Biggest question ever and…. Guess what? IT DEPENDS!
It all depends on what you need. Remember, “paint booth” is a generic term. A tiny paint booth for parts is a paint booth. A paint booth for a Boeing 777 aircraft is still a paint booth. For the answer here, we’re going to stick to automotive paint booths where this question is most popular and where the use of paint booths is most common. You can actually build your own paint booth if you really wanted to but for this answer, we’re going to stick to commercially marketed, pre-fabricated paint booths. A pre-fabricated automotive paint booth costs anywhere from say $8-10,000 (maybe even less if you fish around through the back of magazines, catalogues, internet paint booth sellers and used paint booths on craigslist) and they can go all the way up to $100,000 and beyond based on options and performance. The real question you need to ask first is “what type of paint booth is right for my body shop?” That will lead you to find the system that is right for you. It may be a non-heated paint booth that lets you paint a few cars a day or a heated paint booth with accelerated curing features to reduce cycle time and really rock and roll.
The biggest pointer in regards to “how much does a paint booth cost” that we can give our customers is this. A very large portion of the overall cost associated with the cost of a paint booth are the PROJECT COSTS. This includes the work that needs to be done to properly install a paint booth. Costs can include paint booth permit costs, fire suppression systems for a paint booth, ductwork to properly ventilate and exhaust the paint booth, electrical services for the paint booth, gas or fuel feeds for a paint booth, concrete work if you are purchasing a downdraft paint booth. The best way to figure out the old question “how much does a paint booth cost” is to talk to an experienced paint booth sales person or contractor. You can also reach out to someone who has been through it before. Yes, even a competing shop. The automotive community is a great one to be a part of and most people, even your competitors, will be happy to share their experience.
Whether you install a basic paint booth or a high performance booth, most project costs will be the same. Permitting and downtime will be the same as well. What is important is not to short change yourself on the machine to save on budget. The project costs are relatively equal, so don’t install a machine that will not serve your shop for a long time. You’ll have paid all the project costs (and gone through the stress) and then be left with a machine that needs to be updated or replaced in a few years and you’ll have to pay it all over again. Invest in quality and longevity in regards to your booth, and you’ll only have to do the project once.