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Starting a Painting Business in Pennsylvania

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By starting a painting business, you'll need to approach homes ready for sale and homes undergoing repairs. This business doesn't need a large capital and you can easily start it from home. To start in Pennsylvania, you'll need to obtain a home improvement contractor license from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. You don't need to get this license if you fall into the category of small contractors with total cash value less than $5,000 annually or large retailers with net worth greater than $50 million.

Write a business plan to better understand and organize your business. Plan for the long term and present it to a financial institution for funding. Include your business overview, market research of the business climate in the home improvement industry in your city in Pennsylvania and details of your competitors. Also include a marketing plan showing how you'll advertise and promote business, background information regarding you, your key employees and partners, financial projections and contracts or legal documents.

Contact the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Corporation Bureau to register a business name.

Choose the legal structure of the business, such as sole proprietor, partnership or limited liability corporations. Register your business with the state at:

Dept. of State Corporation Bureau 401 North St. Room 206 Harrisburg, PA 17120 717-787-1057

Visit Pennsylvania’s Department of Revenue website or call the TaxPayer service and Information Center at 717-787-1064 to identify the current tax rates under each legal structure.

Obtain the Individual TaxPayer Identification Number (ITIN) and Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business through the IRS website and filling Form W-7 and Form SS-4, respectively.

Hire painters with a good background. As an employer, you must comply with employee eligibility verification, withholding income taxes, new hire reporting, workplace safety and insurance requirements.

Register online, complete and submit the PA-100 form from a local revenue district office or call 800-362-2050. This enables you to establish multiple accounts such as accounts for sales/use tax, employer withholding tax and unemployment compensation.

Obtain the home improvement contractor license from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, if necessary after the first year. Check for licensing of your employees and subcontractors if necessary. If you have certifications and the required training, you also can get a license from your locality. Check with your local government offices to make sure that there are no other specific licenses.

Market your painting business locally through fliers, newspaper ads and referral incentives. Create a website to describe your services and rates and to list your contact information.


Sign an agreement with a real estate agency to create a more consistent client base.


Alexander Cequea has been writing since 2008. He is an activist, speaker and film producer whose work has been featured in "Enlightennext Magazine" and the Environmental News Network. Cequea is currently producing a documentary about sustainability and consciousness. He has a Master of Business Administration in sustainable business from Maharashi University.