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Many painters have all the skills and tools necessary to start their own paint company. Most of them will not start a company because they think it will be too hard or expensive. However, if you have the self-confidence and financial resources, owning a paint company can be very profitable. Most painters who have managed a crew have the management skills needed to run a paint company.
Starting a Paint Company
Secure around $10,000 in start-up capital. If you do not have that kind of money, look for a backer, silent partner, or apply for a loan. If you are going to a bank be sure to have a business plan in hand and dress professionally.
Use a basic laptop computer for keeping track of expenses, writing bid proposals, advertising, accepting credit cards, paying employees and so on. There are many business programs that will do all of this for you.
Go to the local courthouse and buy a small business license. In some states the business owner must buy a contractor's license, and other states make the contractor pass a test.
Buy at least a million dollars of insurance and insure your van or truck through the same company. Be sure to use a local company that will come out and view any claim you may have. The more popular the insurance company's name is to potential clients the more likely you will get the job.
Contact a lawyer in your area about becoming incorporated. Being incorporated means that if someone sues your company, he or she can't go after your personal assets, only those of the corporation.
Go to local paint stores and open credit accounts under the company's name. Always buy the materials on credit at the paint store and pay it off every month.
Be sure that your company has all the necessary tools. At the very least, have enough hand tools for three employees, an outside extension ladder, an inside ladder, and plenty of drop cloths.
Advertise your company in the newspaper, on the radio, or on TV.
Ask for referrals and take digital photos of every job.
Show potential clients before and after photos of jobs so they can see your work.
Check with other paint companies about subcontracting work.
Contact local Realtors and ask to paint houses for them.
Contact local businesses and offer them a discount.
Buy yard signs and put them everywhere you have a crew painting.
Put a magnet sign on each side of the truck or van.
Be sure to have a lawyer on retainer for any legal maters that may arise.
Don't let employees manage themselves; have a clear chain of command.
Check on each job every day.
Be honest about timeframes and always estimate more time than is needed to complete a job.
Small businesses usually doesn’t start turning a profit until after their fifth year of business, so be prepared.
Chad L. Smith is a writer with Demand Studios. Chad began his career in 2004 at C & N Publishing, which publishes many newspapers in Tampa Bay, Fla. He has also been published on many websites. Smith lives in Fayetteville, Ark., where he attends the University of Arkansas pursuing a bachelor's degree in physical education, and a minor in journalism.