$20k-$30k for a paint job?

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Nightbeacon

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I recently contacted a recommended custom shop in Utah inquiring about building a plan to upgrade several systems on my '72 vert survivor. Top priority now is a to-the-metal priming and repainting - but I nearly threw my own piston when he quoted me the price above.

And, he won't do a carb replacement with EFI, preferring instead to " drop in a new Coyote" or the like. Feh.

I have no intention of doing business with this guy (who also had thins nagging sound of condescension in his voice), but I'd like to know what this group thinks a quality paint job should cost, assuming there is no hidden damage/rust to deal with). I'm not even going to consider the EFI issue right now.

And, I'm sure there's threads that already answer this question, but searching 500+ pages in this forum seems impractical, so apologies in advance. (I did try the search engine with key words and didn't readily get the result I needed....)
 
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There are a ton of variables that make comparisons difficult, but I'd say if you halved his estimate that's a good range for a solid paint job. If you are looking for show-winning then you are closer to his estimate.

I had my Cobra kit car painted here in Michigan in 2005 and that lightened my wallet by about $10k. That was 15+ years ago and was by a guy working out of his own shop behind his house. Just a point for reference...
 
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Did the shop inspect the car or are they going from your description? What are your expectations for the results? Would you be happy with a factory level finish (some orange peel, wavy panels, less than perfect panel alignment) or do you want a mirror-like finish with perfect panel gaps?

Bare metal repaints are expensive. If you are going to that level, everything under the old paint and bodywork will need to be redone. If there is any rust, it should be properly repaired. Heck, just removing the old paint will probably open up some pinholes in floorpans, the trunk floor, engine compartment and cowl. The car will need to be completely disassembled, including doors, hood, trunk, top, weatherstripping, probably windshield - who will do that work? Seam sealer will need to be replaced, sound deadener, any body filler applied at the factory, block sanding - this all takes time, and time is money. Then it will need to be painted, more sanding and reassembled.

I'd say anything less than that estimate is either trying to buy the business (and there will be contingency terms in the contract, so the initial estimate will not be the final price) or the results will be disappointing in the end.
 

giantpune

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If you want "to the metal priming" and then paint, thats about the price I've been told by a few shops. One of the dudes even said I'd have to be the one to completely strip the car down and then put it back together. The estimate assumed a little bit of body work and fabrication would be required. The actual price would go up or down depending on what all you discover once you tear the car apart and strip it.

You can find some back yard guy or some shop down in the hood that'll paint the car for 1/10 or 1/20 that price. But you get what you pay for,.
 
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A bare metal repaint as stated above can be very expensive as it is so time consuming, and the car basically has to be completely disassembled. A back to the metal paint job on a convertible could be done for under $20K, but you would have to find the right guy. Remember that on a convertible there are no sail panels or roof to contend with. If your car is a survivor as stated and still has the factory paint job and little to no rust, I don't see the need to do a bare metal paint job. A lot of body guys will tell you that they prefer to work over what the factory did, than going back to bare metal and having to do everything over again. Factory paint should not create any paint issues. If the car is straight, and has little rust, with a good paint job on it, I would not pay to have it brought back to bare metal, especially on a car where you will never get your investment back. A good body shop can do a really nice paint job, over what is there for probably 10K-12K. If the car is block sanded correctly and then the paint is polished correctly no one will know the difference between that 10K paint job and the 30K paint job, unless they are really looking. Don't get me wrong, a 30K paint job will be better, as the hood, doors, and truck would have been pulled off and painted off the car, and any and all imperfections in the door jambs, on the inside of the doors, under the doors, and all area which you can't really see would be taken care of, plus your gaps should be perfect. A 30K paint job will make the car waaaay better than it was when brand new. A well done 10K-12K paint job should be at least as good if not better than a factory paint job.
 
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Car painters are the new highwaymen of the automotive world. I suggest you revise your requirements to a good soild paint job. Save some money by doing the disassembly and let them do the re-assembly. Also, decent paint doesn't have to cost $1000.00 per gallon. Search on TCP Global. Good Luck with the paint job. Chuck
 

delawarebill

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for 20-30 grand i sure hope u are thinking of keeping the car forever. i looked at a mach1 in north new jersey and needed repaint. called a few shops and all were around 8k$. it needed some body work so it took to 15k$. paying 16k for the car plus another 15k for body paint i passed. less head Acks buying a nice one for 28-30k. consider the cost of car plus added cost to become really nice. how long u gonna keep it? will u break even or lose your wallet.
 

keiths71

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I'm the finish bodyman/painter (with a skilled helper) at a long established custom and restoration shop. I agree with the previous posts. If someone comes in and just wants a " nice paint job" there are shops in our area that we will recommend. I'd go to car shows, cruise nights etc. and ask around. Ask for references when you get an estimate. A couple things that drive the price up on the premium brands is color development for the collision industry, more expensive UV screeners in the clears and warranty programs. You can end up with a really nice job with Nason or other comparable brands base clear or single stage. I have some Highwaymen paintings and wish I could paint like that!
 
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As with everything in our world, paint prices continue to rise due to raw material, manufacturing, and transportation costs. Given that, the cost of a paint job is going to go up too. I would expect no less than 15k for a decent, but not great paint job.
 

Mister 4x4

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I think checking in with the guys at cars shows and also with auto paint suppliers is the best way to go, as Keith mentioned. Either that, or check with an auto shop as to who they might recommend. I grew up in Sandy, and unfortunately don't know any reputable body shops, but one of my friends I grew up with owns Precision Automotive of Utah in Midvale - maybe check with him (Craig Schmitke) and he might have some ideas for you.

Hope that helps.
 

Greg

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I have a 71 Mach 1 grabber blue and white, a 73 Mach 1 Copper and White with power sunroof and a 73 Convertible all loaded
You didn't mention single or two stage paint. I'm one who would never do a two stage clear coat and only will use the original paint formula as close to factory as possible on a older car. I also find imperfect original survivor cars far more interesting than a new shiny paint car especially an over restored one.
 

Kevin H.

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If you’re just needing to repaint an old and tired paint job, $8K-$10K, with minimal body work.
 
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Not my mustang but about 9ish years ago I had my '99 F150 painted by.....................Maaco and they did a great job, still looks good today!! With some minor body work (repair holes from outside mounted visor) it was $1400!! When people see it they cannot believe it was Maaco paint job!
 
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As above, there are many things that will affect the price. One of the main things you need to determine is do you need a down to bare metal repaint. If there are no real underlying issues with the condition of the cars body and you are not going for a color change, then I would seriously consider just getting it repainted. A good shop will be able to blend it in well enough where the new paint will tie in with the old around the jams, hood and trunk you won't be able to tell. Also, make sure to look at some of the cars they have done so you know what to aspect.

If you are going to go to bare metal and if you have the time and are willing to do the labor, I would see what you can save by doing the disassembly and stripping yourself.

I was on a tight budget when I did mine and I was just looking for a "nice job". After talking to a dozen shops or so I was able to work out a deal with a smaller one. Since I had some minor rust and there were a few bad bondo areas it was decided to do a down to metal job. As part of the deal I had to disassemble, strip and deliver the car and parts to them. They primed and painted, reassemble the doors, fenders, hood and trunk. I had to finish the rest. Also, I have to layout their business card at any car show or cruise in I go to.

The original estimate before the deal was $10K. Total cost after deal tax free - $5,500 cash. Paint used was PPG & SEMs. I have won trophies at 4 of the 6 car shows I've been to in the past 2 years. Can you tell a difference between mine and a $20K job, barely if at all. Price doesn't guaranty a great paint job.

20200922_113759 (002).jpg
 
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Hi Nightbeacon,

Having been a pro auto spray painter for 43 years straight, i can shine some light into this age old, worn topic of paint respray costings.

First up, let me make some key points that are a reality. Spray painting and the panel beating of cars in general terms has always been an expensive concept. Why? The main reasons are that to strip down, R&R, prepare, panel beat, refinish, paint correct and final detail a quality respray job is a time consuming labor intensive process. FACT. This is where the whole respray process becomes subjective in regards what constitutes a " quality" job exactly. Small paint jobs don't come cheap either. The more quality an honest and reputable paint and panel shop wants to dial into the respray, the more time and cost it will take to see the job through. Quality comes through in relation to the amount of attention to detail, preparation work, following correct and proper procedures, using quality materials throughout the respray. The big hours spent on a quality respray involve mainly the preparation work, and the cutting and polishing/ detailing of the applied paint. Applying the final base/ clear coats in the booth is not a long time event, but panel beating, priming/ puttying and all the sanding and block work is. Applying the final base and top coats, requires a top gun man as well. Flow coating adds extra costs as well. Stripping old paint back to bare metal is a time consuming process as well, as the problem with any old car is what condition the body is in overall. The worser the condition equates to greater expense. That is an unknown quantity, as what you've got reveals itself after the paint strip job. The more care and attention to detail means longer labor hours. Cutting corners cuts time and reduces costs, but reduces the quality of a job. FACT. Labor rates have steadily increased over the decades pushing paint shop costs up higher and higher.

So how much quality a shop wants to DIAL into a respray can be and is very much a variable thing. The more quality dialed in, the more expensive the job will become. Also, there are first rate, top notch pro painters and beaters out there, and at the same time, there are average and crappy cowboy workers as well. I've seen them all. Like most things in life, HONESTY is what people want and need from others, but sadly most don't end up getting that in life. In my trade, it has always been full of dodgy, cheating operators who lie to the customers by overcharging them, cutting corners, doing sub standard work, using cheap rubbish materials etc etc. The list is as long as your arm. Truely honest and reputable run shops are hard to find. As mentioned above, the auto paint and panel game is full of crooks, liars and cheats. This is a fact. Beware of dodgy owners that promise you the world, keep you dangling, and hold onto your car for forever. Get a fixed quote in writing always. If the owner comes up with an open cheque book approach to the unknown condition of your car after the paint strip down, be very careful. You may want to bring in a solicitor for advice here, or walk away. Also, avoid doing business with shops that mainly do crash repair work, and maybe a bit of resto work on the side. They are mainly orientated around get 'em in and get 'em out fast mentality, with the main focus NOT on quality workmanship. Insurance companies are to blame mainly for this sadly. Dedicated resto shops are more focused on our classic cars to deliver the goods. Be aware and try to avoid the glam, upmarket, la de da, boutique resto shops, as they tend to charge upmarket over inflated expensive labor costs and fees as well, that match their over inflated egos of themselves.

Running and owning a very professional well setup paint and panel shop has become a very expensive concept as well. Staying within environmental rules and regs means big money outlays for an owner, as well as all the overheads involved. Staff wages don't come cheap either. I was earning around the $1,200.00 Au take home pay for a 38 hour working week two years ago as a quality pro spray painter. The other thing is the cost of auto paints. Good quality auto paint was never cheap, be it Lacquer, water based or 2 Pack systems. Sadly, auto paint has gone up considerably over recent years adding to the expense of a good respray. I call it liquid gold! I do believe that there are independent paint companies offering up cheaper paints these days, but as to the quality of these products, only time is the teller as to how long your respray will hold together or hold up to the weather/ wear and tear etc. PPG is currently my go to best choice at the moment, but bare in mind that paint companies are forever changing their paint chemistry and can tend to go off the boil so to speak quality wise as time matches on. They are all guilty of this happening.

So to summarize, and answer your question about what would be a going price for a decent respray is a hard one to come up with, as there are many variables that will contribute to the overall cost. You can only mention ball park figures to people asking. For example, some people may consider a price range of $ 6,000 to $10,000 on the money, based on their own experiences. Some might come up with a price of between $20,000 to $40,000 plus the going rate. It all comes down to what level of quality and detail you are seeking with your respray. The best advice i could give you is 1. try your best to find an honest reputable shop within a 100 mile radius of your home.(the closer the better) This is not an easy process. You need to do some decent research in finding or settling on such a business. Word of mouth from friends or contacts you really trust, carries a lot of weight here. Beware of online business reviews as well, as they really can't be trusted. 2. Work out the quality of the respray you want. For example, do you demand a strip and repaint. What about paint correction. I have mentioned above some of the key things that constitutes a quality respray, but it helps to try and educate yourself as well regards what goes into a quality job. Armed with that info, you can approach the shops and nut out a game plan deal with the manager/owner as to what you will end up with.

3. You must get two or three separate quotes from shops that you think you can trust. This is a must as to help gauging of verifying you are not getting taken advantage of. As i said above, the public needs to deal with honest companies. The sweet money spot for your respray is to be charged an honest, fair price at a pre discussed quality and detail level that you want or expect with the owner. That is the way i would quote and treat you if you were my customer. In other words, you tailor make a planned package regards the level of quality and detail you want on your respray to suit your own realistic budget expectations. As said by another Forum member above, how much money you want to put into a respray works in proportion to how long you intend to keep your car, or pass it on down to your family. If you have deep pockets, or want to go on the trophy hero circuit, then that's another thing.

Lastly, cut your respray cloth budget according to your ownership situation. For example, if your ride is owned as a weekend cruiser, or show and shine coffee events/ club runs etc, and gets ongoing road driven, then expect paint damage with hood and lower panel stone chipping issues, and maybe the odd dent. That means extra cost outlays if you want those blemishes rectified later. If it's a trailer queen, no worries. As mentioned above, you can if you want to, carry out some various tasks of the respray process yourself to save money. This can work or not work. It depends on your own level of work skills as well, as to what type of tasks you want to get involved in. The big thing here is whether your selected p&p shop will go along with you sharing the job or not. Some will work in here to acomodate you, and some won't, as they consider your involvement taking food off their table so to speak.

Then again, you could always do what so many are doing out there today. Grab yourself a cheap compressor, guns, sandpaper, a rubbing block, and grab some cheap paint, then go on UTube for a never ending variety of how to paint your car videos, and become an overnight professional. Fantastic!! You should end up doing a professional job at a knockout discount price.😂

Seriously, i hope my advice was of some help to you,

Greg.(y)
 
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Not my mustang but about 9ish years ago I had my '99 F150 painted by.....................Maaco and they did a great job, still looks good today!! With some minor body work (repair holes from outside mounted visor) it was $1400!! When people see it they cannot believe it was Maaco paint job!
Maaco's can be quite good or just horrible, and there seems to be no in between. I had a Maaco behind my business at one time. That Maaco was a fiasco, it was run by a guy from Venezuela who was a schyster of the first degree. The garbage that used to come out of there was unreal. The customers throwing fits and this guy just throwing them out of there was unreal. I moved my business from that area, and that Maaco eventually closed, I believe that corporate finally shut the guy down.
I have also seen some Maacos that do some more than acceptable, dare I say good work work on the cheap. The trick is to find a Maaco that does good work, have a car that is straight and rust free, and you need to disassemble the car before you take it to them, and under no circumstances do a color change. If you do this, you can get a good quality paint job from Maaco. You cannot take a rusted out, bent hulk to a Maaco and expect good results, I don't see them being able to do that type of work well. What most of them do have are good paint booths, and good equipment. If they have a guy that can actually paint, you can get a good quality paint job from them, but you need to do your part by disassembling the car.
Here is a good video of a Maaco that does good work:
 
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