What You Need to Know About Opening a House Painting Business

Author: Justin Reynolds | February 8, 2021

Thinking about opening a house painting business? That’s great news! Starting a painting business can be a very rewarding venture. But before you pick up your paintbrush and dive straight into painting the best houses on the block, let’s look at what it actually takes to start a painting business. From creating a solid business plan to getting the right team on your side, there are a lot of important steps to take before officially opening your painting business. Let’s dive in!

Is starting a painting business a good idea?

It can be! If you have the skillset to get the job done right, offer good customer service, and are strategic, then starting a painting business can be a great investment in your future. 

Generally, opening a painting business doesn’t have too many overhead costs and isn’t too expensive. Starting a painting business shouldn’t cost more than $2,000 to get going. While that is a lot of money, startup costs can be much higher for other types of businesses. Because your startup costs won’t be too high, you will be able to turn a profit fairly quickly once you book your first job. 

Where you live can play a big factor in how lucrative your painting business can be. If you live in an area with high housing prices and with residents that have extra money to invest in home repairs, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding work at fair rates. Homeowners associations often encourage and may even require homeowners to refresh the paint on the outside of their homes every few years. This means that if you keep your customers happy, they may keep coming back to you whenever they need a touch up. Drumming up new business is half the challenge, so if you can secure repeat customers, you’ll be off to a great start. 

How much do paint company owners make?

How much you’ll make owning your own house painting business will depend a lot on how you choose to run your business. There’s no one clear answer to the question of “how much do paint company owners make”, so consider asking yourself a few questions that will allow you to gauge your unique income potential. 

  • Will you do all of the work yourself or will you hire workers to pick up some of the slack? 
  • How many jobs do you plan to take on? Will you be able to invest in advertising? 
  • What is the demand like in your area?
  • What do other house painters in your community charge?

If you’ve decided you want to move ahead and start your own painting business, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Getting Started with Your House Painting Business

If you’re looking for the best way to start a business, getting organized is a great place to start. Let’s look at some must-have steps you need to take to learn how to start a painting business.

Create a business plan

Before you dive into starting a painting business, you need to sit down and create a solid business plan that can act as a roadmap to success. Having a well-thought out painting business plan can provide clarity and focus, while keeping you super organized. Every good business plan should contain:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Company description
  3. Market analysis
  4. Description of offerings and value propositions
  5. Marketing and sales strategy
  6. Financial plan and profit potential
  7. Short-term and long-term business goals
  8. Appendix 

Make it legal

After you’ve written a robust business plan, it’s time to make things official. You’ll want to make sure your entire business is run above board, so confer with your accountant for advice, which may require you to take the following steps to legitimacy:

  1. Register your company with your local and state government. Unlike corporations, LLCs or some other legal entities, sole proprietors and independent contractors do not have to register with your state’s office of Secretary of State. However, some states require you to register your business name, such as a fictitious or assumed business name, with your county clerk, registrar or recorder.  
  2. Apply for an EIN. This is your business’s “social security number” and is necessary to file taxes and hire employees. If you’re a sole proprietorship, you don’t have to have an EIN, but you may find you want one. For example, you can use your EIN instead of your social security number as your taxpayer identification number, which can give you some much needed peace of mind if you work with a lot of clients that require you to provide one for tax purposes. Your accountant can point you in the right direction. 
  3. Apply for any business licenses or forms of insurance you’ll need to operate your business legitimately and safely. These needs will vary on a state and more local level, so make sure you check in with your local chamber of commerce if you need help understanding what you have to register for. If you’re hiring workers, having workers compensation insurance will be a must.

Find Funding

If you can afford to self-fund your new painting business, then you can skip ahead to the next section. But if you need a little help in the financing department (which many people do), then you may want to consider taking out a small business loan to cover your startup costs. Buying supplies, purchasing insurance, paying for advertisements, and hiring staff can all get pricey. Don’t be afraid to look into your financing options to get the ball rolling. 

Hire staff or contract workers

You’re not expecting to paint entire houses on your own, are you? Once you’ve got your business set up, it’s time to figure out whether you want to hire employees or use subcontractors instead. If you choose the former option, you’ll have to buy equipment and supplies for your own workers to use—but you’ll retain control over your business. If you choose to use subcontractors, who are essentially professional freelance painters, you won’t have to buy materials—but you’ll lose some control over your business.

Find the right supplies

After you’ve decided how you’re going to staff your business, it’s time to stock up on supplies. You’ll need brushes, rollers, painter’s tape, ladders, sanders, caulking tools, rags, cloths to avoid drips and more. You’ll obviously need to buy paint too.

Market your services

You now have everything you need to start painting houses, so start marketing your business. Set up a Facebook page, talk to your friends and family members to see whether anyone they know needs work, and put up fliers around town advertising your business. Once a customer bites, you’ll have to provide an estimate for the work they need. Formalize an agreement, repeat the process and see how many houses you can paint.

Cash Flow

There’s more to it than just painting houses. For example, like any other small business owner, those who own house painting companies aren’t immune from cash flow problems. When the cash river of a painting business runs dry, you’re unable to buy supplies, market your business and pay contractors and employees. You may have a hard time making insurance and tax payments too.

Cash flow problems can materialize for a number of reasons, including:

  • Jobs may take longer than expected. A job you think can be completed in five days might take eight days. This pushes back your other jobs, delaying those payments, too.
  • Customers might not pay on time. Though in a perfect world, they’d pay you right away, it might be weeks or even months before customers settle their bills.
  • Equipment and supplies may be lost or damaged. A bunch of paint could get ruined or you could lose a box of brushes and other equipment, forcing you to repurchase supplies you hadn’t budgeted for.
  • An accident could occur. One of your employees could accidentally break a window at a customer’s house, causing you to incur unforeseen expenses.
  • Government regulations may hit your bottom line. There’s a lot of talk these days about raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. Maybe your business plan is built on the fact you can pay college kids $12/hour to paint for you during the summer. Should the minimum wage rise to $15/hour, you could be in a jam.

The good news is that you aren’t completely powerless over your cash flow situation. In fact, by taking advantage of new financial tools, you’re able to solve your cash flow problems—before they start.

Conquering Cash Flow and Growing Your House Painting Business

Instead of spending your time waiting for customers to pay their bills, you can use an invoice financing service like Fundbox to get the money you need to grow your business—and fast.

Once you connect your accounting software to Fundbox, your business can be evaluated based on the data in your accounting software. If approved for credit, you can choose which invoices you want to clear (up to your credit limit). Fundbox can then transfer that amount into your account as soon as one business day. You then have 12 or 24 weeks to repay,plus a small fee.

In most parts of the country, house painters have a short window to operate in: the summer! Given that, there’s no sense in waiting around for checks to come in before you can move on to the next project. Thanks to Fundbox, you might not have to.

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