How much do painters make?

Learn about average painter salaries and earn money painting.

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Painting houses, offices, and even furniture can be a profitable business. But are you wondering how much you can actually earn as a painter? This guide discusses average painter salaries across different types of jobs. 

You’ll be glad to know that a painting business is fairly easy to start, and all you need are some basic skills and paint tools. However, keep in mind that commercial painting work and certain states may require you to have a license. 

In any case, here’s a general guide to painter rates. 

Average painter salary in the US 

Painters typically earn $18 an hour, but painter salaries can vary greatly depending on several factors like location, level of experience, and the type of painting job. Self-employed painters can sometimes earn more than those who are employed.

Factors that affect painter earnings

This guide discusses painter salaries in broad strokes, but many factors determine a painter’s income. 

Consider these factors when estimating your potential earnings and figuring out how to maximize your income. For example, you can upskill in more specialized painting jobs to earn more money as a painter. 


Some states pay more. Densely-populated cities have more homes, offices, and commercial buildings than rural areas. So, you can expect your services to be more in-demand than in a suburb or rural area. Do keep in mind that some prime locations may also come with higher costs of living. 


Painting jobs that require more time and effort pay more. For example, painting the entire side of a multi-story commercial building may require scaffolding. As a result, this painting job may pay more than simply painting the interior walls of a house. Lead times can also affect painter rates; Rush jobs or projects with tight deadlines can cost more. 


Relevant work experience and a good reputation matter. When you get more painting jobs, you can hone your skills, establish a good reputation, and eventually charge a higher hourly rate. To get more experience, reach out to professional painters and see if anyone is willing to take you on as an apprentice. 

Type of service 

You can charge more for specialized painting services. Try to learn advanced painting techniques and market your services to homeowners and interior designers. 

Material costs 

Some clients may ask you to provide the paint and other necessary materials. Moreover, certain types and brands of paint may cost more than others. Consider these supply costs when setting your profit margins. Given the relative material costs, you’d want to ensure you’re not charging too low for your services. 

Type of employment 

Self-employed painters can take on as many jobs as possible, thus maximizing their income. Meanwhile, employed painters have a fixed salary per month. Weigh the pros and cons of each and choose the setup that suits you best. 

How much do painters get paid?

Here’s an overview of different types of painters and their average rates. 

House painter

On average, a house painter can charge anywhere from $150 to $12,000. Painter rates can vary depending on the city. 

Exterior painter

exterior painter stepping on ladder and painting a house

Exterior painters earn $50 an hour on average. Rates can go even higher for bigger houses and additional fixtures to paint. 

Bedroom painter

A bedroom painter can earn $340 to $2480 per day. 

Furniture painter

smiling male furniture painter, painting old wooden table indoors

Furniture painting jobs cost $200 to $500, although you can charge lower for small and quick painting jobs. 

Your rate will depend on the size of the furniture, the number of items, the condition of the furniture, and material costs. Furniture that needs cleaning, sanding, and minor repairs can raise your price, as will your client’s location.  

Commercial painter

Owners of commercial establishments can hire you to paint their offices, stores, or warehouses. Commercial painters charge around $2 to $6 per square foot. You can check out our cost guide to learn more about different commercial painting rates. 

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Painting jobs are lucrative sources of income; The hard part is finding clients or signing up with a contractor who pays well. Finding high-paying painting jobs is easier and faster on Airtasker. Become a Tasker now and start browsing painting jobs in your area.

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FAQs on painter rates

Employed painters get a regular paycheck but can only earn so much as they rely on fixed salaries. On the other hand, the sky’s the limit for self-employed painters who can take on as many jobs as they want. Either way, painting rates can go up or down depending on the above factors.

While the earnings of a self-employed painter can be higher, they must manage all their expenses like fuel, materials, equipment, and insurance.

Yes. Painting jobs are profitable because of the low costs and high profit margins. You can earn more by becoming a licensed painter or taking an apprenticeship. What’s more, basic painting equipment doesn’t cost much, and you can start a painting business with minimal capital. Aside from paint, all you need are essential painting tools, primer, and safety equipment.

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