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Salary, Wages, Pay: Painting and Coating Workers, Except Construction and Maintenance




Median hourly earnings of coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders were $12.64 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.16 and $15.78 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.54, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.39 an hour.

Median hourly earnings of transportation equipment painters were $16.89 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.85 and $22.74 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.52 an hour. Median hourly earnings of transportation equipment painters were $16.84 in automotive repair and maintenance shops and $24.13 in motor vehicle manufacturing.

Median hourly earnings of painting, coating, and decorating workers were $10.95 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.76 and $13.94 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.44, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.23 an hour.

Many automotive painters employed by motor vehicle dealers and independent automotive repair shops receive a commission based on the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this method, earnings depend largely on the amount of work a painter does and how fast it is completed. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned painters a minimum weekly salary. Helpers and trainees usually receive an hourly rate until they become sufficiently skilled to work on commission. Trucking companies, bus lines, and other organizations that repair and refinish their own vehicles usually pay by the hour.

Many painting and coating machine operators belong to unions, including the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Most union operators work for manufacturers and large motor vehicle dealers.