A painting business is an attractive one for many entrepreneurs. It can be started with minimal funding, the skills aren’t hard to learn and workers are relatively easy to find. It can also be a lucrative field and if you offer excellent service, you won’t have much competition. Knowing exactly how to start and grow your business makes the journey even less complicated. Here’s how to get your business off the ground.
Come Up with a Solid Business Plan
Decide on the focus of your business and write it up in a document. Painting is vast field and you may want to specialize. Consider whether you will paint interiors, exteriors or both. Describe the services you will offer such as color consultations or murals. You also need to identify whether your target market is businesses, modern homeowners or people in charge of historic properties. Don’t forget to do some research on other painting businesses in your area. Look at the services they offer and how much they charge and determine how you can set yourself apart.
Legally Register Your Painting Business
You need to register your new business before you do anything else. You first need to register with the Secretary of State’s office for your state. This is where you determine whether you will have a sole proprietorship, limited liability company or partnership. You then need to get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Inland Revenue Service. The next step is to get a bank account. You will need to take the Articles of Organization from the Secretary of the State and the EIN with you to the bank.
Secure a Painter’s License and Insurance
What you need to do to get a license will vary based on the state you’ll be operating in. Some states don’t even require a license. Others will require you to go through several steps before they issue one. The amount of insurance coverage you will need can also vary. However, it is generally in the region of $1,000,000 per each occurrence and $1,000,000 in general liability insurance. Call around get some quotes before you decide on an insurer. You will also need to check on the workers’ compensation laws in your state.
Source Equipment for Your Painting Business
How much you will need to spend depends on a few factors. Do you have some tools already? Will you be doing the painting yourself, hiring full-time employees or using sub-contractors? If you are going to engage subcontractors, you won’t need to buy anything. If you’ll have full-time employees, you will at least need to buy ladders, brushes, paint rollers, paint sprayers, drop cloths and scrapers.
Market to Potential Clients
You’ve registered your painting business, paid your first insurance premium and determined if you need to buy equipment. Now you need some houses or other buildings to paint. Begin by telling your relatives and friends about your new business and see if they need anything done. Ask them to refer you to people they know. You can also start a website and a Facebook or Instagram page to begin building an online profile. Don’t forget to hand out old-school flyers and business cards. You can also hire a marketing professional if you don’t have the skills to reach a large enough audience on your own.
Prepare Painting Estimates and Basic Contracts
When people start expressing an interest in your services, the first thing they will ask is how much the job will cost. Find out exactly what they want done and price the job accordingly. Break down the estimate into materials and labor costs inclusive of preparatory work, actual painting, and any aftercare services. You can use an app to help you create your estimates. Remember that you need to add a markup to the cost of materials and labor or you won’t make a profit. If there are options you can offer at differing price points, include those as well. Make sure you answer any questions the homeowner has.
Your estimate will likely reflect whether you do the work yourself, hire employees, or go with subcontractors. There are pros and cons associated with each choice.
Doing the Painting Work Yourself
If you have some experience with painting, you can handle a small job. If you do this, you will be able to retain more of the money the business makes. However, this can’t be a long-term solution if you want your business to bring in lots of revenue. You obviously can’t work on more than one project at a time and this will restrict your earning capacity.
This is the most affordable option for a new business owner since you don’t need to purchase any equipment. Subcontractors have everything they need and simply rely on people like you to pass on projects to them. You will have to pay them a cut of what you get for the job.
Finding the right people to employ can be difficult. You need to make sure they have the necessary skills and attitude and ensure that their values match the ones you have for your business. You will need to provide equipment and handle payroll. You may also have to train some workers. This can be time-consuming and stressful. However, if you want loyal workers and complete control over your jobs, this is an option.
Once you and the client come to an agreement, prepare a contract reflecting your discussions, the cost and the deposit paid. Make sure the client signs it. If you are unsure about what an estimate or contract should look like, there are many templates available online. Using these and tailoring them to your operation can give you a very professional look.
Painting Your First Building
The client accepted your estimate and the contract has been signed. Now comes the moment of truth. Regardless of what type of manpower you have chosen to go with, remember technical skills aren’t the only thing involved. Show up on time, give the client regular updates on your progress and try to minimize disruption.
No one wants painters trampling through their home or office talking loudly or getting paint everywhere. It may take some time to get the best system in place for reducing discomfort but it will be worth it. Ensure anyone who works for you is respectful and pleasant to clients. Couple that with a good paint job and you will not lack for clients.
Starting a painting business is relatively easy. Convincing people to hire you and delivering on what you promise is the hard part. The good news is that you’re off to a solid start if you follow all the steps outlined in this article. A profitable painting business is well within your grasp.
Marie Erhart is a Success Manager at FieldPulse, creators of field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. She works with contractors to help them grow their business using best practices.