A career as a professional painter can be financially fulfilling. If you invest your time into learning the craft and are a reliable worker you can earn a rewarding annual income.
Here we will review the average salary for a professional painter in the United States and Canada. We’ll also discuss the different factors that impact how much a full-time painting professional can make.
Let’s dive in!
Factors that Impact a Painter’s Pay Rate
Many variables impact how much a professional painter can earn. Let’s review some of the factors that can have the largest impact.
Arguably one of the most important factors that can impact a painter’s income is their physical location. Labor costs vary by state. Also, each state has its own tax policy. Typically, states that charge a high-income tax pay their employees more to offset the costs.
Alternately, some states, such as Texas and Florida, do not charge a state income tax. Therefore, they can afford to pay their workers less than the national average.
A painter’s location is vital to determine how much they can make per hour. If making a lot of money is your priority, consider relocating to another state or to a city with a larger population.
When scouting a location to move, look for cities with a growing population. With the increased expansion you can expect more construction projects and housing builds.
Note that the rates in most cities’ will fluctuate with the season, so if you’re looking for steady pay at a premium rate, relocate to a state that pays better.
Experience of the Painter
Experience is the next most important factor in determining the pay of a professional painter. If a painter has an exceptional track record, they can command a higher hourly rate or annual salary. Alternatively, a novice painter with no experience will be significantly cheaper to hire.
When it comes to experience, the proof is in the pudding. An experienced painter will make more per hour if they have a reputable portfolio of past work. Young interior painters should take pictures of their completed painting projects. Doing so will help acquire more clients and call the attention of big-name contractors.
As an aspiring professional painter, make sure that you have an up-to-date resume that lists all of your qualifications. You can secure a high-paying job with a well-written resume, a few quality references, and some past photos of your work.
Self-Employed vs. Contracted Position
Another contributing factor to a painter’s annual income is their job status. A painter can either work for a contractor or work as a freelancer for hire. Generally, self-employed painters will make more than working for another contractor.
Why? Because contractors must split their income with other subcontractors and company execs. Therefore, freelance painters or painting business owners usually make more than paid subcontractors.
The benefits of being a city contractor include a steady salary and consistent jobs. Most freelancers do not have the business expertise to market themselves. Therefore, they turn to other companies, like Base Coat Marketing, to get more work.
However, if you figure out how to sell your services to homeowners and property managers, you can make much more as a self-employed painter.
Type of Painting Projects
Another factor that impacts how much a painter can make is the types of projects they work on. Sometimes, a job can be as simple as painting a few interior walls. These projects typically cost less and therefore produce less pay.
However, a full exterior painting project can take days and cost tens of thousands of dollars. When looking for work, target contractors that tackle the larger projects. They will typically have a better pay structure.
Also commercial painters earn higher salaries than residential painters. Just one commercial customer can outperform the combined value of several residential painting projects. While these typically require certifications and background checks, the payoff can be huge.
How much a painter can make also depends on the size and frequency of their workload. Many contractors will use the square footage of a commercial or residential property to calculate an estimate for a paint job. The larger the job, the larger the profits.
Also, consider the time of year a customer requests a repaint project. For instance, if you’re primarily focused on exterior painting be sure that you’re located in a warm region or you may be out of work for a few months of the year.
Average Hourly Pay for a Professional Painter
So, how much should a painter expect to make per hour?
According to the Department of Labor, the average painter makes $37,960 each year. Therefore, the average hourly rate for a painting professional is $18.25. As we mentioned above, this rate fluctuates depending on several factors.
The highest-paying state for Painters is Alaska, which pays painters on average $57,460/year. Other states that pay painters above the national average include New York, Missouri, Hawaii, and Maryland.
Most painters have a high school diploma or a GED. More qualified painters obtain a degree from a secondary or post-secondary trade school.
If you’re looking to hire a painter, you must carefully vet candidates for your vacant position. While an applicant may have more than a high school degree, they may lack experience. Know what you are looking for in a candidate before posting a job online.
Some crucial qualities that a well-rounded Painter must have include project management, time management, decision-making abilities, and social skills. Since Painters are on the frontline, they also play a role in customer service. A good Painter should be able to communicate effectively with customers should issues arise while on the job site.
Painting Business Owner Salary
Many painting business owners wonder how their income stacks up against the national average.
The salaries of painting employers vary state-to-state and province-to-province. The average yearly income for a painting company owner in the United States is $76,000. However, some of the most successful entrepreneurs make well over $1,000,000 annually.
There is no limit to what a painting business owner can make. If you employ painters with a high level of experience and market your services properly, the sky is the limit.
The Future is Bright for Painters
The home painting industry is flourishing, experiencing a 6%increase in job opportunities year-over-year. So now is the perfect time to launch your painting career.
A contributing factor to the growth of the professional painting industry is the increased rate of construction in the United States and Canada. As more homes, condos, and apartment complexes are built there will inherently be a higher demand for painters.
Grow Your Professional Painting Company
Now that you have an answer to the question, “How much do painters make?” you are ready to go get what you are worth. Here at Base Coat Marketing, we offer more than just marketing packages for painters. We also offer unique services such as painter recruiting to help you find the best local talent for your paint business.