Commercial interior and exterior painting pricing per square feet
Choosing a painting contractor can be a difficult decision, but one of the biggest challenges commercial property owners encounter is determining which contractor is charging a fair price. After many years in the business, Painters Inc. professionals know the going rates in and around Chicago. The following is our take on how contractors arrive at their estimates, what’s fair and what you should expect out of a quality painting contractor
Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary depending on the season and are subject to market changes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hiring a professional painter in the Chicago area: How much does it cost?
You’ve probably noticed how prolific contract painters are in the Chicago area – there is definitely no shortage of them. But the question that remains unanswered is, “how much does it cost to hire a professional painting crew that will produce stunning results?” Paying top dollar doesn’t guarantee you’ll bring in the best painters, but you can also be fairly certain that hiring a contractor with bargain basement prices will produce lackluster results.
Our intent with the following information is to guide you through the complexities of the cost structure surrounding professional painting services. Prices can vary quite widely depending on the size and scope of the project, the difficulty of it, the type of products used and the going rates in the market.
At Painters Inc., we are open and transparent about our fee structure because we’ve been in this industry for many years and we know what our competitors charge for interior and exterior painting services. We know our clients don’t appreciate hidden fees or a lack of visibility into how final costs are determined. Therefore, we’re confident that every bid we calculate will be competitively priced, fair, transparent and trustworthy. Furthermore, as a custom-centric organization, we’re highly focused on quality results, which is how we’ve built a reputation as the go-to painting contractor in the Chicago area.
The average cost to paint a commercial building
- The going rate for labor is between $55 and $65 per hour
If you’re looking for a quick and easy answer regarding the average cost for commercial painting projects, the going rate for labor is between $55 and $65 per hour. This is what you can expect to pay for a contractor that only hires experienced, safety-certified professional painters. This is a crew that has extensive knowledge about all types of structures, painting materials, tools and techniques to get the job done in a professional manner.
- How many hours will it take to complete my project?
The next question you probably have is, “how many hours will it take to complete my project?” This is much more difficult to answer without an initial inspection. But consider this information: small jobs, such as a couple of offices and a hallway, for example, might take one or two painters a day to complete. If it’s a large space where hoists and other specialty equipment are used by a crew of painters, you could be looking at a multiple day project.
- Complete inspections for a more accurate bid
At Painters Inc., our approach is to carefully survey the property, determine the square footage and if there are any unique complexities to the job, such as high and out-of-reach areas or extensive repairs that must be made prior to painting. Our inspections are complete and thorough, which leads to a more accurate bid.
- The time of day and week in which the painters do the work
Other factors that can contribute to overall costs include the time of day and week in which the painters do the work. For example, if your commercial property requires that the work be completed outside of normal business hours, labor becomes more expensive. For example, the going rate for having a skilled professional work these hours will bump the price up to around $90 per hour.
The best painting crews do more than paint. These services are sometimes required before painting can begin:
- Wallpaper application
- Shop fitout, which includes material-related costs
- Special safety equipment for roofs
- Floor cleaning and preparation
- Repairing surfaces
At Painters Inc., there are some services that we don’t charge for that other contractors will. One of those is power washing. This is a preparation/cleaning service that is vital to a long-lasting painted surface and it’s something we include without extra fees.
You need more clarity on the cost of the project before you can proceed and that is why our inspection services are so important. Our initial consultation will reveal exactly what you need. The more details we have, the more accurate our quote will be.
When your project requires more than just skilled painters, your go-to contractor is Painters Inc., because our crew is educated on just about any issue that can stand between your exteriors / interiors and a high-quality finish.
Painters Inc.: Our areas of expertise
After years of working with commercial clients on interior and exterior projects, we’ve amassed a long list of skills, giving us the knowledge that our clients benefit from with every job, large or small.
Every structure has unique complexities and every work environment has different needs. From a bright, clean and well-appointed office space to specialized painting services in large warehouses, every job is different and offers its own set of challenges. Your painting contractor needs to know the techniques applicable to all of them. Furthermore, many of these facilities require as little disruption as possible, which means you need to have full trust in the painting crew to respond accordingly.
Part of the reason Painters Inc. has garnered so many glowing customer reviews is that we use the right tools for the job. Commercial properties offer plenty of challenges, from high and hard to reach surfaces to incredibly specific instructions on painting details that follow corporate standards.
Painters Inc. crews have worked just about every type of commercial property, so we come to the job with the right tools in hand.
While a majority of jobs require traditional primers and latex paints, there are various other materials that come into play, such as textured finishes, electrostatic painting, decorative painting and protective paints. Knowing how to work with these materials is something only experienced professionals can do.
At Painters Inc., we’ve worked in schools, government offices, corporate headquarters, restaurants, factories, apartment buildings and hotels, to name a few. From brand new construction to rehabs to regularly scheduled touch ups, we tackle all types of projects in every conceivable type of structure.
Cost per square foot: What can you expect to pay?
While there are many factors that go into determining what it will cost to have your project completed, establishing how many square feet of surface area are involved is the most solid starting point.
For commercial facilities in Chicago and surrounding areas, the cost for professional commercial painting services is around 70 cents per square foot for interior work and around 65 cents per square foot for exterior work. This cost is based on two-coats of paint for walls that are in good enough condition that they don’t require extensive cleaning or repair.
What adds to the cost based on square footage?
- Repairing surfaces
- Complex jobs where special tools are required
- Doing work outside of regular business hours
- Extra masking and other extensive prep work
- Higher quality paint
The more complex a job, the more skills and labor required of the painting contractor. While you can get a fairly close cost estimate based on your square footage, let Painters Inc. inspect your facility to get a more accurate picture of the total cost.
The four major deciding factors on cost:
- Surface area (total square footage)
- The type and amount of paint being used
- Total hours of labor required
- The condition of the surfaces being painted
While those are the top four considerations, a thorough inspection of the property will help pinpoint the exact cost that will appear in a bid/estimate for the project.
A simple equation, length multiplied by height, is what determines the surface area (square footage) that is to be painted. Another part of the equation is to subtract surfaces areas, such as windows, that are not going to be painted.
Let’s say you have a space where the walls are 20 feet tall and 30 feet long. There are four total walls, which means the painting crew will need enough paint to cover 20x30x4 feet of surface area, which is 2,400 square feet. However, there are four windows, each of them is 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The equation for the windows is 4x6x4, which equals 96 square feet. That’s 96 square feet of surface that won’t require paint.
The painting contractor will subtract 96 from 2,400 to come to a final area of 2,304 square feet of surface area requiring paint.
How to determine material costs
Now that we know the surface areas involved in a project, we can determine what the material costs will be. This is where communication between the painting crew and the client is important, because the parameters of the job should be clearly defined. For example, does the job include painting the ceilings, or are the walls the only surfaces being painted?
Will the trim be painted a different color than the walls? By crunching all the numbers in regard to surface area, the painters can determine exactly how much paint will be needed for those aspects of the job.
If the ceilings are being painted, a similar equation is used, but this one will be length x width. So, if the ceiling is 40 wide and 60 feet long, the painter will know to bring enough ceiling paint to cover 240 square feet of ceiling.
In most smooth surface scenarios, a gallon of paint will cover 300 square feet. If the project calls for premium-quality paint, the price can vary between $25 and $50 per gallon. Breaking that down, you can count on paying between 9 and 16 cents per square foot of painted surface area.
Let’s say your property calls for 2,400 feet of surface area to be painted. That will require eight gallons of paint, which equates to $200 to $400, depending on the quality of paint you’re using.
Determining the cost of labor
When you hire a professional to handle your painting tasks, you will notice a stark difference between what they can do compared to the DIY approach. And while labor is one of the more costly aspects of the overall price, it’s well worth it.
Professional painters are highly skilled, accurate, but also fast. They can cover around 200 square feet in an hour. The average labor cost today is between $55 and $65 per hour. If you want to break this down by square footage, you’re looking at around 27 to 32 cents per square foot for the first coat of paint. Most surfaces require two coats of paint, which pushes the cost to 54 to 64 cents per square foot.
Most jobs will require prep work, which can add another two or three hours to the overall labor cost. This includes scraping, cleaning, caulking and priming. Professional painters also come equipped with the right tools, which are also factored into the cost of the project. This includes brushes, rollers, spraying equipment, etc.
Your painting contractor has determined that a 2,400 square foot project will require between 24 and 27 hours of labor, which equates to a cost of $1,320 and $1,755.
The condition of the building & other factors
Paint only adheres correctly to clean, undamaged surfaces. When a painting professional encounters a surface that requires repair, this will mean extra labor, materials and tools to get the job done, which will add to the overall price.
We already mentioned prep work as a factor, and most painters will include nail holes and blemishes into that prep work. If they encounter more substantial damage, such as drywall that needs to be replaced, this will fall into a category outside of “prep” work, requiring more labor and materials to fix.
If your property includes textured walls, you could be subjected to an extra cost, because these surfaces require more paint than a smooth surface, which means labor is also more extensive.
Finally, if your project requires the painters to move equipment around so they can paint all the surfaces, this will be reflected in the labor costs.
Getting to the final cost of a commercial property painting project
We’ve determined that a 2,400 square foot facility, which does not require extensive cleaning or rehabilitation of damaged surfaces, will require $1,150 to $1,650 in labor; $200 to $400 in paint and supplies; $165 to $195 in prep work, which comes to a total of $1,515 to $2,245.
Our assessment is that of a facility with smooth surfaces and where no special equipment is needed to gain access to hard-to-reach areas. Every project is different, and yours might include higher costs in some areas and lower costs in others. A thorough inspection will narrow down the estimates and allow us to come to an accurate picture of what your project will ultimately cost.
Calculating your project cost in 5 steps:
STEP 1: Accurately measure square feet
STEP 2: Estimate the time it will take to complete the job, which includes prep work and clean up
STEP 3: Include the costs for special equipment used for the job, such as lifts
STEP 4: Calculate how much paint will be required
STEP 5: Tally the hours it will take to complete the job and multiply by the company’s hourly rate
The cost of interior commercial painting
Whether you’re an office manager or a restaurant owner in need of a fresh coat of interior paint or a completely new interior color scheme, having a professional painting crew on your side ensures that the job will be done to exacting standards.
The big question is: “How much will this professional paint job cost me?” We’re here to give you everything you need to know to determine what a fair price is.
We have many years of interior commercial painting under our belts, so we have full confidence that our estimates are accurate and reflect a competitive pricing structure that you can count on.
Determining office painting costs per square foot
Most professional painters can cover 200 square feet of surface area in an hour. Let’s say your office has four walls that are 20 feet in length and 10 feet high. A simple calculation tells us that this is an 800 square-feet structure, which is a four-hour job for the first coat and another four hours for the second coat, which is required on most surfaces.
Now that we know the area and time it will take, we can plug in some figures to determine cost. The going labor rate is between $55 and $65 per hour. But to be more specific, let’s say your contractor charges $60 per hour, which equates to 60 cents per square foot. You’ll pay $480 in labor for this job.
But there are other expenses involved. You must also pay for the paint and primer being used. It gets more difficult to determine final costs because the price of paint/primer differs based on quality, but for our example, let’s say a gallon of decent quality paint costs $35 per gallon. Your surface also impacts how much paint is used, because a surface that is more porous “absorbs” more paint than a smooth surface. However, the usual estimate is that a gallon of paint covers 300 square feet. You also have to add in the cost of rollers, brushes, trays and other materials involved in most paint jobs, which can cost around $10 for a 400 square foot job.
Based on what we know about this 800 square foot job, the property owner can expect to pay around 74 cents per foot for two coats of professionally applied paint.
To get a more accurate determination of total costs, consider the following aspects that can influence what you will pay:
- If your office has windows, that will reduce the cost for materials and labor
- Costs associated with doors and baseboards are different than those for walls and ceilings
- If the painters have to move furniture to access surfaces, this will incur more labor costs
- Specialty coatings also need to be determined in the overall cost
Determining exterior painting cost for commercial projects
Exterior painting costs for commercial projects can be determined by calculating the size of the job (square feet of surface area), the type of materials being used, total hours of labor, if any surface repair needs to be completed before painting and the amount of paint used to complete the job. Let’s run through some scenarios below to get a better idea of how exterior commercial painting costs are determined.
Warehouse exterior painting costs per square foot
Given that commercial warehouses are often quite large, let’s say our example project has exterior walls that are 80 feet long and 50 feet high. This calculates to 16,000 square feet of surface area. A gallon of paint will cover, on average, 300 square feet of surface, which means it will take 53.3 gallons of paint to complete that wall. A quality paint brand will cost $35 per gallon, so that puts paint costs alone at $1,867.
The average professional painter can cover 300 square feet of surface area in one hour. Professional painters charge between $55 and $65 per hour for their labor, which means a 16,000 square foot exterior warehouse project will take around 53 hours to apply the first coat and another 53 hours applying the second coat for a total of 106 hours, which means labor charges will be between $5,830 and $6,890.
Painters Inc. includes power washing in our estimate free of charge.
Many exterior surfaces of warehouses require cleaning before paint can be applied, and at Painters Inc., we offer power washing services to completely knock down dirt and grime – anything that will prevent the paint from adhering and lasting a long time. This service is part of our general prep work, but if extensive cleaning is involved, it can add to the overall cost of the project. For example, if two hours of power washing is required, an extra $110 to $130 will be added to the bill.
Putting all these components together, the total cost for warehouse exterior will be approximately 48 cents to 56 cents per square foot, or $7,697 to $8,887.
It’s important to note that there are other factors that can alter the above estimate. For example, some surfaces require more than the usual amount of prep work. If extensive surface repairs are required, that will add to the cost of labor and materials. If your warehouse has hard-to-reach areas that require the use of lifts, that will also increase costs.
Investing in experience, knowledge and expertise
Anyone can buy the right paint, the right brushes and rollers and masking tape, but applying the paint the right way is not something everyone is capable of doing. Professional painters have the right touch and an eye for perfection, which shows in the finished product.
Professionals also know how to prep a job site, set up tarps to catch paint and other debris associated with a project. They know how to work in sensitive environments where disruption needs to be kept at a minimum. They simply have respect for the businesses they enter and do their work exceptionally well at the same time.
When you pay for labor, you’re paying for an expert who has years of built up knowledge, which allows them to complete a job on time and often meet standards that exceed expectations.
Should you decide to partner with a contractor offering bargain basement prices, you’re probably getting a painting crew that has none of the qualifications we’ve amassed at Painters Inc. It’s true that you get what you pay for, but when you partner with us, you’re getting top-notch services, but you’re only paying fees that are highly competitive and completely reasonable.
Getting an estimate that is accurate
How do you know your estimate is accurate and not missing several details that will come back to haunt you later in the form of an inflated bill? That’s the nightmare scenario that keeps commercial property owners/managers up at night.
Painting contractors should be certified, insured, have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau and plenty of customer reviews found in a Google search. They should also be able to provide you with plenty of references so you can see what others have said about their work and pricing.
We are extremely pleased with the work that was completed by Painter's Inc. The crew was prompt, professional and eager to please. The results speak for themselves (see attached before and after pictures) what a transformation from an an outdated ugly green brick to a clean updated modern look. Thanks again.
At Painters Inc., we let our previous customers do the talking for us. Check out what they have to say and trust that when we visit your property to establish an estimate, it will be based on years of doing this for other customers who sing our praises when we finish the job.
The estimate process is often our chance to make a great first impression with our clients, so we do everything we can to make it a completely positive experience, and that can only happen by being a good communicator and being highly accurate in our process.
Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free estimate.
How to save on costs when your budget is tight
There will be times during the year that painting contractors are able to lower their prices, and this is generally when there is a lull in business.
If you’re looking to save money, don’t schedule your project during the summer months, because that’s peak season when most contractors are at their limit. Rather, consider the dead of winter or around holidays, because this can result in overall savings.
Choose a quality painting crew in the Chicago area, but at affordable prices
When you partner with Painters Inc. for your commercial property painting project, you partner with a Chicago-based group of highly skilled professionals that take their jobs seriously. We are focused on safety, using the right tools and techniques and providing a customer experience that our competitors can’t match. When the job requires us to work during business hours, we know how to avoid disrupting business as usual. We keep our job sites safe and exceptionally clean.
We work with the latest, most modern painting equipment, which is part of what allows us to get the job done right and on time, but with stunning aesthetic results. We approach every job with the same level of professionalism, whether it’s a small, one-day project or a large, multi-crew undertaking. We’re proud to serve our Chicago area commercial customers!