How Much Should You Charge For Painting Furniture?
How Much Should You Charge For Painting Furniture?
By Aileen of Shabby.ie
I get asked this question so often.
How much to I charge to Paint Furniture / Custom Painting ?
And if I am to be completely honest, it was a question I asked myself many times when I first started.
Most of us accidentally enter the Upcycling Business out of pure love of the art. We find it incredibly therapeutic and then as our skills improve ,we are often asked to paint furniture for others.
When it comes to charging we are often unsure of our footing. We paint for ourselves, then our family and friends and suddenly, we are approached by a stranger that heard of our work.
Just so you know… this is the beginning of what could become a little business, if you want it !
Every time a student finishes our online course in Restyling Furniture on the Shabby School and progresses on to taking commission work they ask … what do I charge ? All this and so much more you need to know is covered in our Paint For Profit Course, Click Here To Join.
But here is something to get you started. When you come up with a price , you will be asking yourself….Is this too much, is this too little ?
Too often we undervalue ourselves. Too often we don’t deem our skills to be worth even minimum wage. And we tend to sell ourselves short. What does that do for our self worth ? Not a lot let me tell you.
Now you might say:
‘ I only do it as a hobby’
‘I am happy to do paint pieces for people and not charge. I love what I do, so it doesn’t matter’
Well I am here to tell you that it does matter!
We all love what we do, or we wouldn’t be doing it. But we also need to value ourselves and our time. We also value our skill as a furniture restylist and if you did too, then you would not be working for nothing.
So here is what I used to do and I found it worked well and gave me confidence.
I made up a A4 questionnaire ( example below ) and filled it in, in front of each customer. I asked them all the questions and ticked the boxes before we started, so we both clearly understood what was expected . Managing customer expectation is vital !! The chosen colour was written down and signed for. This ensures you are not liable should the customer not LIKE the finished item. They chose the colour and they signed it. I asked about adding mouldings, stenciling, decoupage, lining drawers, painting the back of the piece and the inside of the piece. This told me exactly what the person wanted.
I then added on my labour. You must choose your price ‘per hour’ and work out how many hours you think it will take you. Remember minimum wage is approx €10 an hour ! And also remember the client has come to you, because they are with unwilling or unable to do it themselves. So they see you are the expert, even if you don’t yet.
Doing it this way shows the customer the breakdown and makes it very clear you are not charging them €100 for the restyle… in fact you are only charging €40, as the products are the balance. It shows them the cost of the products should they wish to have a go themselves , which they almost never take into account. This also sets their mind at ease and they fully understand where you are coming from.
There is one very important word in the document below. QUOTE..!!
There will be times when you come across problems after you start on a piece. You may not have quoted for a primer and then discover the furniture is a bleeder and you need the expensive shellac/ oil based based primer to seal in the tanins. ( photo via pinterest)
This is why I also emphasie this at the QUOTE stage and I offer to keep the customer updated via messenger to ensure they are involved in the full process, should there be any changes.
Also there are times when I am half way through a piece and I think it would be nicer if I did another technique . I contact the customer through messenger and tell them, I think the piece would be enhance if I did….. and what the extra cost would be, if any.
All these little touches will ensure you have a satisfied customer at the end and satisfied customers give recommendations, ratings on your business page, testimonials on your reviews and these are all invaluable for future custom.
WHAT NEXT ?
Don’t forget your CARE sheet explaining to the customer what they should and should not use to clean their newly refinished piece and how long the paint , varnish or stain needs to fully cure ( you should be very well informed about all of this ) … as it is very important !
I always tell my students to choose the paint they can stand over, when commission painting. That’s why I only use the Shabby Paint Collection we sell on our website. The client will blame you, not the paint, if the finish is not up to scratch and is not durable.
Print this care sheet on quality cream paper and roll it, tied in a nice ribbon.
A professional finish to a professional job.
Hope you found this useful. We have many resources for you on shabby.ie .
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What Courses Do We Offer ?
We have the Complete Guide to Restyling Furniture with over 43 Video tutorials taking you from the very start all the way through to advanced techniques.
We have the FOLLOW ON course for those wishing to progress and that’s called The Paint for Profit course, teaching you all you need to know to start you own business in Upcycling Furniture. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Thanks for joining me today and HAPPY PAINTING>>>
Below is a copy of my quote sheet.
Contact Number _______________________________
Description and size of Item to be restyled
Cost of paint and colour__________________________
Top Coat Required yes/no________________________
Primer Required yes/no__________________________
Specific Instructions eg. Distressing, Decoupage, Glazing, Stenciling
cost of above_______
Cost of Labour_________________________________
Inspected on Delivery. Customer Signature.. _____________