Candy Paint Job Costs Explained (Tips included)

Are you considering a candy paint job for your car? Let’s dive into the costs and details of this eye-catching finish.

The average cost of a candy paint job in the USA ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on various factors such as labor, materials, and complexity. For example, a basic candy paint job may cost around $5,000, while a high-end custom design could exceed $15,000.

In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of choosing candy paint, the factors affecting its cost, and tips to save money while achieving that stunning look for your car.

green candy apple paint on a chevy 68 truck

What Is a Candy Paint Job?

A candy paint job is a custom automotive paint finish that features a vibrant, translucent color layered over a metallic or pearlescent base coat. 

This technique creates a deep, rich hue with a high-gloss finish that appears to change in intensity and shade when viewed from different angles. 

Candy paint jobs are known for their striking appearance and head-turning appeal, making them popular among car enthusiasts and customizers.

Benefits of Choosing Candy Paint for Your Car

Candy paint jobs come with several advantages that make them an attractive option for car owners. Here are some key benefits to consider before making a decision:

  • Unique appearance. Candy paint offers a one-of-a-kind look that sets your car apart from others on the road. The depth and intensity of the color make it a truly eye-catching choice.
  • Customizable. With a wide variety of colors and combinations available, you can create a candy paint finish that perfectly reflects your personality and style.
  • Enhanced resale value. A well-executed candy paint job can increase the value of your car, making it more appealing to potential buyers who appreciate a stand-out vehicle.

Now that we know what candy paint is and its benefits, let’s dive into the costs associated with this stunning finish.

How Much Does a Candy Paint Job Cost?

The cost of a candy paint job can vary greatly depending on several factors. To help you get a better understanding of what to expect, here’s a breakdown of the costs associated with a candy paint job:

  1. Materials. High-quality candy paint can range from $100 to $500 per quart. The amount needed depends on the size of your car and the number of layers applied. Other materials, such as primer, base coat, and clear coat, will also contribute to the overall cost.
  2. Labor. Candy paint jobs are labor-intensive and require a skilled painter. Hourly rates for experienced painters can range from $60 to $100 or more. Depending on the complexity of the job, it may take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours to complete.
  3. Prep work. Proper preparation is essential for a flawless finish. This may include sanding, repairing dents, or removing rust, which can add to the overall cost. Expect to pay between $500 and $2,000 for prep work, depending on the condition of your car.
  4. Customization. More intricate designs or patterns, such as airbrushing or graphics, will increase the cost of a candy paint job. Custom work can range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the complexity and detail.

Here’s a table to give you an idea of the overall costs for a candy paint job:

ComponentCost Range
Materials$500 – $3,000
Labor$2,400 – $8,000
Prep Work$500 – $2,000
Customization$1,000 – $5,000+
Total$5,000 – $20,000+

Keep in mind that these costs are approximate and can vary depending on your location, the specific materials used, and the expertise of the painter. It’s essential to research and compare prices from multiple professionals in your area to get the best value for your investment.

Chrome paint job is another option

Check out our article on chrome paint job cost for more information.
1963 Jaguar XKE painted in candy apple red

Factors Affecting Candy Paint Costs

Several factors can influence the cost of a candy paint job. Here’s a closer look at some of the most significant factors and how they may impact the overall price:

Car size and complexity

The size and shape of your car will determine the amount of paint required, as well as the labor needed to complete the job. For example, a compact car will generally cost less than a large SUV or truck due to the smaller surface area.

Paint quality

High-quality paints are more expensive but offer better durability and appearance. Lower quality paints may save money initially but may not provide the same level of longevity or depth of color.

For instance, a high-quality candy paint may cost $400 per quart, while a more affordable option may be priced at $200 per quart.

Number of layers

More layers of paint result in a deeper, richer color, but also increase the cost. A candy paint job may require anywhere from two to six layers or more, depending on the desired effect.

Painter’s expertise

A skilled painter with experience in candy paint jobs will likely charge more for their services. However, their expertise can ensure a better result, reducing the risk of imperfections and the need for touch-ups.


The cost of a candy paint job can vary depending on your geographic location. In areas with a higher cost of living, labor and materials may be more expensive.

It’s essential to consider all of these factors when budgeting for a candy paint job. 

Here’s a comparison of two scenarios to illustrate how these factors can affect the cost:

FactorScenario 1: Compact Car, Basic Candy Paint JobScenario 2: SUV, High-End Candy Paint Job
Car SizeCompact car (less paint and labor)Large SUV (more paint and labor)
Paint QualityMid-range paint ($200 per quart)High-quality paint ($400 per quart)
Number of Layers3 layers (lower cost)6 layers (higher cost)
Painter’s ExpertiseAverage painter ($60 per hour)Skilled painter ($100 per hour)
LocationLower cost of living area ($500 for prep workHigher cost of living area ($2,000 for prep work)

Total Cost Range: 

  • Scenario 1: $5,000 – $8,000 
  • Scenario 2: $15,000 – $20,000

In Scenario 1, a basic candy paint job for a compact car with mid-range paint and an average painter in a lower cost of living area would likely fall on the lower end of the cost spectrum. 

On the other hand, Scenario 2, which involves a high-end candy paint job for an SUV with a skilled painter in a higher cost of living area, would be at the higher end of the cost spectrum.

Comparing Candy Paint to Other Finishes

While candy paint is a popular option for car enthusiasts, it’s not the only custom finish available. Here’s a comparison of candy paint to other finishes to help you decide which is right for you:

  • Metallic paint. Metallic paint features small metal flakes that reflect light and add depth to the color. While it can be less expensive than candy paint, it may not provide the same eye-catching effect.
  • Pearlescent paint. Pearlescent paint is similar to metallic paint but has larger pearl particles that create a shimmery effect. It’s a more expensive option than metallic paint but can provide a unique and sophisticated look.
  • Matte paint. Matte paint has a non-reflective, flat finish that can be a good choice for those looking for a subtle look. It’s typically less expensive than candy paint but doesn’t offer the same level of customization.

How to Save Money on Candy Paint Jobs

Getting a candy paint job can be a significant investment, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality. Here are some tips to help you get the best value for your investment.

  1. Choose a reputable and experienced painter who can provide references and samples of their work.
  2. Consider opting for a mid-range paint rather than a high-end option to save on costs.
  3. Limit the number of customizations or intricate designs to reduce the overall cost of the job.
  4. Compare prices from multiple professionals to get the best value for your investment.
  5. Do some of the prep work yourself, such as sanding or removing rust, to save on labor costs.

You can see that candy paint jobs are a great way to give your car a unique and eye-catching finish. However, they can be a significant investment, so it’s essential to consider the factors that affect the cost and ways to save money.

Our article on car stereo rewiring provides tips on how to save on this customization as well.


How long does a candy paint job last?

A well-maintained candy paint job can last up to 10 years or more, but it depends on several factors such as the quality of the paint, how often the car is driven, and how it is maintained.

Can I touch up candy paint if it gets scratched?

Touching up a scratch on a candy paint job can be challenging because of the complexity of the finish. It’s recommended to have a professional repaint the affected area to ensure a seamless finish.

How do I maintain the shine of my candy paint job?

To maintain the shine of a candy paint job, it’s important to keep the car clean and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives. Regular waxing and polishing can also help protect the paint and keep it looking new.

Are there alternatives to candy paint that offer a similar look?

There are several alternatives to candy paint that offer a similar look, such as metallic paint or pearlescent paint. These finishes feature small metal flakes or pearl particles that create a unique and eye-catching effect.

  • Alex

    Alex is the founder and driving force behind the blog you're reading. As a lifelong spender with a keen eye for making informed financial decisions, he's dedicated to analyzing the economy and digging deep into online data for valuable insights. With a passion for sharing financial wisdom, he equips readers with practical advice and useful tips for a better financial future. In his free time, Alex enjoys the outdoors and a good book.