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How to Start a Painting Business

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  By Forrest McCall | Last Updated:  December 16, 2020

If you’re looking to start a small business that is scalable with a proven business model, starting a painting business could be perfect for you.

Best of all, just about anyone can start a painting business. All it takes is a little cash, hard work, and some basic tools to get started. Whether you’re a seasoned painter or you’re just getting started, opening a painting company can be an excellent investment. 

In this guide, I’ll explain everything you need to know about starting a painting business including how to start a painting business, tips to growing your painting business, how much money your painting business can make, and more! Let’s get started.

8 Steps to Starting a Painting Business

Starting a painting company can be a relatively easy process. Here are the steps you’ll need to take.

Create a Business Plan

As with any business, the first step is creating a business plan. Your business plan should outline the basics of your business including what your business will do and how it will be successful, how your business will be organized, a market analysis of competitors, how you will attract new customers, and financial projections for your business.

Get Funding For Your Business

One of the best things about starting a painting business is the low startup costs. After you’ve decided to proceed with your business, you’ll need to obtain funding for the startup costs involved.

For many painting businesses, this will be a few thousand dollars depending on the complexity of your services.

Select a Business Structure

After obtaining funding, you’ll need to select a business structure for your company. There are several business structures to choose from which are outlined here.

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Pick a Name for Your Painting Business

Naming your business can often be one of the more overlooked components of starting your company. You’ll want to examine a name that resonates with your audience and gives them an idea of your services.

Many painting companies will opt to use the word “painting” in the name so they can easily be identified.

Some small business owners will also used their name as a part of the business name. While I don’t necessarily recommend this, it can be an easy way to start a painting business.

Landing on the perfect company name can take some time. Don’t expect to have the ideal name in one day.

Once you’ve landed on a name, ask your friends and family their opinions.  

Register Your Business with State and Local Officials

After picking a name for your business, you’ll want to get registered with state and local officials where your business operates.

Once your application is approved by the secretary of state, you’ll be provided an employer identification number that you can use to open bank account. 

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Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your personal and business finances is critical when tax season rolls around. You’ll want to open a business checking account to help keep your finances in check.

Many business checking accounts come with no fees and are available at almost every local and national bank. In addition to a bank account for your painting company, you might also consider opening a business credit card.

Obtain Startup Materials

Once you have your bank account open, you’ll need to go ahead and purchase all of the materials you’ll need to get started as this is the last step before starting your marketing efforts. (More on this below!)

Start Your Painting Business

Now that you’ve completed the steps above, your business should be ready to start operating. You’ll want to start your marketing efforts to attract new customers and begin completing projects as they come in.

Obtain Business Insurance (Optional But Recommended)

Insuring your business can be a difficult choice when first getting started, but it oftentimes critical. By getting insured, you are protected from any accidents that may occur while on the job.

Business liability insurance ranges in cost, but you can expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars per month.

How to Start a Painting Business - Brushes

What Materials Are Needed to Start a Painting Business?

Starting a painting company doesn’t require a laundry list of items. Below are some of the necessities to help you get started. Whether you’re house painting or painting fences, these tools and equipment are

Marketing Costs

When starting any business you’ll need to allocate some of your startup funds to grow your business through marketing. Below are some of the basic marketing costs you’ll want to consider.

Logo Design

Having a logo for your company is necessary to brand your business and enforce trust with potential customers. Having a logo designed can cost anywhere from $250 to over $1,000 via a logical graphic designer.

You can opt to design your logo yourself using various programs to save money.

Website Costs

If you’re a business operating in 2021, you’ll need to have a website to gain trust from potential customers. To build a website, you can opt to have a marketing agency build on for you or build it yourself via an online web builder. By outsourcing your website, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to over $6,000. By using a web builder, you can expect to pay around $50 per month.

You’ll also need to purchase a domain name and hosting for your website. This will cost around $200 annually.

Business Cards

Any small business owner knows the value of having a business card handy for your company. By passing out your business cards, your potential customers will have your information available whenever the time comes.

Your business card should include the name of your painting company, a phone number to contact you, a website (if applicable), and anything else you deem necessary. 

Business Phone

You’ll need to have a way for customers to communicate with you. This comes in the form of a phone. If you’re looking to run your business out of your vehicle, purchasing a cellular plan is likely the best option. This will often cost around $100 per month.

You can also consider using a VOIP using an existing phone line. These are considerably cheaper, but it can be easy to mix up personal and business phone calls. You can find a VOIP provider for around $15 per month.

Vehicle or Transportation

One of the most obvious but forgotten costs when starting a house painting business is having a vehicle to work out of.

You can choose to purchase a company vehicle or opt to use a personal vehicle. Either way, you’ll need to have a vehicle capable of transporting the materials listed below.

You’ll find that many painters will opt for a van to transport their materials because of the flexibility and size. While these vehicles can be quite expensive new, purchasing a used van can often cost less than $10,000, making it a great investment for your small business.

Paint Brushes, Rollers, and Sprayers

The most obvious pieces of equipment needed to get started with your painting company are paint applicators including brushes, rollers, and sprayers. These items can cost anywhere from less than $10 to over $100 for a paint sprayer.

You’ll likely want to purchase an assortment of paint rollers and brushes to get started. 

Make sure your paint applicator is suitable for the application you’re using it for. For example, exterior painting might need different brushes than interior paint jobs. 

Paint, Primer, and Stain

Depending on the type of work your business conducts, you’ll need to purchase paint and stain. You can opt to partner with local paint companies to get a bulk discount or purchase these items at a local hardware store.

It’s common to pay anywhere from $25 to $50 per gallon of paint, which should cover around 350 square feet of interiors.

Depending on the wall you’re painting you might need to purchase a primer, which is cheaper than normal paint.

Ladders or Scaffolding

If you’re painting a home with high ceilings, you’ll need to have a way to reach these areas. Ladders or scaffolding are essential for reaching these locations and can cost anywhere from $100 to over $300.

Scaffolding is much easier to work on because of the larger amount of surface area, giving you the ability to move around on the platform and reach more areas.

Dropclothes & Other Supplies

To keep the home clean, you’ll need to purchase drop cloths to collect any paint spillage that could occur.

You’ll also want to purchase other supplies including:

●     Painters tape

●     Paint trays

●     Mineral spirits

●     Drywall patch

●     Measuring tapes

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Painting Business?

You can often get started with a painting business for less than a few thousand dollars but some may plan to spend upwards of $10,000 or more. Painting equipment can be very affordable for most individuals. 

One of the most expensive parts of starting a painting business is obtaining a vehicle and marketing your company. These costs can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000.

If you’re looking to start a painting business for cheap, consider using a personal vehicle for your company and marketing your business with low-cost channels.

Another factor in determining your costs is whether you choose to have a physical office for your work.

Depending on the size of your business, you might be able to run your business out of your vehicle. Larger businesses will want to consider a physical location to keep your company organized.

Costs for a physical location vary depending on the size and location of the space. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to over $2,000 per month for office space depending on your area.

Tips to Grow a Successful Painting Business

If you’ve started a painting business, you’re likely looking to expand your efforts to attract new customers. In this section, I’ll detail some ways you can grow your painting business and increase revenues.

Answer the Phone!!!

Many local businesses do an extremely poor job of communicating with customers and leads in a timely manner. Potential customers are more likely to consider your services if you respond promptly and can complete the project within a reasonable timeframe. Make it a priority to answer every phone call or email request for your business.

Quality Painting = More Customers

When it comes to most small businesses, quality is one of the most important factors for customers deciding to use your services.

If you’ve worked as a painter before, you’ll likely have the skills needed to impress your customers while those just getting started might take some time to develop.

For new painters, consider doing a few jobs for free in order to develop your skills and gain trust from potential customers. Like many skills, practice makes perfect. The more practice you can get painting, the better you’ll become.

As you advance your career in painting you’ll be capable of charging more money for your services. Professional painting requires strong attention to detail, so you’ll want to take your time when completing a job.

Understand How to Market Your Painting Business

To grow your painting business, you’ll need to understand the basics of marketing.

As with any business, efficient and effective marketing can be the equivalent of jet fuel for your business. Spend money in the right areas and you can watch your business grow overnight.

So how can you market your painting business? Here are a few ideas to get started.

Promote Your Business on Social Media

Social media gives you access to millions of potential clients in your area. By promoting your business through social media you can instantly gain clients in your vicinity.

Ask for Referrals

If you have established a few clients in the past, asking them for reviews or testimonials can be a great way to expand your business. You can ask them to post them on Google to help your local SEO efforts or leave a review on your Facebook page to bolster your social proof.

Create a Painting Business Website

As with any business, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for leads to get in touch with your business. By having an easy to navigate website that allows leads to contact you instantly, you’ll be more likely to get the sale.

Post Your Business on Local Classifieds

Websites like Craigslist, NextDoor, Thumbtack, and others are a great method to generate local leads perfect for painters. These websites are often free, but some may charge a fee to promote your business to the top.

Utilize Flyers or Brochures

Marketing your painting business with direct mail marketing can be an excellent way to obtain new leads for your business. By creating flyers and brochures and distributing them to local homes and businesses, you can easily increase leads to your business.

You can opt to distribute these flyers yourself or opt to use the United States Postal Service’s direct mail marketing platform to have your collateral placed directly in your audience’s mailbox.

Become a Better Salesman

If you’re attracting new leads but your sales aren’t growing at the same rate, you might have problems closing the sale.

This could be for a multitude of reasons. Maybe your pricing is slightly wrong or you aren’t effectively communicating your value strong enough.

No matter the reason, one of the best ways to increase your profits is by strengthening your sales performance. By increasing your conversion rate by just a few percentage points, this could equate to tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for your company.

Most painting businesses can boost their sales performance by spending time doing a little research

Expand Your Team

If your business is growing, you might be forced to hire new painters enabling you to expand your work.

You can view your employees as an investment as they can help to increase your overall profits.

If you don’t have the funds available to hire a professional painter, you could opt to hire painting contractors to help you complete larger projects as they occur.

Expanding your team comes with additional costs. You may need to consider workers comp insurance, payroll taxes, and more when hiring employees. If you’re not looking to hire just yet, you could partner with several sub contractors to help you complete work. 

Expand Your Services

If your painting business mainly relies on home interiors, you might consider expanding your painting services to gain new clients.

Some of the most popular painting services include painting home exteriors, fences, and staining. When strategizing how to start a painting business, it’s a good idea to keep expansion in your mind.

These services can easily be tacked onto your current offerings and make for an easy transition.

Expand Your Service Area

Depending on the size of your operation, expanding your service area can be the next step in growing your businesses cash flow. 

This usually comes with additional costs in transportation or employees, but it can be well worth the investment. 

How Much Money Do Painting Businesses Make?

One of my favorite things about starting a painting business is the income potential.

While it’s difficult to put an exact number on potential painting business profits, because of how scalable the business is, you can easily grow your painting business to revenues over 7 figures.

By obtaining more clients, you can hire painters to help you complete jobs and grow your profits.

Let’s do the math.

If you charge $3,000 to paint a home that takes a total of 2 days to complete, you could complete anywhere from 2 to 3 homes per week. This would amount to $6,000 to $9,000 per week, or $24,000 to $27,000 per month.

Not bad right?

You’ll need to subtract your expenses, but it’s still possible to make north of $10,000 a month or $120,000 annually with a painting business.

By hiring other painters, you can expand further, enabling you to complete 5 or 6 homes per week with the help of one additional worker. If you pay this employee $45,000 annually and you increase your revenues by $100,000, your business would pocket the extra $55,000. This is how you can successfully scale your painting business to make 6 or 7 figures annually.

Starting your painting business can be a great side hustle for those with a full-time job. The work can be completed on nights and weekends and you don’t need to be a professional painter to get started.

How to Price Painting Jobs?

One of the more difficult components of running a painting business is the process of pricing jobs. Some companies might choose to charge customers on a per hour basis while others will charge for the total for the entire job, regardless of the amount of time it takes to complete.

Which is better?

There’s no right answer here. If you’re looking to ensure profitability, pricing per hour guarantees you won’t lose money. However, by doing this, you might be missing out on more potential profits in the case you finish earlier than expected.

Do whatever you feel comfortable with. At first, many painters will opt to charge hourly until they get a good understanding of how long it takes to complete a project.

If you choose to charge customers an hourly rate, you’ll want to price your jobs based on your painting experience.

How Much Money Do Painters Make?

If you run a painting business, you’ll likely need to hire a few fellow painters to help you out.

Painting can make anywhere from $12 to over $25 per hour depending on their skills. This will amount to somewhere around $45,000 annually for their work.

As a painting contractor, you can work with other painting companies to fill your schedule and make more money.

Final Thoughts on Starting a Painting Business

Starting a painting business comes with several pros and cons.

With low startup costs and a proven business model, a painting business can be a terrific choice for both beginner and advanced entrepreneurs looking to make money.

However, with this comes fierce competition. You’ll need to be capable of marketing your business to grow your revenue and compete in the market.

When deciding how to start a painting business, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place. To start a painting company, you’ll want to have a business plan, name, marketing strategy, and funding ready for when the time comes.

Overall, starting a painting business can be a worthwhile investment for various reasons outlined in the article. Whether you’re new to painting or have been working as a painter for years, starting a business can be the next step in growing your income.

Forrest is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investing expert dedicated to helping others obtain life long wealth. He has a Bachelor's degree in business and has been featured in many popular publications including Forbes, Business Insider, Bankrate, CNET Money, and many others. To learn more about Forrest, visit the About Us Page for more info.
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