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. Dennis Panzik

    Great advice and structure to go by.
    I really like the “Why You Should Limit the Number of Sketches”.
    Cause we know how clients will keep changing it on ya.

  2. John Grunwell

    This was a great post, really one of the most educational I’ve seen. I can only hope that I get to use this sort of structure someday in the near or distant future. Have there been instances in which you’ve LOST money completing a mural commission?

    Does Drew use those pens for these, or traditional paints? If the latter, what does he find best for indoor vs. outdoor murals? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Maria Brophy

      Hey John, thanks for your questions. To answer:
      1 – Have we lost money on a mural? Yes, there have been times where we under-priced something because we didn’t expect there to be difficulties or it was more work than planned. That’s why I now include the wording about adding more to the quote if there are unexpected difficulties.
      2 – Drew will use house paints, spray paints and then paint pens at the end for details. Every mural is different – but he really likes Montana Spray Paints when he can use them. The colors are great and it’s fast.
      Outdoor Murals: He uses the Montana Spray paints, airbrushing and paint pens as well.

      1. Francesca

        Hi, Great blog! I stumbled upon your page, on a search for a good exterior paint pen. For some details to a mural and for writing a poem on an outdoor cinder block wall.This was much more than I expected to find! However, if you could tell me of a brand you have had experience with, that doesn’t fade or chip in the elements, it would be much appreciated! I noticed this seems to be old… So, I hope there is still someone at the other end of the line. Thanks so much!

      2. Maria Brophy

        This is for Francesca: Thanks for finding me! To answer your question – Drew uses Montana MTN 94 Spray paint for outdoor murals- it works great, holds up for years, bright colors. Highly recommend it!

      3. Francesca

        Thanks, Maria! I was actually wondering about paint pens* I’ve been checking out Sharpie Oil pens, but I’m told they don’t hold up well in the elements of the outdoors. Any suggestions? I just wanted to use them for some details and also lettering… Seems like it would make life easier.. but not if they won’t hold up! haha. I have been hesitant to try them so far. Thanks, again for your help and input!

  3. Marie Kazalia


    I wonder if you will allow me to post this article–or a portion of this article-to my blog, the Artist Marketing Salon? Along with your link and contact info or whatever other info you like?

    Please consider giving me permission to repost to my blog. My blog is barebones design, but it’s a place artist visit for basic info for their art careers. I have been receiving 130-150 visitors per day and large spikes up into 300 hits.

    1. Maria Brophy

      To Marie: Yes, use any articles from my blog anytime you’d like. All I ask is links back to my site. Thank you so much for asking!

      To everyone else: Thanks for leaving the nice comments and letting me know you enjoyed this article. It means a lot to me. xxoo

  4. Ken

    I wish I had advice like this 20 years ago. I haven’t done a wall mural in years. The last one I did I was pretty much just out of college and I had no idea what to charge.

    I’ll be passing this link on. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Marie Kazalia

    Thanks Maria! I have posted your article to my blog (my blog link in my comment above). This is really a helpful article for artists. I added your link to the bottom of the article, your name under the article title.

    The point being, that for allowing me to post your article, you will get some of my traffic!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Best wishes for a productive day, to all!

  6. Jeanene Marty

    Thank you so much for sharing your pricing process. I am new a have never felt confident about my prices. I REALLY appreciate your guidelines. I now feel I have a sense of direction in how to determine prices depending not only on size, but also complexity and my own level of expertise. I can price lower than I might like right now, just getting started, and not feel bad about raising my prices when I feel I am deserve a raise! Thanks again!

  7. Rita

    Love this! When I was painting murals, I made many mistakes and a lot of them could have been prevented if I had used this sort of system! Painting murals is back breaking work, and you deserve to be paid well for it!

  8. Dustan Baker

    Thank you Maria,

    I have been asked to paint a large mural a couple of times. I have been too intimidated to even quote one given the fact that I have never worked in very large format. This information in very helpful.

  9. Pingback: Painting a Wall Mural: Ten Ways to Please Your Client | Murals - Maria Brophy

  10. Meghan

    Thank you so much for posting this amazingly helpful information! I cannot tell you how valuable it is, nor how much I appreciate your generosity in sharing it.

  11. Larissa

    Great article. I have learned the hard way, like yourself, that i needed to include a design fee as part of the cost. But I like your way of doing it which will keep the design process easy and smooth- especially when you need to weed out the serious from the not-so-serious. I have done elaborate designs in the past for large projects that didn’t end up happening in the end. This was a waste of time and I didn’t get compensated for my designs.
    I usually charge a per day rate so that my clients know roughly the cost of the mural. I can usually estimate pretty well on how long a project will take me, but it’s good to add the clause about “unforseen changes” if the client wants to add more detail. I’ve learned the hard way about that as well.
    Terrific article! Thanks for posting it!

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  14. Marie Pinschmidt

    Thanks for this excellent post. I have also painted murals and this tip may help some of you. Following one of our south Florida hurricanes, a client asked for a mural for his medical office. I suggested three large panels for the mural instead of painting directly onto his wall. In case of hurricane the panels could be easily removed and stored in a more safe location. He was delighted. Plus, it made the job easier for me since I didn’t need to transport my painting supplies; I did the work in the privacy of my studio and on completion the panels were hung abutting each other with mirror hangers (unobtrusive). He had the effect of a wall mural and I had a much easier job of it! That particular mural is posted on my website where you can see the finished product and how it was hung..

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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  18. Kim

    Thank you, mostly, for you generosity in sharing information that is sometimes hard to obtain from people. This post was extremely helpful to me being brand new to this endeavor and I am indebted. Continued success to you !

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  20. Collette brooks-Hops

    Thank you for this very valid information. it’s great for coming up with a ballpark price. and I like the fact that its clear, concise and no-nonsense to the point. Translating fine art from canvas to wall can be so tricky, there are so many variables to consider. i use Nova Colors from Artex in California. fabulous colors, formulated for outdoor murals with many wonderful mediums, etc to use.. I use them for all my fine art also. yea for “telling all” we gotta hang together, us creatives.

  21. Angel

    I am just starting my business. Over the past few years I have been requested to do a few murals around town. I have always felt honored to paint for friends and never really thought of doing it for a profit. I have recently received a request to paint for a new business after painting a mural for our local police department. This new business requested how much I charged and I did not even know where to begin. Thank you so much for this helpful information!

  22. lc

    I was recently commissioned to do a mural at an elementary school and didnt know what to do…I am a recent art grad of GSU in atl ga…..this blog helped me tremendously….thank you so much. u answered every question i had…..and when i had another and thought the article was over u answered it again. Thanx!

  23. robert howell

    Thank you for the great post. The way you described the process made it very easy to understand and I like your writing style. You described all the details and made it a fun and interesting post as well. Thanks.

  24. Pingback: How to Price a Wall Mural and Develop a Price Sheet – For Artists | Maps Of The World

  25. Edel ramirez

    Wow! really good proposal, and THANKS! for sharing your price list, this is something that not all Agents or Artists are wiling to talk about on a public space, also I want to ask you if this is the same price list for “any” client? because I have made some designs for some celebrities and sincerely I do not know how to treat them :( and I do not want to charge as little because could look that I’m not professional and I do not like to charge more because I think the could think I’m taking advantage of their status, this is a huge dilemma or me

    Thanks! luv your super blog

    1. Maria Brophy

      Dear Edel, thanks for commenting on my blog! So glad it’s helpful to you. Since i wrote this article, we have raised our base price to $40 a square foot – materials costs keep going up.

      To answer your question: We try to be consistent with our pricing. It wouldn’t be fair to charge one person more than another. I would give the same price to Oprah that I would to the school teacher down the street. Maybe it’s not done that way by every artist, but I have found that consistency works best for us.

      As an aside, I’ve also found, interestingly enough, that celebrities often expect to pay LESS than most people. Not sure where that comes from – but again, I stick to our general pricing for anyone.

      The per square foot rate also goes up for complicated designs and/or situations where the is a lot more work involved. We also add on for difficult preparation and/or surfaces. The base price is really just a starting point.

      I hope this helps answer your questions!

  26. Chris Erickson

    I’ve been commissioned for a mural and I just stumbled upon your website. I think Drew’s work is phenomenal and I cant thank you guys enough for the new level of inspiration that I’ve found in some designs I’ve been working on. I watched the video about the screaming skull motorcycle and its awesome to see another unconventional artist that is still down to earth. thanks again

    Chris “Styx” Erickson

    1. Maria

      Hey Styx, thanks for all the great compliments! So glad you liked the show – thank you for watching. I wish you the best with your mural – keep us posted on it!

  27. sandee

    i am doing my first real art gig as an independent artist for a real big corporate company. they have a wall that they would like me to design and this blog is soooo amazingly perfect for my situation. i appreciate you so much for shedding some light on a new artist like myself. thank u thank u thank YOU!! *BIG HUGS* 😀

  28. Lyn Martin

    Maria- Thank you so much for all the insight and information. I have been a freelance children’s illustrator for 25 years and was recently commissioned to design and produce a series of large murals, having never done this before, I really didn’t know where to start and I need the work. So with your recommendations, some hard work and a little luck maybe I can at least make it look like I know what I am doing. Drew’s work is beautiful, I just hope I can follow suit.

  29. Juanita

    Thanks so much for these helpful tips and structure! I did my degree in Textile Design and Technology in South Africa. I’m an artist and love what I do but when it comes to the business side of things I truly suck!

    Thanks again!

    Now to convert all this to Rands an meters :)

  30. allan

    thank you very much maria for the pricing tips that youve shared,,coz pricing is my problem evrytime i have a client for mural paintings..your great…..and not a selfish artist…thanks again..


    THANKS a million…. this helped me soooOOO000 much!!!! ive been asked to do murals over and over again,but when the question came up of “how much will that cost” came up..i never had a clue,but this is a great guide to pricing!! AGAIN THANKS A MILLION!!! OAN:please tell Drew,that yougurt wave mural look great(which i figure he already knows lol!)

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  33. Gregg

    I’ve been an artist since the age of 2 (at least I knew I wanted to be back then) and I’ve been doing it now for over 4 decades. Over the years I’ve done a lot of murals and every time it comes to price I’ve simply winged it. Though the prices I’ve charged have always seemed good to me, I’ve always had a nagging fear that I was under charging. But what do you know! — based on your excellent article, I’ve found out I’ve been charging right in there! The one thing I like that you do is the minimum charge I’ve never thought of that, but that’s pretty good. Coincidently I’m in the middle of pricing out a job and your pricing structure came in a tad less than what I was estimating, but at least I’m not lower. Thanks! Here’s a question: What if you’re doing say six 40 sq. ft. murals (of the same basic look) at one place? Do you just add them all up and come up with a total? Thanks again.

  34. David Meo

    This article was a great help! I teach at a college graphic design department in Florida, and I plan on including your excellent article in my curriculum. It addresses some of the main questions students want to know.

  35. Nicholas

    I honestly cant believe how little i was charging for murals!!!!!! >:[ thanks to this page i can finally start charging appropriately. i was charging about 2 dollars per square foot after i realized, now i’ve raised it to 7 and my customers are satisfied, as well as i!

  36. Abe

    thanks for the info, very informative! Was exactly what I was looking for. I think it is awesome how you share this info and your desire to create a sense of community to help each other!


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