You've stumbled upon the idea to build a painting business and now you're ready to take the next steps.
There's a lot to think about when building a business, so we put together a guide on how to get started, launch, grow and run your painting business.
We also provide you with real-life case studies and examples of founders running successful painting business (and how much💰 they're making today).
💡 Introduction To The Painting Business
Let's take a look at the search trends for paintings over the last year:
How to name your painting business
It's important to find a catchy name for your painting business so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your painting business
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your painting business so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your painting business.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Read our full guide on how to name your business ➡️ here
Is The Painting Business For You?
There are many factors to consider when starting a painting business.
We put together the main pros and cons for you here:
You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
• Ability to start your business from home
It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
• Little startup costs required
The cost to start a painting business costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 1,850 to 29,500.
• Rewarding work
Starting a painting business can be really rewarding and fun work. After all, you're bringing joy and excitement into people's lives.
• Meaningful business connections
You never know who you will meet or get to feature on your email newsletter. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
• Crowded Space
Competition is high when it comes to your painting business, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.
• Motivation of employees
If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your painting business.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Setting Up Your Painting Business (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
If you are planning to start a painting business, the costs are relatively low. This of course, depends on if you decide to start the business on your own or bring on a big team at first.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of a painting business and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $1,850
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $29,500
|Startup ExpensesThese numbers are based off the average expenses incurred when starting a painting business.||Min Startup CostsDefined as an painting business you have started and plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup CostsDefined as an painting business you have started with one other team member. You decided to rent out an office space to set up the business.|
|Licenses and Business FormationThis refers to setting up your business license and establishing any legal contracts.||$250||$1,000|
|PayrollThis number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary up front and the amount of employees you hire. The average salary for a full-time painting business individual is 42,000||$0||$4,000|
|Advertising/PromotionThis includes (but not limited to): paid ads, public relations, networking events etc.||$200||$2,000|
|Website and Email HostingCosts to host website, domain names and email||$100||$300|
|Website Design (Outsourced)Hiring an outside contractor to assist with design elements of your website||$0||$5,000|
|RentThis refers to the office space you decide to work in. Depending on the cost of living, this number could vary.||$0||$2,500|
|Liability InsuranceDepending on which state you live in, the costs and regulations vary for liability insurance. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Shop DecorIf you plan to operate a physical store, you may want to consider decorating the place with wall decor, furniture, plants etc.||$0||$7,000|
|Cleaning SuppliesTo get started, you may want to consider getting basic cleaning supplies. Note that you may not need to buy all the tools and supplies at first. You can consider purchasing in bulk down the road.||$300||$700|
|Equipment and TechnologyThis includes (but is not limited to) any expenses such as: laptops, cameras, office supplies and technology platforms||$500||$5,000|
|Total Starting Costs||$1,850 (min)||$29,500 (max)|
Since the startup costs to start painting business range between $1,850 - $29,500, there are ways you can raise money to cover these costs.
Here are a few ways you can secure additional funding:
- Launch your product on Kickstarter
- Raise capital by asking friends and family
- Apply for a loan
- Find an investor!
How To Price Your Paintings
One of the most challenging and critical pieces to starting your painting business is determining how much to charge for your paintings
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your paintings, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your paintings so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your paintings may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your paintings, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your painting business to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based off of your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your paintings is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your paintings fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your paintings, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Squarespace is a great option for small businesses and is known as one of the easiest platforms to use.
You may find yourself in a decision on whether you should choose Squarespace or WordPress.
The main difference between the two platforms is that Squarespace is known to be more turn-key than WordPress, and does not involve as much management and upkeep.
Benefits of using Squarespace:
- Great for beginners who have little to no coding experience
- Flexible and stylish designs
- You can easily switch up templates (and not feel the need to completely start over)
- Over 55,000 plugins
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
- Advanced: $40/month
WordPress is one of the most common platforms for agencies and landing pages.
Here are the main reasons agencies are using WordPress:
- The platform is free
- SEO is built into the platform (automatically generates title tags and meta descriptions for you)
- Hundreds of different themes that are easily adjustable.
- Great blogging functionality
Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Traditional Launch Strategies (that work):
There are various different ways you can launch your painting business successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your painting business:
- Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
- Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
- Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
- Live sales to get customers excited
- Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your painting business.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here
How To Optimize SEO For Your painting business:
Example from Brandon Wong, founder of Photo Booth Supply Co
SEO is a pretty difficult world to understand. I suggest finding the best talent you can and letting them do what they’re best at.
Sometimes that means bringing the service in house, sometimes it involves an outside agency. For us, the ROI on our spend here is huge. It goes back to what I said about picking the trade show your customers attend. Pick the channel your customers use.
Don’t worry about what you like, where you think you’ll find them, or anything like that. We started hearing from our customers that they found us by searching and so we had to honor that. It has worked very well. The kind of entrepreneur who does research and compares their options tends to land with us. That’s great. Our SEO has changed alongside Google, of course.
When we got started, a lot of people found us through our photography company. They eventually started landing on us for searches about which photobooths had the best picture quality. It’s a natural transition for sure. Trust is big with Google, and people immediately trusted a photographer to have made a great photobooth. It makes sense.
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.
We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Powerful segmentation, no spreadsheets required
Klaviyo makes it super simple to pull in data from your ecommerce platform, point-of-sale software, and other marketing tools. So the only limit to how you segment your audience is your own imagination. Say goodbye to spreadsheets, and say hello to highly relevant, personalized marketing made easy.
Email autoresponders, pre-built & ready to go
Automated triggered email flows for welcome series, abandoned shopping carts and order follow ups are built directly into Klaviyo. All you need to do is activate them, sit back, and watch sales climb.
Report on sales, not just clicks
We know you’re not in business (just) to drive opens and clicks. Don’t worry, we got you. Unlike other platforms, Klaviyo’s reporting is based on actual transactions – so you can immediately see how much money you made and what your marketing ROI is.
- Up to 250 contacts: Free!
- Up to 1,000 subscribers: $30 per month
- Up to 2,500 subscribers: $60 per month
- Up to 5,000 subscribers: $100 per month
- Up to 10,000 subscribers: $150 per month
- Up to 20,000 subscribers: $375 per month
As a brand, you want to deliver an experience that authentic, honest and transparent.
Don't make the mistake of giving your audience less credit than they deserve.
If you go around chasing every trend and only focused on yourself and money, you’re going to lose very quickly.
There have been many times where we have been tempted to do this but stayed true.
Sure we sacrificed sales, but we kept our integrity, played the long game and people saw and appreciated that, and really began emotionally investing in the brand.
Provide Great Customer Service
Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.
Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.
Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.
Customer service is huge for us. Like I talked about, building a community has been one of the best bi-products in the shop.
We want everyone to feel loved, cared for, and appreciated.
If we have a customer that comes in quite a bit, we will begin to notice what they buy and reach out to them if something new comes in if we think they will like it. We also try to call people by name and greet them as if they were entering my home, not just the shop.
Another great way we retain customers is through a loyalty point system. When a customer gains enough points through their purchases, they are rewarded with a discount. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for having them be a great customer.
How To Retain Customers
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your painting business.
Often times, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer, than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your painting business:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write hand written thank you notes
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
If you can afford to hire someone to help support your painting business, outsourcing is a great way to save you time and energy.
Most importantly, outsourcing can help you focus on the core growth of your business, versus spending your time on day to day tasks that other people can do just as well!
If you do plan to outsource your work, it's important to be hyper-familiar with the actual work involved.
Why is it important to be hyper-familiar with the work?
- So you can understand how long it takes
- So you understand the full process, edge cases, things that can go wrong.
- So you can explain it in detail to your employee.
- So you can make sure it actually works (for example - how do you know cold email works for your business if you’re not on the ground floor trying it out?)
- Understanding the tasks at a deep level will save you a lot of time and money.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your painting business.
- How To Start A Faux Painting Or Mural Business: A Guide To Making Money In The Decorative Arts
- How To Start A Painting Business: The Step-By-Step Guide
- How To Start A Painting Business (With Pictures) - Wikihow