Want to paint for a career, but don’t want to work for someone else? Good news; you can start your own painting business and handle clients, charging, and everything else to chart your own destiny. However, starting a painting business takes a little preparation and a handful of steps. Let’s learn how to start a painting business.
Figure Out A Business Plan For Your Painting Business
The first step to starting any business is drawing up a business plan. That means figuring out things like:
- what kind of painting you’ll be doing
- where your painting will be taking place
- whether or not you’ll have other employees (you likely will, given the business type)
- how much painting you eventually want to do
- what your financial situation looks like
Get Your Finances In Order
Speaking of finances, you should spend a lot of time thinking about how much the painting business will cost and trying to project possible profit margins within the first couple of years. It’s likely you won’t make much of a real profit starting out due to the need to pay back loans, but this is normal. Even so, it’s a good idea to have these numbers written down or at least kept in the back of your head before you start your painting business full-on. You can also look into some personal finance tools to help you get your money in order.
What Supplies Do You Need?
We mentioned supplies because painting businesses’ greatest expenses are usually their supplies.
As a painting business, you can use subcontractors, which means that you basically run the painting business’ marketing and sales side of things while actual painting laborers do the main work themselves in exchange for part of the profit.
But let’s say that you plan to do all the painting yourself. This means you’ll need several ladders at a bare minimum, which can easily run a few hundred dollars. Then you’ll need cleaning supplies like drop cloths to prevent drips, brushes, rollers, airless paint sprayers, masking guns, scrapers to scrape off peeling paint, sandpaper, and much more. Add plenty of paint to the list, as well.
It’s no stretch to say that your painting supplies can easily run you into the thousands of dollars. Then consider how much you might spend if you have several employees who all need their own equipment.
All in all, calculate how much you might need for all your painting business expenses and equipment, then determine if starting your business now is a good idea.
If you don’t have a cash on hand to make this happen, you can always get a loan from the bank or save up for a while. But you don’t want to head into a painting business without having your finances in order.
Register Your Business/Get An EIN
After all of the above, it’s finally time to register your business. That means coming up with a name; it’s always a good idea to create a name for your painting business that both:
- identifies the business as a painting business
- is catchy and memorable
It doesn’t have to be anything revolutionary – a name like “Saul’s Painting Professionals” accomplishes both of the above aspects and is easy to remember.
More specifically, you’ll need to register your business with your state government, which involves filing for an employer identification number or EIN. This number allows the IRS to identify your business as a legal and taxable entity and will allow you to hire employees later down the road.
Furthermore, you may need to acquire a painting business license depending on your state’s laws. For instance, Colorado doesn’t demand a license if you want to run a painting business, but states like Michigan or California do. Check with your state government to see what licenses you need to get and what hoops you need to jump through.
In many cases, this means having insurance. You should already be pursuing insurance if you plan to hire employees. Workers’ compensation insurance is a must in this case. But you may also want to invest in other business insurance that can protect you from legal liabilities if there’s an accident over the course of your duties.
Hire Employees For Your Painting Business
It’s time to hire some employees for your painting business! Definitely invest skilled men and women that know what they are doing and who are willing to bring quality to every job they take on. It’s always worthwhile to spend more time interviewing quality candidates than it is to hire anyone who applies, as they might do subpar work and reflect poorly on your business.
Come Up With An Estimate Formula/Contract Sheet
Before you take on any clients, consider how much you’ll be charging for your work. Figuring out a general estimate formula is a good idea since this allows you to give a potential client a quote if they are interested in your business but haven’t yet committed. Be sure to keep your estimate competitive but also high enough that you can turn a profit eventually.
You might also want to draw up a contract sheet to use as a template for all of your official business clients. This is good for clarity between you and your client and it can protect you from lawsuits if they contest something about the terms of your agreement.
Market Your Painting Business
Now comes the fun stuff – marketing! There are tons of ways you can market your painting business successfully.
The first and most obvious way is to create a website, especially one that ranks well with Google or one that you can use to advertise to locals in your area. Websites allow people to contact you for future business endeavors or leave reviews, too.
You can also turn to email marketing, particularly if you want to target people in your local area or if you know people via your social media accounts. Just be sure not to inundate them with advertisements for your business, as this might become annoying.
You can go a little old-school and come up with business cards for your business, as well. Business cards allow you to hand out physical reminders of your business to everyone you meet and can be spread far and wide. Give some to your employees and friends and family to maximize their proliferation throughout your community.
Paint Your Way To Success!
After performing all the above steps, it’s time to finally start your painting business and put some color onto your financial spreadsheets. Good luck!
Want to learn more about starting a business? If so, you may also enjoy our article on the six best books on starting a business. Go get your business up and running!