How much does a painter charge per hour in Australia?

According to the National Painting and Decorating Institute, professional painters in Australia charge between $65 to $95 per hour.

It’s important to note that these figures represent an average across Australia. The hourly rates can significantly vary based on location. In metropolitan cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, where the cost of living is generally higher, painters tend to command the upper end of this range. On the other hand, in smaller towns and rural areas, you may find painters who charge at the lower end of this spectrum.

But before you start hunting for painting services online, be wary of some misleading estimations out there. Some job aggregator sites may promise rates as low as $25/hr or $40/hr, but let’s be honest, those numbers are downright unrealistic.

Professional painters, who bring years of experience, skill, and expertise to the table, usually command rates in the range of $65 to $95 per hour. These rates not only cover their labor but also reflect their craftsmanship, use of quality equipment, and the top-notch results they deliver. 

Painters Hourly Rates by Australian Metro Cities


CityHourly Rate Range
Sydney$90 – $110
Melbourne $90 – $110
Brisbane$80 – $100
Perth$100 – $110
Adelaide$75 – $90

The data provided in the table offers hourly rate ranges for professional painters in major Australian cities. These figures are commonly observed in the industry and are typically derived from sources like market research, local painter services, online job aggregator websites, and consumer reports. However, it’s important to note that hourly rates for painters can vary due to factors such as experience, project type, location, and demand. To secure a favorable deal, it’s advisable to compare multiple quotes from different painters in your area.

The Hourly Rate Trap!

While paying painters by the hour is a common approach, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides. We’ll delve into the disadvantages of hourly painter rates and explore more engaging and effective alternatives that put you in control of your painting project’s cost and quality. 

  1. Lack of Cost Control: Homeowners have limited control over the final cost when paying by the hour. This can make budgeting for the project challenging, as unexpected delays or complications can lead to higher expenses.
  2. Incentive for Slow Work: Paying painters by the hour can unintentionally incentivise them to work slowly, as they may earn more for additional hours worked. This can be a concern for homeowners who want the job completed efficiently.
  3. Potential for Overbilling: While most professional painters are honest and transparent, overbilling is possible when paying by the hour. There is a potential for painters to pad their hours or take longer than necessary to complete the job.
  4. Scope Creep: Without a clearly defined scope of work, paying by the hour can lead to scope creep, where additional tasks or changes are introduced during the project. This can result in higher costs.

Fixed Upfront Quote: Smart Alternative

An alternative payment method to hourly rates for hiring painters is a fixed project quote. This approach offers several advantages and can help address some of the disadvantages associated with hourly rates:

  1. Cost Predictability: With a fixed project quote, you’ll know the total cost of the painting project upfront. This eliminates the uncertainty and potential for cost overruns that come with hourly rates.
  2. Material and Labor Separation: Homeowners can choose to pay separately for materials and labor. This way, they have more control over the material costs and can negotiate labor costs more effectively.
  3. Incentive for Efficiency: Painters have a strong motivation to work efficiently when they’re working on a fixed project quote. They’re incentivised to complete the project within the agreed-upon time frame to maximise their earnings.
  4. Clear Scope of Work: A fixed project quote typically includes a detailed scope of work, outlining the specific tasks and materials to be used. This provides transparency and ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding what’s expected.
  5. Reduced Disputes: There’s less room for disputes over additional hours or unexpected costs. This approach minimises the risk of overbilling.
  6. Simplified Payment Process: Payment is often simpler with a fixed project quote. You agree on a set price, and payment can be structured in installments, with a portion due at the start, another at a specific project milestone, and the final payment upon project completion.
  7. Focus on Quality: Painters working on a fixed project quote are more likely to focus on delivering high-quality work, as their reputation and future business often depend on customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, while paying painters by the hour is a common approach, it does come with disadvantages related to cost uncertainty, lack of control, and potential overbilling. Homeowners have the option to explore alternative payment arrangements, such as fixed-price contracts or payment milestones, to address these concerns and ensure a more predictable and transparent painting project. 

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Owner at Painters Parramatta | + posts

I'm Ibby, the lead painter at Painters Parramatta. I'm not just a professional painter; I'm a passionate writer with a deep love for all things related to painting. As the proud owner of PaintersParramatta.com.au, I've dedicated my career to the art of transforming spaces and enhancing the beauty of homes and businesses in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia. With nearly two decades of experience in the painting industry, I've left my artistic mark on countless homes and spaces. My love for painting is evident in the meticulous craftsmanship I bring to every project, creating stunning transformations that captivate the eye and enrich the soul.

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