Understanding How Much A Motorcycle Paint Job Should Cost

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Motorcycle

If you recently purchased a used motorcycle or have had a bike for years that needs a paint job, you might be wondering where to start and how much it is going to cost you. Used motorcycle values can retain their cost relatively well, but sometimes prices of motorcycles can be low if someone is looking to offload their hog quickly. However, occasionally the repairs and bring a bike back to life can be expensive.

Luckily, there are a few options to save you money if you are looking to paint your ride. If you have the means to spend, getting a professional bike paint job or even a custom one can be ideal. Doing your own paint work is an option that is worth considering, too.

Regular Paint Jobs

Standard paint jobs for motorcycles will vary and are contingent upon your location, the shop through which you have the paintwork done, and your particular bike. Typical price ranges for having a motorcycle painted vary from around $300 to $1,600.

Much of this price depends on how much work needs to be done to your actual bike before the painting can occur. If you just want a standard coat of paint and your motorcycle is in flawless condition, the price will be much lower. If you are not so confident in your DIY skills to paint a bike yourself, hiring someone to do it for around $300 can be worth the money.

Prep Work

It’s important to remember that in most situations, painting a motorcycle will involve either small or significant repairs to the body or even minute repairs to dings and dents. You can discuss this with whoever is painting your bike before you decide on a price.

If you’re comfortable with a paint job covering one or two small dents that are hardly noticeable, this is an option. One of the most labor-intensive parts of painting (even without damage) is sanding off the old paint before applying the new.

Custom Paint Jobs

If you want to do more than just give your ride a rudimentary coat of paint and you want a custom job with detailed work such as flames stripes or other intricate designs the cost will naturally be much higher. Prices vary depending on location, the artist, the type of shop you decide to go through, as well as the bike.

The average range for custom paint jobs on motorcycles can be around $800 To $2,500 depending on the detail of work. For high-end bikes and exceptional custom paint jobs, the cost can skyrocket to anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on the painting.

A DIY Motorcycle Paint Job

If you are on a tight budget, or simply enjoy and prefer doing things yourself, painting your own ride is certainly an option. Before you attempt to do so, read up on the proper techniques, and watch some of those processes with a few videos before you start. There are several helpful videos on how to paint your own hog, including some that show you how to apply techniques such as a wrap look.

The cost of a do it yourself like paint job could end up being less than $100 depending on the equipment. Another side bonus if you enjoy painting your bike yourself and you do a fantastic job at it is that you could end up earning some money on the side painting rides for other people.

How to Paint Your Own Bike

To paint a motorcycle yourself you will need a substantial space where you can make a paint mess. Never spray your bike in an area that does not have proper ventilation. Even with a garage door open, for example, you still want to have an oscillating fan to prevent an accumulation of fumes.

If you can remove parts that need to be painted from your bike, do so. Find out which size Allen wrench is necessary to remove items such as the tank. Store bolts in plastic bags and then label them, for example, “rear fender.”

You will then need to sand the surfaces that need to be painted. If the service is not smooth, the paint job will end up on even and unattractive. If you do not have a power sander, purchase a few different grits of sandpaper and work in a circular motion to remove old paint.

Once sanded, wipe down the surface to remove residual dust. Make sure you have a clean canvas to paint. If there are dents, you can now smooth them over with body filler. Apply it roughly 1/8 of an inch thick and be sure it is not clumpy when you apply.

You will need to sand the surface again once the body filler completes its drying process. Inspect these areas in bright light to make sure they are smooth before painting.

Applying Paint

Now that it’s time to apply paint, you will first put on two coats of epoxy primer. This shields metal from moisture in the long run and helps prevent problems such as rusting. Carefully follow the instructions on your epoxy packaging before beginning this process.

You will very lightly sand the surface after the second coat of epoxy. It is recommended to use a 2000 grit wet-and-dry type of sandpaper. Be sure your paint spray gun is clean before beginning. Mix the paint with the proper amount of thinner recommended when loading your sprayer.

Then use the spray gun and coat the areas that need to be painted with three or four layers. Do not spray your motorcycle very close up or holding the sprayer in one spot. Even rapid movements should be used in strokes across the surface of your bike. Finish by applying clearcoat lacquer (follow the product instructions) in two coats to shield your new paint job from the elements.

What Will it Cost?

Clearly, the price of painting your ride will be much different if you do it yourself as opposed to hiring an artist to do an intricate design that takes several hours of labor to not only paint but also in repair work. Expect a straightforward job on a bike in good condition to cost you at least a few hundred dollars, and add to the price for any damage it has or designs you might want. You will then have a better idea of whether it is worth the cost or your time to attempt it yourself.