Getting Started

The Definitive Guide To Starting A Painting Business

From creating a business plan to estimating your first project, we’ll walk you through the essentials of starting a painting company.

Are you thinking of getting into the painting industry? Wonderful! There has never been a better time to launch a painting company. The industry is currently worth $43 billion, and it has consistently grown by 4.2% over the last five years. 

But the tricky (yet rewarding part) lies in actually launching and setting your business up for success. What paperwork will you need? How can you build your team? How will you get your first customer? We are here to answer these questions. So, let's dive into all the steps you need to take to kickstart your painting business 

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Launching A Painting Business

Before you start a venture of this magnitude, you will want to pause and reflect. Business ownership is exciting, but it is also a long-term commitment. Try to spend some time on this decision-making process. It could greatly improve your likelihood of success. 

Below are a few questions you can consider before getting down to business.

  1. What is your personality? Are you cut out for the hustle?

Owning your painting business is great, but it is not for everyone. You have to put yourself out there, and sometimes, that means getting rejected. Are you willing to knock on doors to generate leads for your business? Do you have the grit to keep going if you give your first ten estimates and do not close a single deal?

  1. What location are you in?

Your area of service could either make or break your business. This is especially true if you want to focus on providing either residential or commercial painting services.

For example, as a residential painter, certain factors can affect the kind of projects you get. Calculate the average age of homes, quantity of homes, and median home value before you begin. If the average age of homes is 15+ years, there is a higher risk of harmful chemicals such as asbestos or lead paint. This will increase the difficulty of completing these painting jobs and decrease your margins. 

  1. What is your budget?

Take an honest look at your finances. Can your business stay financially viable if you take more time to generate a profit?

There are a lot of variables that define how much it will cost you to get started. Some start-up costs involve licenses, insurance, workers' compensation, and more. You can refer to this guide for a detailed breakdown of the costs required. 

  1. What is your expertise in this field?

Be objective about your current knowledge of painting services. Do you already have painting expertise? If not, do you plan to go through training?

If you are a novice in this field, don't worry! One of the advantages of the painting business is the ease of learning the trade. You do not require any formal degree, and you can always learn on the job. 

In fact, at Hoist, we are making it simple even for first-timers to own a painting business. Apart from the tools needed to run the business, we provide our partners with an extensive training guide. This self-serve curriculum covers everything from painting to business ownership and more.

Getting Started On Your Business

Once you have done the self-assessment, it is time to get down to work. Here is everything you need to prepare for success.

1) Create A Business Plan

They say failing to plan is planning to fail. And it is true! Business owners need a roadmap to follow and to guide their company. Here are a few essential components to include in your business plan:

  • Summary And Business Description: Include a synopsis or overview of your business along with the mission statement. It should cover, in brief, your products or services, the operational model, and more.

  • Market Analysis: This part conveys the scope of your business in the larger industry setting. Study the current market, identify who your competitors are, and figure out how you can stand out. 

  • Target Personas: Be specific about who you’re targeting. You can outline the key demographics and primary locations of your target markets. Identify their main pain points and how your business can solve them.

  • S.W.O.T Analysis: S.W.O.T. stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When analyzing your business, remember to be as honest as possible. This will help you uncover factors that can help your business grow. It can also pinpoint specific ‘threat’ areas that need to be improved. 

  • Marketing And Financing: Outline your strategies for promotion as well as for bringing in consistent revenue. When setting your marketing strategy or financial projection, think SMART. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Create plans that are ambitious but realistic enough not to discourage you.

Remember, a business plan is also necessary when securing a loan. The bank requires this document to understand the kind of business you want to set up as well as its viability. 

2) Legalize It With License And Insurance

When launching a business, there’s always some paperwork involved to establish the legal tax entity with your state.

  • Registration: The first thing is to register your company in the state where you will be doing business. Pick a name for your business and then decide the type of entity you want for. You can choose to register your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Each entity has different liability and tax laws, so choose accordingly. 

  • EIN: The next step is to get a federal EIN (Employer Identification Number). You can apply for your EIN on the IRS website. Do not overlook this step — this is the number you will use to set up your business bank account and file taxes.

  • Insurance: More often than not, a business is bound to face risks. Insurance coverage offers protection in case of a mishap or legal proceedings. The most common insurance for a small business is general liability insurance. Apart from this, you can also choose to get:
  1. Health insurance
  2. Workers’ compensation
  3. Commercial auto insurance
  4. Business owner’s policy

  • Licenses: There is no federal law mandating occupational licenses for painters. However, in certain states, painters must carry specific licenses to conduct business. Remember to check with your local Small Business Administration for the necessary permits. 

Getting all the necessary documentation can be time-consuming and confusing. But it’s a necessary part of becoming a business owner. At Hoist, you can reach out to our community of coaches to efficiently overcome these hurdles. Our experts can offer guidance on the legal and operational aspects of your business.

3) Build Your Company Website

A well-designed and optimized website is one of your most important marketing assets. It establishes authority and makes it easier for customers to find your business. If you’re creating your website on your own, you will need to:

  • Buy a unique domain: Run through a list of domain names you'd like to use on sites like GoDaddy or From there, figure out which one is available and works best for your business. 

  • Create your design: You can create your website using platforms like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. Many of these come with built-in templates. Alternatively, you could hire a freelancer or agency to do it for you. This will cost you anywhere between $500-$5,000 depending on the number of pages on your site.

Even with these options at hand, the whole process might seem too expensive or confusing. At Hoist, we arm our partners with the ability to create a beautiful site or landing page in the most seamless way. 

One of the features we offer through our platform is a powerful landing page builder. Choose from three pre-designed and SEO-optimized templates to create your website in minutes. You can modify the text, images, and even structure of your design template and customize it. That’s not all! Our landing page builder also has a lot of domain customization capabilities. So, you can go ahead and choose the domain you want.

4) Purchase The Tools Of The Trade

Investing in painting equipment can be expensive, but it can pay dividends once you’re up and running. Here’s a checklist of the initial painting equipment you’ll need for your company:

  • 16-foot extension ladder: This will come in handy for stairwells and exterior jobs.
  • Brushes, buckets, rollers: Make sure each painter has the basic tools to do their job.
  • Extension pole: You’ll need this for rolling out walls and ceilings.
  • Caulk gun: Caulk guns help fill in gaps between wood and walls.
  • Sandpaper: You’ll need this for sanding down peeling areas.
  • Drop cloths: These are essential so you don't make a mess in someone's home.
  • Paint Scrapers: They help remove loose and peeling paint while preparing the surface.
  • Airless paint sprayer: Although expensive, it helps speed up the painting process dramatically.

If you plan on working with subcontractor crews, they often bring their own equipment. This reduces your costs, and you will just have to purchase paint and other materials.

5) Get Your First Clients

Now that you have done all the hard work, it’s time to find clients. This is the fun part. Here are some of the most common marketing techniques that’ll help you land your first painting gig in no time.

  • Word of mouth or referral marketing: Talk to friends, family, and your professional network about your business. Ask them to put you in touch with anyone who requires a painting service. Connect with realtors in your area as they might know if an old tenant or new tenant needs a house repainted. Asking clients for referrals is also an excellent strategy to get more business.

  • Flier drops: This method consists of dropping flyers in an area to get calls from potential clients. Although it is time-consuming, it can help you generate a healthy flow of leads.

  • Online Marketing: Create your Facebook account to run targeted ads for your potential customers. You can set the parameters for these ads based on demographics, locations, and more. Run Google's Local Service Ads to target customers who are searching for a service in your area.

  • Lead Providers: When looking for leads, you can make use of lead providers like DiscoverOrg and Lusha. They come up with a specific list of leads based on your target personas. While this seems straightforward, there is a possibility that other owners like you have access to the same leads. Which means you will be spending money without any assurance of conversion.

To put these worries to rest, we provide our business partners with an improved lead gen service. Known as the Hoist Home Field Advantage, it is a guaranteed way to get high-intent leads. Simply let us know how many appointments you require. Our dedicated team then finds multiple prospects across platforms like Google, Yelp, and Thumbtack, to name a few. We schedule them right on your calendar without you having to lift a finger. The best part is you do not have to shell out money on disinterested leads. You only pay on the day of the estimate appointment. 

6) Estimate Your Painting Project

To make a profitable business, you must learn how to properly estimate your gigs. Determining how much to charge for a painting job can be a challenge for beginners. Here are things to take into account when billing your client:

  • Examine the job site: Are there any factors in the client’s home that may affect the price?
  • Cost of materials: How much will you invest in equipment for the job?
  • Cost of paint: How much are you planning to invest in the paint per gallon?
  • Labor cost: How many painters will you need for the job? How much will you pay them per hour?
  • Marketing cost: How much did you invest in marketing to land the client?

Once you have calculated all these things, add your markup to estimate how much the project will cost. Want a more comprehensive understanding of the process? Follow our step-by-step guide and you will be producing compelling estimates in no time.

After you arrive at your bid, you will have to present it to your client. We at Hoist have partnered with PaintScout to help all our business owners provide estimates easily. Owners can now utilize this powerful estimating tool to propose profitable prices and close more deals.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are always pitfalls when you’re starting a new venture. It is always best to recognize and get ahead of them before they spell bad news. Look out for these common mistakes when running your business. 

  • Cutting costs on hiring: Painting is a craft that requires precision. If you hire an inexperienced but less expensive painter, it is likely to affect the quality of the job.

  • Underpricing your bids: When you start, you will be tempted to offer extremely competitive prices. This only leads to you either operating at a loss or breaking even. 

  • Not planning for the unexpected: Bad weather could delay your project. Multiple projects can spread your workers thin. Remember, there is always a possibility of a surprise cropping up. It is essential for you and your team to have contingency plans in place to deal with these situations.

  • Picking smaller projects: This might sound conflicting because a quick $400-$500 job seems easy enough. But imagine you are spending $1,000 on marketing. If your projects get you only half the cost, you will not have any significant return on investment. Ultimately, it does not contribute to your company’s growth. 

Ready For The Next Step In Your Career? 

Starting a business in a competitive field like painting can seem challenging. But, it does not have to be. There is an easier way to set up your painting business - in just 30 days!

That’s right. We at Hoist provide you with all you need to launch and run your venture successfully. From training to customer management and other tools, we offer an end-to-end solution for all your business needs. Get in touch with our expert team today to learn more about how Hoist works.

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