How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Truck (& How to Lower It)

Painting a truck is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, a lot of planning, and most importantly, money to paint a truck. But how much does it cost to paint a truck?

There isn’t a specific price tag on painting a truck because there are different types of paint jobs and different types of trucks.

On average, it costs between $250 and $1000 to fully paint a truck by yourself and between $600 and $5000 to hire an auto-painting company or an auto repair shop to paint a truck for you. The overall cost will vary based on the condition of the truck, the size of the truck, the type of paint used, the cost of repairs if needed, and the type of paint job required.

For instance, painting a company’s truck to display the company’s colors and insignia will cost more than just spraying some urethane or rust oleum paint on the same truck.

It’s important to calculate the estimated price it will cost you to paint a truck before embarking on the task. When you know the price it will cost you, you will be able to make better financial decisions without breaking the bank or having to spend more than your budget but this is not always as easy as it sounds.

It takes a bit of calculation, research, and time to figure out the estimated cost of painting a truck but don’t fret.

Though you can’t estimate an exact cost to paint a truck, this post will guide you on how to arrive at a close figure. So let’s get on with it.

Read Also — How to Paint a Truck?

What Type of Paint Is Used on Trucks?

One major factor that will influence the overall cost of painting a truck is the type of paint used on the truck. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, not all paint types have the same price tag. Some are more expensive than others, so what type of paint is used on trucks?

Water-based urethane enamel paint is currently the most widely-used paint used not just on trucks but a broad range of vehicles. The paint when properly applied gives a beautiful glossy finish and a strong coat that protects the frame of the vehicle.

What’s more? The paint is easy to apply which means it wouldn’t give you any problem if you choose to paint the truck by yourself and it’s also chip and rust-resistant.

Though water-based urethane paint is the most common paint for trucks, there are still some other options to choose from such as acrylic paints and rust oleum paint.

A little heads up though, while painting your truck, you will need a primer and multiple coats of paint to arrive at the perfect pre-envisioned finish.

How to Calculate the Cost of Painting a Truck

There are two ways to paint a truck. You can either DIY or employ the services of an auto painter or an auto repair shop.

The main factor that will determine the total cost of painting your truck is whether you want to paint yourself or employ the services of a professional. The cost of hiring a professional will no doubt be more than the cost of doing it yourself.

Regardless of the method you go for, one thing is certain. You will need to calculate the cost of painting the vehicle.

How to Calculate the Cost of Painting a Truck by Yourself?

The cost of painting a truck by yourself is cheaper than hiring a professional mainly because you don’t have to pay anyone for their services.

If you have an old truck or you just need a light paint job on your truck, it would be cost-effective to paint the truck yourself. Hiring a professional for such a task will have you spend more. So how do you calculate the cost of painting a truck by yourself?

The main factor that determines the total cost of painting a truck by yourself is the price of items. Since you wouldn’t be paying anyone for their services, you only need to spend on tools and other supplies. This means to calculate the estimated cost of painting a truck by yourself, you just need to calculate the cost of the supplies needed.

For instance, to paint a 2009 Ford F150 by yourself, your estimate will look like this.

The Estimated Cost Of Prepping The Truck

The first thing to calculate the cost of prepping the truck by yourself.

Let’s believe you have your garage already cleaned and prepped. This means you are ready to go. The 2009 Ford F150 will most likely have multiple coats of paint to be stripped.

How to calculate the cost of painting a truck by yourself? It depends on the tools you already have and the ones you have to buy. Since you won't be paying anyone for their services, you just have to count the cost of the primer, paint, paint sprayer, sander, and other stuff that you need.

So you will need to use different methods to remove the paint. To strip the paint, you will need a scraper (like a putty knife) which will cost you approximately $5.

Then you will need a stripping compound which will cost you approximately $15. Additionally, you will need 80-grit sandpaper. A pack of sandpaper will cost you approximately $5.

Then you will need a plastic sheet or drop cloth to cover the floor and the inner part of the truck because stripping paint is very messy. This will cost you approximately  $10.

The Estimated Cost Of Repairing The Truck By Yourself

After stripping the paint, you need to make repairs. A fully packed dent repair kit with everything you will need will cost you approximately $50.

After making repairs, you should sand the repaired parts so you can have a smooth surface. Luckily we already bought a pack of sandpaper earlier. You will need an angle grinder or a sander for quick and easy sanding. An electric sander will cost you approximately $30.

The Estimated Cost Of Priming The Truck

After sanding, you need to prime the truck. For the Ford F150, you might need more than one can of primer. Let’s say you use 1½. Primers aren’t sold in ½ can so you need 2 cans of primer.

A can will cost about $15 so two will cost you about $30. That brings us to a total cost of about $145 without paint. The next step is to spray the paint on the vehicle. This is where you will need to spend a lot of money.

The Estimated Cost Of Buying The Paint For The Truck

Trucks usually need multiple coats of paint. A basecoat is also known as primer, topcoat, and clear coat. The Ford F150 is categorized as a medium-sized truck so you will need about 3 or 4 gallons of urethane enamel which will cost you about $100 or more.

A gallon of urethane enamel paint costs between $25 and $90. You will also need paint thinner which will cost you about $10.

The paint will be sprayed with a paint sprayer or a spray gun. You can choose to rent this or invest long-term and buy one. Rental costs between $20 and $50 and the cost of a new sprayer is over $100.

Let’s assume you do not have a paint sprayer. So you rent one for $30. That brings our total estimate to $285. You will need to add a few bucks just in case something unexpected pops up.

Let’s round up our estimate to $350. Of course, you can rent many of the tools needed rather than buying them. That will reduce the total cost. The $350 price tag is nothing compared to what you will pay a professional for the same 2009 F150.

How to Calculate the Cost to Employ the Services of an Auto-painter to Paint a Truck?

The main determinant of the amount it will cost to employ the services of a professional auto painter is the type of finish you want.

The usual glossy finish wouldn’t cost you as much as a matte finish or a customized finish. Auto painters usually have different categories of paint jobs they offer so you can pick the one that fits your budget.

This means you don’t need to calculate any estimate or fill your head with numbers. You just have to choose a service you can afford.

Most auto painting shops have three services they render.

Basic Paint Job

The Basic Paint Job is the cheapest alternative. This usually involves spraying about two coats of finish on the truck.

This will cost you between $400 and $1000. The truck is usually given a light paint job to cover irregularities and give the truck a new look.

Standard Paint Job

The next service is the Standard Paint Job. This involves repairing dents and holes on the truck, sanding, and spraying.

This will cost you between $1000 and $4000 depending on how much work needs to be done. This service will make your truck look as good as new.

Quality Paint Job

The last service is called by many names. Usually, it’s called the showroom Quality Paint Job. Some refer to it as Pimping Your Vehicle.

This is the type of service that will make people wonder if you bought a different truck. The price tag on this service is sometimes enough to buy a new truck. Expect to pay between $10000 and $20000 for this service.

This service involves tearing down the entire truck and rebuilding it. New and improved parts are added to the truck such as new tires, hood, doors, and the likes before the truck is spray painted.

The whole process is usually lengthy and can take weeks or even months especially if the parts needed have to be shipped from distant locations. Though this service is high-priced, you can’t say it isn’t worth the price.

The biggest perk of hiring a professional is that you are guaranteed a terrific paint job and you don’t have to do any work.

Should You Paint a Truck Yourself or Hire a Professional?

I believe a lot in DIY and I always advise it too. However, painting a truck is not a task I would recommend you to take on by yourself especially if you are inexperienced.

The whole process is time-consuming. To paint a truck, you will need to shop for items, wash the vehicle, sand, prime, and then paint. It can take you days or even weeks to finish painting a whole truck depending on the size of the truck. Not to mention the possibility of needing to make repairs.

Even if you are a professional auto painter, I would still recommend that you get professional help or an extra set of hands before tackling a project such as painting a truck. With the required help, you can paint your truck quickly and easily in one weekend.

However, if you fancy a challenge or you just need a light paint job on your old truck, then you can go ahead to paint the truck yourself. You will surely have a kickass painting job to enjoy.

Asides from the time frame and the size of the truck being factors that can influence your decision, another main factor that will determine if you DIY or hire is the total cost. If your budget is low, you should DIY but if you are prepared to spend extra, then you can hire a professional. Either way, you will get a good paint job.

How Can You Reduce the Cost of Painting a Truck?

Either you DIY or hire, painting a truck will cost you a bit much. However, you can cut down the total price by doing some basic things.

  • DIY –  If you paint the truck yourself, you will remove a big part of the overall price it would cost you if you were to hire a professional.
  • Buy Used Tools – You can buy used or second-grade tools. Used tools will cost you less than buying new ones. Just ensure you buy the tools in reliable stores where you get a receipt and warranty.
  • Buy Cheaper Products –  Most of the products you will need can be expensive but there are also cheaper alternatives that will still give you the same quality.
  • Reduce the Gallons of Paint Used – The paint is the most expensive item on the list. If you reduce the number of gallons of paint used, you will automatically reduce the total cost of painting the truck.

So there you have it. I’m sure now you know how to calculate the cost of painting a truck. If you have any questions or comments about the topic, you can leave them below in the comment section and I’ll respond to them as soon as possible. Have a great painting experience.

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