Apr 12, 2021

How to Get a Custom Paint Job for Your car


Customizing your own car is a big decision.

It’s typical for the owner of a muscle car or classic car to repaint their pride and joy for the obvious reason of keeping it looking new. Also, it helps pad their investment even more if they decide to sell it down the road.

But, for those of us who don’t own classic cars and are content with our daily drivers, sometimes we want to spruce up our rides, too. In some cases, we want to take it a step further and go all out with a custom paint job that will turn heads.

The reasons for wanting to get a custom paint job are many, but the most common are below:

  • Impress others by featuring it in a car show
  • Helps prevent rust
  • Restore to factory condition
  • Increases resale value

No matter your reasons, putting a new shine on your car could be beneficial. But what is the process of getting a custom paint job for your car? Let's lay it out.

Getting a cool paint job comes at a price.

I’m going to give it to you straight; paint jobs are not cheap. At the very least, you’re going to be spending $200, and that’s for the lowest-cost paint job that’s available. Everyone’s budget is different, so it’s important to lay out all of the options.

The most affordable option: We’re talking the bare-bones, basic paint job. If you’re on a tight budget, this is your best option. Maaco is the typical go-to choice with locations sprinkled throughout the country. In most cases, you can have your entire car repainted anywhere from $250 to $400. Pretty sweet deal, huh? Well, there are some drawbacks. There have been customer complaints like crazy over the years. The most popular complaint claims that Maaco uses inferior quality paints. In addition, the lack of workmanship and skill among their staff leaves a lot to be desired. That’s not a good mix, no pun intended. Then again, if you’re looking for a simple paint job and time is of the essence, Maaco is the way to go.

So-so paint jobs: These options are found in your locally owned shops. Their reputations and service are good. Obviously, you’ll be spending more for the better quality and service but if it’s worth it to you, this is a good route to take. Good to excellent quality paints are used at these local shops and it shows in the results. You’re given a choice of popular paint brand options as opposed to one being picked for you. Expect to spend a pretty penny;  between $1,000 to $5,000. If you have the money, it’s a wise decision if you want excellent results.

Cream-of-the-crop paint jobs: This is for the special kind of paint job. If you want free reign over all design details, this is the option you want. These types of paint shops will bow to your every desire. We’re talking airbrushing, metallic paint, high-end paint brands like House of Kolor or SEM, and other pricey add-ons. Looking for two-tone metallic paint or lightning bolts along the fenders? Have fun; it’ll cost you $5,000 to $20,000. You’ll be shelling out some serious dough, but the result will leave you speechless. The workmanship and care that goes into these projects are second to none.

In order to get the best paint job available, do your research.

You’re off to a good start. Now comes the hard part; research. Much like buying a new or used car, you need to get quotes and figure out color schemes before you dive in and end up spending a boatload of money. Below is my friendly advice if you’re looking to spruce up your ride:

  1. Choose your shop wisely. Once you’ve decided the kind of custom paint job you want, pick the shop of your choice. If you’re looking for great results and a paint job that will last a long time, browse your local paint shops for the one that you think fits your situation best.
  2. Decide what color you want. It’s usually cheaper to stick with the car’s current color. The process will be less timely and costly. If you’re tired of the existing color, I don’t blame you for wanting to switch things up.
  3. Get as many quotes as possible. Do your research, make phone calls, visit local shops and do whatever else is necessary to get a ballpark figure of the cost. Don’t settle for being pushed around or given the runaround treatment. You’re spending your hard-earned money and deserve straight answers.
  4. Ask yourself, is it worth it? Does the value of your car warrant the expense? If it will cost more than 25 percent of what the car is worth, it’s best to reconsider. You can find the value of your car on the Kelley Blue Book site to determine whether to move forward with a paint job.

It’s always a nerve-racking decision to make, but you’ll feel better once it’s all over with. Good luck and enjoy your fresh paint job!

Note: RumbleOn is an Amazon Affiliate, dedicated to reviewing the best and safest gear and more, for riders everywhere. We may receive commissions if products are purchased from them.

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