How To Bid An Interior Paint Job?

I have been engaged in house painting for over a decade, and even after all these years, I encounter challenging situations when it comes to estimating project costs. However, I’ve honed a straightforward method that can instruct anyone on how to bid for both exterior and interior painting jobs.

When it comes to estimating a painting project, there are essentially just five key expenses to factor in:

  • Paint
  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Marketing
  • Your Mark-up

This simplicity is one of the reasons I have a deep appreciation for the painting business. In the following sections, I will provide a detailed breakdown of each of these expense categories.

1. How Much is Paint?

The price of a gallon of paint can vary significantly, ranging from $15 to $80, and it primarily hinges on factors such as the brand, quality, and the discount offered to contractors.

For instance, a homeowner might find themselves paying around $30 for a gallon of paint, while an experienced contractor may secure the same gallon for just $15. The contractor’s ability to access such discounts often relies on their rapport with the paint store and the volume of gallons they purchase on a monthly basis.

How To Bid An Interior Paint Job

Allow me to illustrate with a personal example: When I initially started my painting endeavors, I was purchasing a gallon of Sherwin Williams’ “Super Paint” for $37. However, as time went by and I cultivated a strong relationship with the store, along with consistently buying hundreds of gallons each month, I managed to negotiate the price down to $25 per gallon.

That’s a substantial difference, reducing my paint expenses by 33% for my painting business—from $37 to $25. It underscores the significance of securing favorable pricing in the paint category.

Furthermore, the cost of paint is contingent on its quality. Lower-quality paints typically contain less resin, which is the substance responsible for binding the paint together. In contrast, high-quality paints feature a higher resin content, ensuring their durability and longevity over time.

Paint Cost Breakdown (Average Per Gallon)





Homeowner Price




Contractor Price




Estimating Paint Quantity Required per House

Size of House

Body Color

Trim Color

Total Gallons

Total Cost (@$25 per gallon)

1500 sq ft.





2500 sq ft.





4000 sq ft.





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2. How Much are Materials?

Here’s a list of the essential painting materials required for a 2,500 square foot exterior paint job with medium prep work and their estimated quantities:

  • Masking Plastic (2 rolls) at $25
  • Masking Paper (3 rolls) at $15
  • Tape (10 rolls) at $35
  • Caulking (6 tubes) at $15
  • Primer (1 gallon) at $25

Total Cost: $115

It’s important to note that the quantity of materials needed can vary significantly based on the specific characteristics of the project, such as:

  • The extent of prep work required
  • The number of windows
  • The amount of brick to be painted
  • The length of the roofline to be masked off

While this checklist represents a typical scenario, the actual quantities required can vary greatly depending on the unique attributes of the house. For instance, if extensive prep work is necessary, you might require 3 gallons of primer and 12 tubes of caulking. Similarly, if there is a substantial amount of brick and roofline to be masked off, you may need 5 rolls of paper and 3 rolls of plastic.

3. How Much is Labor?

Estimating this cost can be exceptionally challenging when bidding on a house, primarily due to the multitude of variables involved.

In a nutshell, here’s a general guideline: A proficient team of 2-3 painters can typically complete the exterior painting of a 2,500-square-foot house within 1-2 full days. Typically, a proficient crew costs around $800 per full workday.

However, several factors associated with the house can significantly increase both the time and labor required to complete the painting job. These factors include:

How To Bid An Interior Paint Job
  • Heavy Prep-work: Such as addressing peeling paint, wood damage, or failed caulking.
  • House Access: This includes challenges like difficult ladder placements or steep roofs.
  • Type of Windows: Embedded or vinyl windows may necessitate extra care and time.
  • Vegetation Coverage: Factors like trees obstructing access, extensive ivy, or well-maintained gardens can slow progress.
  • Radically Different Colors: Applying 2 or 3 coats of paint to achieve desired coverage with distinct colors.

To secure an accurate labor cost, it’s often advisable to bring an experienced crew to the property with you. They can identify aspects of the project that may be particularly time-consuming, allowing you to factor in the additional work accordingly.

For those who are less experienced in painting or estimating, it’s prudent to err on the side of charging more to safeguard your profit margin. Mistakes at the outset are inevitable, and charging a higher rate helps protect against underestimating the job or overlooking expenses.

Here’s a simplified table to assist you in estimating labor costs:

Size of House

Full Work Days

Total Labor Cost

1500 sq ft.



2500 sq ft.



4000 sq ft.



4. How Much is Marketing?

You have several avenues to promote your painting business, and we’ve identified seven tried-and-true methods below.

Regardless of your chosen marketing approach, whether it involves lead providers, lawn signs, or door-knocking, it’s essential to monitor your overall expenses. The key is to pinpoint the marketing strategies that yield the best return on investment (ROI) and concentrate your resources there.

A good benchmark to keep in mind is maintaining your marketing expenses below 10%. Let’s consider an example: if you secure a $3,000 painting project, spending $300 or less on marketing to secure the job still leaves you with a healthy profit margin.

Here are some typical marketing costs associated with our painting business:

  • Lead Providers: $30-$60 per lead
  • Lawn Signs: $10 per sign
  • Door-to-door leads: $10 per lead
  • Flyer Drops: $1,000-$4,000 per drop

5. Mark-up: How to factor in your profit.

You’re in business to be profitable, and of course, to deliver the finest paint job possible. Therefore, it’s crucial to include a markup in your project estimate.

Let’s illustrate this with a 2,500-square-foot house as our example:

  • Paint Cost: $375
  • Materials Cost: $115
  • Labor Cost: $1,200
  • Marketing Cost: $100

Suppose you aim for a 35% profit margin on this painting job. You’re investing a total of $1,790 in paint, materials, labor, and marketing.

To achieve this margin, your total charge should be approximately $2,800, resulting in a markup of $980.

6. Bidding Interior Jobs.

Interior projects tend to carry a higher price tag, often reaching 2 or 3 times the cost of an exterior job. This discrepancy arises due to several factors:

  • Increased Wall Surface: Interiors feature a greater number of walls and surface areas to paint.
  • Additional Elements: Interior spaces contain more doors, windows, baseboards, and even closets that require attention.
  • Multiple Coats: Achieving satisfactory coverage indoors typically involves applying more than one coat of paint, particularly for ceilings.
How To Bid An Interior Paint Job
  • Greater Paint Consumption: Interior projects generally demand a larger quantity of paint.
  • Detailed Process: The interior painting process involves intricate masking and thorough cleanup, resulting in increased labor hours.

Some painters choose to establish pricing on a per-room basis, with rates varying from $200 to $600 per room, taking into account the room’s size.


Bidding for painting projects requires a comprehensive understanding of the various factors that influence costs. Drawing from over a decade of experience in the house painting industry, I’ve outlined a straightforward methodology applicable to both interior and exterior jobs. The five key expense categories to consider include paint, materials, labor, marketing, and your mark-up, forming the foundation for accurate estimates.

From determining paint quality and quantities to assessing labor requirements, the process involves meticulous consideration of numerous variables. Effective marketing strategies can significantly impact your business’s success, with a suggested expense threshold of 10% of the project’s total cost.

Finally, it’s crucial to incorporate a profit margin by applying a mark-up that aligns with your business goals. Interior projects, known for their complexity and greater materials and labor demands, typically command higher prices, often two to three times more than exterior jobs. Whether you opt for square footage-based pricing or room-based rates, maintaining consistency in your approach is key to successful bidding in the dynamic world of painting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - How to Bid an Interior Paint Job

When estimating a painting project, you should account for five primary expenses:





Your mark-up

The cost of paint varies based on factors such as brand, quality, and contractor discounts. Homeowners typically pay between $15 and $80 per gallon, while contractors can secure lower rates, often based on their relationship with the paint store and volume of purchases.

Certainly, estimating paint quantity depends on the size of the house. For instance, a 2,500-square-foot house might require 15 gallons of paint, costing $375 if each gallon is priced at $25.

Essential exterior painting materials include masking plastic, masking paper, tape, caulking, and primer. The cost of these materials can vary based on the project’s specific needs, but a typical estimate for a 2,500-square-foot exterior paint job with medium prep work is around $115.

Estimating labor costs involves assessing various factors, including the size of the crew, the extent of prep work, accessibility, window types, vegetation coverage, and the number of coats needed. A standard guideline is that a proficient crew of 2-3 painters can complete the exterior painting of a 2,500-square-foot house in 1-2 days, with labor costs around $800 per workday.

Marketing methods can include lead providers, lawn signs, door-to-door leads, and flyer drops. It’s advisable to keep marketing expenses below 10% of the total project cost. For instance, if a project is worth $3,000, spending $300 or less on marketing is a good target to maintain a healthy profit margin.

To determine your mark-up, establish the desired profit margin percentage (e.g., 35%) and apply it to the total cost of paint, materials, labor, and marketing. For instance, if your total expenses amount to $1,790, a 35% mark-up would result in a total charge of approximately $2,800, with a $980 profit.

Interior projects tend to be more costly due to factors like greater wall surface area, the presence of doors, windows, baseboards, multiple coats needed for coverage, higher paint consumption, and the intricate masking and cleanup processes. They can often cost 2-3 times more than exterior jobs.

Pricing for interior painting can vary, but some painters charge per room, with rates ranging from $200 to $600 per room based on room size. Pricing should be adjusted to account for the unique characteristics of each project.

The key takeaway is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting project costs, apply consistent pricing methods, and incorporate a suitable profit margin. Adapting to project-specific variables and monitoring marketing expenses will help ensure successful bidding in the painting industry.

Process To Get Painting Cost Estimate Report

Here I am going to share some steps to get your painting cost estimate report.

  • You need to send your plan to us.

    You can send us your plan on

  • You receive a quote for your project.

    Before starting your project, we send you a quote for your service. That quote will have detailed information about your project. Here you will get information about the size, difficulty, complexity and bid date when determining pricing.

  • Get Estimate Report

    We do painting cost estimating and prepare a detailed report for your project. At last, you finalize the report and finish the project.

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