5Nobody really knows and here is why:

If I go on the Decorators Forum and say I have a job for a decorator in London for, say £20/hour, there are sure to be people who laugh and berate me for being out of touch and embarrassingly cheap. Yet this is the going agency rate. We don’t use agencies, though. We believe in paying people a living wage and valuing their skills, experience and hard work. This means that our team members get paid different rates depending on many different factors. It also means that the question you are asking is complex, at best.

So, how much does a painter and decorator cost in London, REALLY?

A ballpark figure? Anything from £150/per day to £350 per day – depending on their special skills and credentials. There will be your local gardener or handyman, who might even offer you less. But do you want someone who is willing to pay themselves under a living wage in your house? Read about why we don’t offer a daily rate in my blog post.


Firstly you have to ask yourself WHO you are hiring?

Is it…

1. A labourer? Anyone who is reasonably fit can be a labourer. But it does not mean they know anything about painting or decorating. Costs can quickly spiral out of control if mistakes are made which require them (or you!) to start over.

2. A handyman/multi skilled trader Let’s differentiate between having particular experience and/or training in a certain skill – as opposed to just being generally handy. I quite like the word “handyman” – but being good at, say, woodwork does not necessarily make you a good painter. Read more about how to choose a trustworthy builder if you want to know more.

3. A painter This is someone with (hopefully professional) experience of painting. They should know how to apply paint according to the product instructions.

4. A decorator A decorator will not only know how to paint. They will also be able to advise you on what products to use, how and where. They will also know how to wallpaper (although the level of skill varies as with anything else).

5. A gardener The notorious gardeners who are stealing painting jobs are a considered a bane in the decorators forums. But it is just a generalisation of all the people who think they can paint but can’t necessarily actually do it to a professional level.

6. A contractor/company or self employed individual? Are you talking to a one (wo)man band or a company. A one (wo)man band might work out cheaper, but can be tricky for larger projects. Are they really able to do what they promise or are we on cowboy territory?

Secondly, consider whether your job requires specialist skills?

Textured paint, wallpaper, damp… the possibilities are endless. Make sure the person or company that you hire has the skills your project requires. For example, if you want to use Farrow & Ball paint, you better be careful who you choose to do it! Do read why we don’t particularly like F&B that much in my blog post. Try and spend a proportionate amount on the people applying or installing the products.

Finally, what is your budget (it’s not necessarily the same as what it will cost!)?

I have almost given up on asking prospective clients what their budget is. They however, will invariably want to know ballpark figures on the offset. The thing is, that we can’t possibly give a reliable estimate without actually visiting the property and then checking material price and other factors. I do hope that clients know how much money they have to spend. In any case, if you know that your budget is super tight – don’t choose the most intricate brands or products. If you are looking for the cheapest labour price, Sultan Decorators won’t be the people for you.


But if you are looking for a company who knows their stuff, who values their customers and won’t cut corners – please do fill out our quote request form. And if you want to know what common mistakes OTHERS do when choosing a decorator I have a post for you too.

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