Drop Your Standards in Decorating to Earn More Money

Updated Feb 18, 2024 | Posted Jan 1, 2021 | Professional insight, Business | 2 comments

This is going to be a controversial one and not every decorator will agree with me. However, I feel like most professional painter and decorators’ will secretly relate with what I’m about to say.

A lot of the time, it is better to get in and do a job as quickly as you can in order to earn more money on a price. The bottom line is, if you drop your standards, you’ll earn more money, regardless of your original quote.

OK, I’m not talking about every job. Horses for courses and all that. I see some amazing work on the forums and the high-end stuff needs to stay just that, high-end. That said, most of the day-to-day jobs just needs to be to a passible standard. Just get in, do your job and get out.

If the client has had a plasterer in and they have left a shocking finish, it isn’t your problem! Let them get the plasterer back if they’re bothered, don’t waste a full day sanding and filling.

If the last decorator got paint on door hinges, just leave them!! You could spend hours cleaning that crap up and they still won’t look right by the end.


Don’t even worry too much about getting horribly rough woodwork completely flat with your sanders, they were happy enough with the finish last time around.

The bottom line is, people don’t always want to pay you a fortune to decorate to a top standard. So to make a good living, you need to drop down to a more realistic level. If you see paint on the floor that was there before you got a brush out, just take a picture of it, throw a sheet down and crack on.

If you can get away with one coat on the ceilings, just do it. As long as you do what you’re paid to do and the client is happy, nothing else really matters. It’s still going to be a million times better than if a muggle did it.


The Standard of Decorating in Rentals and Newbuilds


OK, we’re talking about extreme examples now, but this is a proper illustration of a standard of work to fit a certain market.

If you are decorating a cheap rental property for a landlord, the overriding factor on your quote is the price. It has to be, it’s a business for the landlord, not his or her home. The chances are the tenant won’t look after it anyway. Minimal prep and one coat on everything is what is required more often than not.

House bashing on a newbuild is even worse. It isn’t the type of work I do, but I feel sorry for the sh1t that flavour of decorator has to put up with!! Prices are mega tight and they’re up against some harsh conditions. The standard of every other trades’ work is very low. The only way for a house basher to make money is to churn out a lot of work in a short space of time, to a standard just high enough to get away without getting pulled. No caviar for them poor buggers at night!!


Final Thoughts


My point is; decorating is a product. You agree a price, then churn out the product to earn your money. The faster you produce the product, the more money you earn. So, dropping your standards will earn you more money in the game.

You’re not even dropping YOUR standards a lot of the time. You’re just not spending ages cleaning up someone else’s bad workmanship. It’s a good idea to take photos of paint on hinges, or the floor before you start work. That way, if a customer pulls you, you can show it isn’t down to you.

Stand firm, go and earn some money!

Drop Your Standards in Decorating to Earn More Money – by Peter O’Neil


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Updated Feb 18, 2024 | Posted Jan 1, 2021 | 2 comments


  1. richard whatmough

    100% agree with this!!

    • Ashley Taylor

      Totally agree, my son now works with me and is so caught up in the stuff on media and strives for absolute perfection every time, though I am fully supportive of his efforts for best it can be, I find it hard to explain to him that sometimes to make a reasonable living you have to be more efficient with your time, this doesn’t mean bodging, but a good standard can still be achieved without going overboard,of course unless the customer is willing to pay for it, then yes we will take everything back and start again.
      He has a great work ethic but I need to remind him with experience he will get good results, keep customers happy and earn a good honest living.


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