If you’re in need of work and you’re good with a paintbrush (you’ve done a great job on your own house), it is very tempting to branch out into the house painting business. It has a relatively low start-up cost, and there is always demand. But there is also a lot of competition, so what can you do to make your business a success?
Be realistic. Are you good enough at this moment to make a living from painting? If you are going to price competitively and get a realistic return for your time you are going to have to work not only well, but fast. If you have any doubt about that, then consider getting some training.
One lesson in business is universal—without a business plan you will fail. Your plan puts down all the thinking you need to do before you start, and it will be your roadmap as you build. Among other things it will define:
- The type of service you will offer. Inside, outside, or both? Residential or workplace? Working to a ready-made brief or offering advice? They all require a difference approach.
- The market you will aim for. Are there enough properties in your area to keep you in work? You will need to research and find out what is already available, and look for a gap in the market.
- Your strategy for standing out from the crowd. It might be your pricing, or the speed with which you can start a job, or specialised services.
- Your expected costs, and what profit you can realistically expect from your pricing?
There are legal hoops to jump through. Read up on national and provincial requirements. You will need to register as a business for tax purposes, and abide by all the local requirements for running a business from your address. You will also need insurance, for yourself and for your liability to customers and public.
Next you need to assemble the equipment that you need. Paintbrushes, paint trays and rollers; ladders and boards (perhaps scaffolding); sheets and cleaning materials.
You will also need a vehicle. Most indoor decorators use a van, but if you plan to work outside you might consider something like a RAM 1500 pick-up truck, which can carry the stuff you need into some robust situations.
Finally you need to get your name known out there where the work is. Depending on your market, you might use flyers, brochures, door-to-door postings, notices in shop windows and local newspapers.
Build a website that will enable people to see what sort of work you do. Get a link to it in local trade websites and encourage customers to review you if they are pleased with your work.
If all these factors fall into place, then you are well on the way to running a successful and rewarding business. You will have the satisfaction of being your own boss, and the pleasure of having customers who will be grateful for work well done.
Adam Hamilton is an idea’s man with an entrepreneurial mindset who enjoys coming up with business ideas that anyone can start. He shares his ideas online, encouraging everyone to go into business for themselves, even if just as a hobby which earns money!