Maria Brophy


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business of art / Murals / Pricing / Written Agreements

How to Price a Wall Mural – Developing a Price Sheet and Proposal

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In this article I’m going to do something that some of my friends warn me not to because they are so darn practical:

I’m going to tell all.  Oh My God, I’m sharing with the entire world our pricing structure for wall murals.  (Subject to increase by 10% every year…)

Why would I do something so daring and crazy, you ask?  Because that’s what this blog is all about – uniting artists and sharing information so that we all can be successful and live the dream life.

In a second follow-up article, I’m going to give you our “secrets” for making mural clients so happy that they scream from their rooftops “Use this artist for your next project.  She’s/He’s the BEST!”

But first, I’ll go over the money part – because for me, money is important.  I love to eat good food and travel.  And for some strange reason, it costs money to do that.


You should have a detailed mural pricing structure in writing.  And if you don’t have one already, you can use mine as a guide.

Determining what to charge for a wall mural can be tricky.  But once you get a structure in place, pricing murals will be a smooth process.

This month we have two large murals that Drew has been commissioned to paint.  One of the murals is for a new store called Yogurt Wave.  We flew mural expert, Katie Staib, down from Spokane Washington to help make it look great.

The owners, Kerry and Tommy, contacted Drew because his fun style attracts young people that are into action sports, which is their target market.

Their first question was “what will it cost to have Drew paint a 46’ foot mural?”  In just a few short minutes, I was able to give them a quote thanks to my nicely organized price sheet.

One of the most common challenges for artists is determining what to charge for a project.  Developing a structure & system will make it so much easier for you.

Our current system is working well for us and our clients understand it.  But there may be alternative ways to do it, so if you know of a better system, please share in the comments!  I’m constantly improving upon how I do things.


Photo: Wall Mural by Drew Brophy

Your price sheet should be structured in a way that makes sense and that enables you to easily determine what you will charge based on size of the mural.

We charge approx. $35.00 per square foot with a minimum of 160 square feet.  Knowing this makes it easy to establish pricing based on various sizes.

Below is a copy of the price sheet that we give to people prior to a written proposal, to let them know how we price it and what they can expect as well as what we expect from them.

Giving a potential client a price sheet helps to do two things:

  1. It weeds out the people who can’t afford you (so you don’t waste your time or theirs); and
  2. It demonstrates your professionalism.  People tend to feel better about handing you a big check when they think you know what you’re doing.

Keep in mind, our pricing may be considered high by some standards and very low by others.  We know of many artists that charge a lot more than we do.  And then there are some that are charging half of what we do.

What you charge is relative to your experience, where you are located (some places are cheaper to live than others) and supply and demand of your art.

I hope that by sharing our methods I will save you time and confusion.  You are welcome to copy and paste the form below and adjust it accordingly for your own use.


Minimum Price:  Murals sized 0 to 160 Square Feet:  Price is $5,600

Pricing starts at $35 per square foot and decreases with increased size of mural; at 290 sf price drops to $32/sf – at 500 sf drops to $30/sf – at 900 sf price drops to $28/sf.

(Square Foot is determined by multiplying the height x width of the painting surface)

*Price per square foot may increase if design requested is complex.  This will be indicated in price quote and determined at the time that the final sketch is approved.

SAMPLE PRICING, per square foot:

Prices per Unit Size (sample sizes)
Up to 10ft. x 16ft. 160ft. $5,600.00
11ft. x 16ft. 176ft. $6,160.00
12ft. x 20ft. 240ft. $8,400.00
13ft. x 20ft. 260ft. $9,100.00
14ft. x 21ft. 294ft. $9,410.00
15ft. x 23ft. 345ft. $11,040.00
17ft. x 26ft. 442ft. $14,144.00
18ft. x 28ft. 504ft. $15,120.00
19ft. x 30ft. 570ft. $17,100.00
20ft. x 31ft. 620ft. $18,600.00
25ft. x 39ft. 975ft. $27,300.00
28ft. x 44ft. 1232ft. $34,500.00

Non-Refundable Design/Sketch Fee:  $1500.00 – Includes up to 2 sets of changes by client (Additional sketches charged at $100/sketch)

Pricing includes:  Travel within South Orange County, all materials, rental equipment, assistant fees and work to completion.

Pricing does not include:  Travel outside of South Orange County, liability insurance or Wall Preparation.

*Additional work due to adverse conditions on surface that requires extraneous labor will be charged extra, by the hour, at a rate of $150.00 / hour, and sometimes cannot be determined until after the job has begun.

PAYMENT TERMS:  Design fee of $1,500 due prior to sketch process.  A 50% non-refundable deposit is due two weeks prior to start date of painting (this allows ordering of supplies and scheduling.)  Full balance is due on the final day of completion.


Every detail and *caveat on the price sheet is necessary and came from us learning the hard way.  I want to explain each point:

Pricing Structure:  I’ve talked to mural artists who charge $40 – $50 a square foot.  For us, a starting price of $35 per square foot works, because Drew is extremely efficient and gets a project completed rather quickly.

  • You might charge less if you’re new at it or if you live in a low cost-of-living area, or
  • You might charge more if you are very experienced or in high demand, or live in a high cost-of-living area (like New York or LA).

Minimum Price:  We charge a minimum for small murals under 160 square feet because it’s a lot of work and time to set up at a location.  It’s not worth it for us to have Drew go out to paint a small mural and only be paid a couple thousand dollars.  You may want to adjust this number up or down, depending upon where you are in your career.

Realistically, for murals smaller than 160 sf, an artist is better off painting an original painting in their studio.  It’s easier and doesn’t require travel or set up someplace else.

Often we will suggest an original painting on canvas, instead, to clients who ask for a small mural.  The upside for the client is a piece of art that they can remove from the wall if they move, or that they can resell if they want to later.

Non-Refundable Design (Sketch) Fee:  Every mural we do is designed on paper first.  We offer the client the ability to pay just for the sketches first, because sometimes a client isn’t sure if you can do what it is that they want.

If they don’t like your design or decide not to use your services after all, they only lose $1,500.00 and you are at least paid for your time to sketch it for them.  We don’t sketch out anything without the design fee because it’s a lot of work. Just meeting with the person to discuss what they want can take a couple hours.  You want to make sure that you are paid for that time.

Why You Should Limit the Number of Sketches: We have a limit of up to 3 sketches (2 sets of changes) and then charge for each additional sketch beyond that. When you do this, your client will be motivated to be very specific about what they want. If you don’t limit the number of sketches, they will just go on and on with changes.  Trust me on this!

Wall Preparation: So far, we’ve never had to charge additional fees for wall prep.  We’ve only had brand new walls to paint.  But if Drew arrived at a location and the walls were in bad shape, we have this caveat in the price quote so that we can charge extra for getting the wall paint-ready.

Payment Terms:  This is very Important!  We require 50% of the total amount 2 weeks prior to the scheduled start date.  This allows us to block out 5 or more days on the calendar (thus not accepting other projects for those days) and to purchase the necessary materials prior to the painting.

Paying a deposit is also a psychological thing with your client – you want to train them to view you as a professional who expects prompt payment, and they are fully committed when they pay half up front.

If you are just building your portfolio, you may want to only require 30% up front until you’ve become established and you have a good reputation for following through and doing top quality work.

THE BALANCE is due on the last day of the painting.  This is because I personally hate chasing money.  I want to be paid and done with a job when it’s finished.  Also, I have to pay our assistant on that last day as well.  And if you know anything about me by reading my posts, you know that I got out of the Art Banking business years ago!


When we get a call from someone interested in a mural painting, our process is:

1.)     E-mail them the pricing sheet above.  This is so that from the very beginning, your client knows your general pricing and they can determine if it’s in their price range.

2.)    Gather details about the mural, such as:  Height and Width of the proposed mural, physical location, the shape that the wall is in, and what design they want.  (I ask the client for this – we rarely go out to see the mural space until after we know it’s a “go”.)

3.)    Based on the information provided above, then I’ll write up and e-mail a written proposal.  (My Sample proposal template available HERE)

Throughout the process I will verbally clarify, up front, how we work (meaning our payment policies).   I’ll usually say: “We will begin the sketch process once you pay your $1,500 fee.  The fee includes up to 3 sketches, so please be as specific as you can about what you want.  A 50% deposit is due 2 weeks before the painting begins.  The mural will take approximately 5 days (or however many).  We plan to work from 9-5 daily.  Your final payment is due on the day it’s finished.

Being clear and direct helps to prevent misunderstandings later. I don’t like surprises, especially when it comes to money.  That’s why I’m so specific in both my written agreements and my verbal discussions with clients.  Everything goes better that way, and clients appreciate knowing what to expect.


Your client may ask for a deal on price.  Sometimes it’s reasonable to give a small discount or freebie to a returning client.

For new clients:  If it seems like it’ll be a less complicated design, sometimes I’ll offer to deduct their $1,500 sketch fee from the total of the mural price.  Basically I’m waiving the sketch fee, but I still require a payment of $1,500 prior to the sketch process.  (Read How to Never Get Ripped off Again to see why I require this).

You could also offer to lower the per-square-foot fee if the mural is going to be very simple and easy, say, like a basic design.  On the other hand, if the design they want is extremely detailed, you should consider increasing the per square foot fee.


After we get the sketch drawn out, and the client is ready to move forward, we ask for 50% down and we schedule the dates that the painting will take place.

Typically Drew can get a mural completed in 5-7 days.  Using a system of gridlines and efficiency, along with the help of an assistant, most murals, even very large ones, can be completed in that time frame.

In the end, the most important thing is to make sure that your client is extremely happy with your work.  Read my article “Painting a Wall Mural – Ten Ways to Please Your Client” on how to make your client so pleased, that they are screaming your name from their rooftops!


Artist’s Wall Mural Proposal Template Package

I hope this has been helpful to you.  If it has been helpful, please let me know in the comments below.  (Or share your suggestions on how to make the mural pricing process better).

AND:  Sign up for my informative Newsletters!  In every newsletter I send by email you get FREE art business strategy coaching – my gift to you for being on my e-mail list!

Because of my freakish nature of ruminating over every little detail, it takes me hours to write these articles, and if I know that I’m helping people, I will keep on doing it!

Luv, Maria xxoo

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385 Comments How to Price a Wall Mural – Developing a Price Sheet and Proposal

  1. J Patrick McFarlane

    I came across this site of yours as I should of been doing my homework regarding painting mural cost. I really screwed mt self badly, luckily no contract was sign.
    I was hired to do a series of murals for these people who recently opened up a new hair shop and a jewellery store side by side in a new building.
    These people are so cheap and I had got my self caught up in charging nothing like I have been reading in your web site. Two 2×24 foot murals above display units were of mountains, sky with clouds and trees as well as a few butterflies was painted at a embarrassing cost of $400.00 and coming across your very informative site I now feel like a complete fool. I do believe in giving away art for causes MS and cancer research but upon doing this job as a new trade as I am slowly phasing out house painting. I am a senior last year and being in good health I remain work, just not wanting to continue house painting as you may know it can be very demanding.
    I will no longer continue to do work for these ones as I will never get any where close to your prices. JPM

  2. Olena Lysenko

    Thats my modeling website but I figured I’d throw it up there cuz I don’t have my art one up yet.

    Anyway. Just wanted to email you guys and tell you that I love you for making my life SOOOOO easy. This information is invaluable and I’m so happy you shared!

    I just finished sketches for a product line and made some mistakes and now after someone inquiring about a mural job I knew I needed to do my research and correct them. This was exactly what I needed and I just really thankful !

    Olena <3

  3. Melissa Tinkler

    Howdy could you give me some information about how to get started Please.As I have a great interest in wall murals. Anything would be helpful, as I’m just starting out.Thank you so much Melissa

  4. Diana

    I am professional artist ( painter), and recently started to paint murals, I realy enjoy doing it but its a new field to me and lots of learnig is part of it. I find your articles very helpful, well written profesional., I say the best advise I could find available out there in art buisnes world.
    I realy appreciate it !thanks a lot for sharing your experience !.R.Diana

  5. Laura

    I truly want to commend you for this very informative and helpful article. I am helping a very creative and artistic friend who wants to get started in the business. The information you provided will be invaluable to her in assuring she is professional while at the same time giving her work the value it deserves. I work in a different field, but your ideas for pricing, having clear verbal and written expectations/contracts, etc. is valuable to all business endeavors. Thank you for being open with pricing, as that is sometimes the most difficult thing to establish when you are just starting out. KUDOS!

  6. Holly Miller

    Hey Maria,
    This article was soooo very helpful! I’m preparing a quote for a mural and can now send it with confidence. My husband and I are designers ( and photographers ( so we’ve developed pricing sheets before but hand done art is tricky. Thanks for your honest advice! I really appreciate your transparency.


  7. Larissa

    This is great advice. I really appreciate how candid and honest you are. The transparency is BEYOND refreshing. I’m an experienced jewelry maker but am branching out into other forms of art and creativity and finding people who aren’t intimidated by others and are willing to share valuable advice is just beyond awesome.

    Thank you.

  8. Jackie

    Hello Maria.
    I am so happy to have found your information. I need to sit down and thoroughly read this info on pricing but it confirms a lot of what I had already believed from the small amount of experience that I so far have with painting murals.
    I am frustrated because in the area where I live (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) there are mural artists that advertise and work for starting at $5 per square foot. Which then makes it difficult to compete with them as it seems most of the customers simply are looking for the cheapest rather than the best. Leaving many of us in the starving artist category! Every time that I have quoted what I felt would be fair to me for my time, which was at about half of what you are charging, the customers run and do not get back to me. Most of what I have painted to try to build my portfolio was severely too low.
    I do appreciate the great information that you have been providing.

  9. Jackie

    Also thank you for actually printing what your prices are, I have been searching for this type of info with no luck finding actual posted amounts. Anyone that I had spoken to who does paint murals is always avoiding saying exactly what they do charge.
    Except the ones who like to advertise that they start at $5 per square foot!

  10. Joanne Villa

    This is amazing!! Thank you so much for your help!! I am new at this and have some mural design opportunities coming up and this is soooooo helpful! Thanks again!!

  11. Robert daltry

    Thanks so much for this info, it’s the hardest part of my business, but the most important!,
    There’s little info out there on the pricing of art/ mural work, been doing this a long time, specializing in large murals, and airbrush, I’m quick, and talented, but like a lot of artist, the business side of me lacks!, still learning after all these years, but we never stop learning and improving!/
    I’ll continue to check with this, and your e- mails, again, thank you!-

  12. Jessica Anderson

    I just recently got asked to do a job on a large dance studio where my daughter dances at I’m really confused on what to charge them because I’ve known them for so long last time I tried doing the price sheet for the doctors that my daughter goes to they never got back with me. Which means they didn’t want me because it was too high priced what do I do? what would be a fair price to charge for New York City skyline and Hollywood skyline.
    on a concrete floor, at 600 sq feet

    1. Maria

      Dear Jessica,

      Thanks for the question. I would never assume that someone didn’t get back to you because your price was too high. It’s not always that. Sometimes it’s because they got busy, or they didn’t understand the pricing you gave, or they were waiting for you to follow up.

      Always take it upon yourself to follow up with a client at least 2 days after sending them pricing. Ask “Did you receive my Price quote” and “Do you have any questions” and “What day do you want me to get started?”

      Pick up the phone and call your client today!

  13. penny

    I understand the original art copyrights but if I am painting from a picture they took of themselves what would I say? Would I copyright that as well? Don’t they own the picture if they took it?

    1. Maria Brophy

      Hi Penny, great question! If you are painting from someone else’s photo, the person who took the photo owns the copyrights to the photo. In this case, you would both agree to whom owns the copyrights to the final painted art. Or you can both jointly own the copyrights.

  14. Yvonne Martin

    At 50 years old I am just beginning a Muralist career and this has helped me so very, very much! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sharing this important information! Tho experienced, much of my work was community/church volunteer so I will be starting at a low base payment until my reputation builds as a professional. You have helped me tremendously! Thank you!!

  15. lenny

    Hi, I paint murals using airbrush and charge £75 a day, a lot of people say my pricing is pretty low for the standard of my work, I really need to get a structure together that lets me charge more and helps the customer understand what the final price will be, I am very good at what I do but find it hard to understand a good way of pricing up jobs, ive never really been clever in that sort of thing, even your help on pricing jobs is confusing for me, but im going to revise it over a few times and hopefully get to understand it better, the last thing I want is to turn up to a client and hand them a price sheet that I dont understand lol. Its very frustrating for me because I am very good at what I do im just useless at making money from it.

  16. priscilla

    Hello. Thanks for your helpful information. Does this pricing include materials, assistants and renting of ladders or special features for climbing high walls? Thank you, Priscilla

  17. Deon O Kennedy

    Deon O Kennedy
    Hi Maria

    Thank you for your advice on how to price a mural it will help us a lot we are from the west coast in South Africa thank you so much

  18. Doug Cariou

    Wow. Please look at my site older murals I’ve done I’ve now 100s of murals all over vancouver bc and all over British Columbia as far as North Carolina Texas Montana and Mexico I’ve always just basically looked at a wall I know how long it will take yes I give them what I refer to as a working drawing and will alter it if they want something changed my time works out to between 100.00and200.00 per hr most of the time .Ive worked with some amazing talent I am REALY impressed with what you are saying I feel I need to charge a lot more for my work which has realy come up in quality in recent years

  19. Karina Dawn Molina

    Keep doing what you are doing. This totally helped me out! I’m bidding a job tomorrow and really need to be specific. Thank you soooooo much!! This is fantastic advise. Very professional and simple.

  20. Pingback: How to Make Money From Murals | paint and hustle

  21. Dr. Prema Seshadri

    Hi Maria,

    I came upon your site while I was helping out a friend who has been approached by another friend in the Middle East for some mural work for a new hotel. I absolutely loved your article. Amazingly helpful. Would you know an approximate pricing for mural projects in the Gulf and Middle East? Would truly appreciate some help on this to my email address. Thank you once again!

    Warm regards,
    Bangalore, India

  22. Gilly

    Thank you for your honesty!!! I am an NYC based muralist and I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and I STILL panc when setting a price. You are a rock star.

  23. Pingback: Design Notes - Frozen Yogurt Shop

  24. Kay Cotter

    I paint murals and am a ceramist. Love it. This was one of the best price & information breakdowns, that I have come across. Thank you so much. You validated that I am definitely worth so much more.

  25. Denton

    Wow! This is perfect! This saved me hours and hours of work. Thanks so much for sharing. We just finished a mural that was done as part of a project and have leads to paint more and had no idea how to price them.

  26. Olenka Pushan

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
    …for being so so kind and sharing…
    You have no idea how long I’ve been searching for such a helpful site RE: ALL this invaluable info…

    (teary eyed with excitement)
    P.S. Good luck with all your projects and adventures!!!

  27. Katherine

    Thank you so much for your transparent article with pricing points. I am new to the field and am still shy about asking for money. I’ve done murals for a couple hundred bucks in the past and I know I am worth much more than that. People around this area don’t have a high demand for this type of work, but it’s something that I love to create, so I tend to undercut myself. But in the end, I’m just insulting my own work. I am worried about people not being able to afford me if I went with your pricing structure. Even though the job I’m bidding on right now would be in a well-to-do area (by my standards anyway) and in a commercial place, I am worried about losing the job completely just because I ask for too much money. But since there isn’t a lot of competition out here for this type of work, I’m not really sure where to even begin with pricing. I also don’t know if I should make my business completely legit with EIN and insurance when I’ve only done a handful of jobs in the past few years. Again, not a high demand for this type of work where I live. I wish more people like you were around here to kind of help guide me as I get started. I am talented, I know this, but I am shy about the money aspect. I guess, in the end, I have to be sure I ask for the amount that I will feel proud of by the time the job is complete. Thank you again for your article. It validates that my work is worth much more than what I’m asking.

  28. Adam Breeland

    I must say when I came across this article I was pretty surprised. The info given in this article has always been information that you learned from trail and error and just lists of mistakes in the process. I cannot tell you how many times I shot myself in foot just to get the sell, or how many times I just mis calculated. As a big fan of both the Brophy’s art and culture I thank you for sharing such a valuable resource. It seems in today’s kustom art culture you must pay for just about any knowledge or training. I enjoyed the read and look forward to further articles. Keep paintin.

  29. Dot Blaszczak

    Thank you so MUCH. I have been trying to work out how to cost my paintings and you have made my life so much essay.

  30. Dot Blaszczak

    THANK YOU so MUCH. I have been trying to work out how to cost my paintings and your advice has been of great help.

  31. Meaghan

    Thank you thank you! I’m an artist just starting to get into murals. I had no idea where to start and this is more than I could have imagined stumbling upon!

  32. Emillie

    Hi I’m wanting to get some wall art done in my bedroom and are a little confused with pricing my wall area is 80square ft. I want to use a costum design with a little bit of help from the artist regarding colour and shape overall this should be quite a easy straightforward job.
    Plz contact me via email

  33. Kristen Stephens


  34. Catherine carlton

    I agree with miss kris. Its rare that artists will share their pricing or painting techniques, which if we all did, then the general public/client would value art as a profession and not a hobby (or that they are doing us a favor to have us paint for them) Anyway, thank you for your open heart and info.
    Cheers, CC

  35. Tim

    This is all very helpful information, thanks for sharing. The question I have is ownership.
    If the client wants to reproduce portions of the art and use it in other ways, perhaps on merchandise.
    How is that handled?
    What rights do they own?

    Thank you

    1. Maria Brophy

      Hi Tim, great question.

      We retain ownership to all copyrights of Drew’s artwork. So if someone hires him to paint a mural, we retain the rights to reproduction. If they want to reproduce the art in any way, we would work it out in a separate licensing deal. However, some murals are hard to reproduce, as it’s difficult to get a good enough photo/scan of the art.


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