the walls of living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, and kitchens.

Oil-based paints: will cost an average of $20 to $60 per gallon. It is ideal for exterior and interior, like bathrooms, because it prevents water damage and keeps the wall moisture. 

You can talk with your paint supplier, and ask them to provide some contractor discount as you will require gallons of paint every month. This will help you to reduce your overhead expense, and the saved amount can be used for other aspects. 

To present the best work, choose branded or high-quality paint because it will present the quality work of your business painting. If you are a small business owner, it will be challenging for you and heavy on your pockets but a good quality paint will make it all worth.  

Coming to that, let’s understand how to calculate the cost of paint?

If you have 10 gallons of paint and you are asked to paint 2,000 square foot area, what will be the price?

If the per-gallon cost of paint is $15, your total cost will be $150.

$15 × 10 = $150

4. Estimate Labor Cost 

Estimating labor costs is difficult because of uncertainty. You may come across a situation where only one experienced painter will finish all tasks- and several times 3 painters would not be able to complete the task.

The contractors typically pay around $100 per room, and the average salary of a painter is $18.33 per hour. Yet, it is hard to tell the exact amount because every painter takes a different time.

For instance, some may take 2 hours to coat and paint a full wall, whereas some take 5-6 hours to paint the same wall. It always depends on the base and size.

So, how you will estimate labor costs?

Suppose you need to paint a 1,000 square foot house in one day and the labor is taking $10/ per hour (let’s take it 2 hours), material and paint cost is $500, then your cost would be $10,000.

$50 × $20 (for 2 hours) = $10,000

The labor cost can be variable, but it is essential to include while quoting a painting job.

Also, like painting, there are two types of labor costs: hourly-based costs and direct labor costs. In hourly-based cost, the cost depends on the hours the labor has worked to finish the task. Whereas, in direct labor cost the amount has already been decided among labor and business owners. 

There is another formula to calculate labor cost:

Labor hours x hourly labor cost

To calculate direct labor cost– labor hours x labor cost

And for hourly labor cost- labor hours spent x no. of labors  

Several other factors like Ivy the trees, painting window, multiple coats of paint, and time-consuming wood damage prep work will increase the timeline of the project. 

5. Calculate Marketing Cost

Whether you are new to the painting business or are experienced in this industry, you have to follow this tip for business growth. Now, you will be wondering why to include marketing while preparing the estimation of the painting job cost?

As per Hubspot, companies contribute around 10% of the overall budget in marketing, which is a huge number. Moreover, it is part of your own painting business’s expense ( more like investment) because you need publicity of your business to spread to the market.  

You need to prep work like printing and distributing posters and flyers. Market your painting business digitally is free but if you go for paid marketing. 

However, it is not just for the beginning, you require constant support to grow your business, thus it is essential to consider marketing costs in your estimation of a paint job. 

However, you should not exceed more than 10% in marketing to manage your profit margin.

6. Estimate Overhead Cost

Overhead costs are the cost estimate that you do not have to pay daily but are part of your daily operation. For instance, several times you require certain equipment, which usually you don’t, for such a moment, you need an overhead cost.  

Things that are included in the overhead cost:

  • Insurance & license
  • Taxes
  • Logistics
  • Phone & data bill
  • Office rent 
  • Worker benefit
  • New equipment
  • Planned expansions

It can be tough to calculate and get the right amount, but you can have a rough estimate with a simple paint calculator or software.

7. Final Calculation

Once, you are done with the visit, business, marketing, and overhead cost, you are ready to do the final calculation.

Total project cost= business cost+ marketing cost+ overhead cost

Analyze the entire process after preparing the estimation. Now, you are ready with the quote, and remember to provide them with a detailed quote. 

Providing a thorough and formatted quote to the client will show the scope and purpose of the project, and it is one of the best ways to win and keep the clients on the same page.

And that’s the wrap on how to quote a painting job, hope it was helpful to you, and after reading it, you can create and calculate painting estimates for your companies. 

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Do you still, have a few questions? Let’s discuss it in our FAQ section:


According to Forbes, the lowest cost of hiring a painter is $1,200, the average cost is $3,500, and the highest cost is $6,500. (The price changes as per the states and competitors).
A painter calculates the square footage by multiplying the length and area of each room to know the total amount in that precise wall space or floor space.
In the painting industry, the average labor cost to paint is $20 to $50 for basic painting which will increase to $100/ per hour for specific work.

Painting jobs are bid by following steps:

  • Site visit
  • Calculation of labor, material, and painting cost
  • Estimate the cost of marketing
  • Estimate of overhead cost
  • Final calculation

Painters measure a room by multiplying length x width.


Estimate paint jobs are a crucial task, but you can create an almost accurate estimation by following the right steps and tips. If you are a new or a small business owner, you should hire the most experienced painter who will be your lead providers for your painting business.

If you want to increase your profit margin intact and boost productivity, try FieldCamp. FieldCamp is a painting company software that helps you automate and manage your business operations like job scheduling, job dispatching, invoicing, and reporting. 

You can easily create and manage multiple job schedules for your painters and keep track of their real-time activities. To experience more benefits, and explore its wide variety of features.

Author Bio

Gaurang Bhatt

Gaurang Bhatt is a techie in himself with an ability to solve problems technically and present solutions in the form of a product. He is one of the pioneers to curate FieldCamp with his 15+ years of knowledge and expertise in providing solutions to home service industries. Gaurang aims to overcome challenges faced by service business owners through software solutions and blogs.