How to Open a Painting Business

Date Published: 11/03/2020

Written By George Leon

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

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 can bring a lot to the industry.

Whether you want to start a small painting business that offers a fulfilling lifestyle or a big operation with fleets all across the state, you need to start somewhere. Here are some tips on how to open a painting business.

Define Some Goals & Plans

Do you want your painting business to provide a certain amount of monthly profit for you? Figure out how many houses you’ll need to paint to reach that goal. Then keep mapping out the plan. Let’s say you want to make $10,000 in profit per month. Maybe that will require painting 10-15 houses per month. What resources will you need to make that happen? A certain number of painters? A project manager? An estimator? A part-time office person? What’s your plan for hiring them? Will you hire specific roles after certain revenue targets?

Nothing needs to be set in stone. But it’s helpful to write out some initial thoughts and then keep revisiting and revising your goals and plans as you learn more and grow your business.

Set Up a Tech Stack

If you want to be competitive, you’ll need to work as efficiently as possible. Using the right technologies in your painting business can help you save time and provider a smoother experience for your customers.

Scheduling

A painting business needs a fast way to schedule jobs. Options here include a calendar app like Google Calendar, a spreadsheet, or some sort of project management software.

Quoting & Invoicing

You need a way to quickly type up quotes and invoices and keep them stored in a manner that’s fast to look them up if you ever need to reference an old record in the future.

Communication

This will include customer communication (typically email and text messages) and just as important employee communication to make sure everyone on your teams know what they need to do and what is expected of them each day.

Website

painting contractor website will help potential customers get information about your business such as services, frequently asked questions, testimonials, a contact or quote request form, a scheduling app, and a gallery. 

Painting Business Expenses

Think about what equipment and tools you’ll need based on the services you want to offer. For example, popcorn ceiling removal can be a lucrative service for painters to offer but it will require a dustless sander. Cabinet painting is also very popular right now but you’ll need high-quality wood sanders, air movers, and maybe a different type of sprayer than what you use for walls. Many cabinet painters like HVLP sprayers but that’s not the only way to do the job.

Will you need storage space for all your equipment?

Or maybe you won’t need to buy any equipment at all if your plan is to subcontract the work to other painters that will use their own equipment. That’s a common business model used by many of the larger franchises.

Also, check out this more comprehensive list of painting business expenses.

Get a Painting Business License

Make sure you’re operating legally in your state. Not sure how to register a painting business? Call your local tax office and they should guide you in the right direction. In some states, you won’t need much, maybe just a state registration for your company. In others, you might need things like permits, specific insurance requirements, a Federal Tax ID number, and a business license.

Grow Your Painting Business

It may take a few months to get the ball rolling after you open a painting business, but it only takes that one job to start the domino effect. Make your social media page and post regularly at peak times. Even though in today’s world much of the advertising for painting businesses is online, not everyone buys from seeing ads on the internet. Do some things the old-fashioned way and hand out flyers, put up yard signs, hang up door hangers, connect with realtors looking for painters, and drop off business cards at local businesses. 

When you meet with a potential client, give the best consultation possible. Walk them through the process and ask lots of questions. Nowadays, being a pushy salesperson doesn’t work, you want to be a consultant and customer advocate to make the customer feel comfortable with you. Suggest apps that let them visualize their colors. This will help to ensure they are happy with the new color and the cost. If all are in agreement, get a deposit and a signature on the contract.

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