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How Much Should It Cost for Commercial Painting per Square Foot?

If you’re considering a new paint job for your commercial property, several important choices can make your final decision more difficult. Choosing a contractor can be a chore, plus there’s the factor of shopping around, considering the cost of materials, and scheduling the service. You need to know that you’ll be charged a fair price for whatever you decide.

In an environment of rapidly changing going rates, slippery estimates, and shoddy business models, you must know that you’re going with a commercial painting company you can trust. Here is what you can expect out of a quality painting contractor, with variable costs and prices as a guide.

Understanding Commercial Painting Costs

If you’re considering a new paint job for your commercial property, several important choices can make your final decision more difficult. Choosing a contractor can be a chore, plus there’s the factor of shopping around, considering the cost of materials, and scheduling the service. You need to know that you’ll be charged a fair price for whatever you decide.

Quality and Type of Paint

Paint itself is a key factor in the overall cost of commercial painting. Brand, type of paint, quality, and source all factor into pricing, and can have a big impact on the overall result of your project. You don’t want to skimp on a cheap product, but you don’t want to invest in an overly expensive one either. High-quality paints and coating cost more and will deliver an overall better finish, especially if you’re using specialized products that can provide greater longevity to your commercial space. Quality paint brands will do more than look good on your building—they protect against the elements, industrial environments, corrosion, weather, use, abrasion, and more.

Many paints include built-in primers, saving you money on a separate purchase. But better paint will reduce your maintenance costs, meaning your paint job will last longer. Your contractor should be able to offer you several choices and offer insight into what will work best for your product.

Number of Coats

The number of coats necessary during application is the other crucial aspect of commercial painting costs. For instance, a dynamic color change might require additional coats to effectively pull away from the existing color of your building. Compared to a simple refresh, a repaint definitely demands additional coats. This increases the quantity of paint used, but also the work hours and resources.


Creativity can also factor into overall costs. If you’re looking for something demanding or complex, this means more coats, more labor, and more product. While the final look of your building might be worth it from an aesthetic standpoint, the cost should be a consideration. You can also look at this moment as an opportunity to set your property apart and make it more visible to your clients and consumers.

Special Equipment

The reason it’s necessary to hire painting contractors versus attempting the project yourself is because the professionals have access to a suite of specialized equipment. This equipment is included in their estimate, allowing contractors to paint the upper levels of tall buildings, apartment building sides, high ceilings, stairwells, and more.

Purchasing any special equipment yourself will increase your costs exponentially. Scaffolding, elevated platforms, swing stages, long brushes, and other equipment ensure that the project can be completed professionally and safely, meaning you, the painters, your staff and customers won’t be disturbed by the work.

Repairs and Extra Attention Needed

The scope of your project can be greatly influenced by unexpected maintenance problems. Your building might require repairs and touchups before the project even begins, and there are any number of problems that could arise. Foundational issues, cracked concrete, existing lead paint, and leaks can all delay or obstruct a project. This will also affect the structural integrity of your property, and if not taken care of can cheapen the longevity of the project.

Experienced commercial painters can advise you on building maintenance issues prior to the start of the project and include them in the total estimate. This will save you time and money and prevent you from hiring multiple contractors, and many paint companies will take care of light foundational maintenance themselves.

After Hours Work

Typically, experienced contractors will be willing to schedule their work after hours so as not to disturb your customers. This minimizes any issues for clients or tenants, though it might come with a cost increase since you will be paying for work outside of normal business hours. In most cases, this is worth it so as to not disrupt your business.

Size of Project

Finally, the scope of your project will influence its cost. Additional buildings, complex surfaces, secondary colors, and more all add to the labor and materials required. Regardless of the size of any job, a good contractor will do what it takes to accomplish the work safely. Never settle for a company that will cut corners or lower its standards.

Average Cost Range for Commercial Painting per Square Foot

This information reflects the average cost of commercial painting per square foot in 2023 based on the national average. It is only an estimate for painting commercial buildings and any final costs or estimates should be discussed with the contractor you hire.

As of March 2023, the average cost for painting commercial buildings ranges from $0.50 to $0.80 per square foot. This typically includes primer and up to two coats of paint. Depending on your area, commercial painting businesses offer different pricing and estimates based on several local factors.

Commercial painters and contractors will charge differently for interior or exterior projects. You should expect to pay around $55 to $65 per hour for a crew of experienced painters, as well as the use of ladders, spraying equipment, scaffolding, lifts, and other tools. Always fully discuss costs with your contractor prior to signing anything.

Getting and Comparing Quotes

As you shop around for different painting companies, the contractor will send out a written estimate detailing the total project costs and what is included. After you receive a few quotes, take a moment to look them over and see what each contractor offers. Prices will vary from contractor to contractor, so ensure that you know what is included in each quote.

Ask yourself questions, such as:

  • Do these estimates include the same items?
  • Do some contractors require you to supply paint?
  • What schedule do they agree to?
  • How much can the final cost fluctuate compared to the estimate?

Ensure that all items line up and that the estimate only includes items you agreed upon. If something doesn’t seem right, reach out to the company with your questions. You should assume that if something is not listed in the initial quote then it is also not included in the total price.

You should also hammer out further scheduling details. Ask if they can start the project right away or if you will be added to a waitlist. If there are two companies you are torn between but one of them cannot start for three months, it might be better to go with the company that can take care of the job sooner rather than later.

While price is the most important factor in your selection, you should compare quotes based on details beyond cost. If one company costs less but has worse reviews and fewer recommendations, things will end up costing more in the end. Ensure the painting company is using high-quality materials and that their employees are insured. You should also ask if the painters are part of the company or if they are outsourced by the contractor. Also, any contractor you work with should be able to answer your questions completely and fully.


At the end of the day, the cost of your commercial paint job has a number of considerations. It’s important to fully vet the contractor and company you decide to work with, which includes looking for local recommendations and reading reviews. Ensure that you are using high-quality paints so that the paint job has increased longevity and won’t require additional maintenance anytime soon.

ProServ has over thirty years of experience, and as a trusted local paint company they know how to do the job right the first time. You can schedule a free estimate with ProServ Painters today, and they will get back to you promptly. When it comes to your commercial business or property, don’t settle for less. A great commercial paint job is an important investment, one that you should be proud of displaying for years.

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For more information or to receive your free estimate call ProServ Painters at (804) 214-7811 today!

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