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How To Start A Painting Business


How To Start a Painting Business

A painting business is relatively simple to start, compared to other home improvement companies.  While good painting skills are necessary, along with key business skills, equipment costs are somewhat minimal.  Most of what makes up running a successful painting business will have to do with business savvy and people skills.  Here is some helpful information on how to start a painting business from scratch.

Plan Your Painting Business

Decide the direction of your business- Do you want a small business with just you and possibly a few employees, or do you want a large painting company?  If you want to run a larger business, some of the decisions you make now may influence how fast or large your company will grow.

Set goals for your painting business-  What are some short-term and long-term goals you have for your new painting company?  These goals may change over time, but thinking through the direction you want to go will help in marketing and other financial decisions.

-Evaluate your competition- How many other painters are in your area?  What are they charging?  How are they advertising?  Are there enough potential customers to make starting a painting business worth your time, effort, and money?

-What painting services will you offer?–  You may choose to offer both residential and commercial painting services.  New construction offers additional opportunities for painting jobs.

-Figure out your startup costs- A painting business can almost be started with no money.  If you start out by painting interiors, your minimum equipment will be good quality brushes and rollers, tarps, and a stepladder or two. Most of this will fit in a midsize vehicle (depending on how the stepladder is configured).  Most likely you will want to progress to something larger, such as a van, to accommodate larger ladders, a decent sprayer, paint, and other additional equipment.

Besides equipment, you need to include other expenses that running your own business incur.  Health insurance and liability insurance are two costs new business owners need to take into account.  If you are starting a side business, you may already have health insurance through your main job.  You will still need to get liability insurance.

Other additional costs may include marketing materials, website, phone, etc.

-Choose a business name- Find out more here- Choosing a Painting Business Name and Painting Business Name Ideas.

Register Your Painting Business

how to start a painting business

Some steps to starting your painting company legally:

  • Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
  • Register your painting business name
  • Register your business entity
  • Register as a painter or home improvement contractor with your state (US)
  • Open a business bank account
  • Taxes- Get an EIN (Employee Identification Number), register and pay taxes for your business
  • Get Liability Insurance We work with Farmer Brown Insurance Agency because they’re the one-stop-shop for Painting Contractor Liability insurance and are able to get online quotes in all 50 states. Learn more >
  • Worker’s Compensation (if you have employees)
  • City Licenses and Permits
  • OSHA (if you have employees)

The links below will provide information on starting and registering a painting business in your area:

United States

Ontario, Canada

United Kingdom

Market Your Painting Business

In order to get new customers and grow your business, you will need to market your business effectively,  have good people skills, and work hard.  Success and profit won’t come overnight.


Learning how to communicate well with customers is important, and will help increase sales and referrals.

  • Learn how to sell a painting job
  • Estimate a painting job properly
  • Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
  • Be fair and honest- take responsibility when you make a mistake


Some fairly low-cost advertising to get your painting business off the ground are a basic website, setting up a free Google business listing for your painting business, signing up with other free online directories, utilizing social media accounts, passing out business cards and purchasing a few yard signs.  Once you get a few jobs, referrals can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.

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