Starting a painting start-up can be a very profitable venture if done right. However, the business itself is a whole lot more than just about choosing the right paint and doing the painting. As with any other start-up business, there is a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the business is successful, sustainable, and profitable. It needs to be meticulously well planned and properly managed to ensure success.
This planning process might take months or even years in the making in some cases to get right before you are ready to take the plunge. As an entrepreneur, it’s important you are aware of all the steps involved to get going. Read on below to get started:
1) Consider investing in advanced technology
Most modern painting companies use the latest technology and equipment to ensure that their operations run smoothly and efficiently and that the service they provide meets required industry standards. Infrared cameras, moisture meters, and airless sprayers are just a few examples of equipment that might be used on a regular basis.
Another essential tool is painting business software. This organizes your internal business processes and systems, enabling you to service your customers. Rather than manually working things out such as timetabling and payments, it allows you to schedule your team, book appointments, and send invoices. It also usually offers some level of CRM system that allows you to maintain strong customer relationships through on-my-way SMS messaging and email. Jobber is one such software provider and can revolutionize administrative productivity for small businesses in several ways.
Essentially, technology can give your start-up an edge over other more established painting companies, simply by being more efficient and productive with how you operate.
2) Learn how to price
Another important thing you need to know when running a painting business is how to price your services. This is especially true if you’re starting out in the industry. Charging your clients properly will ensure that your business doesn’t run on losses. Moreover, good pricing will help retain your clients, ensuring that your business continues to generate revenue.
The quickest way to estimate a painting job is by considering your competitors’ prices and offering better deals than them. However, it’s crucial that you don’t under-price yourself so much that it’ll cause you to lose money or go out of business. Another alternative to determining your pricing strategy is to include all labor, equipment, and overhead costs, then add your level of accepted profit margin on top. It is imperative to get this bit right, as this will largely determine if you can operate sustainably, and therefore scale up and grow – or not.
3) Have a business plan
This plan will serve as your blueprint, helping you logically organize your thoughts and ideas. A business plan will also help keep you focused on the goals you want to achieve with your business. Conveniently, you can use templates and other tools to create your business plan.
When creating a business plan for your painting business, ensure that you include the following:
- Executive summary
- Description of services offered
- Market research that includes your competition and the services they offer, the target market, the costs of products, and the prevailing market price.
- The sales forecast is the projected number of tasks you need to win or the number of clients you want to get in a particular period.
- Marketing strategy includes promotion methods used, the channels you’ll use to market, and the expected return on investment of each marketing strategy.
- Management team structure, including yourself, partners, or other shareholders.
- Short-term and long-term business goals.
A business plan will help your business remain organized and ensure that all the employees in the company are working towards a common goal.
4) Determine your business structure
You can choose to register your painting business as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or a partnership. Your business structure will determine the type of paperwork that you need to file and the tax obligations you need to fulfil.
Here’s how the three structures compare:
- A sole proprietorship is the most manageable entity to set up. In a sole proprietorship, you run the business and have total control. But it’s not advisable when it comes to protecting your assets from potential legal problems that may arise in the future.
- In partnership, two or more people own the company. The registration process is also simple. However, this structure doesn’t offer liability protection.
- In LLC, your business is treated as a different entity to you. So, you aren’t liable for any legal or financial dispute incurred by the business. However, the registration process is more complex.
5) Get licensed and insured
You need to get a license from the government before starting a painting business. Your state or city government may require different licenses for operating a painting business, so make sure that you first check the requirements of the place where you want to operate. Business licenses can help protect your business against legal disputes and fines.
You also need insurance for your business. Insurance helps to cover you and your employees in case of an accident. Moreover, insurance will cover any financial obligation incurred during a legal or financial dispute. Getting insurance is usually not mandatory before running a painting business. However, considering the job’s uncertainty, you must protect your business by getting insurance.
6) Research your market
Before starting a painting business, it’s important to research your market thoroughly. You want to make sure that there’s going to be a demand for your services within the area you’re operating. If there’s plenty of competition and other painting businesses already working there, you may want to target another location with less competition.
Suppose there isn’t enough competition in the area, but there isn’t much demand either. In that case, this could be an indicator that this isn’t the area to begin doing business. Another thing to research is how other similar businesses price their services. This is very important as it’ll determine how you’ll set your prices.
If there’s competition in the area, you should research the size of your competitor, the services they offer, and what they specialize in. You can also note the kind of impression they give to their customers. For example, does it offer exceptional customer care service? This will help you lay a foundation for how your customer service should be.
7) Decide the services you’ll offer
When starting a painting contractor business, you need to determine what types of services you are going to offer. Will your business focus on residential or commercial painting? Or will your business do both? Are you going to offer interior painting or exterior painting? Are you going to specialize in one type of painting, like murals or faux finishes? If you have a niche, this is the time to highlight it.
Your services need to be tailored to what you want to offer, matched with what your target audience wants. Therefore, it’s essential to do market research on what is going to sell and be in demand. You can then specialize in providing these services to your clients.
8) Market your business
A big part of running any contracting service is marketing. A great way to market a painting business is by getting referrals from satisfied customers. You can also ask friends and family members if they can recommend anyone who needs your services. Consider creating a website where people can see examples of your work and testimonials from past customers. This will help potential clients envision how they might use your services in the future.
If no one knows about your business, no one will know to hire you. So, ensure that you get your business out there for people and other companies to see. The more people see your business and hear of your services, the more jobs you’ll win, allowing you to drive more revenue.
9) Budgeting is crucial
Your painting business needs money to run. So, determine your start-up costs, including licenses and permits, advertising, insurance, equipment, and supplies. You’ll need enough cash to keep your business afloat while you’re waiting to get paid for completed jobs or until your business completes enough jobs to start making enough profit. Make sure you have enough personal savings to live on while building your client base.
Keep your expenses to a minimum. You can’t afford to have an out-of-control budget as this could destroy your business or put you in debt.
A painting business can be a very profitable venture if done correctly. New residential and commercial buildings are being built and old ones renovated all the time, and they all require painting. If you manage to market your business well and place yourself in front of your audience at the right time, you are going to get hired for more jobs.
Be aware of the complexities of running a painting business, just like any other. You will need to go through a registration process, get the right insurance, budget carefully and market yourself well to be a success. Thankfully, this article should go some way to helping you succeed and grow in this arena.