Asked on Nov 01, 2013

Figuring out how much to charge for a service, painting furniture

Kelly Wivell
by Kelly Wivell
i do a lot of painting and antiquing furniture with Annie Sloan products. An acquaintance of mine as asked me to paint and wax a hutch of hers. I have no idea how much to ask of her, what's reasonable?
I'm including a picture
Thank you, Kelly
  40 answers
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Nov 01, 2013
    Tagging a couple of ladies who are pros at this @The Golden Sycamore @Petticoat Junktion
  • The Golden Sycamore The Golden Sycamore on Nov 01, 2013
    Thanks for tagging me @Miriam I! I think I tend to under charge @Kelly Wivell, so I might not be much help, but I would say to quote a base price of $125-$150. If she wants anything extra, like stripping/re-staining, stencil work, etc. you should increase the price a little. Best of luck!
  • Kathy Owen Kathy Owen on Nov 01, 2013
    @Miriam I , thanks, not sure I'm a pro but I'll give my two cents worth, lol. @Kelly Wivell , pricing has a lot of different factors; area of the country, products used, techniques involved, friendship.....this is the hard one. The piece pictured here is a difficult piece to paint. Does she want the inside top and bottom painted. There are a lot of questions to ask. I will give you my price with the inside top hutch area painted ( remember you have to paint all those angles and corners and the bottom of the shelves too), taking out the glass or taping it off, replacing hardware maybe, using Annie Sloan and waxing. Price from me would be.... $260-$295. But you have to decide what you would price you would be happy with. I have found that it always, always takes me longer to do a project that what I figured. Good Luck
  • Kathy Owen Kathy Owen on Nov 01, 2013
    @The Golden Sycamore , do undercharge. You need to charge your worth. How many hours would it take you to paint and wax that piece, considering everything involved?
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Nov 02, 2013
    Hey The Golden Sycamore and Petticoat Junktion...I have some stuff I want painted and you can be assured that I find both your prices most reasonable. I have no experience with Anne Sloan paint so I do not know how well it spreads, how many coats it takes but do know it is expensive. Add to that the wax and I can imagine this would be worth it if you are doing it yourself, but as a project to charge someone for, I think you might want to make sure you let your friend know how much the products cost! People tend to think of a quart of paint at around $15 when AS is almost $40 in my area! I am thinking of a cream for my dining room hutch (old 70s style...ugly) and chairs with a coffee or gray wax!
  • Nest Home Improvement Nest Home Improvement on Nov 03, 2013
    Kelly, You can always ask the hutch owner what they were wanting to pay.
  • The Shabby Nest The Shabby Nest on Nov 03, 2013
    I usually charge &20 an hour for custom painting plus the cost of paint. I let people know upfront the cost of paint whether it's chalk paint or milk paint. Of course if it is a small piece and not going to use a whole quart I figure down a bit on the paint price since I can use the rest on something else. On that hutch I agree with Petticoat Junction It would be around $240 if not more. That is a lot of time you will be putting into it. Don't be afraid to ask for your price you are worth. If they say no then oh well. There is always someone else that will value your time and skills. :)
  • Tracy Bromage Tracy Bromage on Nov 03, 2013
    I would charge by the hour but also the cost of the paint/products used. It may be difficult but you have to add in your costs as well. ( maybe a %)Don't be afraid to charge a decent amount because its obvious this acquaintance trusts your ability other wise she wouldn't of asked.
  • Rebecca Platt Rebecca Platt on Nov 03, 2013
    I've painted a lot of furntiure. I think $20:00 plus materials is more than fair. We often undervalue our time. I just finished my hutch which looks like yours. It was no small job. The prep alone took some time. All in all I think it easily took about six to eight hours. Do the math. :)
  • 117135 117135 on Nov 03, 2013
    I just completed a large china hutch and I kept track of the hours involved in doing a large piece so I would know what type of price range to do a custom paint for a client. I have 15 to 20 hours involved this includes cleaning all the caked on grease taking off all the hardware, painting, waxing and re assembling the doors and hardware. I used ASCP and I would charge at least $20 an hour. Here is the piece I did so you can compare the sizes.
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    • Michele Bussey Johnston Michele Bussey Johnston on Jul 19, 2017

      It's best to use a primer on your piece before using chalk paint to save on chalk paint... I use Zinsser (Home Depot)comes in white or clear and it works great... I almost always do 2 coats of primer , 2 coats of chalk Paint .... just finished 1 high top dresser With 6 drawers 1 xtra long bureau with 8 drawers & 2 end tables. I used a quart of primer 10.00 and 1 1/4 quarts of chalk paint 50.00 wax 10.00 ...also my pieces were dark wood and I painted them in chalk white total hours @ 35... definitely allow more time when you have to do inside of a cabinet . I would of charged 375.00 for hutch plus 80.00 for supplies ..

  • Pam Pam on Nov 03, 2013
    I used the formula- 3x material cost + hourly labor charge. This meant some clients brought me pieces that were prepped (sanded, disassembled, sometimes primed) to reduce their costs. Don't under value your work! Check the resale shops for encouragement if it feels too high and you will likely raise your rates. :)
  • Julie Benson-Grant Julie Benson-Grant on Nov 03, 2013
    In the end, you can only charge what someone is willing to pay and that you are willing to accept. Like @Nest Home Improvement said, you should start with what the acquaintance is willing to spend.
  • Becky Hansen Becky Hansen on Nov 03, 2013
    I would love to see the finished product. Could you post an "after" picture when it's done?
  • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 03, 2013
    I will post a pic, and totally screwed myself! I said $85 plus $40 for paint! But I owe her for a garden hutch that's $30, so really I only get $55.... Ugh live and learn.....
    • Bernice H Bernice H on Nov 03, 2013
      @Kelly Wivell YES! I have so many times done the same thing, priced a house to clean, then whammo! I learned to do hourly...Please do post a pic and your finishing experience
  • Patty Patty on Nov 03, 2013
    Kelly, when you do a piece of furniture always do time plus cost, never do a job for less than $20.00/hr. plus the cost of all material, paint, wax, sandpaper, mineral spirits, anything you use, and any left over paint give to customer. Always tell them upfront how you will charge them and give as close an estimate as you can. So many people charge a flat rate and end up not making anything on the job, and lets face it were all in it to make a little money and do something you really love doing.
  • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 03, 2013
    So right Patricia Routt, screwed myself...
  • Sue Sue on Nov 03, 2013
    When ever I make a wreath or flower arrangement for someone, I always stumble over the price. I never know what to charge either. I never painted anything for anyone yet and I think that the other suggestions were right, charge by the hour + the supplies. Hey, we all make mistakes. Live and learn. Hope you'll get your worth next time! Happy painting.
  • Carole Carole on Nov 03, 2013
    Don't forget to factor into the cost a small sum for sundry items as well as your time and the cost of the paint. If you need to do prep work and use stuff like sandpaper/masking tape/brushes that might not be usable afterwards/stuff for clean up etc - remember to factor a portion of the cost spent. If you don't factor in these items you would be surprised how quickly they add up and you will find yourself working for nothing. You often need stuff other than just paint and if you are waxing - wax is probably not cheap either. These are the little costs that add up and slip between the cracks. If you approached this like a business and had to keep all receipts for everything you spent you would pretty soon find you are not covering your costs if you are not careful. I know as I have worked my butt off making over furniture and selling it and the stuff that you need to always have on hand for projects really adds up and gets forgotten about when putting a price on things.
  • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 03, 2013
    i did make a mistake on this, but hopefully the husband that I'm doing this for may get me started painting kitchen cabinets for his clients! I hope this can turn into a business opportunity!
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    • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 04, 2013
      @DeDe @ Designed Decor I did have the sense of telling her that! I said since she was my friend, :)
  • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 03, 2013
    now to decide on a business name! Why is that so hard? :)
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    • Kitty Nikolai Kitty Nikolai on Jul 31, 2016
      How about "Positively Chic"? Or "The Shabby Chick" Just spewing ideas.. lol.
  • Kelly Wivell Kelly Wivell on Nov 03, 2013
    i love you all! You are so great...
  • Kathy Owen Kathy Owen on Nov 07, 2013
    @Kelly Wivell , I would love to see the finished product also and keep up with your hours on the project so you have a reference for the future!
  • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Feb 21, 2014
    "Kelly's Krafts and Paint" - and I'd use the ampersand for a sophisticated touch. Use an artsy font! Enjoy!
  • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Feb 21, 2014
    Wivells' Whimsies" "Kelly's Painted Primitives". Well, I'll keep thinking.
  • Jolé's Home Jewels Jolé's Home Jewels on Mar 07, 2015
    Just found this thread, and it was very helpful in my new endeavor of painting/refinishing furniture. Thanks to you all for sharing such great info.
  • Bob1415675 Bob1415675 on Mar 13, 2015
    This is just what i was looking for as i am also starting to 'up-cycle' items, trouble is, i work full time so can only do bits here and there so wouldn't want to charge by the hour, plus I've bought old pieces to up-cycle and cant obviously charge less for those when clients are providing the furniture themselves so it's a bit hard to know the best prices to quote really. I do agree with 'the client will only pay want they want to pay' sentiment
  • Becky Becky on Apr 18, 2015
    You will learn as you go. No one has ever not made mistskes along the way to learning.
  • Terri precure Terri precure on May 10, 2015
    do you charge extra if you have to travel to do a job?
  • Terri precure Terri precure on May 10, 2015
    how much to do a job like this?
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  • Brenda Brenda on Jun 06, 2015
    How much would you charge someone to primer and paint 4 chairs 2 end tables and 1 bench?
  • Ashlie Ashlie on Aug 30, 2015
    I would charge $150 if you're really good at it and have to restore any of it. It's not like you have to buy the piece. If you have to buy any products, I would charge enough to cover that, too.
  • HEATHER HEATHER on Sep 10, 2015
    I have someone who wants me to paint and distress a solid wood table with leaf and 6 chairs.... how much should i charge round about?
  • Lesa Davis Lesa Davis on Jan 23, 2016
    How much to comic theme on a set of bunk beds
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 24, 2016
    Hi Kelly- since you do a lot of painting, you should have an idea of the hours it will take you to take this project from start to finish. Since you are using chalk paint, there is little prep work involved, but you still have to do two coats of paint, plus a wax coat. I am just working on a hutch now, and it has taken me 1.5 hours for each coat of paint (and I actually spray painted the doors, which would have added a lot more time), then it will take me another couple of hours to apply the finish and buff. Also factor in the time for removing and installing doors and drawers and hardware. So say 5 hours in total. Decide what you want to make per hour for your services and multiply by that. I am assuming that she will be paying for the painting supplies. Don't sell yourself short-you are providing a service just like any other professional!
  • Gina Turner Gina Turner on Jul 15, 2016
    I recently redesigned a piece very similar, at least in size, and charged my client $235. I charge $20/hr. plus the cost of paint. If it's paint I already have I tend to give them a discount on it. Here's the hutch I redid that is similar:
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  • Kitty Nikolai Kitty Nikolai on Jul 26, 2016
    I just finished this set, what a TON of work! I love it though! Asking $525, hopefully it will sell :). I am in the Bay Area and furniture usually fetches a decent price here. Any input appreciated, thank you! ~Kitty
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  • Michele Bussey Johnston Michele Bussey Johnston on Jul 19, 2017

    It really depends what color the item is and what color you will be painting them also does the end tables have doors, drawers etc really need a pic to be more exact... I would charge @ 40.00 quart chalk paint 15.00 quart zinsser primer clear or white. 15.00 sandpaper & towards brushes .. total 70.00 and figure on 26-28 hours labor with 2 coats primer and 2 coats of paint 2-3 coats of wax and distressing always go a little higher on hours it seems to always take longer than you think..

    whatever you would want per hour x 28 and materials 70.00... personally I would charge a minimum of 560.00 plus 70.00 materials

  • Brooke Ptak Brooke Ptak on Oct 09, 2017

    Michelle, I am somewhat new to quoting price on refinishing. I'd love to get your thoughts (and anyone else's) on what to charge for 8 chairs and a long dining table.

  • Sharon Sharon on Oct 09, 2017

    I always quote by the hourly fee for my work, and then give them an estimate of how many hours it will take to complete. That way you are not locked in to a set price, and you run into a problem and short yourself for having to solve the problem and complete the job.

  • Nic33515357 Nic33515357 on Jun 18, 2018

    350 paint and distress