How Much Does It Cost To Start A Painting Business?

Date Published: 07/27/2020

Written By George Leon

George Leon is a Painting Contractor in Charlotte NC and a Partner at Scalebloom Web Design.

If you’re starting a painting business with no experience, you might be asking yourself the following question? How much does it cost to start a painting business? The following cost analysis will help you budget and plan.

We’re going to be looking at the costs based on three different routes you might take.

1. The low budget route.

2. The recommended (by me) route.

3. And the optimized route to fast track your success.

Before we get into all the costs, take a look at the results of this poll I made in a Facebook group asking the audience “How much did you spend to start your painting business?”

Domain Name

I will say that your company’s domain name should be your first expense when starting your painting company. This way, you can name your company based on the available domain names. This will ensure you get an optimized domain name.

Very often I see people come up with a company name first. And then in the future, they go and look for a domain name. What’s the problem with this approach? They will likely realize that there are no optimized domain names that suit their company name available. So they have to settle for an inferior domain name.

What’s an optimized domain name? It’s a domain name that’s short, simple, and easy to remember. An inferior domain name is one that’s harder to remember. Things that make a domain name harder to remember are dash marks that don’t fit naturally, long domain names, having to add unnecessary words to the front or end, or using uncommon domain name endings such as .info.

The best domain names are usually your company name + .com.

The reason you want an optimized domain name is that it increases the likelihood of someone visiting your website when they see or hear your domain name. For example, someone might see your domain name on your company vans or yard signs. Or they might hear it over the phone or in person. If your domain name is simple and easy to remember, there is a greater likelihood they will then visit your website. And thus a greater likelihood that they will become a customer.

I recommend Google Domains as the place to get your domains. The price is very reasonable when you take into account that they give you privacy protection for free. And their system is very easy to use, as you would expect from any Google product. The price is going to be between $12 for most available domain names. Some domain endings are a bit more.

Occasionally we here at Scalebloom sell premium domain names for painting contractors. You can check out what we have available here.


Low Budget Route $0.00 – Don’t get a domain name
Recommended Route $12.00 – Get a domain name
Optimized Route $12.00 or more for a premium aftermarket domain name


If you’re on a low budget, you can use a standard email. I recommend Gmail from Google.

But if you want to look more professional, get an email at your domain name. This typically costs $6 to $7 per month.

Low Budget Route $0.00 – Use a regular email
Recommended Route $84.00/year for G Suite custom email
Optimized Route $84.00/year for G Suite custom email

Registering with your Secretary of State

The exact cost of registering your LLC or other business entity varies from state to state. You will also have to renew it every year. Expect to pay between $50 to $500 per year. Some states have extra taxes such as California’s Franchise Tax.

Low Budget Route $150 – average (depends on state)
Recommended Route $150 – average (depends on state)
Optimized Route $300 – privacy + charging order protection

EIN (Employer ID)

The IRS offers this for free on their website. You’ll likely need it in order to open a business bank account.

All Routes $0.00 – Free from IRS

Business Bank Account

Many banks let you open a business bank account for free. But they might have ongoing monthly fees. You can usually avoid the fees by meeting some basic requirements such as having a certain amount in your account (usually less than $500).

All Routes $0.00 – Free from most banks

Take Credit Cards

I recommend using software that doesn’t charge you to set up the service. They will instead take a small fee from every transaction. Even if you buy a physical point of sale system, they will still charge you a fee from each transaction. Software-based systems usually involve sending your customer an email that contains a payment link.

I see no benefit in buying a physical system that lets customers swipe their cards.

All Routes $0.00 – Use an online service with no upfront costs


This will vary from state to state. Other factors are your projected revenue, services offered, employee count, use of subcontractors, etc.

I posted a poll on Facebook to ask what other painting contractors are paying yearly for insurance. Here are the results:

Quite a few painters pay under $1000 per year but the largest group pays between $2000 to $3000 per year.

Speaking of Facebook, please follow us at

Low Budget Route $600.00/yr – Low quality insurance – depends on state.
Recommended Route $2500/yr – Average according to my FB poll
Optimized Route $5000/yr – Or more for better quality insurance


If you want to avoid bookkeeping costs you can track every transaction yourself on a spreadsheet. Make sure to have a field for the category so you can distinguish the types of expenses such as ‘cost of goods sold’ or ‘marketing’.

To make your life easier, there are lots of bookkeeping and accounting software programs out there. They can connect with your bank account to help you track each expense. I recommend a cloud-based program so that you don’t have to go through the inconvenience of installing anything on your computer. From what I have seen, these programs typically cost $20 to $30 per month for the most basic versions.

If you want to save as much time as possible, hire an accountant to do your monthly bookkeeping. Expect to pay about $200 to $500 per month for this service. But you usually get to ask them questions as well which is helpful during your first few years.

Low Budget Route $0.00 – Do your own bookkeeping
Recommended Route $300/yr – Cloud based accounting software
Optimized Route $3600/yr – Bookkeeper retainer

Tax Prep

If you use an accounting software program for your bookkeeping, check to see if they also offer tax prep reports or support.

Or you can use your accountant that does your monthly bookkeeping. Tax prep will normally be a separate cost and won’t be included in the bookkeeping fee. Expect to pay $500 to $3000 for tax prep if you hire an accountant.

Low Budget Route $0.00 – Do your own tax prep
Recommended Route $300/yr – Cloud based accounting software
Optimized Route $1000 – Hire an accountant for tax prep

Phones + Phone Plan

To avoid any phone costs you can use your personal phone number. You can also try a free app such as Google Voice.

If you find it’s just not quite the same thing, invest in decent quality but bare-bones work phone for about $150. I would budget replacing it every 2 years but hopefully, you can get more out of it. So remember to annualize your cost down to $75 per year if you pay $150 for a phone that will last 2 years.

I recommend Google Fi for your phone plan. I pay about $40 for each line on my plan.

Low Budget Route $0.00 – Use an existing phone
Recommended Route $555/yr – Buy a $150 phone every 2 years + $480/yr plan
Optimized Route $555/yr – Buy a $150 phone every 2 years + $480/yr plan

T-Shirts & Hoodies

Your team will look much more professional with branded T-shirts and hoodies. You don’t need to supply pants or other attire. But T-shirts are worth the investment for team morale and professionalism.

At a minimum, I would make sure each painter has 5 shirts (one for each weekday). Then they can do laundry on the weekends and wear the same 5 shirts the next week. And plan on replacing those 5 shirts every 3 months at a minimum. That comes out to 60 shirts per painter. Costs per shirt will vary between $6 to $15 per shirt. Hoodies will be between $20 to $60 per hoodie.

Low Budget Route $0.00 – Don’t buy branded T shirts
Recommended Route $1000.00 – Buy branded T shirts
Optimized Route $1000.00 – Buy branded T shirts


There are a few costs involved with having a website:


  1. Cost to design and set up the website.
    • This can be free if you do it yourself. You can make a free website from your Google My Business profile. You’ll still have to pay for the domain name but it’s a pretty great platform for free.
    • If you want a more professional website with better features, conversion rate optimization, and custom design, expect to pay between $500 to $3000. That will depend on how custom you want it. I would also ask your web designer if they have experience making websites for painting contractors.
  2. Ongoing Fees
    • Hosting is the most important and unavoidable cost. A website is a collection of files. Those files need to be hosted on an online server in order to be on the internet.
    • a CDN (content delivery network) is an optional ongoing cost that will make your website faster. This increases the user experience. Which will in turn help your website get better search rankings.
    • Maintenance is another unavoidable part of having a website. Code, plugins, API’s can all get outdated which makes your website vulnerable to hacking, performance drops, and broken features. Maintenance might also include making changes to the content as needed. This would include updating company hours, service offerings, etc.
Low Budget Route $0.00 – Don’t buy a website
Recommended Route $1500.00 – Buy a website.
Optimized Route $2500.00 – Buy an enterprise level website

Other Considerations

The above costs were overhead costs. There are also job-related costs, known as “costs of goods sold”. These will include things like supplies, materials, payroll, subcontractors, gas and other travel expenses, etc.

These are paid for by each job. So you generally don’t need to budget too much for these costs. But if you work for customers that take a long time to pay (commercial customers), you’ll need to budget for it.

I did not include advertising costs for the same reason, they can be paid back from each job.

And I didn’t include a section for equipment because this will vary from company to company based on your services and team size. Many companies even hire subcontractors that supply their own equipment. This means they don’t have to buy any equipment themselves.

As you can see, compared to other types of businesses, the start up costs for painting is quite low, which is one of the reasons that I think it’s a good idea to start a painting business.

About the author:

George Leon owns a painting company in North Carolina and is a co-owner here at Scalebloom Web Design.

Related Articles:

Painting Warranty Templates

Painting Warranty Templates

Want to win more jobs by offering your customers a warranty on their paint job? You can download our free painting warranty template here: Download Warranty Template Step 1:  Open the PDF and fill it out with your information just by clicking on the highlighted...

read more
Good Painting Business Names

Good Painting Business Names

Are you looking for a good name for your new painting business? Then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll look at how to get good painting business names that will help you stand out from the crowd and help you win new house painting customers. Should you...

read more
How to Write A Painting Company About Us Page

How to Write A Painting Company About Us Page

At first glance, a painting company about us page might seem like a summary of your painting company — but it serves such a bigger purpose than that! Your about page is a great way for you to convey to prospective customers who you are, why they should...

read more
How to Get Customers for Painting Business

How to Get Customers for Painting Business

Want to attract more customers to your painting business? Here’s how to make your marketing more effective and how to get customers for painting business. Whether you’ve just started your painting business or have been in the industry for some time now, finding...

read more
How to Open a Painting Business

How to Open a Painting Business

Do you want to open a painting business? Maybe you already have experience working for a painting contractor and think you’re ready to head out on your own. Maybe you don’t have experience with the actual painting but think your customer service and business skills...

read more
How Much Does a Painting Contractor Make a Year?

How Much Does a Painting Contractor Make a Year?

A local residential painting contractor can make over $250,000.00 a year in net profit if they serve a typical metro area of two million residents or more. In this article, we’re only going to be talking about residential painting contractors. Commercial painting...

read more
How Many Painting Contractors in the US?

How Many Painting Contractors in the US?

Have you ever decided to paint a room in your house, purchased the paint and supplies, only to come home and look at the room and think to yourself, “Wow, I’m way in over my head”. The idea of doing the paint job yourself might seem nice and cheap, but realistically...

read more
Best Place to Advertise a Painting Business

Best Place to Advertise a Painting Business

A beautiful paint job is what gives a house its character and turns it into an oasis of peace and inspiration. This is why homeowners tend to be very particular about the redecoration process. In a time when inspiration is everywhere, and interior design trends are...

read more
Is Starting a Painting Business a Good Idea?

Is Starting a Painting Business a Good Idea?

As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably asked yourself “is starting a painting business a good idea?” Unlike other industries, the painting business is relatively simple to enter, making it an easy choice when starting your own company. But is this low barrier-to-entry...

read more
How Much Can a Painting Business Make?

How Much Can a Painting Business Make?

Can a painting business be profitable? Well, if you enjoy painting and do it well, you’re in a great position to start a painting business that has the potential to be very profitable. Did you know that the search term “painter near me” is searched for over...

read more
Painting Subcontractor Agreement

Painting Subcontractor Agreement

Hiring subcontractors for your painting business? Set clear expectations and terms with a subcontractor agreement. Use the above download buttons to get a PDF version of either a 1 job agreement or a running agreement to cover multiple jobs for a specific period of time.

read more
5 Ways to Get Google Reviews for Your Painting Company

5 Ways to Get Google Reviews for Your Painting Company

Word of mouth is important to your company’s growth. When you have happy customers, they become your brand advocate and spread the word to everyone they know. But with Google, you can amplify that reach by having your satisfied customers share their experience with everyone searching for a local painting company in your area!

read more
4 Steps to Job Site Photo Management

4 Steps to Job Site Photo Management

When I started my painting company, getting great pictures was my first priority. I was more interested in getting great pictures out of a job than I was in getting profit out of it. Painting services, as with any aesthetic or luxury products, sell through pictures....

read more
How to Set Up a Painting and Decorating Business

How to Set Up a Painting and Decorating Business

The prospect of setting up your own painting business can be as terrifying as it is exciting. Being able to work for yourself and doing something that you love is a dream held by many. But it can be daunting — with a lot of uncertainty and worry attached. This article...

read more
How To Clean Painted Cabinets

How To Clean Painted Cabinets

Instructions for How To Clean Painted Cabinets Download a printable PDF sheet to give to your cabinet painting customers.Download Printable PDFHow to Clean Your Newly Painted Cabinets Prior to cleaning, wipe over your cabinets with a clean and dry cloth to remove...

read more

Get More Tips, Resources, & Documents for Your Painting Business by Subscribing to Our Blog

Don’t worry, we don’t spam. We only send the good stuff.