Contractor charging full retail price for paint

Question Icon
Posted by: from Ottawa
3/28/2019 at 4:20:37 AM

My contractor is charging me full retail price of $75 per gallon for extra paint required.

I checked with the store. Contractors pay $40-45 for that paint. I assume the range is based on business volume.

Is it normal practice for contractors to charge clients retail rates for paint, or any other materials, that they pay less for? Seems like a scam to me.


User Icon
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 8:51:14 AM

Unless the contractor is also charging you for his fuel and his time plus his employees time picking up the supplies this is just a easy way to offset the overall costs of the project. Just think what a nightmare it would be to keep the books straight if he had to break everything down. A lot easier to just charge a little more here and leave out some other costs there.

User Icon
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 9:19:38 AM

Hi Darlene,

Shawn provides an excellent explanation above for why this is a typical practice among contractors.

It's helpful to think of it as an additional charge for the ordering, pickup, delivery, and quality control for that paint purchase. In other words, the contractor is responsible for the transportation and accuracy of that order all of this is an additional cost to the contractor, so it's not unreasonable for them to charge above their cost for the paint when considering their added expense for this extra time spent.

That said, a saavy contractor will work to ensure they can purchase paint in volumes so that their costs are below retail, which will then allow them to still add a reasonable markup to the paint cost but not so high as to make you pay full retail.

Additionally, I'd encourage you to ensure your contractor is buying your paint in bulk. Instead of purchasing by the gallon, ask that they buy the paint in 5 gallon pails (if possible). This should drive down their cost, and in turn get you a lower price overall.

Finally, most contractors have an open policy towards paint buying, meaning they will be okay with you buying your own paint and having them complete the work.

Sometimes you might be a better shopper and find a great sale or deal on paint. Just keep in mind that any paint supplied by you, the client, won't be guaranteed by the contractor it's an issue you'll have to take up with the store that supplied the product. Or it might be a mistake on your part and that can be costly.

Sometimes it's easier to have your contractor do it on your behalf but that's where the added cost comes in!

Hope this helps! Happy painting!

User Icon
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 11:03:59 AM

I don't mark up my paint, but bottom line is that everyone charges differently. The only thing that really matters is the final price, but everyone has a different way of getting to that number.

User Icon
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 12:50:04 PM

Hi Darlene,

There is time involved in determining materials, driving to pick it out, returning and extras.

The other option is for consumers to pick up their own materials but that is why you are hiring someone.

It's not a scam just his way of recouping some of his time & effort. You are still not paying higher than retail which i guess is the important part.

All contractors and stores offer different policies for materials. Just make sure you know what your agreement is before you start.


User Icon
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 3:12:07 PM

I feel the same way every time I fill up at a gas station, and the price of a chocolate bar, don't even go there.

But seriously, most contractors do but my company does not

I allow my clients to actually purchase paint using my pricing at the store. The store calls me to make sure I am ok with them using my pricing.

Keeps my clients happy and they have us back to do more work.

A lot of companies charge retail prices for their parts, ie. automobile repairs, break pads etc.

User Icon
Steve from Whiskey Jack Painters in Alma
Date/Time3/28/2019 at 3:16:12 PM

Hi Darlene,

I think the previous replies have answered your question well. The question you may want to consider is why is extra paint required? Have you asked for extra work beyond the original quote or was the original estimate poorly calculated?



User Icon
Date/Time3/29/2019 at 10:08:40 PM

Hi Darlene,

Same Darlene asking about the 45 tiling? If so, it would seem you do not trust your contractor. If not the same person, disregard. However, there must be a reason you hired the contractor & I'd assume trust was one of the factors.

Anyway, picking up materials is an expense for all tradesmen. To think that they should absorb this expense, just isnt reasonable. in all trades charge for this service. Typically in one of 2 ways:

-mark up material costs.

-or change a flat rate material pick up & delivery fee.

Your contractor does the former, I do the latter. Completely legitimate.

The only way to eliminate these charges is to pick up all required materials yourself...on your time, at your fuel expense, vehicle wear & tear etc. It is a service & services come with fees in one form or another.

There must be a level of trust on BOTH sides or it just turns ugly.

Hope this helps and best of luck.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors