The Cost of Painting Office Space

How much does a commercial painter charge to paint an office unit?
Does it make more financial sense to paint the entire office building?

Facility managers have to maintain the interior of office buildings to keep the tenants happy. Individual unit occupants are usually responsible for their own maintenance and decor. Whether you are a facility manager or a business owner, the cost of painting affects the bottom line. 

Any pricing we discuss here is for a quick reference and reflects our pricing reality at this time. In no way this blog constitutes our price list. As always, we welcome your questions in the comments section. When it’s time to engage the services of a painting contractor, we suggest you call us for a more accurate estimate. Professional estimators collect a lot of information before preparing a quote. 

  • Are there any major repairs required? 
  • What colours do you have in mind? 
  • Is there a colour change? How many coats? 
  • Are we painting highlight walls? 
  • What about the doors and other trim? 

Other questions have nothing to do with the scope of work and they are of the general variety. 

  • Can we paint during business hours
  • Is the office centrally located? 
  • Do you have available parking for visitors and contractors? 
  • Does the building have a loading elevator? 
  • What is your preferred timeline? 
  • Is the space empty or heavily occupied? 
  • Do you want the painters to move the furniture? 
  • What about specialized systems furniture? 
  • Are we coordinating the office painting with carpet installers? 
  • Are there security considerations?

How Do Commercial Painters Estimate?

Is there a right price

Painting is not a commodity, it is a service. As is the case with most services, there is no standard pricing. Every company employs painters of varying skill level, has different qualifications and insurance while of course trying to remain profitable. While there is a price variance between estimates, most established painting companies are within 20% of each other’s price. 

Is an expensive estimate a guarantee of a better job? Sometimes it is but it is not always the case. A good estimator has current knowledge of the company’s overhead numbers and the painters production rates. The net profit margins of most painting companies are small. Pricing low on a few large projects can mean financial trouble for most contractors.

Five Steps for Calculating the Price

  1. Carefully measure square feet, linear feet and units
  2. Quantify prep work and clean-up
  3. Calculate the time (hours) it will take based on historical production rates
  4. Multiply the hours by the company’s hourly rate* 
  5. Calculate paint quantity based on their spreading rates. Add any rental equipment rented specifically for this job.

*The hourly rate includes painters wages with payroll contributions, overhead expenses and desired net profit.

Cost per Square foot to Paint a Commercial Office?

No matter what the office space - square foot pricing is accurate

When referencing “price per square foot”, it’s worth mentioning that this applies to surfaces being painted and not floor space. There is a common misconception that floor measurements should be used for estimating. Despite some customers and general contractors asking for this, this is inaccurate. There are unique elements within each space that should be measured and counted. 

How Many Square feet Can a Professional Painter Paint in One Hour?

Based on industry averages and our own historical experience, a professional painter can paint about 150 square feet in one hour. Let’s calculate the wall surface of an office with measurements of 14′ length and 14′ width with 8′ ceiling height. The surface to be paint is 448 square feet. Based on the above averages it will take the painter about 3 hours.

What is the Cost of Labour per Square foot?

Contractors that specialize in office painting charge anywhere from $50 to $65 per hour. If we assume an hourly rate of $60 per hour, the labour cost for the above work is just over .40 cents an hour.

The Cost of Paint and Prep Supplies per Square foot?

Other than the cost of labour, other job expenses are paint/primer and prep supplies. There are many types and grades of paint made by different manufacturers. Depending on the porosity of the substrate and the quality of paint, one gallon covers 300 to 450 sq. ft. of surface. Commercial paints such as Benjamin Moore’s Ultraspec-500 cost about $40 per gallon and cover 400 square feet. Prep supplies and sundries for an average size office average about $15.

How Much to Paint Average Sized Offices?

Interior commercial painting in Markham building

Based on the above, painting the walls costs 0.46 cents a square ft including labour and materials. One coat of paint for the above room will cost about  $206. Keeping in mind that this number is for discussion purposes only, please note the following for more accurate estimations:

  • Double the measurements for an extra coat.
  • Doors and baseboards are priced differently (see below).
  • Furniture moving and wall repairs will add more labour time.
  • Specialty coatings such as dry erase whiteboard paint is considered custom work.
  • Some offices have large window walls that can be deducted from the cost.

How Much to Paint Boardrooms or Washrooms?

After having a basic understanding of measuring for painting, any room can be estimated using the same formula. Boardrooms are just bigger rooms with a different purpose. Some clients ask us to paint an accent colour on a focus wall. Accent colours add about fifteen percent to the price of the room.

Dry Erase Whiteboard Installation by Ecopainting

Other clients request a dry erase wall. Whiteboard paint is a specialty epoxy type coating with special instructions. Ask your contractor if they provide this service.

Washrooms are smaller rooms but more difficult to paint. In addition to the measurement of the surfaces, there are other considerations that would affect the cost. Ask your contractor about them.

  • Surfaces must be washed and sometimes repaired.
  • More durable glossier paints are best.
  • It is difficult to paint washrooms during business hours.
  • Painting the stall partitions requires a strong enamel finish.

How Much Does it Cost to Paint Doors and Trim?

The doors and trim don’t always get painted with the walls. They get painted with semi gloss or satin paint which resists more wear and tear than wall paint. Another reason not to paint the doors is to save money. Painting the trim requires more detailed work and is relatively expensive. Painters do not usually measure the size of doors as most of them come in standard sizes and types. Counting them and pricing them by the unit is more practical. Baseboards in offices are mostly made of vinyl or carpet. Occasionally you will find wood baseboards. 

There are different types of doors found in offices but most are not much different to paint than residential grade doors. The following are sample prices of doors with frames:

  • Flush (flat) Doors $80-$100.
  • Steel Doors $90-$120.
  • French Doors $220 – $280
  • Raised panel doors $120-$150

Some doors need more prep work than others, especially when they are damaged or peeling.

Painting doors and trim in this office

For exact pricing of your project and a detailed proposal Call Ecopainting at 416 733-7767. One of our representatives will carefully estimate your project and provide you with a detailed proposal. 

In fact, we think facility managers should consider prequalifying painting contractors before inviting them for a bid. By reducing the administrative work, you can focus on what matters to you and your company during the bidding process. Please consider adding Ecopainting to your list of qualified bidders. 

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