How To Estimate Painting Jobs

Between the costs of paint, materials, tools, accessories, labor, gas, taxes, insurance, and more, learning how to bid a painting project accurately is no simple task and takes some serious strategizing!

As a professional painter, job costing is generally one of the more difficult skills to master. After all, biding a new project accurately can make or break your margins.

In this article, we will review in detail the steps required to accurately bid your next interior and exterior house painting project. Even experienced estimators can walk away with some valuable tips from this post!

Why Is Estimating a Paint Project So Difficult?

Expectation vs Reality

Before you started painting, you probably thought it would be simple to bid on a job and figure out the cost to paint. Just do a few quick measurements, get the square footage, calculate the labor cost, and add a little extra on the top as your markup. Right?

Well, not so fast. Estimating costs for a painting project takes intelligence, precision, knowledge, and a fair bit of know-how, which oftentimes is easier said than done.

In reality, every painting project you bid will have a unique set of challenges. No two projects are alike because you complete the work onsite. Plus, your cost to paint interior or exterior surfaces is always going to vary based on labor, which is dependent on the overall simplicity or complexity of a job.

While there’s no “one size fits all” approach to estimating your cost to paint, being as accurate as possible is always in your best interest. It makes you look professional, increases your chances of getting the job, and lowers your risk of losing money on the job.

What Is the Average Cost to Paint in the U.S.?

Depending on where you are in the U.S., the average cost to paint varies. Let’s take a look at the national averages for painting costs according to HomeAdvisor. This popular home improvement website uses data pulled from painting professionals all over the U.S. to calculate these averages.

Interior Painting Cost

The average cost to paint interior walls ranges from around $1,000 to $3,000. Here are the national interior averages from HomeAdvisor:

  • Average range: $950 to $2,910
  • US average cost: $1,914
  • Low to high: $350 to $5,000
  • Single room: $200 to $1,000
  • Entire house (2,500 square feet): $2,000 to $9,000
  • Cost per square foot: $2 to $6

Next, we’ll give you a rundown of average interior painting costs according to HomeGuide, broken down by room. Of course, these prices will vary by size:

Average Cost to Paint By Room

  • Master bedroom: $650 to $1,400
  • Regular bedroom: $350 to $850
  • Master bathroom: $250 to $650
  • Regular bathroom: $150 to $400
  • Kitchen: $150 to $250
  • Finished basement: $800 to $2,500