How to Start a Painting Business



How to Start a Painting Business

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House painting is a $37 billion per year industry. But starting a house painting business can be relatively inexpensive — in some cases just $500. So it’s an option entrepreneurs with the aptitude should consider.

How to Start a Painting Business

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Brandon Lewis is the founder of The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, an online resource for re-paint contractors, and the publisher behind Painter’s Weekly. He recently spoke with Small Business Trends via email to offer some tips and helpful insights for entrepreneurs looking to get into the home painting business. Here are some essential steps to take.

Register Your Company

The exact type of registration you might need for your business can vary by state. It’s a good idea to check in with your government’s website or some local trade organizations to learn exactly what is required.

From there, you might also purchase insurance, a domain, and hosting for your business website. In most cases, you’ll need to decide on a legal structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. This decision will impact your tax liabilities and personal liability.

After choosing your structure, you can register your business with your state’s secretary of state office or business agency. Additionally, obtaining an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS is crucial for tax purposes and hiring employees.


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Invest in Equipment

Aside from that, the only real startup costs your business should have would be equipment. You’ll likely need ladders, drop cloths, brushes, rollers, sprayers, masks and potentially vehicles with your company’s logo to get you to different jobs.

nvesting in quality equipment is crucial for efficiency and professionalism. High-quality brushes and rollers provide a better finish, while reliable sprayers can save time on larger jobs. Personal protective equipment, like masks and safety glasses, is essential for your safety. And a vehicle, preferably a van or a truck, branded with your company’s logo, not only provides transportation but also serves as a moving advertisement for your business.

Equipping your business with the right tools from the outset lays the foundation for high-quality work and can improve your business’s reputation and growth prospects.

Find Worthy Partners

When it comes to actually finding customers, Lewis recommends finding the other businesses in your area most influential with your target customers.



He explains, “It’s important for you to make a top 100 list of influencers in your community for referral and lead generation. You might consider targeting top-performing realtors, commercial property managers and other B2B service companies like roofers, gutter installers and flooring installers. Limit your list to 100 and live with them through mail, email, text, social media and in-person visits or networking. Keep a tough-minded buy-or- die philosophy.”

Home Painting Business

Create Your Talking Points

You’ll also need to think about what your marketing materials and sales pitches should feature in terms of content. Why should a new customer choose your business over the other options available?

Lewis says, “Build out a diagnostic sales process that focuses on educating the client about how your painting business is different than the typical painting contractor. Warranties, guarantees, client reviews and painter screening processes should be front-and-center in your messaging so the client can understand how they are reducing risk and getting more value when selecting your company.”



Follow Up with Prospects

But getting new customers isn’t as simple as just sharing a sales pitch one time through some relevant influencers. You have to follow up and stay in fairly consistent contact.

Lewis says, “Use strong pre-positioning, presenting, post-positioning, and follow-up tactics that mirror the concerns of the client and the sales cycle. Remember, painting services are expensive and it can often take a client months to make a purchasing decision. Hang in there.”

Set Clear Rates

When it comes to your rates, Lewis says you need to determine three key factors up front: production rates, pay rates and charge rates. Production rates would be how long it takes the average painter to paint any given surface. Pay rates would be what you pay your employees. And charge rates are what you actually charge a client for an hour of labor.

Lewis adds, “When you estimate a project, your only job is to measure the square footage, linear footage, and number of the surfaces or objects you are painting. After that, it’s just a 4th grade math problem. Never eye-ball an estimate. Always use your rates and formulas.”



Home Painting Business

Study the Business Concepts

Additionally, Lewis adds many house painters are drawn more to the painting side of their business rather than the actual business aspects like bookkeeping and marketing. But it’s a good idea to have a firm grasp of these concepts as well.

Lewis says, “Most business painting company owners are technicians who hastily entered the world of entrepreneurship. Few have ever taken the time to be a serious student of the business end of their business. I urge all owners to take a season in their careers to devote themselves to the study of marketing, sales, operations and management. When you do this for a short, intense period of time, it pays dividends for life!”

Build a Portfolio

As you work with clients, it can also be beneficial to photograph and chronicle your work so you have examples to share with future clients and prospects. This can show the quality of your work along with proving you have a large number of satisfied customers.



Stay in Touch with Customers

Once you have worked with a number of customers, don’t trust those customers will keep coming back to you for all of their painting needs.

Lewis explains, “By far, the biggest mistake I see painting contractors make is abandoning and neglecting clients after the sale. This causes cost of sale to go through the roof and dooms the contractor to unpredictable feast-and- famine cycles. When I work with a painting contractor who is stalled in sales and profitability, most often this is the chief reason for their failures.”

Invest in Marketing

You can also invest in some online marketing activities like email newsletters, retargeting ads and local SEO to attract customers, both new and old.

Lewis says, “For established contractors, I’d recommend customer reactivation campaigns to past clients and making use of mailed and emailed monthly newsletters for retention. Local SEO marketing can also be effective depending on your market and how much you are willing to invest.”



Here are five marketing strategies you could use:

  • Social Media Advertising: Utilize platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach your target audience. Tailored ads can increase brand visibility and attract potential customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website with relevant keywords, high-quality content, and local SEO strategies to rank higher in search engine results, making it easier for potential clients to find you.
  • Email Marketing Campaigns: Develop an email list to send out newsletters, special offers, and updates about your services. Regular communication keeps your business at the forefront of customers’ minds.
  • Google Ads: Use Google Ads for targeted advertising. This tool allows you to place ads in Google search results and on other Google-affiliated websites, targeting potential customers actively searching for painting services.
  • Content Marketing: Create and share valuable content like blogs, how-to guides, and videos related to home painting. This not only establishes your expertise in the field but also improves your website’s SEO, driving more organic traffic.

Tips for Starting a House Painting Business

Home Painting Business

Starting a house painting business can be a lucrative venture, but it requires careful planning and execution. To help aspiring entrepreneurs in this industry, here are some essential steps and insights:

  • Register Your Company: Before launching your business, check your state’s registration requirements for businesses and ensure compliance. Additionally, consider purchasing insurance and securing a domain and hosting for your business website.
  • Invest in Equipment: Acquire the necessary equipment for your painting business, including ladders, drop cloths, brushes, rollers, sprayers, masks, and potentially vehicles with your company’s logo.
  • Find Worthy Partners: Create a list of influential businesses in your community for referral and lead generation. Target realtors, commercial property managers, roofers, gutter installers, and flooring installers as potential partners to boost your customer base.
  • Create Your Talking Points: Develop a diagnostic sales process that effectively showcases the unique selling points of your painting business. Emphasize warranties, guarantees, client reviews, and painter screening processes to demonstrate added value and reduced risk to potential clients.
  • Follow Up with Prospects: Implement strong pre-positioning, presenting, post-positioning, and follow-up tactics to maintain regular contact with potential customers. Recognize that the sales cycle for painting services may take months, so persistence is crucial in converting leads.
  • Set Clear Rates: Determine three key factors: production rates (the average time to paint a surface), pay rates for employees, and charge rates for clients. Avoid estimating projects by eye-balling; instead, use rates and formulas for accurate pricing.
  • Study the Business Concepts: As a painting business owner, understand essential business aspects like bookkeeping, marketing, sales, operations, and management. Devote time to learning these concepts to ensure long-term success in entrepreneurship.
  • Build a Portfolio: Document your work by photographing completed projects to create a portfolio showcasing the quality of your services. Having visual examples of past work will build trust and confidence with potential clients.
  • Stay in Touch with Customers: After completing a job, maintain regular communication with clients to avoid neglect or abandonment. Establish strong relationships with past clients to foster repeat business and minimize feast-and-famine cycles.
  • Invest in Marketing: Utilize online marketing strategies such as email newsletters, retargeting ads, and local SEO to attract and retain customers. Consider implementing customer reactivation campaigns for past clients to encourage repeat business.
Steps for Starting a House Painting BusinessDescription
Register Your CompanyCheck state registration requirements and comply with them. Purchase insurance and secure a domain and hosting for your business website.
Invest in EquipmentAcquire essential equipment such as ladders, drop cloths, brushes, rollers, sprayers, masks, and vehicles with your company's logo.
Find Worthy PartnersCreate a list of influential businesses in your community for referral and lead generation. Target realtors, property managers, roofers, gutter installers, and flooring installers as potential partners.
Create Your Talking PointsDevelop a diagnostic sales process highlighting unique selling points. Focus on warranties, guarantees, client reviews, and painter screening processes to demonstrate added value and reduced risk to clients.
Follow Up with ProspectsImplement strong pre-positioning, presenting, post-positioning, and follow-up tactics to stay connected with potential customers. Recognize that the sales cycle for painting services may take months.
Set Clear RatesDetermine production rates, pay rates for employees, and charge rates for clients. Avoid eye-balling estimates and use rates and formulas for accurate pricing.
Study the Business ConceptsGain understanding of essential business aspects like bookkeeping, marketing, sales, operations, and management. Devote time to learning these concepts for long-term success in entrepreneurship.
Build a PortfolioDocument completed projects through photographs to create a portfolio showcasing the quality of your services. Use the portfolio to build trust and confidence with potential clients.
Stay in Touch with CustomersMaintain regular communication with clients after completing a job to avoid neglect. Foster strong relationships with past clients to encourage repeat business and minimize feast-and-famine cycles.
Invest in MarketingUtilize online marketing strategies such as email newsletters, retargeting ads, and local SEO to attract and retain customers. Implement customer reactivation campaigns to encourage repeat business from past clients.

By following these steps and incorporating insights from industry experts, aspiring entrepreneurs can establish a successful and sustainable house painting business, even in a competitive market.



Conclusion

House painting is a thriving $37 billion industry, presenting a lucrative opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs with a passion for transforming spaces with a fresh coat of paint. While the initial startup costs can be relatively low, careful planning and strategic execution are essential for success. Brandon Lewis, the founder of The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, offers valuable tips and insights to guide entrepreneurs looking to venture into the home painting business.

The key steps to start a painting business include registering the company, investing in essential equipment, and forming partnerships with influential businesses to generate leads. Crafting compelling talking points and following up with prospects are crucial in converting potential customers into loyal clients. Setting clear rates based on production, pay, and charge rates ensures fair and accurate pricing.

In addition to mastering the painting craft, it is imperative for business owners to devote time to understanding essential aspects of running a business, such as marketing, sales, operations, and management. Building a portfolio of completed projects and maintaining regular communication with customers contribute to building trust and fostering repeat business.



An effective marketing strategy, encompassing online initiatives like email newsletters, retargeting ads, and local SEO, can attract new customers and re-engage past clients. Neglecting customers after completing a job can be detrimental, as nurturing client relationships is crucial for sustainable growth and minimizing feast-and-famine cycles.

With the right approach and dedication to learning the business side, aspiring entrepreneurs can thrive in the competitive house painting industry, establishing a successful and rewarding venture that caters to the needs of clients and contributes to the beauty and enhancement of spaces. By implementing these essential steps and heeding the expert insights provided by Brandon Lewis, entrepreneurs can confidently embark on their journey to create a thriving house painting business.

Photo via Shutterstock


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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. My brother and I have been thinking about starting our own painting business. We haven’t thought much about it but you have made some good points. We’ll for sure see about investing in some equipment as you can’t paint if you don’t have any brushes.

  2. Hello.. Am Martin Favour all the way from Kenya.. I have a potential painting company business.. That is really promising. Have followed keenly on your talks and you have really shed light concerning revisiting the customer after work done

  3. My husband and I just got done with a house remodel, and we also invited a painter in Boston to help us paint the rooms. Thanks for a job well done, Tom and his team. They did the job in a timely manne and were the best and most reliable at what they do! We will definitely contact them for our next job, as well as recommend you to our friends! Thanks. Keep Posting! ! Dawn

  4. BricksAndPillars

    This article is so innovative and well constructed I got lot of information from this post. Keep writing related to the topics on your site.

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