How to Become a

Commercial Painter

The complete career guide to be a Commercial Painter: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,540
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 7.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

The main task of commercial painters is to paint interior and exterior parts of a building. The role requires one to also handle the commercial aspects of paint requests, along with the actual work on the building, such as acquiring estimates for a paint job and getting all the supplies delivered to the job site.

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What is a Commercial Painter?


Commercial painters have a range of duties, some of which are listed below:

  • Prepare various surfaces prior to painting by scraping and using commercial paint removal solutions, filling any gaps or crevices on the wall.
  • Promote secure and efficient work protocols by ensuring the erection of scaffolds, use of ladders, and safety barriers according to prescribed standards.
  • Take part in trainings and events for educational purposes and to update existing knowledge of the commercial painting field.
  • Take the lead on reviewing projects and work requests with regard to paint jobs.
  • Requisition high-quality paint materials as needed from the inventory or processing orders in coordination with the purchasing department.

Day in the life

As a commercial painter, one has to handle multiple painting projects – those already existing and new assignments. He or she has to discuss in detail the preferences a particular client has with regard to paint options, and clean up the painting area.

In a day, the most common job is to complete painting projects. Before painting a surface, the painter prepares the area by removing any light fixtures or electrical covers and protecting the furnishings in the area such as mats, carpets, landscaping, etc. Further, after the surface is ready for paint one also has to apply primer, based on the location and surface material. Using stains, varnish, enamel, etc., the commercial painter then has to ready the surface, and apply paint or other materials with spray equipment, brushes or rollers.

As a commercial painter, you must make certain that all team members have proper training and are compensated adequately. Recruiting others for painting work also makes up an important part in the day-to-day life of any commercial painter. At the end of the day, it is the painter’s job to clean up the designated area and clear up any paint spills or marks that might have shown up.

Work schedule and typical hours

One can find permanent and full-time positions as a commercial painter. A typical work week will be around 40 hours, with some work required over the weekends or holidays. Overtime is compensated for by the applicable employment standards.

Growth of the job

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, professionals in the painting industry can expect an increase of 7% in job openings, which is at par with other career roles. There will continue to be favourable opportunities as a commercial painter in the near future, due to increasing demand in the real estate industry and more spending power among earning members of society.

Typical employers

Commercial painters are hired by construction companies or building management companies. Individual contractors such as Express Employment Professionals or Skilled Trades Services, may also hire a commercial painter for short-term work. In this role, you can expect to paint corporate structures, bridges and other worksites. Almost half of such professional painters are independently employed, while more than one-third work in the paint contractors sector.

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How To Become a Commercial Painter

To start out as a commercial painter, one must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license. Many employers request a minimum of a high school diploma or GED for aspiring candidates. The work is physically demanding and commercial painters should be able to handle heavy weight up to 50 pounds.

As is the case with many construction-related jobs, candidates that have a completed apprenticeship will have the best painting offers. Two-year technical schools have courses linked to the union and contractor organization apprenticeships, and are another option for increasing one’s skillset as a potential hire.

Having a preliminary understanding of business and accounts will also help to keep your log books accurate and up-to-date. Knowing how to curtail additional costs, like saving money on taxes and filing taxes regularly, will be key to the success of this role.

Commercial painters have to think of other aspects versus the actual paint job, such as the type of service that is best suited and paint alternatives. An outstanding customer service is an important part of the work, painters should be able to communicate well and interact professionally with clients.


Commercial Painter Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Commercial Painter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Commercial Painter's can make an average annual salary of $40,540, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $29,320 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #517 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Commercial Painters

  • 0.1%   Doctorate
  • 0.8%   Masters
  • 5.7%   Bachelors
  • 3.7%   Associates
  • 16.8%   College
  • 39.4%   High School
  • 33.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Commercial Painter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 26,600 jobs for a total of 387,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #301 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Commercial Painters

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 148,800 7,100 7%
Painting and wall covering contractors 131,600 13,900 14%
Residential building construction 12,600 800 1%

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