Is $2500 reasonable for an 1100-sq. ft. apartment paint job in NYC?
September 3, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

We're strongly considering getting our apartment painted by professionals, and we got a quote today: it would be $2500 for the foyeur/dining area, living room, kitchen, and two bedrooms. The price includes only labor. We would be providing all the paint. There's a number of different colors, a few accent walls, and separate colored molding. Is that a reasonable amount to pay? How much can we try to negotiate it down?
posted by Blisterlips to Home & Garden (16 answers total)

The painter said he'd do it for $2,000 if we pay cash. All the same questions apply.
posted by Blisterlips at 7:39 AM on September 3, 2014

It's extremely reasonable and I'd bite his cash-laden hand off.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:54 AM on September 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

Highly reasonable, I paid $4500 for a 1300 sq ft place in the Bay Area and I thought that was super cheap.
posted by yogalemon at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2014

That sounds very reasonable to me. However, I don't live in NYC, I live in Denver. I had the exterior of my roughly 1100 sf house painted last year, and the whole job - repair and replacement of damaged wood trim and siding, caulking of cracks, priming, and painting of all walls, trim, and the cement porch floor - cost about $4,000. I consider that a little high, but I went for the premium paint option and the painters who seemed to be the most qualified. They did a good job and came back and fixed some flaking paint on the porch last spring at no charge.

But the best way to find out would be to get other bids on the job. I had four other "professionals" bid on it, and every one gave me a much lower estimate, either verbally or in an email, that said "I will paint your house for $XXXX." The contractors I went with gave me an actual contract that itemized and explained how much each separate item (repairs, replacement, porch floor, paint, and labor) was going to cost. There was no question about what "painting my house" actually meant.

PS. I would be a little suspicious of a "professional" who offered such a large cash discount. Ask for references, call them, and make sure they are professionals who will do a good job. And get it in writing.
posted by caryatid at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

It seems reasonable, especially with the separate colored molding, etc. But it also depends on how much sqft of wall space you're talking about, rather than floor area.
posted by suedehead at 8:03 AM on September 3, 2014

And seconding caryatid in that you should definitely get the scope of work in writing.
posted by suedehead at 8:03 AM on September 3, 2014

For a professional who does this for a living (i.e. not a college student on break), this isn't out of the typical spectrum. You'll be able to find cheaper, but someone that charges this rate and has clients and a portfolio to back it up is charging for skills and experience that you'll likely appreciate a few years down the line.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:05 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I live in much, much lower cost of living area and I would pay this price, especially since you have different colours, accent walls, mouldings, etc. Seems like a reasonable dollar amount.

The "I'll do it for less if you pay me cash" side of things gets my hackles up, but that's because I work in construction and know that means "I'll probably evade taxes, not pay worker's comp premiums, etc." Always makes me wonder what other corners they're willing to cut. But that's just me.

And yes, get the scope of work in writing. Always. For everything.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:08 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ask if this includes repainting the trim. And I'd want him to have insurance. Otherwise yes, extremely reasonable!
posted by barnone at 8:13 AM on September 3, 2014

FWIW, we paid around that for a similar job in Park Slope (slightly lower square footage - just under 1000, but with high ceilings). The paint ended up running us $450. Also included was some basic patch work on dents and nail holes, and some recaulking of the molding. We did not have the ceilings repainted, but had all of the trim and molding done in addition to the walls. It took two guys four days.
posted by twoporedomain at 8:17 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

PS. I would be a little suspicious of a "professional" who offered such a large cash discount.

This is likely a local/cultural thing though.
posted by elizardbits at 8:22 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

that's a really good deal!
posted by zdravo at 8:46 AM on September 3, 2014

Just another data point: my 1500sqft house got all interior walls, ceilings, doors and trim painted for around $3800 in Seattle. That includes the paint.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:09 AM on September 3, 2014

That's totally reasonable--in fact, it sounds pretty cheap.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:55 AM on September 3, 2014

I got my apartment in Ditmas Park painted in December last year. It's about 1200 square feet, and I got the kitchen, dining room, living room, and foyer patched and painted, but not the two bedrooms. Total price was $2,200, including $350 for paint. Your quote seems quite reasonable. Although I will say that my painter sent me pictures of each room at the end of the day, which was super sweet. Shout-out to Tanisha Thompson of Tuff Chicks Painting!
posted by lassie at 1:56 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Make sure they're providing all materials for that price. Drop cloths, rollers, brushes, tape, etc. Get it in writing. Don't assume!
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:44 PM on September 3, 2014

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