How to Start a Painting Business

Opening your own painting business can allow you to live your dreams, act as your own boss, set your hours, and work in a satisfying career field. Setting up a successful painting business requires forethought and planning.

Here we will review the steps required to open a new, successful painting business in 2022.

Essential Factors to Consider Before Opening Your Own Painting Business

Opening your own business represents a huge step in your career. The painting industry offers a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs. However, before you begin making your business plan, we recommend that you understand the basic technical skills necessary to handle your own painting projects.

Make sure that you know:

  • How to scrape, patch, and sand surfaces to prepare them for paint application.
  • How to properly prepare, tape, and protect surfaces before painting begins.

  • Applications of different kinds of paint (including acrylic and oil-based paints) and which material each are suitable for.

  • The proper use and application of primer.
  • The proper use of brushes, rollers, and paint sprayers.

So what if you plan on hiring your own painters or subcontractors to take care of the actual painting project work?

Well, we still recommend that you understand the best methods for taking care of a painting job. Understanding the ins and outs of painting can help you avoid costly mistakes, maintain a higher quality of service, and have a good reputation with your clients.

Consider the Legalities of Opening Painting Businesses

Painting Business Checklist

You must take several legal steps to begin operating a painting business. First of all, make sure you come up with a name for your business. Once you have a name, follow the steps below.

1) Register Your Business

Registering your company requires you to decide on the kind of company you want to run. Your business structure often impacts the rules you have to follow when starting a new enterprise. You can operate your business as a:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)

New business owners should register with their state secretary. Often, you can handle the registration process on your own with little effort. If you’re looking for an automated solution we recommend using an online service like Incorporate Fast which can have you up and running within 30 days for as little as $99.00.

2) Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN) if Applicable

Depending upon the kind of business you open, you might need to get an EIN. For example, LLCs require an EIN to file taxes or open up a bank account. You can sign up for an EIN through the IRS website or by using a service such as Incorporate Fast.

3) Acquire Your Business License

You need a business license to legally operate as a small business in the US. Different states have specific licensing requirements. The Small Business Administration (SBA) can provide you with information about your state’s requirements.

4) Sign Up for Business Insurance

We strongly recommend acquiring insurance before taking on your own residential or commercial painting projects. Depending upon the requirements in your state and your business requirements you may require:

  • Health insurance policies
  • Vehicle insurance policies
  • General liability insurance policies
  • Workers’ compensation policies

Most painting businesses carry multiple insurance policies for protection. Your insurance policies serve as safety nets, protecting you from financial liability in the event of injuries or property damage on a job site.

Set Up Banking and Bookkeeping for Your Business

Painting Business Bookkeeping

Before you start offering interior or exterior painting services, it’s essential to get your finances in order. So many painters miss this critical step and end up scrambling to appropriately file taxes or report their earnings.

The best way to accomplish this is to set up a business bank account to handle cash flow as a business entity. Do not mix your business expenses and assets with your personal assets. Use the cash flow into your business bank account to pay for:

  • Your salary
  • Your employees (or subcontractors)
  • Business expenses and overhead

Some painting companies hire an accountant, but that may prove too expensive if you’re just getting started. Consider accounting software like QuickBooks to handle the numbers for your new painting company.

Develop Your Brand

Part of opening a profitable painting business involves establishing your brand. You should include branding guidelines in your business plan. Think about:

  • Your company color scheme and logo.
  • What makes your business unique? What are the selling points?

  • Purchasing uniforms and branding for your business vehicle.

As a professional painter, you should also design and print some business cards. Include information about your business like your email address, website, and phone number.

Create a Website for Your Painting Business

Painter Website Design and Development Services

A website allows you to reach your target audience online, which is where over 90% of your customers begin searching for your services. Make sure you have your business plan in order before purchasing a domain. Start by ensuring the domain you want and the social media profiles you’ll need to create are all available. The last thing you want is to purchase a business name that is already registered in another state and has claimed all the online profiles.

While we already wrote an in-depth article detailing the essential elements of a painting business website, a few highlights include:

  • Every page needs a contact form
  • Prominently feature your phone number
  • Add a live chat application to your website
  • Use an online appointment booking application
  • Include social proof/customer reviews

Be sure to include details about the painting services you offer in your local market. Clarify whether you offer both interior and exterior painting services, commercial and residential, in addition to “specialty” services such as cabinet painting.

Think About Your Equipment Needs

Before you can begin painting, you need the right equipment. Your customers will expect you to have your own equipment if you operate your own company. Residential and commercial painters may require:

  • Drop cloths
  • Edging tools
  • Painters tape? (I know, it’s a controversial topic)

  • Brushes and rollers
  • Sandpaper and scrapes
  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding (this can be rented)

When starting a new painting business, you may not have the funds to purchase all your equipment right away. We recommend requiring a downpayment to build up your supplies before you get started. Otherwise many successful painting businesses take out a business loan to cover their upfront expenses.

Learn How to Estimate Jobs & Write Contracts


It’s critical that any painting business owner learns how to estimate jobs and write contracts. Before you accept your first job, make sure you visit the job site to look over the conditions and evaluate the scale of your project. Here are a few tips to help with estimating your first job:

  • Estimate how long the job will take

  • Multiply the number of hours by labor costs

  • Add in overhead costs, material costs, and your ideal profit margin

When a client accepts your estimate, it’s time to draw up a contract for the project. The contract should at a minimum include:

  • The scope of the work you agree to perform
  • The client’s total costs
  • Your terms and conditions

Keep in mind, there are several services and apps that can help generate estimates and manage contracts for you. We recommend looking into DripJobs for their extensive estimating capabilities and text message + email automations.

Market Your Painting Company