Painting Business Franchise Pros and Cons

If you’re reading this article it’s because you’re considering a franchise for your painting business. Fun Fact: Here at Base Coat Marketing we got our start working with Painting Franchises, so we know a little about this space. Let’s start with a simple question…

Are painting franchises worth the investment?

Painting Franchises provide a stable platform to focus 100% of your energy on the craft, leaving most other aspects of your painting business such as branding, marketing, painting lead generation, and even business management to the franchise. With that said, franchises are not for everyone. Franchise fees, long-term contracts, service limitations, and required vacation time all contribute to the hesitations most painting business owners face when considering a franchise commitment.

Here, we’ll review the Big-3 Painting Franchises along with the pros and cons of each. We’ll discuss the real cost of owning a painting franchise and determine if your business objectives align with this type of business model.

Let’s jump in!

CertaPro Painters: Franchise Review

CertaPro Painters Review

With over 375 locations CertaPro Painters is the largest painting franchise in North America. CertaPro Painters serves both the USA and Canada and is widely rated as one of the best painting franchises on the market.

How much does a CertaPro Painters franchise cost?

While CertaPro Painters does provide several packages to get started, the initial franchise investment typically ranges between $147,750 and $175,500. In addition to the initial investment, there are several other financial requirements such as having liquid capital (cash-on-hand) of at least $75,000. This paired with a 5% royalty fee and a 3% marketing fee can really cut into your bottom line.
(Source: Franchise Direct)

Investment Low High
Initial Franchise Fee $57,500 $57,500
Advertising & Marketing $40,000 $40,000
Miscellaneous Opening Costs $2,000 $3,000
Equipment $1,000 $3,000
Office Equipment $500 $4,000
Vehicle $2,500 $4,000
Contractor License $250 $2,500
Computer System and Proprietary Software $9,000 $11,500
Travel & Living Expenses While Training $500 $3,000
Insurance $5,000 $7,500
Additional Funds $19,500 $29,500
Total Investment $147,750 $175,500

CertaPro Painters: Pros

  • Getting Started is Simple: Everything is laid out for you on their website, including details on start-up costs, training, limitations, and additional financial support.
  • Veteran Incentives: A 10% franchise fee discount is available to military veterans.
  • Your Own Territory: All CertaPro Painters franchisees are given a territory for residential paint jobs. Territories are determined by paint sales, local clients, and buying patterns.
  • Training at Home: While the main CertaPro Painters training takes place in Audubon, PA, franchise owners can receive training at their own locations.

CertaPro Painters: Cons

  • Long-term Contracts: CertaPro Painters franchisees renew every 10-years. If you make the commitment to invest, you’re locked in for a decade.
  • Limitations: Franchise owners have a variety of limitations including predefined service offerings and requirements on the paint products that can be used on the job.
  • Time Commitments: Required training can take 1-2 weeks (40-80 hours) of your time, and the required full-time commitment (absentee ownership is prohibited) will keep you directly involved in day-to-day operations for 10 years.
  • No Financing: While there are several third-party financing resources available, CertaPro Painters offers no direct financial assistance for franchisees.

Five Star Painting: Franchise Review

Five Star Painting Review

Founded in 2002, Five Star Painting is self reportedly the second-largest painting company in North America with over 220 locations in the USA and Canada. While Five Star Painting franchise fees are lower than CertaPro Painters, there is still a high bar to qualify.

How much does a Five Star Painting franchise cost?

A Five Star Painting franchise requires liquid capital (cash-on-hand) of $50,000, an initial franchise fee of $45,000, with an overall total investment of $74,730 to $184,280.
(Source: Franchise Direct)

Investment Low High
Initial Franchise Fee $45,000 $45,000 + $200 per 1,000 additional population over minimum
Software and Other Fees $1,250 $1,250
Call Center Fee $600 $600
Vehicle $2,000 $39,500
Equipment, Supplies and Inventory $2,400 $11,550
Insurance $1,000 $9,000
Advertising & Promotional and Local Marketing Spending for Marketing Startup Phase $15,000 $50,000
Training, Travel, Lodging and Food $1,000 $4,000
Deposits, Permits and Licenses $0 $1,750
Professional Fees $250 $5,000
Additional Funds – 6 months $6,200 $10,600
Real Estate $0 $6,000
Total Investment $74,700 (does not include real estate costs) $184,250 + any additional franchise fee + any real estate costs

Five Star Painting: Pros

  • Veteran Discount: Veterans investing in Five Star Painting receive a 15% discount on the initial start-up fee. This is only for veterans who have been honorably discharged and qualify through the VetFran Program.
  • No Emergency or On-Call Work: Scheduling with Five Star Painting is family-friendly, letting you create your own full-time schedule with plenty of time for home life.
  • Designated Territories: No need to find your own sales area. Five Star Painting places franchisees in optimal territories with room to grow.
  • Marketing Support: Five Star Painting handles all the marketing for your business.

Five Star Painting: Cons

  • Third-Party Franchiser: When you invest in Five Star Painting, you purchase your franchise through Neighborly Franchising. Neighborly deals with more than 29 different brands, not just Five Star Painting.
  • Vague Sign-Up: Unlike CertaPro Painters, Five Star Painting has a vague start-up process. Before you invest, you must download a brochure, speak with a franchise developer, do your own research, visit the company headquarters, and more.
  • Long-term Contracts: Similar to CertaPro Painters, Five Star Painting franchisees renew every 10-years, so you’re locked in for a decade.

Fresh Coat Painters: Franchise Review

Fresh Coat Painters Review

Founded in 2005, Fresh Coat Painters claims to be the “most affordable painting franchise”. With over 130 locations nationwide, Fresh Coat Painters is the smallest franchise we’re reviewing.

How much does a Fresh Coat Painters franchise cost?

To invest in a franchise, Fresh Coat Painters requires an initial investment of $44,900 with a total investment of around $53,945 to $76,845.
(Source: Franchise Direct)

Name of Fee Low High
Initial Franchise Fee $44,900 $44,900
Furniture and Equipment $0 $1,000
Website Fee $135 $135
Computer System $1,000 $3,000
Travel & Living Expenses While Training $500 $1,500
Initial Rent, Telephone, Bank, Licensing Fees, and Other Deposits $0 $2,000
Insurance $2,000 $6,000
Pre-Opening Promotion $3,000 $4,000
Compliance with Regulations $450 $1,350
Additional Funds – 3 months



Monthly Office Rental Payment $0 $1,000
Vehicle $0 $2,000
Investment Total $53,985 $76,885

Fresh Coat Painters: Pros

  • Owners Win Back Fees: Fresh Coat offers a franchise reward program called Winner’s Circle. It is the only painting franchise program that lets franchisees earn back their initial franchise fee investment through achieving milestones.
  • Training: Fresh Coat offers training for franchisees learning to manage a new business. They also offer recruitment support and staff training, saving you time and money on the hiring and training process.
  • Proprietary Tech: Fresh Coat has its own proprietary technology to manage marketing, quotes, invoicing, lead management, and more.
  • Veteran Support: Like the other painting franchises, Fresh Coat Painters support veterans with a $2,000 military discount.

Fresh Coat Painters: Cons

  • Set Services: Owning a Fresh Coat franchise means following franchise rules and including all franchise services set by the company. This means in addition to painting you must also offer a wide variety of other services, such as wallpaper removal and pressure washing.
  • Training in Ohio: When you first sign up for your franchise, your initial training takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio, and lasts approximately one week.
  • Long-term Contracts: Similar to the other franchises, Fresh Coat Painters franchisees renew every 10-years, so you’re locked in for a decade.

Painting Business Franchise Alternative

Painter Marketing Partner

If you’re in the market to invest in a painting franchise you may want to take a step back and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. If you simply want to focus on the trade and delegate the day-to-day operations of owning a business, then a franchise might be your best bet.

The case against franchises: Own your business, not a job

As your business grows you’ll probably want the ability to step back and focus on your home life, leaving someone else to run day-to-day operations. If you want to scale your painting business while maintaining control, then a franchise commitment is not for you.

Find a marketing partner instead

For the most part, any franchise is primarily focused on growing your business so they can increase your annual royalty fees. They own your branding, your money, and your time. If you are looking to maintain control of your painting company while still offloading the marketing operations, we can help.

Base Coat Marketing is a leader in painter marketing services. With our fixed pricing structure, you can scale your business without having to worry about marketing costs impacting your bottom line.

We help painting businesses across North America optimize their PPC campaigns, drive leads via SEO, enhance social media posts and advertising efforts, and we even help facilitate hiring and estimate scheduling. Interested in learning more about our bespoke marketing services for your painting business? We’d love to chat.