Should I Hire I Professional Painter or Do It Myself?

Larry’s Story
October 13, 2016
What Sheen Should I Use To Paint My House?
February 24, 2017
Larry’s Story
October 13, 2016
What Sheen Should I Use To Paint My House?
February 24, 2017

Let’s play ‘What If’ for a moment. What if your dreams of owning your own home have come true and now you need to make your house a home by painting it? What if you’re expecting a new baby and the nursery needs to be painted? What if your teenage daughter has changed her mind for the 3rd time – this year – and (O.M.G.!) she cannot EVEN live without her room unless it’s painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Drama Violet? What to do? Do it yourself…or hire a professional painter?

It seems to be common knowledge that doing it yourself will save you mucho bucks; and everyone knows that a painter is a painter – they’re all the same. Right? While both of these ideas may be true for some, in actuality if you make the decision to do it yourself, you have a large investment with a lot of hidden costs from the tools and products needed to get the job done. And while most believe that all painters are the same, if you make the choice to go with the lowest bid or, better yet, hiring your brother’s best friend’s roommate from college because he has “done it a few times” could cost you a lot more than expected in the end. When you decide to tackle the next painting project, consider hiring a professional company that is built on trust and character. So…what’s the real cost of painting a standard 12×12 bedroom, you ask? Let me show you.

The first step is choosing if you’ll be painting the room yourself or hiring out. If you decide to jump into the role of being a painter yourself, you’ll need a few tools to start with:

  • Brushes
  • Roller frames
  • Roller shelves
  • Poles
  • Rolling pans/grids
  • Drop-cloths 
  • Stepladder
  • Tape
  • Caulk
  • Mud knives
  • Mud pan
  • Spackle
  • Caulk-gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint for walls
  • Paint for ceiling
  • Paint for trim

This should be a nice, basic start to painting any room you can imagine. When you put effort into making the trip to the paint store to purchase all your newly necessary tools, you’ll then decide if you want to use go the most inexpensive route or most expensive route for your project. Most of the inexpensive equipment can leave your paint job sub-par at best. The higher quality tools will make application easier, while also providing a more professional appearance to your paint job. The prices will vary a bit but I will provide you with a list of higher quality tools to use. This essential list tends to be utilized by professionals and DIY’ers alike.

  • 1 Brush: $10-$18 (each)
  • Roller frame: $3-$5
  • Roller shelves: $3-$12
  • Roller pan: $4-$8
  • Pole: $3-$18
  • Spackle: $3-$10
  • Mud knives: $3-$10
  • Mud pan: $5-$10
  • Drop-cloth: $5-$20
  • Caulk-gun: $4-$8
  • Sandpaper: $1
  • Tube of caulk: $1-$5
  • Roll of tape: $3-$12
  • 1 Gallon of primer for your repaired patches: $15-$45
  • 2 Gallons of paint for walls: $20-$65 (each)
  • 1 Gallon of paint for ceiling: $20-$55
  • 1 Gallon of paint for trim: $20-$55

Total range: $140-$412 (at least)

After all of this is taken into account, then we factor in your daily wage and the possibility of missing work or a family event; or do you hire the lowest bid in the area to save some money? Most of your cheapest options in hire-by-the-hour painters will paint your home for roughly $20-$25/hr. Or they will provide you with a bid that has you buying the materials and paying them by the hour or job. Any expert painter can finish your 12×12 room within a day. In an 8-hour workday, the professional will exceptionally finish your ceiling, walls and trim. This will include but is not limited to: sanding, patching, spot-priming, and painting all the surfaces.

Your hourly painter you hired will claim to get the job done for “only” $300-$400. This seems like an amazing deal, am I right? However, from experience, the problem with hiring an hourly painter is they tend to take 2 days to finish a room. This will cost you an additional $320-$400 to finally finish the job. What started out to be (what seemed to be) an inexpensive solution, is now costing you more than advertised. You’ll not only be paying him $20-$25/hr., but add on to that: caulk, tape, spackle, primer, trim paint, wall paint, and ceiling paint. Now we’ve added on at least $103-$293 for the extra materials needed, in addition to Mr. Hourly Painter. Now you’re looking at $400-$700 to paint the 12×12 room with the “cheaper painter”. Hmmm…this isn’t looking so cheap right now.

When your receive an estimate from a professional painting company, you should be paying at least $45-$50/hr. You’ll generally see these prices outlined in a line item form, costing you the same as the “cheap” painter that was doing it as a “favor” for you on the side or for cash only.  Most people see the ending price outlined by the professional painting company and assume it’s too expensive. When actually, they end up paying the same or more to DIY or pay the guy on the side. 

With a professional and experienced company you’re paying for someone to already have their own tools (and most will have top of the line tools in order to get the job done in the best way). They have an office staff on board to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to make sure the crew will be there when promised. They provide you with insurance to make sure you’re covered in the event anything does happen (like an injury or damage to a personal item). Not only all that, but the professional company will complete these jobs on a daily basis – providing great service and quality work day after day. For them, it’s a career they take pride in. Not a weekend job for extra cash. Most professional companies also tend always back their work with a guarantee. So if a problem arises after the fact, you can count on a warranty with a professional company like International Coatings. You’re not going to get that from your brother’s friend’s roommate from college.

Normally, an 8-hr. day is $375 for a professional painter employed by a company. Said painter will generally finish your 12×12 room for you in only 1 day…along with a warranty. Plus, you’ll receive a bit of a discount on the paint that they purchase at large volumes and for other sundries. Always make the smart choice and go with a professional company.

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