Marketing & Growth

What You Need to Know About Opening a House Painting Business

By Justin Reynolds

Thinking about opening a house painting business? That’s great news!

Starting one shouldn’t cost you more than $2,000. After that initial investment, house painting businesses can be quite lucrative, especially in certain parts of the country where property comes at a premium and folks have money in the bank. To maintain the looks and value of their properties, homeowners are encouraged to paint the wood siding on their houses every three to seven years. Develop a customer base, and you should have repeat business within a few years.

After you’ve made the decision to start your own painting business, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops before you can get to work.

Getting Started with Your House Painting Business

First things first: Come up with a name for your business and put together a detailed plan outlining the scope of your operations. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to register your company with a state government. You may choose to register as an LLC in the state you’re going to operate in, or, to save on fees, you can choose to incorporate in Delaware like many businesses do.

After that’s out of the way, it’s time to apply for your EIN, which is essentially your business’s “social security number”, which you’ll use to file taxes. Next up, you’ll need to research what kind of licensing requirements you’ll have to deal with, which vary on a state by state basis. Finally, you’ll have to sign up for insurance and workers compensation, both of which vary state by state as well.

Next Steps

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.

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.

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 this summer.

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-clearing service like Fundbox to get the money you need to grow your business—and fast.

Simply open an account and connect your accounting software to the service, which automatically imports your invoices. Once that’s done, you can choose which outstanding invoices you wish to clear. Fundbox then deposits the funds into your company account within one or two business days. You then have 12 weeks to repay the advance, 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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