How to Start a Painting Company

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 27, 2019

Oct 27, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Homeowners and commercial businesses are always looking for a fresh coat of paint.

They're not the only ones, either. Schools, government agencies, municipalities, and event venues also need painting services.

This demand is where you come in.

You've always had a knack for painting and home improvement. Now, you need business skills to succeed.

In this guide, you'll learn the ins and outs of starting a painting company from scratch.

Let's roll up those sleeves and get started!

How to Break Into the Painting Industry

Before you can start a painting company, you need to gain professional experience first. There are a few ways to go about this.

One way is to apprentice under a professional painter. You need apprenticeship hours to fulfill trade union requirements.

You can earn your hours through trade unions like The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. The IUPAT is the home of the Finishing Trades Institute, where you can enroll in a complete program.

Some community colleges also offer apprenticeship hours, so look for participating schools in your area. This option may be more affordable.

The Federal Department of Labor mandates that apprentices log no less than 144 training hours. These hours should be completed within a year, along with required on-the-job training.

All trade union applicants should complete at least three years of training before applying for membership.

Licensing and Certifications

Your next step is to acquire a housing or commercial painting license if your state requires one. Since this requirement varies from state to state, it may not be mandatory for your career. However, it's vital to follow all state regulations.

If you plan on servicing schools, homeowners, and childcare businesses, you'll need to obtain an official lead safety certification. The Environmental Protection Agency requires this certification from professional painters.

As a new painter, you'll quickly learn how specialized the industry is for professionals.

Some sectors require additional licensing and certifications. This point impacts industrial painters the most.

Check out the National Association of Corrosion Engineers and the Society for Protective coatings to learn about certificates you may need.

Whether you're a Union painter or a licensed house painter, soak in this valuable experience. The experience you gain in the early years of your career is vital for starting a business.

Do You Need a 4-Year College Degree?

This question brings up an important point.

You don't need a degree to become a residential or commercial painter. However, it doesn't hurt to have some business courses under your belt.

Basic business courses will teach you about the following subjects:

  • Fundamentals of business
  • Small business accounting
  • Business law
  • Business permits and licensing
  • Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Human resources
  • Business management
  • Communications
  • Economics

You'll also learn how to conduct a SWOT analysis of your painting company, which stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats."

Taking college-level business courses isn't required, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you start a company without basic business knowledge.

Most local community colleges offer these classes at affordable rates. You could also take night classes if you work full-time.

Though not required, obtaining a 4-year college degree in business can give you a leg up on the competition. Some programs offer business degrees with concentrations in trades.

Starting Your Painting Company

You survived your training and worked for several years in the industry. You're finally ready to open your painting company!

Planning is essential for starting a business. You need to invest your time, money, and labor from day one.

Start by researching your niche thoroughly. You already have a lot of work experience, but check out this article to learn what customers look for in painting services.

Don't forget to check out your local competition too.

What is your competition's marketing plan? Where is their location? Who are their clients?

Research your local market. What is supply and demand like for painting services in your community?

You've gathered enough research. Now, the next thing you need to do is draft a robust business plan.

Every painting company needs a plan. But a business plan is also required when applying for small business loans at banks.

Learn the ins and outs of writing a business plan. You'll need to include an executive summary, market analysis, management plan, and financial projections, among other things.

Once you have the business capital, its full steam ahead!

Choose a prime location for your painting business. Obtain the necessary business permits and licensing from your city.

Consider hiring a staff. Many professional painters go into business for themselves. If you want to expand your painting company, you'll need employees.

Build a Brand

Every business needs a brand, even if you're a sole proprietor.

Customers identify you by your brand. Your brand tells your story and represents your mission.

Start by writing your brand story. Why did you become a professional painter, and what is your overall mission? These are essential questions to ask.

Once you understand the purpose of your brand, you need to visualize it.

Work with a designer to create a unique logo for your company. Research logos of successful companies in your niche to understand what customers want.

Think paint brushes, paint buckets, and splashes of paint. These types of logos are excellent for local painting companies.

Design a logo that works across all your marketing channels. Your marketing channels include everything from your storefront to business cards.

Marketing Your Painting Business

You have everything: a great name, brand, location, capital, and a business plan. The only piece you're missing is marketing.

You can use your contacts to drum up some initial business, but that's not enough to sustain your company. You need a marketing strategy that attracts new customers.

Choose a strategy that works for your niche. Your customers are more likely to use Google than Instagram to find a painting service. Invest your marketing budget into a robust local SEO strategy!

Create Google business listings and add your location to Google Maps. Encourage customers to review your business on Google and Facebook to generate more leads in your community.

Start Fresh with a New Career

Don't wait too long to pursue your dream of starting a painting company. That's like waiting for paint to dry!

You have the tools to get started. Your next step is to get to work. Remember these tips as you build your career from square one.

The more you know, the more you grow. Don't go without the latest career resources for success. Bookmark this blog to stay updated on the latest tips and changes in your industry.