4 Steps How Much To Paint A Motorcycle in 2024: Quick DIY Cost, Time & Workshop

Knowing how much to paint a motorcycle includes learning about the experience of doing the task itself as well as canvassing from professionals performing the job.

The cost also includes the painting material and the labor cost if you want to have it professionally done.

Painting is one of the arduous tasks in maintaining the condition of your motorcycle due to the repetitive layering and spraying of surface material.

However, once accomplished, it can be the most rewarding chore on your to-do list, having a more revamped and polished look for your motorcycle.

Not only that, but you can also be very much hands-on with this – picking the preferred color, shade, or luster to the surface.

You can be meticulous as much as well, looking after covering dents, cracks, or corroded parts.

In this article, you will learn all about painting a motorcycle.

Learn About How Much To Paint A Motorcycle

Things needed to paint a motorcycle

  • Design: This should be the first item in your list as you should have the ideal output already at the back of your head before beginning. You can scribble your thoughts on a plain piece of paper and allow yourself to be creative as much as you can.
  • Motorcycle parts: These are the surfaces to be refurnished in the process.
  • Paint: From the design, you can associate the colors or luster (i.e. matte or gloss) needed to create the patterns, styles, or designs you want to achieve. Aerosols and spray paints are deemed fit for the process.

To check for the best paints for your motorcycle, ClaspAuto gave a review of several different products.

In the selection process, important factors like durability, ease of use, life cycle, and cost-effectiveness of the products were considered. Pros and cons were affixed in each product for easier reference.

The most popular paint brands in the market are Dupli-Color Jet Black Paint, Yamaha Aerosol, PJ1 16-GLS Gloss Black Paint, PJ1 16 – Wrinkle Black Paint, VHT Satin Black Engine Paint, and House of Kolor Aerosol Spray.

A further selection of aerosols was based on drying time. For example, 1k paints dry faster using the drying medium of air convection while 2k products need hardeners and extra time to dry or cure the paint’s activating agents.

To get started with learning the ingredients and chemicals found in these two kinds of paints, the Paint Guru has outlined helpful items.

  • Sandpaper or dry paper: This material is used to scrape off the existing layer that is to be replaced in the process.
  • Buffing agents: To give the desired polished looks after painting, buffing agents like wax are used.
  • Newspaper or plastics: These materials are needed to protect your walls or floor from undesirable tarnish. A considerable number might be needed for maximum protection.
  • Protective equipment: Paints emit harmful gases such as toluene, xylene, or chloroform that are known to be carcinogenic. In the process, protective personal equipment composed of masks, goggles, and gloves is essential for your safety and health.

Cost of Painting a Motorcycle

  • For standard administration of the job by a third-party company, the cost ranges from $300 – $1600.
  • This includes the professional fee, repair costs, and the painting charges. The high cost, nonetheless, make up for the guaranteed excellent output you receive from them.
  • If you opt to employ custom designs on your parts (i.e., adding stripes or designs), a higher price is to be expected which averages from $800 to $2500. The more intricate the design gets, the higher the cost you will have to pay.

Interestingly enough, prices could hike up, especially if high-end pieces are customized. A whopping $15000 – $30000 cost range is expected for this type of job.

  • If you are confident with your painting skills and have a keen eye for details, then a DIY painting job will fit you. The total cost of acquiring the materials listed above is just below $100.

In the process, you can refer to several DIY paint job tutorials on Youtube and other video sharing platforms for handy tips and precautions.

DIY Jobs vs Workshops

Professional and DIY jobs have several advantages and disadvantages. They have been outlined below.


Workshops result in more polished surfaces because they are trained with the relevant skills to perform the job.

Additional procedures such as repairs are also supplemented with the painting job.

In DIY jobs, there is no gray area, it is either a job well done or a substandard output. The high-quality output is surely guaranteed through workshops.


Workshops entail higher costs, accounting for the repair, professional fee, and the paint consumed for the job.

Assessments of the compatibility of the materials applied to the surfaces are necessary.

Standard jobs range from $300 – $1600 while customized jobs cost $800 – $2500. On the other hand, DIY jobs are for people with a tight budget, costing them only below $100.


Workshops require more time for the painting job as this includes professional assessment and queuing time.

DIY jobs, likewise, need considerable time in studying the parts and the job but queue time is almost always negligible.

Workshop Ways

Professionals have taken serious steps to perform procedures and acquire licensed relevant skills to efficiently do the job.

Workshops take days to weeks to perform the job with a cost ranging from $300 – $1600 for standard rates.

Customization jobs take twice the cost of standard ones.

BikeExif has summarized the steps into four (4) steps: preparation, sanding, primer application, painting, and finally, color buffing.

It is assumed that the appropriate assessments on the needed spray type and amount were already performed.

Preparation: This process aims to remove the existing layer of paint you wish to remove.

A dry paper can be used to scrub and flake off the paint. Thinners are also added to remove non-water-based constituents of the paint.

Professional jobs also apply automotive fillers which are resins that fill dentures and scratches for smoother applications.

Fillers are applied onto the scraped surfaces and allowed to cure for about 30 minutes before the next step.

01. Sanding: 

Sanding removes the dried filler layer. In this step, it is ensured that scratches and dentures are avoided; otherwise, the preparation step has to be done once more. Aluminum oxide paper is used in this step.

02. Primer Application: 

Primers are agents in the painting job which help activate the surfaces for greater absorption and also contribute to the durability of the layers applied. For a smoother finish, sanding can be done once more on the primer layer.

03. Painting Application: 

This is the main layer of the new surface. Spray systems are used by professionals to apply the paint in this step.

04. Buffing:

This step aims to give the final polishing touch to the colors by using waxes on the surfaces. Carnauba wax is a popular choice among users.

For more details about how professionals do it, check these videos from AM Custom Fab and Sketchs Ink.

Workshop Locations

Some of the popular workshops across the United States are:

  • Ryan’s Workshop – Sacramento, California
  • Austin Paintworks – Austin, Texas
  • The Makers Market and Workshops – Bradenton, Florida
  • Bussani Mobility Team – 500 Central Avenue, New York
  • Payne Enterprises – Illinois City, Illinois
  • Deans Custom Painting– Pennsylvania
  • Tansky’s Advanced Autobody – Northwest Ohio
  • Custom Welding and AutoBody Repair – Mile Road, Michigan
  • Jay’s Body & Paint – Fallbrook Avenue, Minnesota

For a more comprehensive directory of workshops across the states, Yelp will be of great help to you.


DIY Ways Motorbike Painting

DIY schemes are deemed fit for people with a tight budget and trying to be creative with what they have.

DIY painting jobs only take a few hours to days to complete and usually cost below the $100 threshold.

The general steps of DIY ways are sanding, prime application, painting, and buffing.

Sanding: Sandpapers are available in hardware stores, specifically in the automobile section.

Using a circular motion is recommended during manual sanding and removing the old paint.

Make sure to achieve the smoothest surface as possible.

Prime Application: Primers are agents that increase the adhesion of paints to the surface.

In this process, make sure to read the labels and instructions of the materials used. You can manually apply the primer onto the sanded surfaces.

Paint Application: After allowing the primer to dry, begin the spraying process. You can use a spray gun for a more efficient application.

Paint application may entail repeated layering and as much as needed. Three to four layers applied in a uniform direction is recommended.

Buffing: The final step is to make the painted layer shiny and polished by applying lacquers or wax.

After the paint is allowed to dry, spray another layer of buffing agent. It is recommended to let the first layer of buffing agent to cure first before applying an additional layer.

For painting DIY reference, you can check out videos made by Motonosity and Half and Half.

How Much Painting a Motorcycle Tank and Fenders

In a motorcycle, the parts that are needed to be painted are the tanks, side panels, fenders at the front and rear.

Case to case basis is still called for regarding the rates and also depending on the brand of the automobile as well as the amount of work to be applied.

Rates of $300 – $1500 apply for standard jobs while customization jobs go as high as twice the standard rates. The more complicated the design, the higher the price given.

A handy tip for those wanting to avail of professional works is that bringing individual pieces to the shops can reduce your overall cost.

Meanwhile, DIY jobs for these four parts are usually in the $100 – $500 range, which is significantly lower relative to the workshop rates.

Painting a Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson bikes are known for their high-end and big parts. Based on several accounts, painting costs are proportional to the size and brands of the parts.

More elusive brands tend to have those characteristics that can be distinguished from the other brands, including color tones, pallets, shades, and luster.

The average cost of painting a Harley Davidson ranges from $900 to $15000. This depends on the color mix needed and the metallic aesthetics of the surface thereafter. A single color costs $900 while two colors cost $1390.

For upgraded designs, such as flames, the base price is $1400 – $2600 based on the number of elements present.

Exotic designs, on the other hand, can cost as much as $15000 depending on the complexity and tones needed.

For a more comprehensive reference to painting Harvey Davidson parts and designs, visit this page.

Although DIY schemes are applicable, you cannot jeopardize your costly bike if you are unsure of your skills.

It is best to bring your parts to the service center and have them fix them accordingly.

Painting a Motorcycle Helmet

Costs for custom designs for motorcycle helmets are at a starting price of $375.

This applies to those simple designs employing a single color tone only. As the designs become more intricate, the cost hikes proportionately as well.

In customizing helmet designs, it is recommended to heed legal advice if alternation is permitted and approved by your local transportation departments.

Vinyl Wrap on a Motorcycle

Vinyl wraps emerge from the growing needs of the customers for more customization power and ease of application.

It can act as an additional protective layer on the paint where it can be easily applied on the surface through adhesives.

Other benefits include ease of removal and cost-effectiveness.

The average cost of vinyl wraps is around $10 which proportionately increases based on the surface area to be applied.

On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of applying vinyl wraps include its complexity in achieving an ideally smooth surface (as bubbles and creases will most likely happen) and that it takes additional time and effort.

Moreover, this is an optional task you can do if you simply want to.

Conclusion on How Much To Paint A Motorcycle

The painting process of motorcycle parts can be an arduous task but can be rewarding at the same time.

There are many DIY tutorials that you can follow in your free time if you are on a tight budget.

Meanwhile, a host of automobile workshops are available as well, all of whom can professionally do the job for you with a guaranteed high-quality output.

If you are a beginner in maintaining your automobile surfaces, the wealth of information in this article, containing the steps of painting and layering, costs attributed to different causes, and best practices, can be a great way to start your exploration.