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How to Price a Mural in the San Francisco Bay Area


If you are new to the mural side of the art world, it may be difficult to know what to charge when you are just starting. Your pricing range should reflect whether you are already a skilled, professional artist who has honed your artistry but has not taken it to large-scale walls versus a new artist still working on your abilities. Professional mural artists with years of experience under their belt and a demand for their work can charge at the higher end of the range and higher.


If there is one piece of advice that we can give for artists new to the business... do NOT create murals for free. As an artist you not only should be reimbursed for your supplies and materials but also your time. When you work for "Exposure Bucks" you not only undervalue yourself, but it sets up an expectation to the public that it's okay to expect artists to work for free. Think about how well it would work to walk into a restaurant and ask for a free dinner party for you and your friends and tell the business that you'll give them exposure in exchange. I'd be shocked if you could find a business doing this and rightfully so, there are many costs to doing business and people need to pay their bills with real money.


Everyone has their opinion on whether you should post prices on your website or keep people guessing. We land on the side of posting pricing for 2 reasons:

  1. It reassures clients that you are open and transparent with your pricing structure and allows you to explain why there is a range of pricing. It allows people to do some basic research and see if a mural will fit into their budget.

  2. You are then contacted and working with people who already know the range and are comfortable with your pricing.


Below is the general pricing information that we share with our clients on our California Mural Art website:


While mural pricing can vary in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a general price range that Bay Area mural artists typically fall into which is $20 - $50 per square foot. Pricing can vary based on experience, the less experienced mural artist may range between $10 - $20 per square foot. If you are on a budget, hiring a less experienced muralist can be a mutually beneficial exchange since artists need to build their portfolios and show that they are able to work on a large scale.


Generally, the per square foot cost is most dependent on the mural design (font work and exacting imagery are priced higher as it takes more labor hours to execute), while the overall cost of the mural is most dependent on the size of the commission.


Mural Design

Typically at California Mural Art our murals are created with aerosol and if the mural does not require detailed brushwork, fonts, or exacting imagery, the mural pricing falls within $20-$30 per square foot range. Complexity comes with very fine details requiring a lot of hand painting with brushes. Most large-scale pieces are visually striking without using finer complex details and we can work with clients on creating a design this way to fit your budget.


Mural Size

The complexity of design and mural size are usually the two largest factors of the commission that effect price. The larger the mural, the higher the cost of the mural as pricing is based on per square feet. For example, if you have an exterior wall that is 10ft high by 20ft long and you are looking for a basic design in all aerosol, you would calculate 10x20 = 200 x $20 for a total of $4000.


Equipment & Location

Additional costs of equipment rental would be added into the quote based on the size of the mural. We have experience creating murals both with scissor lifts and scaffolding. If either of these are required for the mural, the cost is a transparent pass through to the client, no additional fees are added. Murals in the Greater Seattle Area or San Francisco Bay Area will not include any extra travel fees. Anything outside of these areas usually include minimal travel fees within the continental US.


Working within the client's Budget

We have a passion for the work that we do and love working with clients on ways to stay within a client’s budget. For instance, if you have a large wall, but a small budget, we can work with you on design elements that will not fill the whole wall but will make it look full through design elements and large graphic shapes using all aerosol. Let us help you find a solution that works!


Minimum Mural Fee

Having over a decade of experience with mural commissions, we have found that there is a minimum amount of hours that go into the design and execution process that does not calculate out for us on small wall sizes which is why we have a minimum mural fee of $3500.


If you have questions, please email us at john@californiamuralart.com or michele@californiamuralart.com We will continue to post relevant articles about art & muralism and have future plans to offer online and in-person workshops and trainings. We also have experience helping artists take their designs and implement them with on-site guidance & training, so don't be shy about breaking into the world of muralism!

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