How much should you pay for a painter & decorator?

As the saying goes, ‘if you think it’s expensive to hire professional, wait until you hire an amateur.’

That said, when hiring a professional, it is important to understand WHY you are paying more.

Here are just some of the reasons you should ALWAYS hire a professional decorator and how much you can expect to pay for it.  


Photo credit – Hamilton

The key to a good finish is in the preparation. When a professional decorator quotes to do some work, they will factor in the time it takes to prepare the surface to make it perfectly smooth and blemish free.

This is what makes your room look brand new again. And it means the finish will stay looking great for much longer.

The right tools for the job

Photo credit Festool – Dustless sanding equipment

In order to achieve a long lasting finish that looks great you need the right tools.

A great example is dustless sanding equipment.

A full set up can cost thousands of pounds to buy and maintain, but the results are unbeatable.

The finish is superior to sanding by hand, plus it’s faster…and as the name suggests, it is virtually dustless.

This means a much cleaner and safer environment for you and your family.

Better quality paints

A professional decorator will use the best paint for the job. This might not always be the cheapest…or in fact the most expensive paint available.

It is about choosing the right paint for the job.

Cheaper decorators will use any old paint.

Professional decorators will know when it is right to use different types of paints and finishes depending on the situation.

For example, if the job needs a durable and water resistant paint, then it will cost more upfront for the materials, but it will last much longer. So, you’ll save in the long run.

After care

A good decorator will stand by their work. After all, their reputation is vital to their business.

This means if you require any touch ups or have any issues, they will come back to do it.

They often won’t charge you for this service, but it is something that they need to factor into their overall business plan.

If you pay a cheap decorator £80 to paint a room and something goes wrong, do you think they’ll come back and fix it? Not a chance.


Photo credit Inksurance.co.uk

One of the most important things when you have any tradesperson enter your home is to make sure they have the right insurance.

This costs money and is one of the reasons a professional decorator will be more expensive.

However, this is incredibly valuable to you as a homeowner.

What happens if a painter and decorator hurts themselves whilst working at your home?

Did you know that if you put a ladder out for the tradesperson to use and they fall off it without the right insurance in place, you could be sued?

Think about other things that could go wrong.

Water damage, fires, collapsed walls, incomplete work, damage to carpets, breakages of household objects. The list is endless!

Things like this could cost a fortune to remedy if either you or the tradesman you’ve employed doesn’t have the right insurance in place.

They will provide you with a proper quote or receipt for the works carried out

If you use a cheaper painter, the likelihood is they won’t be providing you with official quotes, works instructions and receipts.

This means you have very little evidence if you are not happy with the work and wish to claim via trading standards.

Not a situation you want to be in as a homeowner!

Qualifications, credible reviews or belonging to a trade body

A professional decorator will have lots of experience and a history of customer reviews that they’ll be more than pleased to show you. This experience and the qualifications take time and money to acquire.

However, checking your decorator has reviews, qualifications or belongs to a trade body is a great way to ensure you’re going to get a good quality job.

Cheaper decorators won’t have these things and because of this you can’t be confident that they can carry the work out properly.

This could lead to you having to pay out vast amounts of money to put their shoddy workmanship right.

Final consideration

How cheap can a legitimate decorator actually be???

Do you know how much a good decorator must charge in order to deliver a good quality job on a reliable basis.

It varies across the country, but as a rule, the entry level is about £20 per hour. Or £160 per day.

This is what a decorator starting out needs to charge to have a profitable business.

I’ll break it down for you:

£160 per day = £20 per hour. Which after tax = £15.35 per hour

Now take away the following:

Overheads (a good small business will have overheads of around 35% of total revenue. This covers admin costs, accountants, HR, marketing, advertising, tools, van leasing etc) = £7 per hour

Living wage for 1 person (UK Government guidelines April 2020) = £7.31

This leaves £1.04 per hour profit. Which is a profit margin of 5.2%.

Ok, so by looking after more expensive tools and being extra lean on expenses a decorator could save a little bit on overheads.

And perhaps they could charge £20 per hour and make a healthier profit – say 15%-20%.

However, it proves the point. For a decorator to do a professional job, without cutting corners on anything, they need to be charging £160 per day or more.

On top of this, you need to consider the benefits of more skilled and experienced decorators.

Remember, the better they are, the more demand they’ll have for their services and prices increase accordingly.

There is a reason some decorators can charge £40+ per hour. And it is because the market has deemed that they are worth that much.

If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t have any customers.

So, if you are looking to hire a decorator, firstly understand how much a good one will cost, and why they are worth that much.

Then, go for the one who offers the most VALUE based on everything in this article.

This is often NOT the cheapest quote.

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