Input benchmark

You may find the input benchmarks useful in calculating the expected income based on the labour and materials used. They apply to painters who work directly with household customers and who are responsible for purchasing their own materials.

The benchmarks have been developed in consultation with Master Painters Australia Ltd.

They represent the industry norm. You should consider your own personal circumstances when using the benchmarks to assess your situation.

These benchmarks are current as at April 2015.

Input benchmark guide

The table below sets out benchmarks for painters.

You can use this benchmark to compare and check your business performance to the painting industry average.

Benchmark guide

Coverage rate (square metres per litre)

10 – 12

Litres of paint applied per day

8 – 10

Cost of paint as a percentage of price charged to the customer


15 – 25

new work


Days to paint average room (two coats)
- including preparation and cutting in

1 – 1 

Average job size (square metres)
- three room extension including ceilings


Price charged ($)

per square metre

10 – 22

per hour

25 – 50


  • All dollar amounts are GST-inclusive
  • Extra charge for intricate work (for example, Victorian Style is 200 to 400%)

Input benchmark – sales turnover

You can use this benchmark to:

  • estimate your income
  • compare your income against the painting industry average
  • check that your records accurately reflect your income.

Income guide

Litres of paint used per year


Square metres completed per year
(10 square metres per litre and two coats)


Price charged ($)

per square metre

10 – 22

per hour

25 – 50

Sales turnover range ($)
(based on square metres of work)

88,000 – 193,600

Average job size (square metres)


Jobs completed per year


Days to complete average job

Days worked per year


Note: All dollar amounts are GST-inclusive.

Input benchmark examples

Example 1

Bradley runs a painting business and works for household customers only. He works by himself and purchases all the paint used in the business. Most of his customers pay in cash.

According to Bradley's records, he has purchased 1,600 litres of paint. He knows his usual spread rate is 10 square metres per litre and he always applies two coats. This equals approximately 8000 square metres painted in the year. His rate is $20 per square metre.

Using the income guide Bradley estimates his business income should be $160,000. He has recorded income of only $114,500 which is less than expected.

Reviewing his records, he finds several quotes that he has used as a tax invoice. The total amount of these is $44,000. As his income is now $158,500 he decides to ask his accountant how he can improve his record keeping.

Example 2

Matthew runs a painting business and works exclusively for household customers. He works by himself and purchases all the paint for the business.

Matthew's records show that he has purchased 1,700 litres of paint during the year. His standard rate is $22 per square metre for two coats, with paint coverage of 10 to 12 square metres per litre.

Using the benchmarks, Matthew estimates that he should have completed between 8,500 and 10,200 square metres of painting with income of $187,000 to $224,400.

Matthew has recorded income of $205,000. He is happy with his record keeping, as his income is within the benchmarks.

End of example

See also:

Small business benchmarks

    Last modified: 25 Feb 2016QC 43705