In the era of the Gig Economy, the idea of starting your own business seems like a fantasy.
Especially for millennials who came of age during the financial crisis, entering the entrepreneurial world is about as attractive as jumping into a river full of piranha. Furthermore, an old fashioned business like house-painting appears to miss all the opportunities brought of the tech boom and the supernova of social media.
However, the best opportunities for growth and profit don’t always lie where everyone is looking. The least sexy and shiny jobs can often be the ones that bring you the most benefit.
Enter, your new house-painting business.
One of the most traditional jobs around and one that is decidedly simple to start and easy to make a healthy profit from. After taking the following steps, you’ll be rolling in paint-speckled dough in no time.
1. First things first, the business needs to exist.
You can’t just get a team together and start knocking on doors. You need to be legitimate and ready to present as such.
This requires that you register your business, create a basic website, and become insured. It’s easy to register a business. Simply google business registration in your state and follow the government’s instructions.
It should take less then an hour and the cost is low at around $50-$100 dollars per registration.
Once you’ve finished this step you officially exist!
2. Make Yourself Look Like a Professional
Next, you need to appear to be the real deal. House-painting may be old fashioned but we’re in the 21st century and a website shows prospective clients that you are a business worth considering.
I can’t stress this enough – don’t worry about making it perfect!! Y
ou won’t be getting many random hits at the start anyway, you just want to be able to easily direct clients to your site so they can find basic information and know that you are more than just a person knocking on the door.
3. Get Some Liability Insurance!
Next, get public liability insurance. As annoying and draining as it is, liability insurance is required and essential for when things inevitably go wrong.
According to a study by Insureon, you’ll have to pay around between $40 to $80 a month for a million-dollar policy.
There could be a project in the future that will just fall apart for any number of reasons and liability insurance will be the hand that saves you when it does.
Lastly, every state has different requirements, but you may need a contractors license. This can mean a series of applications, courses, exams, fees, and a good reputation.
The differences between Florida where nothing is needed to get started and Oregon where there are several steps, is big. Be sure to check what each state demands.
Head over to Home Advisor for the different laws on contractor licenses.
4. Foundations Are In Place
Now your painting business legally exists and it’s time to get your equipment and painting teams together. Equipment and materials can be a tricky step.
Starting a business like this can be as cheap as a $500- $1000 dollars
But… if you overdo it on materials and equipment such as professional paint sprayers, the costs can quickly skyrocket.
If you’re going to be working with subcontractors, they should have plenty of their own materials to complete a job.
That said, every project will require specific paint and tools, but this can normally be done with a deposit made by the customer.
With 25% paid upfront, you most likely won’t have to spend more than 15% on extras.
6. Getting The Equipment You Need
As technology advances, many professional contractors and painters are turning towards using professional airless paint sprayers.
Whilst you will always need brushes, rollers, scrapers, heat guns and so forth, the bulk of your time will be spent putting paint to wall, so speeding up that part of the job is where your profits can skyrocket.
And there’s no contest with a paint sprayer vs roller when it comes to speed.
Here are 3 of the bestselling and affordable paint sprayers for indoor walls right now:
- Trusted Wagner Brand
- Quality HVLP Finish
- Fully Adjustable Control
- Walls, Cabinets, Fencing
- Trusted Graco Brand
- 10 Years of Development
- Built for Home Owners
- Rated Up To 125gl a Year
Some people like to rent a paint sprayer first to test the water, but this can set you back $300+ and because of how complicated they can be, any repair costs will fall on your shoulders so keep this in mind.
Buying the right equipment from the start can mean the difference between success and failure. Do your research on the different tools available, the different types of paint sprayers and budget accordingly.
5. Now You Need Your Team.
Get in contact with a subcontractor and negotiate a job. The subcontractor is essential when starting out. Their experience, skill, and work ethic is what creates the product.
If you book a job for $3000 the subcontractor might ask $1600 and demand that you provide the paint and extra equipment.
On average the extra equipment per project should only cost no more than $500.
This way you walk around with a profit between $800-$1000 dollars for the job.
With one job then, you’ve already made your money back from the fees of starting the business plus some healthy profit.
6. Bringing in The Bacon
The final piece to getting started is getting customers. You can do this a thousand different ways.
However, the oldest and cheapest is to knock on doors. Pick a neighborhood, maybe print some fliers, and knock away!
Yup, it still works! Based on a study completed by the University of California, door to door selling is still a 28+ billion dollar industry.
After a day or two, you should have a handful of leads, at least 3–5 for every few hours you spend. Out of those leads, a few will turn into estimates and after that, you’ll likely have at least 1 sale.
This can take some time to get the hang of but practice makes perfect and like so much else in life, it’s a numbers game.
So now you have a job! It’s time to paint the house.
This is where a good subcontractor and crew take the helm. Spend the time and effort to develop a relationship with the crew you’ll be hiring and be sure to observe their work. You want a good product and it’s in their hands. Be discerning.
They should be able to prep and complete a high-quality job in 2–3 days. Once the job is done, the crew paid, you should have a healthy chunk of change.
As mentioned before, don’t overspend on equipment and be sure to properly estimate how much a specific job will cost.
Every project is different, some will require more paint, different equipment, etc. Avoid screwing your self over with underbidding and asses the job so that you’re not paying out of pocket for extras.
Finally, hire good crews!!
You don’t want a sloppy product or to be fleeced by subcontractors. Invest in quality, be honest, reliable, and pay crews on time and you shouldn’t have a problem.
7. Wrapping Up
So there you have it.
The basics of starting a one of the oldest business around. The start will be bumpy as you learn the ropes but with a small investment of money, time, and effort, you’ll be building a business with healthy growth and a reliable profit margin.