Individuals who paint transportation equipment get paid the most in the automotive painting industry. These painters get paid an average of $39,600 a year. Basic painting and coating workers get paid an average salary of $32,850 a year and general painters get paid around $30,000 a year. Decorative painters get paid the least amount in the automotive industry, according to Find Automotive Schools. These painters are typically paid an average of $27,790 a year.