Before rolling on the first coat of paint, there are more than a few steps to take when you plan to start a house painting business. The required steps ensure you are in compliance with any state requirements, that you have the proper insurance, and that you are set up correctly with the IRS to pay your taxes. How to start a house painting business takes time, research, and attention to detail to get your business up, running, and on a roll.
Documents Necessary for Opening a House Painting Business
The following is a general list of the areas you will need to address. Keep in mind, state and county regulations for starting a house painting business vary by state.
- Business plan
- Business license
- Business and liability insurance
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Contract document
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal taxpayer ID
- Employment Agreement (offer letters for employees)
- Insurance policy
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- State permit and building approval, if needed
Initial Preparation Steps to Start a Painting Business
Along with the permits, certificates, insurance, and other listed documents you may need, there are initial steps to take to lay the groundwork for starting a business. Whether you have a general idea of what to do or have no idea where to start, and whether you plan to have a small staff or multiple employees, these tips can help guide you along the way to a successful business.
Know the Market
Do market research to determine the need for the specific services your business will offer. This includes homeowners, neighborhoods, and real estate companies in need of painting services.
Profitability – Yeah or Nay
Research facts and figures for the areas where your services will be available for information on the industry and if it is moving forward or declining.
Know Your Competitors
Know who the major competitors are in your planned service areas. Check their websites to see what the company offers its customers, such as pricing, warranties, timeframes for job completion, service plans, etc. With this information, you can customize your services to be equally competitive.
Check State and County Regulations
As already mentioned, each state has its own criteria for opening a business. Check with your county agency regarding any regulations or zoning laws for a painting business.
Estimate the Costs to Start the Business
These figures will be determined by prices in the area where your services are offered, and the type and number of items needed. A short list of costs to consider includes:
- Registration fee for your business
- Monthly rent
- Deposits for phone, utilities, Internet service
- Start-up equipment and supplies
- Purchase or lease a utility work truck or van
- Employee salaries for at least 3 months
- Any legal expenses (permits, licenses, CPA (accounting services)
- Office expenses (printer supplies, stationery, business cards, flyers, etc.)
- Cost of a website (including set up, maintenance, and content)
Write a Business Plan
Write a comprehensive business plan that outlines the services your company provides, such as interior and exterior painting, exterior painting only, you provide pressure washing prior to exterior painting, etc. The plan should also include the company’s goals and objectives, mission statement, vision statement, and the organization structure of the business (owner, administrative/customer service personnel, painters, drivers, etc.).
The business plan is a guide for you, as the owner, to follow to help operate and grow the business. If you plan to apply for a loan for funding to start your painting company, a business plan is a necessity.
Additional Tips to Start a House Painting Business
Three additional things that are critical to getting the business up and running include:
- Having enough startup capital.
- Have an inventory of supplies and tools and/or the money to purchase these items.
- Choose a creative business name.
Regarding the business name, be sure to check that the name you’ve settled on is not already registered and in use by another company. Like website names, there are websites where LLC names can be checked. Most state sites also have a tool for checking business names online.
Register the Business
There are options when registering a business. One that is generally used is registering as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), which covers business liabilities. There is also the option of registering as a DBA (Doing Business As), which makes you a sole proprietor. Registering as an INC makes your business either an S or C corporation.
Like a business plan, having a marketing plan is a guide as well as a visual listing of the strengths of your business as well as its weaknesses. The plan should also include any threats that could impact the company’s profitability, such as competitors serving the same area(s).
Included in the marketing plan will be the services the company will provide that generate money. This will be basically the same as the services listed in the business plan.
Lay out the payment options your company will accept: cash, check, online payments at the company website, PayPal transfer, debit and credit cards, or mobile transfers. ,
Determine an estimate of what the charge will be for your painting services. This is obviously going to vary based on the square footage to be painted, if a spray wash is necessary, if minor repairs are necessary, such as caulking a hole or crack, plus the hourly rate for your painting technicians.
Last but not least, you need an agenda for sales and advertising to get your company name in circulation. There are quite a few options for strategizing. These include:
- Send an introductory letter and brochure via mail.
- Offer discounts for referrals that sign up for your house painting services.
- Place ads on participating websites.
- List your company in the yellow pages and any other directory, such as Angie (formerly Angie’s List).
- Hire one or more people to do direct marketing and sales.
- Place an advertisement in local community newspapers.
- Hire someone to go around to different neighborhoods and shopping centers to place flyers.
Although you’re interested in information on how to start a house painting business and not an auto repair shop, a little “elbow grease” in pre-preparation can save time if you do everything right the first time around.