With demand from both new construction and renovation projects, the painting industry is on the rise. So how much money can a painter make working in this growing field? In this article, we’ll break down the numbers, including the various factors that influence salary, such as location and the type of project. We’ll also show you how to capitalize on this industry through business ownership to make the big bucks.
So, you’re wondering...how much do painters make?
The short answer is the average painter makes $16-$18 per hour, which translates to an annual salary of about $34,196-$37, 960. The long answer is it depends on several factors, including whether the painter is a contractor or self-employed, their location, the type of project, and the painter’s years of experience.
Contracted painter vs self-employed painter
While working as a contracted painter may provide some job security, with contractors knowing they have a gig lined up, it can be limiting. Contracted painters must split their earnings, so they might not earn as much as self-employed painters.
Those who are self-employed might struggle with things like marketing and the legal and operational aspects of managing their business. However, if they do it well, they often find there’s more money to be made as a solo act.
Where a painter lives and works has the most significant impact on their earning potential. Some cities are hubs for new construction and new painter jobs due to an influx of people moving in or the need to upgrade the city’s infrastructure. Certain regions also have a higher cost of living and therefore tend to have higher average wages. According to U.S. News, the five states that pay painters the highest average salaries are Alaska ($57,460), Hawaii ($54,900), the District of Columbia ($52,920), New York ($51,130), and Missouri ($50,240).
As with any industry, the need for painters depends on customer demand, which can vary even within cities. This can fluctuate over time as well, so the city that once paid great wages could eventually offer much less on average due to decreased demand.
Types of projects
There’s a range of projects painters can tackle, from interior paint jobs for residential homes to exterior painting for commercial complexes. The kind of project will often dictate your client's budget. Some clients may only need a touch-up while others want the works.
How much a painter makes can depend on the client’s needs and budget, both of which tend to be larger when you’re working with another company rather than an individual homeowner. Currently, painters in the commercial and industrial industries have the highest incomes.
Years of experience
Painters with several years of experience have many advantages over a painter who is just getting started, and most of these will be reflected in their hourly rate. An experienced painter will have a portfolio of work and a solid reputation, positioning them to ask for money and book more projects. If they’re working as contractors or subcontractors, the additional experience could mean they do better work and can command higher pay as a result.
Not Your Average Salary
Most of us are familiar with wages and salaries — and the lack of income growth potential, even if you take into account incremental raises. But while painting hour rates may not wow you, you might be surprised how much you stand to earn by operating a painting business.
Painting projects can have a high profit margin and a large customer pool, two things you want when starting a business. So why isn’t everyone starting a painting business? Challenges include knowing how to set up your business, hire a team, market your services, and establish your brand.
That’s why having access to resources, a proven strategy, and a supportive community makes the process of launching your own business so much simpler.
Time to be your own boss
Main Street helps you progress through the three stages of building a lean and scalable painting business — training, developing a network of support, and financial investment.
- Training: Main Street trains business owners to reach their target revenue quickly through a coaching program and a proven step-by-step strategy.
- Direct Support: The Main Street team helps you focus on growing your business with marketing, designers, and coaches.
- $10,000 Investment: Business owners earn a $10,000 investment from Main Street as they reach key milestones in their business. They also have the opportunity to participate in common stock and equity programs, with similar common stock options that are available to Main Street corporate employees.
Through Main Street's framework, which is fueled by a supportive network of mentors, coaches, and advisors, you gain the tools needed to position your business for growth. The great thing about our formula is that it takes outstanding people — those willing to work hard and excited by new opportunity — and transforms them into business owners.
Potentially High Ceiling for Businesses in the Painting Industry
Don’t estimate the revenue potential of a painting business based off of individual painter salaries. This industry is growing, and small business owners who know how to position themselves in the market have a lot to gain.
Main Street's approach is designed for those with or without business experience. Not only do you gain access to an extensive network and resources, but there’s also no upfront signup fee associated with our program. Owners can expect to spend less than $10,000 on necessary startup expenses. Even better, Main Street will invest $10,000 back into your business as it grows.
How much can you make?
The factors that influence how much painters make can affect how much you make as a business owner, too. You'll find the location affects the type of work available, so if you want to start a painting business, get to know the various neighborhoods in your area and how they differ. The type of project will correlate to how much you’ll charge to complete it, but consider that while commercial projects may pay more, there may be more residential projects available. Starting with home painting projects can help you build a reputation and some revenue before you segue into commercial work. Years of experience will factor in as well, but we'll help provide guidance so you hire subcontractors with the expertise needed to do the job right.
If you want to be your own boss, you have a lot of options available to you. However, Main Street's strategy to success gives business owners the tools to leverage complex projects, technology, and relationships so you build a profitable company.
Learn more about how Main Street can expand your revenue potential with our frequently asked questions. Have more questions? Reach out anytime. We look forward to helping you realize your goals.