How to Commission a Mural

The "Art" of Competitive Bidding

Deciding how to commission a mural is one of the biggest problems faced by artists looking to start a painting business.

Several factors need to be taken into consideration when pricing a job. These include your experience, your customer, the work site, your geographical location and competing bids.

Let's look at these more in depth...

Your Experience

Obviously, experience will play a major role when determining how to commission a wall mural. If you are just starting out, you will not be able to charge as much as another muralist who has a thick portfolio and a history of happy customers who are willing to provide references. However, everyone starts out as a beginner, and it should not be long before you can begin charging more for your work.

The Customer

Another factor to take into consideration when deciding how to commission a mural is your customer. Each customer will be different, and their expectations will also be different. For example, a customer may have a specific timeline that will require you to work overtime, and this will need to be considered when setting a price. Perhaps your customer may request that you use oil paints instead of the acrylics that you normally you use. Again, you will need to price the job accordingly.

Many muralists also charge differently depending on the type of customer. For example, you may charge a school less than you charge a residential customer, but you may charge that same residential customer less than you would charge a commercial customer, such as a dentist's office.

The Work Site

The work site is another variable that can affect the time needed to complete a wall mural, and therefore, the price.

There are several factors you will need to consider. What type of surface will you be painting? Will the customer prepare it with the proper base? Is it textured, or does it have strange angles? Is it indoors or outdoors?

These factors, and more, are why it is important to look at the job site before submitting a bid.

Your Location

Unless you are planning to produce hand painted removable murals and ship them to your customers, it is also important to factor in your geographical location. The best way to find out how much muralists in your area charge is to ask them. Although there may be a couple who are unwilling to talk to you, most should be glad to provide you with information. Networking is important in any industry, and you should take time to get to know other muralists in your area. They can be a great source of knowledge, and may even provide referrals for their overflow work.

Competing Bids

When decided how to commission a mural, you will also want to decide how to bid the job. The three most common methods of bidding a job are:

  • flat fee
  • square footage
  • by the hour

Flat fee is exactly how it sounds. You provide a quote to your customer by taking a look at the job site, and estimating the cost of materials and time needed to complete the project by "eyeballing it". This is probably the most popular method used by muralists and faux painters for bidding a job.

If you would like to charge based upon the size of the work site, then you will you will be inclined to charge by square footage. You may want to charge more or less per square foot based on any special conditions at the work site.

Some painters like to bid their wall murals by the amount of time needed to complete the project, or in other words, by the hour. You will need to provide your client with an estimate of the time needed to complete the project. This may be difficult to do if you are new to the business, but as you gain experience, it should become easier.

Show & Tell

Upload photos of your murals or check out the submissions from other visitors to our site in the Show & Tell section of this website.

The pictures above are just a small sample of the inspiration that awaits in our visitor submission gallery!