How to Start Your Decorative Painting Business
Consider the Opportunities
Do you enjoy doing creative painting projects around your own home? When you finally complete the job, can you step back and have that sense of pride and accomplishment for yourself? Maybe your friends and family rant and rave about your work or ask you how they can do something similar for their home. If you love to paint, have a good eye for color, or have any kind of artistic abilities, you may want to consider a decorative painting business. Whether you are working full time or unemployed, there is still an opportunity to do business. Even in a tough economy, people still want services rendered. You just have to determine how you want to set it up.
Before you jump into starting a small business, take the time to do some research so you can get the general necessities in place. If you keep in mind that you are your own boss and you are "building" a business from the ground up, it won't be so overwhelming. It is a process for as long as you decide to stay in business. Along with the personal and financial rewards that come with it, you also have the opportunity to take advantage of many tax benefits.
First Things First
Many people jump into a business before creating a business plan. It is highly recommended that you take the extra time to set up a plan to use as your guide. You will have better success with the process in the long run. When chosing a name for your business, make sure it is going to be recognized for the service you are providing. For example, "Bella's Custom Painting" is more likely to be found than "Imagination Unlimited". There is no guesswork in the general type of service offered. Once you have decided on your name you will have to determine how you want to set up for business then apply for a license in your place of residence. After you have filed, you will be required to file a ficticious business name in your local paper. Get all licenses, permits and insurances in place where it is necessary. Set up a business account at your local bank and your ready to get started on your journey.
Setting Up Shop
The wonderful thing about having a decorative painting business is that you can work right out of your home. It doesn't require a lot of equipment so you can build it as you go. First, go to your local paint stores, tell them you are just starting your business and ask them if you can have a fan deck of their paint colors. Most stores will be happy to provide one for you. This will make a great tool when meeting with clients to determine what color choice and brand they will be using for the project. After you meet with your client, you will have to submit a bid for the job. Quick Books Pro is a great program to manage all of your invoicing needs along with many others applications for which it will be used. Here is a list of general equipment that is good to have in place before getting started:
- 6-8 ft. ladder
- 3 step - stool
- variety of great brushes ( Purdy are best)
- small artist brushes
- small buckets for cleaning
- 3 in 1 tool
- flat head and phillips screw drivers
- electric drill / screwdriver
- 3m tape and paper masker with blade
- electric palm sander
- at least 2-3 canvas drop cloths of various sizes
- small toolbox for brushes and small supplies
- measuring tape
As you grow, you will find other must have tools to add to your list. However, these are a few to help your jobs run smoothly. Materials, such as, plastic, tape, paper, paint, sandpaper, and rags are considered as you do each job.
While you are growing your business, you will want to get a few marketing things in place. Business cards and flyers will get you started. Some people you will want to consider marketing your services to will be interior designers, building contractors, construction companies, painting contractors, realtors, property managers, family and friends. The hardest part of the job will be determining a fair price. Research your area to see what other decorative painters are charging. You must consider your skill level, type of work to be done, working conditions of the job, cost of time and materials, deadlines required, and your competition. You want to bid it to get it, offer a fair price, and still make money from the job. You can typically expect an average of anywhere from $25.00 to $65.00 + per hr. with all things considered. A job can be bid as time and materials or at a straight price for the whole job. Just make sure you are covering all of your cost of doing business.
Always have a camera with you before and after you complete a job . You will want to add pictures to your portfolio and website when you are ready to set them up. This is one of the biggest mistakes business owners make because it is harder to go back once the job is complete. A final thank you card to your client with your business card will be a great way to get a repeat client and a possible referal for a job well done. Make your work a possitive experience for both you and your customers and enjoy your journey of being your own boss .