Guide to hiring a painter and decorator

Page 1: Hiring a painter and decorator
Page 2: Costs
Page 3: DIY advice

Hannah Shanks - Editor


Now you have a selection of samples, you are ready for the painter and decorator's visit. It is during this visit that you will be given a quotation or written estimate for the work required, outlining exactly what will be done and what you will be charged for.

What specifications will be made in the estimate?

Decorating costs vary dramatically between jobs. Usually, the most expensive element is the labour but other factors influence the price, including the size of the area to be decorated, the extent of the work needed and the quality of the products used.

You can expect a written estimate to include the following:


For small domestic jobs, for example painting a single room, painters and decorators will charge per job. Such a job can take a couple of days to complete and cost from 150 to 300. However, for a larger job you may be charged a daily rate, as sometimes the full extent of the work needed only becomes clear once preparation has begun. If this is the case, no additional work should be carried out without consulting you first.


Any good painter and decorator will supply the materials needed and will only buy tried and tested products, carrying a guarantee. Bearing in mind that redecoration should not be a frequent event, using quality materials can prove extremely beneficial in the long term.

A further advantage of having materials bought on your behalf is that the painter and decorator will know exactly how much to purchase and where.

Of course, you are not obliged to accept this service, but it's worth taking heed of any advice and suggestions you are offered. If you supply your own materials your painter and decorator cannot be held accountable for any problems that arise regarding durability and finish.


The quality of the preparation has a direct bearing on the quality of the finish. All fittings and furnishing should be removed from the work area and stored elsewhere. If it is not possible to remove large pieces of furniture, then they should be emptied, placed in the centre of the room and covered with dustsheets.

The condition of the surface to be decorated will determine the nature of the preparation required, which can include washing, priming, stripping wallpaper, sanding, filling cracks or patching up plasterwork. Needless to say, all the above can be very messy and create large amounts of dust.

You can reduce decorating costs by doing some of the preparation yourself, such as removing wallpaper, washing the walls or protecting the woodwork with protective covering. However, if extensive preparation is required, the painter and decorator may prefer to carry out this work personally.


Most painters and decorators will carry out additional jobs, such as fitting coving, dado and picture rails, varnishing window frames, putting up shelving, or carrying out minor repairs to woodwork.

Only accept the estimate if you fully agree with everything it incorporates. It is not common practice to be asked for a deposit. Work should be paid for upon completion, provided you are satisfied.

No money should be paid upfront, unless it is reimbursement for materials. However, you may be asked to pay in installments for large jobs, lasting a number of weeks.

Once you are happy with the estimate, all that remains is to set a date for the decorating work to begin. Again, if the painter and decorator is busy, you may have to wait, so it's worthwhile booking well in advance.


Property pros