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How to Start a Painting Business [Easily] In 2023

Everyone says there’s a lot of money in real estate (especially digital real estate), but have you ever thought about who paints all these houses and buildings everyone is buying?

There has got to be a lot of money there, right? Absolutely. 

The prospect of starting a painting business, while seemingly scary, is very promising.

The industry has been growing substantially, and practically anyone can start their own painting company.

All you need is the know-how and the will. 

Well, this article will provide you with one of those. Here’s how to start a painting business. 

How Profitable Is Owning a Painting Business?

Very profitable. And here’s why. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of a painter is around $45,590 per year. That translates to around $21.92 an hour.

These BLS statistics were for those without any formal education or credentials.

Considering the fact that the highest minimum wage in all 50 states is around $16, the painting industry is ripe with money! 

You can expect to make around $500 to $2,000 per residential painting job. Some big commercial jobs can pay around $20,000!

What You’ll Need to Start a Painting Business [& Associated Costs]

The startup costs of a painting business are less than you might expect.

You’ll need to buy the tools and spend a bit on the legal structure, but other than that, you’re good to go!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Registration and Business License: This typically costs from $75 to $400 a year depending on the state you’re in. 
  • Painting Equipment: Basic equipment like tools and a ladder will cost around $300 to $600. You can rent expensive things, like paint sprayers on a job-by-job basis. 
  • Insurance: Average insurance costs around $300.
  • Marketing: While optional, it’s recommended that you start marketing to reach your potential customers. An average initial budget of $350 is expected. 
  • Domain: Domain costs vary, but you can get one on GoDaddy starting from $5.99. 

All in all, you can establish your painting business with startup costs well under $2,000, including marketing expenses. 

Considering the fact that you can make anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per job, this is a business with a very good return on investment (ROI)

Do I Need a License or Certificates to Start a Painting Business?

While you don’t need any certificates, you’ll need a license to start a painting business.

You’ll need to register your painting company, create a bank account, and pay taxes. 

Why You Should Consider Starting a Painting Business as a Side Hustle

Starting a painting business is a great side hustle that can earn you some extra cash. It can also be a main source of income if you give it enough time.

Here’s why.

  • Great Revenue vs. Startup Costs: It takes very little startup costs to start, while the revenue is very lucrative.
  • No Certificates Required: You don’t need any certifications or education to start.
  • You’re Your Own Boss: As the company owner, you get a high degree of flexibility and freedom.
  • Easy to Learn: You can quickly master the skills to stand out in the industry. 

How to Start a Painting Business in 8 Simple Steps

Starting a painting business is both an art and a science. There are 8 steps to get a headstart on a successful painting business.

Here’s the blueprint. 

vector graphic showing an illustration of how to start a painting business

1. Develop Your Skills as a Professional Painter

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the skills you need for professional painting services.

Don’t rush in and learn as you go because one mistake can cost you lots of money, not to mention clients’ trust.

Here’s what you should be relatively familiar with before you provide commercial painting services: 

  • Types of paint, brushes, rollers, and primers
  • Painting techniques, such as how to cut in paint, applying even coats from top to bottom, and avoiding touch-ups
  • Pre-paint techniques, such as sanding, patching, and scraping

2. Create Your Business Entity

This is the part where you start building your painting company.

You’ll need to decide how your company will be structured, set up liability insurance, and get a license to make your business legal.

Painting Business Structures

First, you’ll need to decide on a structure for your painting company.

There are generally three options: sole proprietorship, limited partnership, and limited liability company (LLC). 

Get Licensed 

The second step in building your business model is obtaining a license to paint.

There are several requirements depending on the state you’re in, but the SBA  and Chamber of Commerce should have all the relevant legal information. 

You’ll need to get an Employer ID (EIN) and a Federal Tax Identification Number as part of the process. 

Business Insurance

Don’t skip the business liability insurance. Better safe than sorry.

There are several types of insurance. Some are general for all business owners, while others are painting company-specific. 

Contact insurance companies and look for the best packages that include general liability, health, vehicle, workers, and business owners’ insurance. 

3. Pick Your Brand Name and Domain

The next thing you need to do is decide on the name of your painting company. Google the top competitors in your area and worldwide companies for inspiration.

Once you’ve decided on a few names, check their domain availability on GoDaddy and register your favorite one that’s available. 

4. Business Bank Accounts

It’s a smart idea to set up a separate business checking account for your company instead of using your personal bank account.

It’ll make your bookkeeping easier because you’ll be able to monitor every bit of money going in and out. 

5. Pick Your Services

It might be tempting to do any paint job that comes your way. After all, if the client is willing to pay, you’re probably willing to do it.

However, it’s smarter to start with a few services you’re good at and build your reputation through happy clients.

This will make your direct marketing strategies much more effective, and you’ll be able to target more potential clients down the road. 

For example, you can start as a residential painting company before you move on to commercial painting jobs.

Commercial painters need a solid reputation and tons of direct marketing to make it big in the painting industry. 

6. Get Your Painting Equipment

Once you’ve decided what services you’ll be offering, you can get all of the relevant painting equipment you’ll need. 

Stick to the essentials, and as your business expands, start getting more equipment. Rent anything too expensive for your budget like paint sprayers, until you have enough to buy one. 

7. Target Potential Clients and Make Accurate Estimates

The next step is to start approaching your potential clients and making accurate painting estimates based on the job in front of you.

Do your due diligence and market research. Google your competitors’ prices and ask for quotations.

You can start marketing your services at a better price point from there. 

You can use special software for painting contractors to evaluate the cost of a paint job and create painting contracts. 

8. Hire Independent Contractors or Employees

As your business grows, you’ll need to hire extra help. Independent contractors are great on a job-by-job basis, while employees will increase the average cost of business if you’re not doing regular paint jobs. 

Consider both when calculating your average cost vs profit. 

Things to Consider When Building a Painting Business

Before you start building your painting company, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Can You Run a Painting Business by Yourself?

It’s possible, but you need to keep in mind that a business needs manpower to grow.

If you decide to fly solo, such as in the sole proprietorship model, you’ll handle all of the expenses, personal liability, and overhead costs alone.

You’ll also do all of the painting yourself, which will take more time. This limits the number of jobs you can do per month, limiting your potential revenue.

The Industry Is Based on Word of Mouth

Each paint job you do must be your absolute best.

One bad review could severely harm your company’s reputation because this industry depends on word of mouth and referrals to a high degree. Bring your A-game. 

It’s Exhausting but Rewarding!

While a painting business is very lucrative, it’s also hard work, especially in the beginning, since your manpower will probably be limited. 

You Can Apply for Loans

If you’re worried about paying for the startup costs, you can apply for a small business loan to get started. 

Inspiration: Painting Business Ideas

If you’re looking for some inspiration to get into the industry, here are a few colorful ideas!

  • New Construction Painting Business: A business that focuses solely on painting new buildings. Minimal interruptions since the buildings aren’t occupied by tenants.
  • Residential-Referrals Painting Business: A business that focuses on residential areas and tightly-knit communities. Starting a neighbor-referral program is an excellent strategy for marketing a small business
  • Commercial Painting Business: A business that focuses on commercial projects for local brands and commercial renovations. They pay much more than private or residential jobs. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Sell Myself as a Painter?

Since your work has a highly-visual aspect, you’ll need to showcase your painting jobs on social media and other marketing platforms.

You can also reach out to potential clients through emails or direct marketing. 

Are Painters in High Demand?

Absolutely. There’s a growing demand for painters in the industry.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 1.3% employment growth for painters by 2031.

Similar Businesses to Consider Starting

The painting business is lucrative, but there are other great options you can try to diversify your income. 

Wrapping Up

With a painting business, you add color to people’s lives and they add money to your bank account.

Sure, it might be intimidating, but now that you have this blueprint on how to start your painting business, it’s at your fingertips. 

Let us know what you think in the comments, and if you liked the article, share it so others can start their own painting business, as well! 

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