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How much should a paint job cost?

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Old 11-14-17, 10:13 PM
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How much should a paint job cost?

Hey All!

I'm looking for a decent basecoat/clearcoat paint job on my prepped fd. It sits in 2k high build primer, fully blocked with all trim and rubber removed. Bumpers, fenders, mirrors, light covers and gas door are removed.

Not sure what to expect to pay. Most shops don't want to touch it... They only want insurance work. Other shops want $6k plus. Seems steep for a prepped car. Or is that about right? My regular guy quoted around $2k, but he's swamped with dealer and insurance work and can't do it for the foreseeable future.

Any recommendations in the San Francisco East Bay Area?

Thanks,
​​​​​​​Dave
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Old 11-15-17, 02:18 AM
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I'd think most shops wouldn't want to paint something they hadn't prepped themselves as any issue in the prep could create a lot of work during paint.
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Old 11-15-17, 10:53 AM
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Correct.. many shops warranty their paint finishes for the time you own it, and if they did not prep the car themselves them they don't want to get involved as any issues that crop up would turn into a massive crap show between you, who prepped it, and them.
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Old 11-15-17, 11:36 PM
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The shops I've dealt with shoot an epoxy sealer first. That covers my prep work. Any waves or missed dents are agreed to be my problem.

They just don't want to do it because they can make more money playing the insurance game. Or they want to charge enough to make as much as they would make in the same time frame doing insurance work.

Not good for the hobbyist.

​​​​​​​I've seen nice Maaco jobs... Those guys can lay down paint. But even their premium base/clear package uses lame materials. If I could get them to shoot some PPG, that would be a good option.
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Old 11-16-17, 08:36 AM
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why would they make more doing other work? all they have to do is mask and spray, they could literally have a prepped car done in a matter of a couple hours. if they want $6k+ for that amount of effort, then they're all lazy. the problem is generally that they don't want you to point the finger when something doesn't come out right that they didn't do.

take one of their painters aside and ask them how much they'd do it for on the side, just avoid the main business if you can find one willing.

Last edited by insightful; 11-16-17 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 11-16-17, 05:09 PM
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Sealer still does not guarantee the paint will stay put.

Example: My shop is mostly insurance driven, so we use a lot of aftermarket bumper covers and fenders that come pre-primed. Even so, we still lay sealer down before our base and clear. Many times in the years I have worked there the primer failed and paint comes flying off starting from something like a stone chip. Let me be the first to tell you, the paperwork involved is no picnic. Even dealing with the vendor we purchased the part from can be a nightmare. I once threw the territory manager to a company that will remain nameless out of the shop for essentially calling us a bunch of liars without any ground for him to stand on.
Sorry, but when our sealer is grey and the backside of the flakes coming off the bumper are black (their primer) and the cover is down to raw plastic, you're not going to sit there and try to tell me and the bodyshop director that our PPQ finish failed.

In short, I wouldn't get too upset with a shop that won't agree to spray the car when they weren't the ones to do all of the prepwork.

As for 'playing the insurance game'.. y'all truly have no idea just how big of a game it is. Insurance companies try to screw a shop in any way they can to try and save a buck, and the shop tries to screw them back in other ways to balance the dollar out.
Generally we don't do any screwing, because most of the insurance companies know we will stand firm and there isn't a whole lot they can do about it. Given the level to which we are certified and that their selection in this state for such certifications is very slim, they usually see things our way when we recognize what they are trying to do and remind them of where reality is.
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Old 11-16-17, 09:47 PM
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If you want a low priced job, go to Maaco. If you want a great job, find a reputable restoration shop but it will cost. Let Maaco give you an estimate. Then you can decide what you want to pay. I don't know the exact costs but I'm guessing a grand give or take for the Maaco and 3 to 5 grand for a resto shop, maybe more. Let us know what you find.

Don't waste your time with your basic auto body shop. Like you said before, the basic body shop wants insurance work. They hang, spray, and replace as fast as they can.

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Old 11-17-17, 07:21 AM
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you could always just do it yourself, in the event of some screw ups you can simply cut the paint before the next step and once finished.
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Old 11-18-17, 09:28 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input.

​​​​​​​I considered shooting it myself. But without a proper booth and fresh air gear, I'd make a mess of the car and my brain cells.

I went to another shop today for an estimate. He advertised inexpensive complete jobs. He sized up the FD and quoted $4500 plus. I asked him why so much. He claimed $1600 in materials. Said he needs 2 gallons of paint and 2 of clear. So with catalyst and reducer, that's about 6 gallons of product! I imagine he wouldn't need as much if he pointed the gun at the car.

I think I'll wait out my regular guy. I don't trust any of these random shops.
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Old 11-18-17, 09:36 PM
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What a crock of **** lol

He's either got terrible painters working for him, or is blowing up material costs because he's crooked and knows you don't know any better. That second one is likely. It pains me that there are so many terrible shops out there. Sad world.
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Old 11-19-17, 08:14 AM
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A few years ago a top shop in the area quoted me $6,200 for a complete paint job, including all the prep work to fix the various little dents and dings the car has got over the years. This also included redoing the 'self-healing' finish under the doors, which is pretty unique/cool. I'd specified "little to no filler", and the estimator gave me this look and said, "of course, sir.", which I took to mean, "DUH!"

I about **** myself, though over the price as I thought it was about twice what it should be. I guess it all depends on the reputation of the shop and the quality you want, when it comes to how much you have to spend. One thing for sure...there are a LOT of body shops that simply don't do very good jobs when it comes to painting vehicles. It's all about getting them in and out the door so they can do more volume.
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Old 11-23-17, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Acesanugal View Post
In short, I wouldn't get too upset with a shop that won't agree to spray the car when they weren't the ones to do all of the prepwork.

As for 'playing the insurance game'.. y'all truly have no idea just how big of a game it is..
^This...on both points. Regardless of any agreements beforehand, a GOOD shop is assuming liability for someone else's prep. Their reputation is on the line when you park the car at some function or show and flaws start sticking out like a giraffe in a flock of sheep. The fact that they WON'T do it should be a positive as they worry about such things.
One other thing...I think prices will tend to vary depending on the region of the country you're in...all else being equal.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:45 PM
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6-8K isnt unheard of for a complete job from a reputable shop, but that usually includes all the prep work and primer and materials.

if you can find someone willing to spray over your own prep work, id say 2-4K would be reasonable, the problem is nobody will warranty it because they didn't prep it themselves, and some places may even refuse to do the work because its not their own prep work.
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Old 12-16-17, 09:35 PM
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Just to explore options, I got an estimate from the local Maaco for their premium base / clear job. Including a base sealer, door and hatch jams and color sand/polish it's around $3500. Not a bad price, but there are issues.

They use Sherwin Williams urethane, but I'll bet It's not on par with top quality PPG or BASF.

The Manager insists that I assemble the car before they paint. Now I have all the bits removed... Bumpers, light covers, side mirrors, fenders. That means they'll get overspray inside all the gaps.

The manager suggested he would get me a pint of color and that I shoot the fender and door edges while it's apart for better coverage.

He also wants to do a final sanding with a d/a sander before spraying. I spent many hours block sanding high build 2K primer using a guide coat. His crew will most likely undo the work I put in and introduce lots of subtle waves. Not smart on a black car.

​​​​​​​He's a nice guy, he LOVED the FD, and I bet they know how to lay down paint... But I'll need to keep looking for options.
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Old 12-17-17, 09:56 AM
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Bumper covers require a flex additive and typically an adhesion promotor. If they paint them assembled on the car, it won't be good.
I agree, going over a properly blocked car with a DA makes no sense.
Salesman are usually nice guys, but personally I wouldn't let MACCO near my kid's old high school beaters let alone my FD. And don't be too sure about the skills and craftsmanship of a MACCO painter. There's likely a reason he's working there and not at 'regular' shop where you have to stand behind your work.

There is cost, and there is price. They are NOT the same things.
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Old 01-09-18, 05:29 PM
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Do a ton of research on whoever you let pint it also. I personally wouldn't let someone do it on the side from the shop they work at. I would pick a shop that has a good reputation and has proven quality work. I made the mistake of having someone paint my FC that was not a shop ( he worked for a bodyshop) and it turned into a disaster.
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Old 01-10-18, 10:57 AM
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I got quoted 7500 in november to get my FD painted. It was about 1000 more because I wanted the rear fenders pulled out, but it still seemed like an outrageous amount for repainting the same color and skipping the door jambs.
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Old 01-10-18, 12:02 PM
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After getting my car hit 3 different distinct times (while parked), I decided to get my car repaired and painted in MX. I was charged $2300 for 5 year dupont paint and 1 1/2 gallons of clear. Not only did they repair $1800 worth of damage, but they also removed all windows, door cards, and gutted the trunk as well (I told them not to touch the engine bay) in order to change the color from montego to yellow.
Initial:

A shop here in the States did the custom work:


In MX:





This was a few years back and the paint is still holding strong. Granted it is not a perfect paint job but it is decent. So maybe MX is an option that you hadn't thought about

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Old 01-12-18, 12:50 AM
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Yeah, $7.5k is insane for no jams. I never got a quote that high. I swear these shops look at enthusiast cars and add at least a 50% premium charge.

MX is an awesome suggestion (for cheaper dental implants too I'm told). Logistics from Nor Cal would kill the discount and risk transit damage I'd think. (Your car looks bad ***, btw.)

I found my solution. The manager at my regular shop must have gotten tired of me checking in every week. He agreed to shoot it himself on his own time (after clearing it with the boss man). We agreed on $3k. BC CC, BASF paint, shot in pieces and wet sand / polish.

​​​​​​​I'll post up pics after I bolt it back together.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:19 AM
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I guess in depends on the location (say its cheaper to paint a vehicle on a body shop that its not in a big city). A reputable shop in Northern VA quoted me over $700 for the front bumper, just the front bumper; and I was bringing the front bumper, not the car.
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Old 01-15-18, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BlackEuropa View Post
Yeah, $7.5k is insane for no jams. I never got a quote that high. I swear these shops look at enthusiast cars and add at least a 50% premium charge.

MX is an awesome suggestion (for cheaper dental implants too I'm told). Logistics from Nor Cal would kill the discount and risk transit damage I'd think. (Your car looks bad ***, btw.)

I found my solution. The manager at my regular shop must have gotten tired of me checking in every week. He agreed to shoot it himself on his own time (after clearing it with the boss man). We agreed on $3k. BC CC, BASF paint, shot in pieces and wet sand / polish.

I'll post up pics after I bolt it back together.
Thank you! and yeah I figured it was a stretch but you never know, maybe you have a friend that is stationed down here or have family near by so I figured I would mention it just in case.

Congratulations in finding a solution, $3K is good price

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Old 01-16-18, 06:19 AM
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Man these prices in the states are freaking crazy. If they are reputable and top notch i understand, but damn 7.5 for no jams?! Im currently in japan and this is what i got for around 6500. Granted I know this doesnt help you...

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Old 03-29-18, 04:55 PM
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I have my MR2 turbo at the body shop right now, having them do a complete repaint and color change, jambs included, rear trunk & front trunk not included, (engine bay already done by me) and it's $3500 fully wetsanded and buffed out. Should be done in 3 more weeks - I'm nervously waiting and hoping they do a quality job as I've never had a car painted before and people's experiences are all over the map with body shops and paint jobs. I hope this ends well!
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Old 04-07-18, 06:42 AM
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Looks like I have to keep shopping around for quotes. I got quoted 5k and 6.5k from a couple shops for some light body work and a same color repaint (no jams). One of the more reputable shops in my area suggested taking it to a restoration shop, they said that some places might be hesitant to take apart and paint an 87.
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Old 04-07-18, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by FarmeRX7Carry View Post
Looks like I have to keep shopping around for quotes. I got quoted 5k and 6.5k from a couple shops for some light body work and a same color repaint (no jams). One of the more reputable shops in my area suggested taking it to a restoration shop, they said that some places might be hesitant to take apart and paint an 87.
With the driving season coming up, you might try networking with other local car guys. Attend some local show-n-shines, club events and start asking questions of the owners of some of the nicer cars there. See who they might recommend.
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