Asked on Jan 25, 2016

How much should I charge to chalk paint a cllent's piece of furniture?

by Dawn
For the last few years I have been buying furniture and repainting it for a hobby. I often have people ask me how much I would charge to paint the furniture that they already own. I have always said that I don't take special orders and don't paint other people's furniture. Now I wonder if I am missing a great opportunity. Is it worth it? And how do I charge them? The pic of the dresser below is one that I painted a few weeks ago. Any advice would be appreciated.
Dresser I painted
  14 answers
  • JoAnn JoAnn on Jan 25, 2016
    You have to calculate the cost of materials for sure, then you have to factor in the time you put into it. How much prep work? I repurpose. I figure in the out of pocket cost. The time involved. Let's face it you cannot get all your time back. I average $15.00 to $20.00 an hour. There are times I round down because it is priced out of the market. Other times I add extra to even things out. I would not turn opportunities down. You probably know how long things take from experience. You could give an estimate with the stipulation that if something unforeseen comes up you can call them.
    • @JoAnn You took the words right out of my mouth! very good answer. I also repurpose and do custom orders. And she is right, you will never get paid properly for your time. I've spent as much as 10-15 on certain pieces (prepping old wood can be time consuming) but certainly didn't make what I should have! On that dresser you did above, excluding any prep work, minor fixes or sanding, I would have charged 400-500 (if you had to clean and paint the hardware, that's an extra cost too. Some hardware takes hours to do!). That's what the going rate is in my area. Just for the 2 types of paint it's close to 50-60 bucks. (if you make your own chalk paint you can save lots of money!) Sometimes I charge the client for the paint if I actually have to order it or go somewhere to pick it up.
  • Mary k wareham Mary k wareham on Jan 25, 2016
    It looks like your work is very good . I would add up your expense of paint,and materials needed how long it takes,and a piece like that maybe 150.00 to start it depends how much detailing and time you put in,if you make it to much they will do it themselves or buy a new piece,so larger pieces higher and depending if any repairs and materials Good luck!!
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    • Mandy-Joshua McGinnis Mandy-Joshua McGinnis on Jan 27, 2016
      You did a beautiful job..its gorgeous.
  • Jane Jane on Jan 25, 2016
    I would say the same. Material but I would charge $40 to $50 per hour.
  • Tina Hill Tina Hill on Jan 25, 2016
    besides the cost for materials , you must factor in how much trial and error you went thru discovering what works and what doesn't and add a mark up to the cost of materials( you deserve paid for your hard earned knowledge) to cover that and then you need to decide how much your time is worth and how much your skill is worth , and settle on a $ amount per hour for your labor ............. Remember if you do this for the enjoyment of it , doing it for money may take the Joy out of it .... ...... I would suggest a minimum of $40 any hour for labor ( last time i checked that is close to what mechanics are paid per hour ) and a 15% mark up on materials ( after all you are the one driving to the store and back to purchase them ) . then i would only accept a few projects from folks who can afford to pay you .... one can not accurately gauge the number of hours ahead of time so and estimate would be only that , an estimate .... and you need to TRACK your time so you are certain how much time you are actually spending .... Good Luck with whatever you choose to do .... you are very talented and do beautiful work .
  • Tina Hill Tina Hill on Jan 25, 2016
    here's a thought that just occurred to me .... if you have a friend that wants you to do a piece for them and you would be uncomfortable with charging them $40 plus and hour , help them get the materials they need and them tutor them and guide them thru their project for a smaller fee , your expertise , and they do all the work .... or even offer a class ..... or classes ..... just a thought
    • See 1 previous
    • Grandmasue10 Grandmasue10 on Jan 26, 2016
      @Tina Hill I think if they wanted to do the work, they wouldn't have asked her to do it. They either don't think they are good at DIY, or they just don't want to do the work.
  • Heather McKinney Heather McKinney on Jan 25, 2016
    I think the price per hour depends on where you live and the market for such items. Where I live, I double the cost of materials and that's my price. No one around here would buy my items if I charged $40-50/hour.
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    • Grandmasue10 Grandmasue10 on Jan 26, 2016
      @Heather is TooInspiredToSleep I think you are right on. A quilter I knew would 1 and a half times the cost of material. You'd have to charge third world wages to sell anything handcrafted.
  • Miren Ruiz Miren Ruiz on Jan 25, 2016
    Hay Que Tener en Cuenta al valorar el precio de la hora dos Cosas; el precio de la pintura es caro, por Otro Lado Trabajar con ES Ella facil.Es decir no se debe cobrar demasiado por el trabajo.En Cuanto el Cliente DESCUBRA la pintura y empieze A Trabajar con ella .... SE ACABO El Trabajo.Unos 30 estaria bien.
  • Robert Waldbauer Robert Waldbauer on Jan 26, 2016
    There is a formula for determining how much to charge -- Cost of Materials plus cost of time and talent plus profit margin. Your time is valuable, and your talent took time to develop, so don't shortchange yourself or undervalue your talent. I believe your skill alone is worth $10-$12 per hour, and a 20% profit margin is not unreasonable -- most retail outlets have a profit margin of 40%.
  • SBlizzard SBlizzard on Jan 27, 2016
    You could give them a price for the work and have them buy the materials. That way if you say "I'll charge you $150 to do it, if you get the supplies," they won't be quite as shocked at it ending up costing them $325. :-)
  • Lynn Zawojski Lynn Zawojski on Jan 27, 2016
    20/ hour plus materials then double it. same if you paid 50.00 for an item, then sell for 100. Seems to work.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Jan 29, 2016
    There are no standard practices that I am aware of. No matter what you charge, you must keep a list of costs, materials and time used on each piece. Being aware means that you will become able to quote up front to potential clients without under cutting yourself.
  • Connie Labbe Baumeister Connie Labbe Baumeister on Jan 23, 2018

    curious what about travel time to their home? 70 miles round trip?

  • Joanne Joanne on Nov 29, 2019

    This is stunning work Dawn!!

    I am having the same problem working out what to charge people for this service. It is hard as every piece you do is different and will therefore never take the same time to complete. Where we live no one wants to pay you for your time and skill they just want a bargain!

    However, I think you will find there are people out there that will pay you a reasonable amount especially when they see the high standard of work you put out. Have you contacted other sellers that also do commision work to see what they charge? Or local stores that sell finished items and the fees they charge? This is what I am going to do.

    Good luck!

  • Janice Janice on Dec 20, 2022

    Beautiful work, Dawn!