How to Identify What it Costs to Paint my House in Billings, MT?

How do you figure out what it costs to paint my house in Billings, MT?

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How do you figure out what it costs to paint my house in Billings, MT?

Metallic Dollar Question Mark

“How do you figure out what it costs to paint my house”? I get this question a lot. There is a lot that goes into determining the cost of painting your home. In a nutshell, it breaks down to “time + materials = price”. Let’s look a little deeper at each of these parts.

The biggest factor in determining the cost of repainting your home is time. I look at your project and try to figure out how many hours it is going to take to properly paint your home. Your project is measured out for square footage and/or linear footage depending upon what we would be painting. The time I bid for your project is determined from my experience. Each project I do is tracked for time and materials, so we can be accurate as possible in our bids. Every painting contractor will have different production rates based upon not only their skill level or how fast they work. Production rates are also affected by how detailed they are in the level of prep being performed. The more time it takes due to extensive repairs or more detailed work the more money it is going to cost. Prep work (power washing, scraping, sanding, caulking, masking, patching, moving furniture, setting up ladders, cleaning up) takes up more time than the actual painting. Access is another issue that adds time to a job that many people overlook. Are there areas that are hard to reach that will require scaffolding or a lift? Is there furniture and personal belongings to be moved? These are issues that slow down production.

The labor rate for a professional painter that is operating his business “above board” will be determined by doing the following: carrying liability insurance, workmans compensation insurance, paying employment taxes, paying in to unemployment, factoring overhead and profit. Each painter will have different rates for each of these categories. If they are accurately tracking these numbers it is fairly safe to say they should be charging between $40 – $60 per man hour. This rate will fluctuate do to supply and demand of work depending upon the season. Late spring through fall is the busiest time of year for painting contractors where demand and supply of work is at its peak.

Inexperienced painters, “under the table” painters, and those that don’t know their true operating costs and production rates may appear to be a bargain. Some of the risks you could be taking are: they may start taking short cuts, start to rush and not provide the quality once promised in order to get the job done in the time they had allotted. This work is rarely warranted and if issues arise after the job is done you may have a hard time getting them to come back. The experience you have with your paint contractor will be determined by their knowledge, experience, skill level and professionalism. As my paint rep says “You get what you pay for”.

The second factor for determining the price are paint and supplies costs. Paint and supplies usually add up to be between 10-20 percent of the cost of a job. The price of paint can very from $15 – $70 a gallon depending upon the quality and sheen that your painter is using. A gallon of paint will provide about 250-400 square feet of coverage. I usually put two coats of paint on what ever surface we will be painting. Some of the materials that are included besides the paint would be the following: tape, masking paper & plastic, caulk, spackle, primers, texture, paint sprayer and pressure washer fees, cleaning supplies, rags, brushes, rollers, drop clothes just to name a few.

I do give bids that include all the necessary labor and supplies. It is too difficult to give bids over the phone without seeing the project for some of the reasons stated in this post. Please give me a call 697-5135 so we can schedule a time to look at your painting project



  1. Terry McArthur says:

    We live at 3111 Rugby Dr. Billings Mt Would like to set up an appointment to have you quote painting kitchen, hallway and bathrooms.

  2. Teri Davis says:

    I’d like to get an estimate for painting a single car garage and small shop w/attached lean to that I inherited recently. The buildings have tested positive for lead paint. The paint is peeling pretty bad. I’m sure the last coat of paint was 30 yrs ago or more. This is not a rush project but I’d like to get it done yet this year or as soon as weather permits next year. My cell is 670-0485. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately I am not a lead certified contractor. I would recommend calling Sherwin Williams and the Paint Center for certified painters.