Painting is one of the cheapest, fastest ways to spruce up a house. As a business, it’s very lucrative. It sent this man through college and was profitable enough for one couple to leave their high-paying corporate jobs behind.
Unless your house is made of eccentric materials, you probably need a paint job at least once in your life, and that is where tradespersons feature. Learn how to take advantage of this evergreen demand.
Equipment and Tools
Your painting business is partly defined by the quality of your tools and equipment. However, you don’t have to purchase all of them upfront. You can just arrange to buy them on credit by way of paint-now-pay-later contractor accounts with your choice suppliers. Also, see if your suppliers can offer discounted prices and provide you colour swatches. Speaking of which, you should go for basic colours first.
Start with the essentials like ladders, scaffolding, trays, and drop cloths, along with a variety of rollers and brushes. Also you need to obtain proper uniforms for your tradies as well as safety occupational accessories like glasses and masks.
A sturdy, roomy vehicle to convey all these around is also an imperative. You may also need to invest in mobile computer hardware to expedite your business, as many apps specifically designed for painters are now available or in development.
Competition is stiff in the painting trade, so it’s important to distinguish yourself from your competitors in your business plan. Specify what kind of painting service your business will render. Will you focus on exterior or interior jobs? Will you cater to residences only? Or will you include industrial and commercial structures?
You would also want to stand out in terms of pricing. As with any business, your plan should touch on the price schedule of your services relative to the competition. You wouldn’t want to overprice your services in the same way you wouldn’t want to be below prevailing prices. Research how much competing businesses charge in your area.
You may also compete in terms of specialisation or design expertise. If you’re an expert muralist, for example, you would want to play up such an advantage in your marketing materials.
When naming your business, go for maximum brand recall. Ensure that the name would instantly associate your company with the painting industry. Also, customers should be able to look you up with ease on the yellow pages.
Overall, your business plan should be specific on your overall goals. The plan is also where you should pinpoint if your business would be a proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company. Your plan will not only serve as your manual but also a good supporting document if you intend to borrow from a lending institution.
Be sure to include projections of your income in the plan.
Registration and Licensing
Like any business, your painting trade must adhere to relevant local laws governing small enterprises. Procure all requirements for registration and licensing, e.g. your business permit and contractor license. In addition, you should be shopping around for a good insurance plan, not only for your employees but also for such assets as your vehicle.
Don’t forget your tax remittances. Make sure you have a tax identification number for those in your employ. Get an employer identification number if you haven’t already.
If you’re running a home-based business, be sure to check zoning requirements.
Training and Review
Now you may be an authority already in painting, but it really pays to review your skills once in a while to become more efficient at what you do. You don’t have to enrol in a technical or vocational school to that end, although it’s highly recommended, but you should at least brush up on video courses or training manuals. These are easily available from local trade associations and even your suppliers.
Realise that your company vehicle is as good as any walking billboard for your business, so make sure your name and contact details are prominently displayed on it. Aside from vehicular signage, consider such marketing paraphernalia as brochures, fliers, business cards, and stationery. In fact, always be ready to put up a yard signs when you’re on the jobsite. Post ‘free estimates’ on community billboards. You can also buy ads on print publications and community websites, or better yet, create a website of your own.
Your friendly paint supplier will be of much use in these regards. He or she can help you generate leads, provided you continue patronising his or her business.
Of course, there’s nothing like a good word-of-mouth referrals to passively drive customers to your business. However, if you’re completely new to the business, you should consider offering your services pro bono, for a relative or friend. Do this to take pictures for your portfolio. Visit http://www.attentiontrust.org/ for more ideas.