If you’re thinking about starting a business in painting there’s a lot to consider. While painting allows you to showcase your creativity, work with clients to enhance their living spaces and build a trade teeming with soul, you’ll also need to think about the business side of things as well. As a painting business owner, you could offer a wide range of services like interior and exterior painting, color consultation, wallpaper installation, decorative finishes and much more. Whether you're interested in residential or commercial projects, the demand for professional painting services is ever-present. With an average of 12 weeks work in backlog, paint contractors have been in high demand in 2023, according to PPG’s Q3 earnings report. Hasta la vista DIY—the “do it for me” (DIFM) trend is picking up speed.
Looking to get your business off the ground? Create a business website with Wix.
What is a painting business?
A painting business involves providing painting services to clients, whether they are individuals or businesses. As a painting business owner, you'll be responsible for tasks like surface preparation, color selection, applying paint or coatings and delivering high-quality finishes. Your expertise will contribute to enhancing the aesthetics of the projects at hand or they could be used for protecting the surfaces of buildings, both inside and outside.
Why start a painting business?
Starting a painting business can be a rewarding and lucrative venture for a host of reasons.
Strong demand: The need for painting services remains constant as homeowners, property managers and businesses seek professionals to transform and maintain their properties. Whether it's a residential repaint or a commercial renovation, the demand for skilled painters is ever-present.
Creative outlet: If you have a passion for artistry and enjoy working with colors and design, a painting business offers that creative outlet. You'll have the opportunity to help clients bring their visions to life, advise them on color choices and leave a lasting impact on their spaces all while doing something you love.
Flexibility and independence: Running a painting business provides the freedom to set your own schedule, choose your projects and be your own boss. You can tailor your services to meet your clients' needs and create a work-life balance that suits you.
Growth potential: A well-established painting business can experience steady growth over time. As you build a reputation for quality work and exceptional customer service, you can attract more clients through referrals and expand your business to offer additional services or take on larger projects.
How to start a painting business: 7 basic steps
If you’re ready to roll your sleeves up, take a look at these seven essential steps for getting started:
01. Research the market and plan your business
Conduct market research to understand the local demand for painting services, identify your target market and analyze competitors. Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, marketing strategies, pricing, financial projections and operational procedures.
02. Choose your business structure and register your business
Select a legal structure for your painting business, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Consult an attorney or accountant to determine the most suitable structure based on your circumstances.
At this point, you’ll also want to register your business name. If you don’t have one, think about something catchy to name your business with the help of a business name generator. Once you’re set on one and have registered it, obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally.
Be inspired: Painting business name ideas
03. Acquire the right tools and equipment
Invest in high-quality painting tools and equipment that are essential for your painting business. This includes paintbrushes, rollers, drop cloths, ladders, sprayers, paint sprayers and scaffolding. Consider the specific needs of your projects and invest in the appropriate equipment to deliver professional results.
We've put together an extensive, although not necessarily comprehensive list of tools and equipment needed to get your painting business off the ground.
Paintbrushes: Various sizes and types of paintbrushes for different painting tasks.
Rollers: High-quality rollers and roller covers for applying paint to walls and larger surfaces.
Paint trays: Trays for holding and distributing paint to the roller.
Drop cloths: Heavy-duty drop cloths to protect floors and furniture from paint splatters.
Scrapers: Tools for removing old paint, wallpaper and imperfections from surfaces.
Putty knives: Used for patching holes, cracks and gaps in walls.
Sandpaper: Different grits of sandpaper for smoothing surfaces before painting.
Caulking gun: For applying caulk to seal gaps and joints.
Safety glasses: Eye protection to shield against dust, debris and paint splatters.
Respirator: A mask designed to protect against inhaling paint fumes and particles
Gloves: Protective gloves to keep your hands clean and safe while working.
Stepladder: A sturdy stepladder for painting walls and reaching moderate heights.
Extension ladder: For higher areas such as ceilings or tall walls.
Scaffolding: For larger projects that require working at elevated heights.
Paint: Choose high-quality interior and exterior paints in various finishes and colors.
Primers: Primer helps prepare surfaces for paint and improves adhesion.
Paint trays: To hold and distribute paint while using a roller.
Grids: Inserted into paint trays to remove excess paint from rollers.
Tape: Painter's tape is used to create clean, straight edges and protect areas you don't want to paint.
Tape measure: For accurately measuring walls, spaces and dimensions.
Level: Ensures your lines are straight and surfaces are even.
Rags and towels: Used for wiping surfaces, cleaning brushes, and tidying up.
Cleaning solutions: For cleaning surfaces before painting and cleaning tools after use.
As your painting business grows, you may consider adding more specialized tools, paint sprayers for larger projects and additional safety equipment. It's important to invest in high-quality equipment and maintain it properly to ensure the best results for your clients and the longevity of your business.
04. Set your pricing and services
The median pay per hour for painters is around $22 and $45,590 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but you’ll need to determine your pricing structure based on a number of factors. Think about the size of the project, complexity, materials and the local market rates. Research the pricing of other painting businesses in your area to stay competitive. You should additionally consider offering services like color consultation, wallpaper installation or decorative finishes to expand your service offerings and cater to different customer needs.
05. Develop a marketing strategy
Create a marketing plan to promote your painting business and attract customers. Establish an online presence by developing a professional website using platforms like Wix. Showcase your previous projects, provide information about your services and enable customers to request quotes or contact you. Implement digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and online advertising. Additionally, consider traditional marketing methods such as distributing flyers, advertising in local publications, or networking with local businesses and trade associations.
06. Establish customer service standards
Providing exceptional customer service is crucial for the success of your painting business. Train your staff to be professional, reliable and responsive to customer needs. Communicate clearly, manage expectations and ensure customer satisfaction throughout the painting project. Encourage customers to provide feedback and testimonials to showcase your work and build trust with potential clients.
07. Track and improve your business performance
Implement systems to track your business performance and gather customer feedback. Monitor key metrics like revenue, customer satisfaction ratings, repeat business and referrals. Use this data to identify areas for improvement, optimize your business operations and refine your marketing strategies.
Benefits of starting a painting business
If the above reasons weren’t enough, here are some additional benefits that a painting business can offer.
Low startup costs: Compared to many other businesses, a painting business requires relatively low startup capital. The primary investments include purchasing painting equipment, tools and supplies. As your business grows, you can gradually expand your resources and invest in additional equipment or specialized tools.
Diverse customer base: A painting business serves a diverse range of customers, including homeowners, landlords, property management companies, real estate agents and commercial clients. This variety allows you to target different market segments and increase your potential customer base.
Skill development and growth: Running a painting business allows you to continuously develop your painting skills, learn new techniques and stay updated with the latest trends and products in the industry. As you gain experience and expertise, you can take on more challenging projects and expand your service offerings.
Word-of-mouth referrals: Satisfied customers are likely to recommend your painting services to others, generating valuable word-of-mouth referrals. By delivering exceptional work, providing excellent customer service and cultivating positive relationships, you can benefit from organic growth and expand your client base.
Challenges of running a painting business
While starting a painting business offers numerous benefits, it's important to be aware of the challenges you may encounter.
Business management: Running a painting business involves more than just painting. You'll need to manage various aspects such as customer relationships, project management, marketing, finances and administrative tasks. Developing effective business management skills is crucial for success.
Seasonal demand: Painting projects can be influenced by seasonal fluctuations. In some regions, you may find that painting demand decreases during the winter months or periods of bad weather. It's important to plan accordingly, diversify your services and develop strategies to manage those seasonal fluctuations.
Competitive market: The painting industry can be highly competitive, with numerous established painters and painting companies vying for clients. To stand out, you'll need to differentiate your business by providing superior craftsmanship, exceptional customer service and unique value propositions.
Physical demands: Painting work can be physically demanding, requiring strength, endurance and the ability to work in various conditions. It's important to take care of your health, practice proper safety measures and consider delegating or outsourcing certain tasks when necessary.
Managing a painting business effectively
After you’ve gotten your painting business up and running, you’ll want to study up on ways to manage your business well.
Project management: Develop efficient project management processes to ensure smooth operations. This includes accurately estimating project timelines, managing resources effectively and communicating with clients and team members.
Quality control: Maintain high standards of quality in your work. Regularly inspect completed projects, address any issues promptly and ensure customer satisfaction. Providing exceptional workmanship will contribute to your reputation and help generate positive referrals.
Team management: If you plan to expand and hire employees, focus on hiring skilled painters who share your commitment to quality and customer service. Provide training and ongoing support to help them improve their skills and contribute to the success of your business.
Professional relationships: Cultivate strong relationships with suppliers, contractors and other professionals in the construction and home improvement industry (or check out our guide on how to start a construction business). Collaborate with them on projects, exchange referrals and stay updated with the latest trends and techniques.
Financial management: Maintain accurate financial records, track income and operating expenses and regularly review your financial performance. Think about how you’ll raise money for your business, as well as who you’ll need to tap—like an accountant or bookkeeper—to ensure compliance with tax obligations and an accurate pulse on the financial health of your business.
Tips and tricks to promote your painting business
If you want to continue attracting new clients, you’ll need to effectively market your painting business. Here are a few tips for spreading the word about your business.
Develop a professional brand: Create a compelling brand identity that reflects your expertise, values and unique selling proposition. Design a professional logo be it with a designer or logo maker—you can also take inspiration from similar industries like those from a clothing logo maker. Once you’ve got a logo you’re happy with, make sure to establish consistent branding across your marketing materials and showcase your portfolio.
Grow your online presence: Make a website for your painting business using a website builder like Wix. Ensure that it’s visually appealing, mobile-friendly and optimized for search engines. Showcase your past projects, include testimonials from satisfied clients and provide clear contact information for potential customers.
Use social media marketing: Leverage social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to showcase your work, engage with your audience and attract potential clients. Share high-quality photos of completed projects, before-and-after transformations and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Engage followers, respond to comments and messages promptly and use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.
Tune your SEO: Optimize your website and online profiles for local search engine optimization. Include location-specific keywords in your website content, title tags, meta descriptions and headings. Register your business with online directories, like Google My Business, Yelp and local business directories, to improve your visibility in local search results. For Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO branding at Wix, 'Leveraging SEO and integrating it into the website creation process is vital. Various studies have shown that organic search is the single greatest provider of traffic to websites - with that being even more pronounced within the B2B context. To that, traffic from organic search, when done correctly is essentially built to last (with proper maintenance over time, of course) and forms a crucial part of a site’s long-term growth.'
Network and create partnerships: Build relationships with local interior designers, real estate agents, contractors and property management companies. Offer your painting services as part of their package or collaborate on projects. Attend industry events, join local business associations and participate in community initiatives to expand your network and gain exposure.
Give offers and discounts: Consider offering limited-time promotions, discounts or package deals to attract new customers and incentivize repeat business. Advertise these offers on your website, social media platforms and local community platforms to generate interest and drive inquiries.
Remember, promoting your painting business requires consistent effort and adaptability. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, continuously improve your skills and listen to customer feedback to refine your marketing strategies and always make sure to provide exceptional service.
How to start a business in a specific state
When looking to start a painting business in a specific state, you can check out some of these resources to ensure you abide to state-specific laws:
Examples of successful painting businesses
If you’re unsure where to start with your website, check out these Wix-backed painting businesses for inspiration.
Pack Painting, a family-owned business that got its start over 20 years ago, offers residential painting services in Central Texas. The company prides itself on providing reliable, trustworthy customer service and offers a free color consultation for anyone who’s interested.
B&P Painting is a full-service painting company that offers interior and exterior painting for homes in Washington State. Through its website, you can get a glimpse of their recent work and can reach out for a free quote.
Short for Grand Canyon State Painting, GCSP offers everything from exterior painting to interior and cabinet painting. The company services homes throughout Arizona, promising high-quality painting techniques and materials.
Fine Line Painting
Fine Line Painting offers more than 20 years of experience in assisting with speciality paint projects for both inside and outside of the home. Based in San Francisco, Fine Line Painting takes on basic repainting projects—as well as more advanced projects, like front door refinishes, venetian plastering and repair work.
For more inspiration, check out other types of businesses that you might be interested in starting up:
How to start a painting business FAQ
How profitable is a painting business?
The profitability of a painting business can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the business, the experience of the owner and the location of the business. However, in general, painting businesses can be profitable.
According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average profit margin for painting contractors is 12%. This means that for every $100 in revenue, a painting contractor will earn $12 in profit.
How much does it cost to start a painter business?
The cost of starting a painting business can vary depending on a number of factors, but the basic costs include:
Equipment: You will need to purchase painting supplies, such as brushes, rollers and ladders. The cost of equipment can vary depending on the size of the business and the type of painting you will be doing.
Insurance: You will need to purchase liability insurance to protect your business from financial losses. The cost of insurance will vary depending on the size of the business and the location of the business.
Marketing: You will need to market your business to potential customers. The cost of marketing can vary depending on the size of the business and the methods you use to market your business.
Other expenses: There may be other expenses associated with starting a painting business, such as rent, utilities and payroll.
The total cost of starting a painting business can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Is painting a good business to get into?
Whether or not painting is a good business to get into depends on your individual circumstances and goals. However, there are a number of factors that suggest that painting can be a good business opportunity.
The demand for painting services is always high. People need their homes and businesses painted for a variety of reasons, such as to improve their appearance, to protect them from the elements or to fix damage.
The start-up costs for a painting business are relatively low. You can start a painting business with a few thousand dollars, which makes it a more accessible business opportunity than many other types of businesses.
The profit margins for painting businesses are typically good. As mentioned earlier, the average profit margin for painting contractors is 12%.
Painting is a skill that you can learn relatively quickly. There are many online and in-person courses that can teach you the basics of painting.