How to Become a Professional Painter

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Professional Painter

Professional painters require skill, organization, a steady hand and a patient demeanor to be able to prepare and paint all manner of different surfaces and satisfy demanding clients. Painters work in many different and challenging environments at both residential and commercial properties. Some of their duties may include: preparing surfaces to paint by removing the existing old paint, sanding, patching, cleaning, fixing walls and other surfaces, in addition to selecting the appropriate materials (putty, caulking), buying and mixing chemicals (varnish, oils), paint and primer before applying them to any number of surfaces.

An in-depth understanding of color theory is essential for this career as well as the skill to execute various techniques, such as layering, glazing and color washes. Setting up scaffolding, drop cloths and extensive taping can also be part of this job. Advanced techniques such as stippling, sponging and the ability to create a distressed or weathered look are expected. Cleaning up paint spills, dust and your general work area to the client’s satisfaction, is an essential part of this job. On larger jobs experienced painters may be expected to manage a full crew and handle scheduling, material, billing and payments, while working with the client(s) to manage expectations and make sure they are satisfied. Painters work very hard and often the job can be tedious and messy but ultimately most painters find their job satisfying as the work is often independent and they can work “job to job” and take time off as they desire.

How Much Does a Painter Make?

If a painter is ambitious, efficient and hardworking the sky’s the limit. Realistically the average income for painters as recorded by the US government is around $43,000 per year. Painters can set their own schedules and hourly wages, this is often based on their reputation and word of mouth references. A successful, busy painter can sub-contract jobs out to junior painters and effectively act as a contractor by setting up his/her own company and book multiple jobs, earning much more money.