Even though it's a lot of hard work to run your own painting business, it can be worth it in more ways than one. A smart investment could turn a small house painting company into a profitable business (and you'd get to be your own boss, too). With the right skills and knowledge, starting your own painting business may be the best decision at this point in your career. Take a look at our helpful guide below to learn more about forming a painting company.
Education and/or Training Required to Own a Painting Company
No formal education or training is required for you to own a painting company; however, most painters need a high school diploma or an equivalent to begin working in the field. Painting is a skilled trade usually learned at a vocational school, at on-the-job training, or through an apprenticeship.
As part of the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Corps connects people interested in a painting career with pre-apprenticeship painting programs. Multiple learning centers throughout the U.S. offer painting programs to those who:
- Complete the core curriculum with passing scores on all tests
- Have strong math and reading skills
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Display attention to detail
- Exhibit dependability and integrity
A candidate must also have steady hands and fingers and must be capable of strong physical endurance since painting is an active job that requires strength and stamina. It typically takes 18 months to complete career training through the Job Corps program.
Painters tend to specialize within the painting industry, which means they choose one type of painting to do. Small painting companies often specialize since it's too difficult to offer both residential painting and commercial painting. Different painting equipment would be needed for each type of paint job, which could cut into a small company's profit margins.
If you're planning to own a painting company, it's a good idea to understand firsthand how the job is supposed to be done. Whether or not you need to qualify for a painting license to open a painting business depends on the state in which you plan to do business. More than 20 states require professional painters to be licensed, and the process could include:
- Passing state exams
- Proving work experience
- Providing financial statements to show fiscal stability
To see if you need a painting license or permit in your state, contact your state's labor department or look on the state's website for more information about requirements. Keep in mind that some business licenses will expire and require renewal after a time. Also, some local or county requirements may need to be met to legally operate your painting company. Your local business authorities can help guide you through the licensing process in your area.
What to Consider in the Planning Stage
After ensuring you're qualified to start a painting business, the next step is to decide what services you plan to provide and the target market for your business. Then, create a business plan to detail how you're going to successfully do so. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a business plan is the foundation of your company that's used to start, run, and grow your business.
A traditional business plan includes:
- An executive summary
- A company description
- A market analysis
- Organization and management details
- Services offered
- A marketing strategy
- Financial projections
- A funding request
You'll also need to research the current painting market in your area to determine an average range of prices to charge your customers. Take a look at the competition's pricing and services while you're at it to see what's already being offered and what's missing in your competitor's plan. For example, painters typically charge anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour but may charge more for labor.
Calculating your startup costs is another important step to take when forming your business plan. Try to account for all the equipment, transportation, and supplies you'll need, such as vans, paint sprayers, and other painting tools. Having a startup cost estimate will help you make more accurate financial projections and narrow down your funding requests to investors.
Outlining your roles and responsibilities, plus those of any other partners, managers, or employees, is also critical to include. How much work are you planning to take on yourself? How much do you plan to delegate and then oversee? Clear expectations can help businesses run better.
Lastly, consider your business insurance needs to protect yourself and others against the hazards of the job. Qualified financial and insurance professionals can help you determine what's right for you. They'll explain how general liability insurance or worker's compensation can benefit and protect you as a painting business owner with employees.
The Setup Process for Your Painting Business
A strong and well-researched business plan can help you feel more confident when starting a new painting business. Here are some more steps to take on your way to becoming your own boss, including information on legal issues, marketing plans, and management suggestions.
Legal Considerations for Your Painting Business
How to legally form your painting company depends on the business structure you plan to operate within and where you plan to do business. You can be a sole proprietor or form a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Businesses are regulated by state and federal laws and are subject to different methods of taxation.
Business registration also varies by state so check with local business authorities (usually the secretary of state's office) on how best to proceed. Most states require companies to register a business name, too. The name has to be unique so it doesn't infringe on an existing business. Registration forms and fees are often submitted to the secretary of state's office. They can also help you with understanding any licensing requirements, permits, required insurance, or any other legal regulations.
You may want to consider forming an LLC to protect your personal assets and finances from the company's potential debts and liabilities. Opening a business bank account offers protection as well because it helps you keep business separate from personal. A business bank account also shows a level of professionalism to others and helps you to better manage your money. You'll likely need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to open a business account and for tax purposes. A tax professional can help you understand how to file and pay your taxes.
Marketing Considerations for Your Painting Business
With a solid business plan and all the legal paperwork in order, you're ready to find potential customers. Marketing your business can be done in a number of ways, including both traditional and digital marketing methods. You don't have to be an expert to get started, though it does help tremendously to have some skillful marketers help you start and grow your business. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to marketing your painting business:
- Build a website. Having an online presence is vital in today's world. Not only does it help customers find you but its content should make them want to hire you because you offer the best services at the best prices. If you have the skills to create a website, that's great, but it's also OK to delegate the task to a professional website builder.
- Ope social media accounts. Social media marketing across multiple platforms has become the norm. Think of it as the voice of your company. It sets the tone and creates a connection with past, present, and future customers. Start simple by opening an account on your platform of choice - you can always add more later. Share yourself and your vision with your customers and encourage them to share their positive experiences with your company. Consider running a promotion to gain new customers or referrals.
- Design a logo to create branded marketing material. A company logo is your painting business brand and shows people who you are and what you do at a glance. Brainstorm some ideas and take them to a graphic designer to get the perfect logo ready for your business cards, website, and more. The more you use your logo, the more brand recognition you build. People will remember your company and may think of you when they need painting services for their home or business.
- Set up free online business accounts. Google My Business is a great free resource tool to manage your online presence across Google platforms, such as its search engine and maps. Many people search for businesses through Google, so having accurate information (like your phone number) on your website will help customers find and contact you. Yelp is also a good resource for your business, so be sure to check if you're listed under painters. Claiming your business on Yelp enables you to view statistics, receive messages, and respond to reviews.
If your budget is tight in the beginning, think of some other simple ways to promote your new business. You could start by servicing the homes or businesses of people you know. Friends and family can be a great resource for spreading the word about your services. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to market your business. Traditional methods, such as brochures, flyers, and/or business cards, can also help you and others to promote your painting services.
Day-to-Day Considerations for Your Painting Business
Besides managing painting projects and employees, a large part of running your business will involve bookkeeping and estimating painting jobs. Customers will often request quotes for your services to compare your pricing to other painting companies. Whether you plan to own a house painting business or want to specialize in exterior painting, Skynova's software products can simplify your quoting, accounting, and invoicing processes.
Skynova products are designed to cover all the basic software needs of a small business. Our online software and business templates help business owners:
- Estimate the cost of labor and materials for paint jobs
- Send price quotes to potential clients
- Create and track customer invoices
- Track payments and expenses
- Receive deposits via credit card payments
Skynova keeps things simple and easy, but we're here to help should you need any support. Our FAQ page also answers a lot of questions commonly asked by new Skynova account users.
Manage Your Painting Business Finances With Skynova
Becoming a small business owner is a big and exciting step to take to further your career and quality of life. A solid business plan, expert marketing, and consistent high-quality work can help you own a successful painting business. Support when you need it most is another key to success. Skynova's accounting software and business templates stand ready to help you manage all of your painting business finances and more.