Auto Painting Cost
What Does Auto Painting Cost?
Painting a car is a job best left to professionals. Experts, even. On the Internet, there are
websites that talk about do-it-yourself auto painting, suggesting that anyone
can paint a car, but these websites are usually selling a do-it-yourself kit and just trying to make money.
Obviously they want you to believe that you can do it yourself. Some people can, no doubt, but there are many steps
involved and several types of auto painting supplies required, and the
final cost of a do-it-yourself job will still be in the hundreds of dollars. More importantly, when it comes to
auto painting, the proof is truly in the pudding, and the end result of a badly handled job will be readily
apparent with peeling paint, blotches, and mismatched colors. Auto painting is not a do-it-yourself job, not in an
afternoon, not in a full day, not even in a full week. This job is best left to auto painting shops that specializes in auto
The cost of auto painting varies widely depending on several factors.
Considering first whole car painting, it is possible to get a car painted end to end and top to bottom for as
little as just a few hundred dollars. National chains advertise complete car painting for $299 and
sometimes less. Earl Scheib once offered to "paint any car, any color for $29.95. No ups, no extras."
Of course, that was long ago, with Earl Scheib, Inc. beginning operations in 1937. Earl Scheib himself is now
deceased, and the company is out of business. The name is still in use, but shops carrying the Earl Scheib
name are now independently owned and not affiliated with any parent company.
The quality of low priced paint jobs is not necessarily bad. Customers report that a $300 paint job has remained
lustrous and vibrant for years. Providers of this work claim that they keep the price down through the volume of
their work. The more paint jobs they do, they say, the less each job costs. So, the retail cost of whole car
painting starts at around $300. But where does it stop? More commonly, whole car painting at an established body
shop will cost between $1,000 and $3,000, and the cost can go even higher. The bulk of the cost is
made up of labor, and the more labor that goes into pre-paint body work, such as stripping, sanding, and taping,
the higher will be the price.
Paint may also be used to cover up scratches and blemishes, in the form of repairs to existing paint. However, work
of this kind can cost hundreds of dollars just by itself, and paint may not be the best solution
to a blemish problem. Rubbing compounds and scratch removers can repair surface blemishes quickly and cheaply, and
can be done by the owner.
Bumpers normally have the same color and grade of paint as the body of the car, and sometimes it is only necessary
to paint a bumper to repair a scratch or gash. The cost for this work is generally uniform across the country.
Bumper painting will cost normally around $400. Much more than that is probably excessive.
Pin striping adds instant appeal to a car's finish, but this is not a cheap process. Pinstripe painting
will generally cost more than $1,000. Fortunately, painting of pinstripes is not the only way to apply pin
striping. Stick-on kits are available for $50 or less, and if applied properly, the end result can
rival painted on pinstripes.
Custom car painting rivals fine art in its complexity and beauty, and those who do it successfully are fine
artisans. It is not possible to define the art of custom auto painting
in just a few words. There are many techniques, many styles, and many approaches. Some practitioners don't
even paint, they wrap. In any event, to apply custom graphics to a car will always cost more than one
thousand dollars, and generally more than three thousand dollars. Wrapping is cheaper, but even wrapping is not
cheap. Moreover, it is not really possible to shop price for custom graphics. Each job is a sort of one-off,
requiring individual quotation and bidding. Talk to a professional who trained at auto painting schools.