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How to Start a House Painting Business

Madhushree Kelkar
A painting business is easy to initiate and can be kick-started on a shoestring budget. We will brief you on what all goes into initiating this business.


Always accept the type of painting job in which you have experience and expertise. Also, do not give work commitments that you may not keep.
If you want to start a business that will be fun, need minimum initial investment, and bring you huge profits, then nothing will work as good as a house painting business. Not only is this business easy to start, but it is highly lucrative too.
Of course, it is not an easy business to conduct, but the money is worth the effort. Get professional training by working with a painter to understand the smallest details of the business. It will not only give you hands-on training, but will also prepare you for dealing with the pressures that usually businesses bring.
Many times, a house painting business is a race against time to complete the job before a due date. Hence, if you are good at keeping commitments and skilled at painting, nothing can stop you. Take a look at these guidelines to get to know how to start a house painting business.

Conduct Research and Make a Business Plan

It is important that you conduct a feasibility study for your business before you actually venture into it.
Speak to people who are in a similar business to know about the prevalent rates, profits, vendors, etc. Check the number of existing competitors you have. It is always better that you compile a foolproof business plan which will act as a guiding force for all your business decisions.
Making a business plan will ensure that you do not overspend, and sow a portion of the profit back in the business for further gain.

Tip: Look at the number of business opportunities and competitors in the area where you plan to operate. Go for a location where the former exceeds the latter.

Fixing the Budget and Sourcing Finance

Before starting the business, you will have to decide about the budget for your venture.
You will need funds for sourcing equipment, business promotion, employee salary, renting specialized equipment, printing marketing material, etc. The good news is that this business is very easy to start and as compared to other ventures, can be jump-started on a small budget.
Calculate the total investment, and if you cannot arrange for the initial cash, don't worry. There are several options like an SBA loan, bank loan, credit union loan, and there is always an option of raising funds from friends and family members.

Tip: Your initial business investment (except for the vehicle) should cost you somewhere around $2,000.

Legal Formalities

Visit the offices of local, state, and federal authorities to know about the permits and licenses you will have to acquire. Also, know about the tax payment and insurance for your business needs.
You have to get a business liability insurance, (as you will be working in other people's homes) and worker's compensation insurance as well, so check with an insurance consultant. If you are hiring an employee on a contractual basis, you have to forge a legal contract with him.
Tip: Before this, you will have to think of an attractive name for your business and register it as 'doing business as.'


Start with the necessary tools and equipment, and when you have enough balance to buy specialized material, go for it. You will require various types of equipment for your business.
It will include:

✦ Paint
✦ Paint shade card
✦ Primer
✦ Caulk
✦ Various brushes
✦ Different rollers
✦ Drop cloth
✦ Sprayer
For your safety, buy:

✦ Face mask
✦ Scaffolding
✦ Ladder
Try to strike a deal with the local whole supplier of these raw materials to get the best bargain on the prices. If you are a regular at his shop, don't shy away from asking for discount. Your work will help you earn more business; hence, never compromise on the quality of materials.
Always, go for excellent quality paint and equipment to give the walls a clean finish. Sometimes, clients prefer to get their own color. Ask them what they prefer, and charge them accordingly.
Tip: If you require lifts and certain specialized equipment, hire it instead of buying it. This will help you save a lot of cost.

Get a Vehicle

This will perhaps be your most expensive business investment. You will have to buy a mini van or truck to carry your equipment. Remember that you can always buy a secondhand vehicle to reduce the cost implications. However, ensure that you do not have to pay for the repairs too much.
Some people use their own cars for this purpose, but traveling with equipment like ladders may be problematic. Invest in a good car that will carry your goods for a while before you can buy a brand new truck.

Tip: Branding your vehicle with your business logo and contact details can help promote your business.

Promote Your Business

✦ Make a portfolio of all the before and after painting job images, and take it to your clients to establish credibility.

✦ Try to offer referral discounts to get more business.
✦ Have a website where people can contact you, and see some of your work.

✦ Add customer testimonials to the website.

✦ Send flyers and put up posters, door hangers, magnets, etc., to promote your business.
✦ Advertise on local radio.

✦ Certain websites offer downloadable lists of contact details of homeowners in various areas. You can call them up to know if they have any business for you.
Tip: After you are well-established in your business, make an interactive website where people can upload the photos of their houses and try out online color schemes before placing an order with you.

Pricing Policy

You will have to calculate the cost of materials, transportation, hired labor, and your hourly rate to come up with a ballpark figure for the estimate. In most cases, your actual expenses will exceed the estimate.
However, before promptly buying the material, inform the homeowner and take his permission for the same. If you can, make available certain supplies free of cost or at a discounted rate to the customer. However, don't indulge in such free offerings if you are not able to afford them.
Tip: Charge the customer by hour instead of a project basis as it will help you to get paid in a better way, even if the number of days of work exceed.

Business Expansion

Once you get a certain number of customers, you can expand your business by catering to various niches like beach house painting, historical house painting, renovation house painting, school building painting, hospital building painting, etc.
You can also experiment with various color combinations and textures to offer variety. Not only this, but you can actually network with architects and interior designers and offer your painting services for the houses they design. This way, you will be able to tap into several orders.
Tip: Especially focus your marketing efforts in areas where a new housing scheme is getting developed as people will be looking for painting contractors.
Try to offer various promotional and discount schemes which will help you get more and more customers. Finally, ensure that you have satisfied customers. Remember, nothing quite works as word-of-mouth promotion.