Hire a Professional Decorator

How Accurate is the Which? Painter’s Cost Guide?

Which? are meant to be one of the most reputable websites when it comes to pricing jobs.

But how accurate are they really? As I’ve seen in the past, the way in which Which? compile their data can be less than comprehensive. With this in mind, let’s turn our attention to their cost guide for Painters and Decorators.

Included in their guide are quotes for jobs like painting a whole exterior, repainting woodwork and painting rooms of various sizes. So how accurate are they and should you take their word for it?

To get a more accurate opinion, we thought it would be a good idea to ask a variety of professionals for their thoughts on the pricing structure. Here’s what they had to say…

It’s worth noting that Which? haven’t updated their pricing guide since 2018 and prices have probably changed during 2021.


It depends on far more than just time served etc. Your reputation, how busy you are, where you are in the country all play a part in pricing. I’m in South Wales and Which’s prices are slightly higher than what I charge but not far off. £2k for a 3 bed house is ridiculously cheap for everything, unless you are a cowboy.

No way could you 2 coat everything and undercoat woodwork and 2 coat for that price. Charge what you are worth and that’s all you need to worry about. If people pay it and you are busy then great, don’t worry about other’s opinions.


Over 2 grand for a 3 bed house would be considered disgusting if you ask me. If you quoted Which’s prices in Manchester you’d be laughed at. I’m guessing they’re just focusing on London.


I actually have all these “Which” prices on my phone. People respect the opinions of Which so I often refer to these figures WITH the customer if I suspect they want it done on the cheap. “Let’s have a look at the average prices that Which say you should expect to pay…” I don’t do this regularly but have occasionally dropped it in. It gets them to realise we’re not here just to slap on a couple of coats of paint for peanuts.


I don’t think anyone can comment on pricing to be honest. You can’t pluck a number out of thin air. Everyone’s prices will be different. Do the ground out to nit pick prices. You need to price your work on your hourly rate or day rate, then add on your materials costs x by how long it will take you.

Pricing for profits – that’s how a business works isn’t it? Sensible and fair. I see this all time the time how to charge for this and that… the answer is how much do YOU charge. Work your own costs out and certainly don’t follow a Which guide.


Prices seem very cheap and do not take into account all the overheads.


It’s a slightly heavy costing, however, I’ve charged more.


I wouldn’t advise anyone to follow this personally. You should price accordingly to what you think you’re worth and what the job entails. Everyone price will be different.


The small room quoting is way off. Who the hell can paint a small room in 1-2 days for a start? Do these people not realise that professional painters will ALWAYS do prep work too?


Sorry, not for me. Not one single bit would I agree with these prices.


These prices are pretty misleading but pretty standard in my area. Maybe on the cheap side. Also no one can tell how much each individual painter is worth – it doesn’t matter if you’ve been time served or not.


Unreliable and unrealistic source. Unless they’re talking about 2/3 painters on the job.


I am 15 years in the trade and fully qualified. Taught it for 6 years and I am now back on the tools. I wouldn’t charge these prices as it would not cover my time and expertise. My work is done to a high standard and I expect that to be reflected in my pricing.

However, when I started I didn’t charge more than £30 a day. I was inexperienced and wanted to gain real experience so my price reflected that.


Whilst the Which? guide might provide customers with an idea of how much it’ll cost them to hire a decorator, chances are the prices are going to heavily fluctuate depending on who you ask. The key factors in price that Which? doesn’t incorporate is:

Location of job

If you’re based in an affluent area of London, it’s very likely that you’re going to be paying more to hire a decorator than someone based in South Wales.

Experience and quality of the decorator

Like most things in life, you pay for higher quality. If you ask for a quote from someone with 20 years of experience and a good reputation, you’ll almost certainly be quoted a higher price than from someone newly qualified or fresh out of college.

Cost of materials

If you’re going to be supplying the materials then this won’t affect the pricing. If you ask the decorator to source the materials then you can expect this to change the price of the quote depending on who you ask. A decorator using a high quality trade paint will charge more overall than a decorator using standard retail paint.