The Complete Guide For Commercial Painting Costs

Posted on March 29, 2023
By SITsupport

Welcome to the ultimate cost guide for commercial painting.

If you are a building manager or business owner looking for…

  • Step-by-step breakdowns of commercial painting costs and how to calculate your own
  • 4 critical factors that will determine how long your painting project will take
  • The 5 stages of preparation all painters should follow to deliver exceptional quality
  • The secrets of paint finishes revealed (hint: they’re not just for looks)
  • 1 foolproof method to determine if your painter is fully licensed and insured

Then you’re in the right place.

So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: How Much Does It Cost To Paint Your Commercial Building?

  • Materials and cost for interior painting
  • Materials and cost for exterior painting
  • Labour and additional cost

Chapter 2: What are the Benefits Of Hiring Commercial Painters?

  • What are the advantages of hiring a professional commercial painter over doing the painting myself?
  • Are all commercial painters the same?
  • What kind of preparation work do commercial painters do before starting the painting job?

Chapter 3: What are the different types of paints used in commercial buildings?

  • How do I determine which type of paint is best for my commercial building?
  • What factors should I consider when selecting the colour of paint for my commercial building?
  • What type of paint finish should I pick?

Chapter 4: Tips for Choosing a commercial painter

  • Are all commercial painters the same?
  • How do I know if a commercial painter is licensed and insured?
  • What questions should I ask a commercial painter before hiring them?

Chapter 5: How do you get a quote for a commercial painting job?

  • How do commercial painters typically calculate the cost of a painting job?
  • What information do I need to provide to get an accurate quote from a commercial painter?
  • How can I compare quotes from different commercial painters to make the best decision?

Chapter 1: How Much Does It Cost To Paint Your Commercial Building?

No two paint jobs are ever the same. Final project estimates are affected by factors including:

  • Surface type like concrete, wood, plasterboard, metal, masonry, etc.
  • Total surface area 
  • Specialty tool and equipment rentals (if necessary)
  • The physical condition of your building
  • How quickly you need the job done

In short, it’s hard to say without getting an in-depth quote from a professional. 

However, our price break downs below can still give you a rough idea of what to expect before getting your first painter on the phone. 

Materials And Cost For Interior Painting

On average, material costs for interior painting range between $10 – $30/m2 throughout Australia.

Interior painters calculate their material cost based on the estimated surface areas that need to be painted along with prep work and needed repairs.

1 litre of paint will cover about 6.5m2 in one coat. But this depends on application type. Paint applied with rollers and brushes have a near 100% transfer efficiency whereas paint applied with a sprayer could require up to 33% more paint.

This means 1 small room at 50m2 of surface area will take about 7.7 Litres of paint applied with a roller.

With paint costing between $14 – $18 per litre, you’re looking at $108 – $139 for paint in that room. The paint price will depend on brand and type. 

And material costs will also include supplies like caulking, sealing, patchwork, sanding, and cleaning if mould and mildew are present.

Use the table below to estimate your paint cost based on the size of your building.

Paint Cost

Area Paint Paint cost per M2 Total Cost
50m2 7.7L $2.46 $123
100m2 15.4L $2.46 $246
1000m2 154L $2.46 $2,460

Materials And Cost For Exterior Painting

The material cost for exterior painting is generally similar to the interior. However, exterior prep work and repairs could be more expensive due to potential structural issues and additional preparation work. 

Exterior painting can become far more expensive if your paint job requires painters to work at height. Either through abseiling work, using powered lifts, or scaffolding.

Scaffolding rentals can range between $700 and $2000 per week.

Electric lift rentals can cost between $480 and $800 per week.

But labour will usually cost more for the exterior use of these specialised tools.

Labour And Additional Cost

The typical painter can paint between 14m2 and 18m2 per hour. 

Divide this number by the estimated surface area of the building, and you’ll have an estimated number of work hours to complete your project.

Labour hours range between $45 – $60 per hour but can extend up to $100 – $150 for exterior high-rise work using abseiling.

To calculate the total cost using material and labour, painters divide the estimated surface area by 6.5 (coverage area in metres of 1 litre of paint) and multiply by the number of coats (usually 2-3).

Then multiply this by a number that works for their business margins to cover labour and overhead. This number will be around 3 or 4 to arrive at a total job price.

Labour Cost

Area Paint cost Total Cost
50m2 $123 $369
100m2 $246 $738
1000m2 $2,460 $7,380

Just remember that these figures are just an estimate and that every painter will be different depending on the unique needs of your building.

Chapter 2: What are the Benefits Of Hiring Commercial Painters?

If you’re hiring a commercial painter for the first time, you may take one look at the price tag and wonder if you could do it yourself.

But the reality is professional painters have the expertise to bring down the total cost of your paint job and produce quality results that will cause your paint job to last much longer.

Should I Try To Paint My Building Myself?

One of the many benefits that come with hiring a commercial painter is their expertise and access to wholesale materials. 

Not only can they deliver higher quality results faster than you could yourself, but they can do it at a cheaper material cost per square metre. 

In the world of painting, a common rule is that 80% of the final project outcome is in the prep work. From smoothing wall textures to making repairs, professional painters know how to prepare a work site efficiently and guarantee stunning results.

Professional painters have time on their side. Their experience working on so many jobs means that hiring them means your building will get painted in only a fraction of the time it would take you to do it yourself.

How long will it take to paint my building?


It depends.

There are a lot of variables to consider when estimating a timeline for your paint job.

This includes:

  • How much preparation work needs to be done: This includes wall patching, repairing, caulking, sealing, sanding, and power washing.
  • Building size: How many floors is your building? What kind of surfaces need painting? How accessible is the building exterior? Will you need rope workers or could you get by with ladders and scaffolding? 
  • What the weather is like: Weather conditions can heavily impact an exterior paint job and set the project back days or weeks.
  • How big Your painter’s team is: More hands on deck will generally mean a fast work schedule. Make sure your painter of choice has enough workers to get your job done in a reasonable amount of time that you can work with.
  • Method of Application: Although sprayers use more paint, they can quickly cover more area with great results. Sprayers are often used on exterior painting for rough and porous surfaces like concrete and masonry.

In the end, the only way to find out how long your job will take is to contact some painters and ask them. Only they can give you a clear picture based on your circumstances.

What Kind Of Preparation Work Do Commercial Painters Do Before Starting The Painting Job?

Preparation is the key to any successful paint job. The painter you hire will likely need to complete several or all of these steps before they can lay that first brushstroke of paint on your walls.

Preparation Steps For Commercial Painting:

  1. General Inspection: Before any work is done on the interior or exterior, a general inspection of your building is needed. Any places requiring repairs and patchwork should be noted. Make sure that all walls and surfaces are in good condition and ready to receive paint. And ensure that no water damage, mildew, or mould is present before proceeding. 
  2. Planning: Weather can be the biggest enemy for an exterior paint job. The forecast should be consulted before making arrangements.
  3. Colour Selection: If you’re having a hard time deciding which colours to use for your project, consult with the painter. After working with so many clients on different buildings, they have a unique perspective about what colours and finishes will work well for your business.
  4. Area Protection: Before any paint or primer is applied, painters should take care to cover all floors, windows, doors, and other surfaces that need to be protected. For exterior painting, this includes clearing the surrounding area and ensuring that pedestrians can’t access areas below the painters.
  5. Wall Prep & Primer: This is when slight cosmetic damage can be repaired including dents and small holes. Wall texture should be smoothed as paint application will highlight defects. The primer should be applied on all never-before-painted surfaces and on surfaces that are being repainted from dark colours to light.

Chapter 3: What Are The Different Types Of Paints Used In Commercial Buildings?

Not all buildings are the same, and each business has specific requirements. 

When choosing your paint, you’ll need to balance multiple factors like the colours you want to use, the surfaces you need to paint, and the location where the paint will be sitting.

To better understand what paint makes the most sense for your project, continue reading below.

How Do I Determine Which Type Of Paint Is Best For My Commercial Building?

Paints come in a wide variety and are intended for specific uses. 

The type of paint you use will be determined by several factors like material type, interior or exterior surfaces, and the intended use of the building.

All of these factors go into determining what type of paint is best in each scenario. 

  • Acrylic-based paints are often used for building exteriors due to their versatility and ease of application. They’re highly water-repellant and durable, resisting fading and chipping over time.
  • Latex paint is commonly used for interiors and is less expensive than acrylic. Latex paint is water-soluble, so it’s much easier to clean up. Which is a great feature for use in indoor areas. Plus it only takes about 1 hour to dry, so it helps speed your project up significantly.
  • Primers are often the first coat to hit the wall. They stand between the surface and the final paint. Offering several benefits including better paint adhesion, longer lifespan, and allowing light colours to appear more vibrant.
  • Epoxy paint is a cost-effective and durable option that’s often used on concrete walls and floors. Common in hospitals, schools, and other high-foot-traffic areas, epoxy paint is durable and easy to clean.
  • Fire retardant paint is common in industrial areas like factories and warehouses that are at higher risk of fire.

What Factors Should I Consider When Selecting The Color Of Paint For My Commercial Building?

Dark vs. Light will be the main consideration when you evaluate your paint colours.
Choosing to go with one over the other will have a substantial impact on the final result and affects how the entire space looks, feels, and presents your business as a whole.

Dark colours conceal dirt and surface imperfections much better than light colours. This means that choosing to use a dark colour could help avoid costlier wall preparation as the surface would need to be heavily prepared for light-coloured paint depending on its condition.

You may want to avoid dark paint if you plan on using it in a small room or a room with little natural light. The dark paint will make the space feel smaller. Common darker colours used in commercial areas include earth tones like tans and browns as well as more corporate-oriented colours like blue and green.

Light colours will brighten a room and make it feel larger. Light colours also work well in rooms with plenty of natural light. 

However, light colours like white, off-white, and light blues will make deformities in a wall more visible and will make the wall texture stand out more. Depending on your desired look, your walls will probably need smoothing before painting.

What Type Of Paint Finish Should I Pick?

Paint finish is determined by the ratio of pigment to binder and is expressed as pigment volume concentration or PVC. 

A higher PVC means that paint will be less reflective as the higher concentration of pigment resists reflecting white light.

The paint finish you should use is highly dependent on the location of the painted surface and the intended use of the area. 

Some finishes are more durable but come at a cost, while others are cheaper but may be best for low-use areas. 

Below are the most common paint finishes ranked by their lustre.

  1. High-Gloss: The highest reflective paint finish available with the lowest PVC rating. High gloss paint contains less pigment and allows more light to reflect. High gloss is known for its durability and is a great choice for high-traffic areas. But not on large surfaces like walls as the high gloss draws attention to damage and dents.
  2. Semi-gloss: A good option for high-traffic areas and areas exposed to water like bathrooms and kitchens. Semi-gloss helps conceal damage slightly more than High-gloss.
  3. Satin: Probably the most commonly used in commercial interior painting due to its versatility. Satin sits right in the middle and offers a great balance between durability and reflection. 
  4. Eggshell: Durable with some sheen but helps conceal damage and dirt well. Commonly used in smaller rooms like bedrooms, closets, hallways, and conference rooms.
  5. Matte: With the least amount of sheen, matte paint is a good option for ceilings and rooms with little foot traffic. Matte paint helps conceal wall texture and inconsistencies so it can be used on walls with less prep work.

Chapter 4: Tips For Choosing A Commercial Painter

Picking the right painter for your job will have a huge impact on the future of your building. Paint serves a vital function in keeping your building water-resistant and helps reduce wear over time.

But this can only happen if your paint is properly applied. This means you can’t risk hiring someone with little experience or who won’t take the time to do the job right. 

Below we’ve provided a few things to keep in mind when evaluating your prospective painters.

Are All Commercial Painters The Same?

But with the benefits that come with hiring a professional painter, there are some factors you will want to keep in mind to ensure that you choose the right painter for your job.

Some factors to consider:

  • Crew Size: Depending on the scale of your building, the number of workers that a company can bring onto the job will affect how long it takes them to complete the work.
  • Equipment: Does your building have large open interior spaces? Will workers need to bring in platforms, scaffolding, or powered lifts? All of these factors will affect both the price and speed at which a painter can complete your job.
  • Expertise: Some painters specialise in specific surfaces like metal or concrete while others could be more interior painting focused as opposed to exterior. When it comes to exterior painting, only some services can access all of your building’s exterior through ropes and abseiling work. Make sure that your painter has experience with your type of job.

How Do I Know If A Commercial Painter Is Licensed And Insured?

Before proceeding with your project, always verify your painter is properly insured.

You should make sure that your painter is carrying the following types of insurance before proceeding:

  • Professional Indemnity insurance – Very important for companies providing services to their clients. Indemnity insurance covers acts of negligence during your professional transaction with your painter while receiving their services.
  • Public liability – Serves to protect against claims made by pedestrians and the general public during situations of injury or property damage.
  • Workers compensation – Covers all workers on the job site in cases of bodily injury.

Like most trade work, painters must be properly accredited before they can advertise and perform their services for internal and external residential painting projects valued at $5000 or more. 

All contractors working in NSW must be licensed. You can verify your painter’s licence here: https://verify.licence.nsw.gov.au/home/Trades

Licensed painters should also have their licence number displayed on all marketing materials as per the requirement of the NSW government.

What Questions Should I Ask A Commercial Painter Before Hiring Them?

Before making your final decision, here are a few questions you should consider asking to ensure that you’ve found the right company to handle your job.

Q: Do you offer a warranty to guarantee your work?

All painters should offer some kind of warranty for their work. Usually ranging from 1-5 years, this will be dependent on the nature of your job. 

Different paints have different life spans and their use cases could impact how long they’ll last. But a painter should guarantee that their painting will always be applied correctly to give you the best results for your money.


Q: Do you have experience with buildings similar to mine?

Is your painter comfortable working on your building and has a proven track record of delivering great results? The types of materials on your building’s exterior and interior will impact the paint and techniques used to apply them.


Q: What is your timeline and plan for the project?

Ensure your painter is confident in the job and has a strategy to guarantee your success. That starts with prep work, cleaning, protecting surfaces, establishing a timetable for work, plus arranging for clean up afterwards. Make sure both you and your painter agree on what the final result will look like.

Chapter 5: How Do You Get A Quote For A Commercial Painting Job?

When commercial painters calculate their job estimate, they consider 2 major factors.

  1. The total area that will be painted. This will determine material costs.
  2. Type of work being done on a project. Is it a basic brush and roller application or will they need to take special precautions and plan accordingly?

The total surface area is fairly easy for a painter to estimate, but the labour cost is where things get more complicated.

How Do Commercial Painters Typically Calculate The Cost Of A Painting Job?

Creating a detailed and accurate quote for a job is part art and science.

With hundreds of hours on the job, painters can often inspect a building and give a rough idea based on information that can be hard to quantify.

For labour estimates, painters understand their worker’s abilities, time to complete a project, and lessons learned from other projects that let them quote and estimate a timeline.

Material costs are calculated through detailed measurements of your building and considerations like the level of required detailed painting, and types of surfaces being painted like concrete, wood, plasterboard, and masonry. The materials will often determine the types of paints being used, and any special circumstance like working at height with ropes or lifts.

What Information Do I Need To Provide To Get An Accurate Quote From A Commercial Painter?

To ensure your painter provides an accurate quote, it’s important to determine certain factors in advance. This will help streamline the process and make it go as smoothly as possible.

  • Project Scope – Do a detailed evaluation of what you need as a final result and any special considerations that can affect your project. For example, are you painting a hotel lobby and need to plan temporary entrances and check-in areas? Do you need to temporarily shut down your storefront while painters are at work? 
  • Timeline – A faster timeline will mean additional workers and a higher labour cost. Work outside of regular business hours will also usually carry an additional cost.
  • Access – High ceilings, walls, and high-rise work will require special equipment. This could involve electric lifts, scaffolds, or abseiling work, which requires temporary roof anchor installation if you don’t have your own installed. 
  • Budget – If you have a budget to stay within, let your painter know. They can help you prioritise different parts of your building if you don’t want to pay for the entire project at once.
  • Surface Prep – The amount of preparation work will affect the final price. This depends on the age of your building, the condition of your walls, and any repairs that may need to be done.

How Can I Compare Quotes From Different Commercial Painters To Make The Best Decision?

Evaluating your quotes will depend on your priorities and allowances. Do you need the project done as quickly as possible or do you have plenty of time and want it done as close to or under budget as possible?

These types of questions will help you decide which painter will be the best choice.

  • Get itemised quotes broken down between material and labour costs – Materials should be similar across all quotes for the same project. But labour can vary between different painting companies. If you notice one that stands out, ask clarifying questions to see why this is.
  • Time estimate – this will affect the overall labour price. If you place a higher value on faster project completion, then use this as a factor to pick your painter.
  • Comparable materials and work scope – make sure all quotes are for the same work scope and are planning to use the same types of paints.


This concludes the ultimate guide to commercial painting cost, proudly brought to you by Sonaa Abseiling Service, serving the Eastern Suburbs, Western Sydney, and Sutherland Shire.

We hope this guide has helped you during your search for the perfect commercial painter. 

But in case we forgot to mention anything you need to know…

Or if you would like to learn more about how Sonaa can help you reach the toughest spots on your building’s exterior, reach out and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!