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How to Become a Painting Contractor

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Painting contractors provide paint, wallpaper, and floor finishing services. They operate on both commercial and residential projects, though some may specialize in only one of these fields. Starting a painting contracting company is easy and requires very little upfront investment. By starting small, you can grow your services and workforce as your workload increases, allowing your company to take off with little risk, and increasing your chances of success.

Decide what type of services you'd like to provide. Determine if you will focus on residential or commercial work, and whether you can handle only painting, or if you'll provide wallpaper services and specialty coatings. Keep in mind that the broader you're range of services, the more tools, supply, and training you'll need.

Market your business to your target audience. For residential painting companies, you can rely on flyers, newspaper ads, and word of mouth. With commercial work, you can visit local general contractors and introduce your company. Ask for an opportunity to bid projects with them, or provide estimates based on the drawings in their plan rooms.

Purchase tools and equipment. You'll need ladders, scaffolding, and drywall lifts in addition to paint brushes, rollers, and trays. For commercial jobs, you'll need paint sprayers and commercial-grade rollers and tools. If you plan to provide wallpaper services, you'll also need to invest in wallpaper hanging supplies.

Find and train employees. At first, you may only need part-time help. Take the time to train these people now so that they can help train others as the business grows. Teach them how work should be performed, how tools are to be maintained, and how the customer should be treated.

Get a business license from your state or county. In most areas, you can get a business license at the Department of State or Chamber of Commerce. If you are unsure where to get your license, refer to the list in the Resources section of this article.

Tip

If you need help paying for materials early on in your business, offer a discount to your customers if they pay a deposit upfront. This is fairly standard in residential work, but may also be accepted by commercial contractors who are looking for a deal.

Resources

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

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