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Salaries for Curb Painters
The white, yellow and red stripes that you see bordering curbs and sidewalks do not come from curb painters. City or other government workers add these colors as part of their street maintenance duties. Instead, curb painters paint house numbers on the curb in front of private residences. This makes homes easier to locate by friends, delivery personnel and repair services.
Engaged more in a small business rather than in employment, curb painters go door-to-door to paint, typically creating black house numbers on a white background, in front of individual homes. They may be responsible for soliciting business on their own, or may have an agent solicit customers, so they can concentrate on performing the work. The position requires no advance training and can be easily learned from books, correspondence courses or more experienced workers.
According to SimplyHired as of August 2011, curb painters make an average $15,000 per year. Wages are slightly higher in more populated cities such as Los Angeles, where pay runs $17,000 annually, or New York City, where earnings are at $19,000. When calculated to an hourly rate, this pay is only about a dollar or so above minimum wage. (REFERENCE 1) This is because many curb painters work on their own, and must spend uncompensated time soliciting customers and traveling among jobs.
As a small business, the job requires appropriate business licenses and insurance, and knowledge of advertising techniques. Financial and customer-tracking software can be helpful in controlling revenue. Basic tools include number and background stencils, fast-drying concrete paint, and an applicator such as a brush or airbrush. The painting is easy and quick to do, requiring no contracts. Independent curb painters can control their hours, working as little or as much as they want. However, bad weather can impact profits, and can make the business seasonal in cold weather climates. Competitive pricing is important, or homeowners will do the job themselves.
Curb painting is easy enough to do that non-profit groups such as the Boy Scouts can use it as a fund-raising technique. One way that painters can distinguish themselves from the competition is to apply decorations such as American flags or stars next to the house numbers. The application of reflective glass beads embedded in the paint can justify higher prices and profits. Because this substance reflects car headlights, they dramatically increase visibility of house numbers at night. Curb numbers created with standard paint become invisible and useless after dark.