• Jalal Lewis

How To Start A Painting Business: A Complete Guide

Is starting a painting business a good idea?

In this article, I will explain everything you need to know on how to start your painting business from scratch including business registration, how much funding you needed, the profitability of the business, advantages, and disadvantages of the painting business, painting industry research report, and a lot more, so let's get started!

Painter Industry in the US - Market Research Report

According to Ibis World analysts, here is an update of how the painting industry is likely to be impacted as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Revenue for the Painters industry decreased 2.6% in 2020, primarily due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic halting any nonessential business, decreasing nonresidential construction activity. However, industry revenue is expected to grow 2.4% in 2021.

  • Wage expenses are typically less volatile than revenue, resulting in a relatively small drop in industry wages in 2020. Naturally, when revenue for painters declines sharply, wages are expected to account for an increasing share of industry revenue, squeezing profit.

  • The Consumer Confidence Index and business sentiment index are forecast to increase over the five years to 2026 as the overall economy recovers. As a result, increasing demand for painters from residential and nonresidential construction is expected to drive industry revenue growth over the next five years.

With the growth of the housing market and construction, it may be a good idea to start your own painting business. Employment demand in the painting industry is estimated to grow by 6 percent through 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it is a good indicator of continued growth.

Pros And Cons of A Painting Business


  1. The start-up costs are minimal.

  2. It allows you to be creative and enjoy the business.

  3. The target market is easy to identify such as homeowners, business owners, property managers, interior designers.

  4. Franchise opportunities are available.

  5. Painting experience is not required to own a painting business

  6. You can start your business from the comfort of your home


  1. Seasonal fluctuations are unavoidable

  2. Fierce competition in the painting industry

  3. Finding long-term employees can be a challenge.

Checklist of Painting Business Start-Up

The first few months require a lot of administrative works which is a crucial step in starting a painting business.

  1. Create a business plan

  2. Pick the name of your company

  3. Create your company logo

  4. Register your business with the state where your business operates

  5. Obtain your federal EIN (employer identification number)

  6. Open a business bank account

  7. Obtain business insurance and workmen's compensation insurance

  8. Licensing. License requirements differ from state to state, each state has unique painting licensing laws.

  9. Get insurance

  10. Create your website

Start-Up Costs

  1. Business Registration ($100-$200)

  2. Bank Account Opening ($0-$200)

  3. License ($0-1,500)

  4. Insurance ($100/month)

  5. Worker's Compensation ($0-$5000)

  6. Marketing and Sales Materials Cost ($100-$3000). To grow your business, you must allocate some of your start-up capital to marketing.

  7. Painting Equipment, Tools, and Supplies ($800-$2000) If you opt not to hire subcontractors, you need to buy the equipment, tools, and supplies to paint a house. This will cost you around $800-$2000 so you might consider hiring subcontractors to do the work for you.

  • Paint Brushes

  • Paint Roller

  • Roller Pan

  • Roller Tray

  • Step Ladder

  • Extension Pole for Paint Roller

  • Scraper

  • Wire Brush

  • Caulk and Caulk Gun

  • Masking Gun

  • Sand Paper

  • Paint Sprayer

  • Protective clothing

  • Breathing Mask

Hiring A SubContractor

A subcontractor is a business or person that undertakes work for a company as a part of a larger project, subcontractors carry out work that the contractor cannot perform but remains responsible for. Hiring a subcontractor to do your painting job is recommended to avoid headaches in hiring your own employees because subcontractors know their job plus it is a cheaper option as you do not have to invest in painting tools and equipment. One way of finding a subcontractor is placing online and paper job ads, this can spread the word that your company is looking for a subcontractor.

Hiring Own Employees

Hiring your own employees is tough because you have to spend time training them, you need to arrange their payroll and taxes and you have to purchase your own painting tools and equipment which will be added to your start-up costs.

Getting Your First Painting Job

Marketing is a very crucial strategy to achieve your business goals. This is your overall game plan for generating leads and turning them into customers. Having an effective marketing plan is the life of your business. To market your business, below are few channels that you can try.

  • Social Media - Set up business pages on Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

  • Door-to-door marketing - Most people are afraid to do this so it means you have the chance to get more leads through door-to-door marketing.

  • Print flyers - It is to print essential to create an attractive flyer yet simple and clear

  • Lead Providers - Companies such as CraftJack, Thumbtack, Home Advisor can generate leads for your business. It is a pay per lead or you can set up a monthly budget to get a certain amount of leads.

  • Free Online Listings - Sign up for free Google listings, your painting company may show up at Google search in your area.

  • Vehicle Advertising - A simple advertising in your vehicle will let your neighborhood knows about your painting services.

Experimenting with new marketing can be expensive so try those strategies that work well for your business.


Preparing an estimate for a painting job is not an easy task especially if you are new in the painting business. You cannot land the job if you charge very high at the same time you cannot give a very low price that you won't get a profit. Check out the following guides in order to have a profitable and attractive estimate for your clients.

  • Schedule an appointment with your client

  • Visit your client's home and inspect the area to be painted. You need to evaluate the condition of the wall or area to know how much paint is needed. Covering dark walls requires more paints. Different paint colors and accent walls will take a lot of time to finish the job. The key here is to ask a lot of questions to the client in order to have an accurate and detailed estimate.

  • Estimate the cost of paint, other painting materials, cost of labor, and marketing cost.

  • For a new business, a 30% markup works well however you have to be aware of your overhead costs such as insurance, clothing, vehicle, gas, and other costs.

  • Do the final calculations by adding all the costs and your markup.

  • In your estimate form, you have to write down all information that you and your client discussed during your estimate.

Your First Painting Job

You have three options in getting your first painting job done, you can hire your own employees, hire a subcontractor or you can do the work by yourself if you have painting experience. As mentioned earlier, hiring a subcontractor is recommended.

Starting your own painting company is a rewarding experience especially if you are already familiar with the facets of the paint industry. Running a painting business requires financial, marketing, sales, customer service, and production skills.

Continue learning and improving your business by reading articles about painting industry news as the trend is constantly changing. This will help you get to know more about the homeowners and their requirements.

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