Are you looking for a rewarding and profitable business venture in the painting industry? According to IBISWorld, the painting contractors industry has experienced steady growth over the past five years, with an annual growth rate of 3.2% to reach $40 billion in revenue in the United States alone. Painting contractors provide services such as interior and exterior painting, wall covering installation, and decorative finishing. The industry is expected to continue growing as more residential and commercial properties require painting and renovation services.

Starting a painting contractor business may seem daunting, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a successful venture. This blog post will provide a comprehensive checklist of the ten steps you need to follow to open/launch/start a painting contractor business.

Whether you're just starting in the industry or looking to expand your business, this checklist will help you achieve your goals. From researching the painting contractors industry to operating and growing the business, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started.

So let's dive in!

1. Research The Painting Contractors Industry

Before setting up your own painting contractor business, it's important that you thoroughly research the industry. This will give you an understanding of the market demand, the competition, the target audience, and the current trends.

Market Demand

  • Research the market demand for painting contractor services in your area. Find out if there is a need for specialized services, such as residential or commercial painting, or exterior or interior painting.
  • Identify the factors that drive the demand for painting contractor services, such as population growth, the economy, and the local housing market.


  • Research the competition in your area. Identify the top painting contractors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Find out how they are marketing their services and what pricing strategies they are using.
  • Identify the gaps in the market that you can fill, such as offering specialized services or targeting a specific audience.

Target Audience

  • Identify your target audience, such as homeowners, property managers, or commercial clients.
  • Find out their needs, preferences, and expectations when it comes to painting contractor services.
  • Identify the marketing channels that are most effective in reaching your target audience.

Current Trends

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the painting contractor industry, such as new materials and techniques, sustainability, and customer experience.
  • Identify the opportunities that these trends present for your business, such as offering eco-friendly painting services or improving customer service.

Tips and Tricks

  • Attend industry events, such as trade shows and conferences, to gain insights into the latest trends and network with other professionals.
  • Read industry publications, such as trade journals and blogs, to stay informed on the latest news and developments in the painting contractor industry.
  • Utilize online tools, such as Google Trends, to gain insights into market demand and identify popular search terms related to painting contractor services.

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2. Develop A Business Plan

A successful painting contractor business requires a strategic and well-planned approach. The development of a business plan is crucial to organize and define the overall vision, mission, goals, strategies, resources, and actions to achieve financial growth and stability in the long run. Here are the essential chapters to include in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: This section presents a brief overview of the company's products/services, target market, competition, financial projections, and funding requirements.
  • Company Description: This section explains the legal structure, location, history, mission, vision, values, and unique selling proposition of the business.
  • Market Analysis: This section identifies the target market, customer needs, preferences, behavior, trends, and competition in the local or regional area.
  • Services and Products: This section describes the painting contractor services, pricing, quality standards, warranties, and potential for additional revenue streams.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: This section outlines the promotional tactics, advertising channels, pricing strategy, referral program, and sales process.
  • Operational Plan: This section explains the day-to-day operations, facility, equipment, suppliers, inventory, staffing, training, safety, and quality control.
  • Financial Plan: This section includes the startup costs, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, break-even analysis, funding options, and exit strategy.
  • Appendices: This section includes any additional supporting documents, such as legal agreements, licenses, permits, resumes, and market research data.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Research the industry trends, customer preferences, and competition in your local or regional area before starting your painting contractor business.
  • Structure your business plan to align with the funding requirements and criteria of potential investors, such as banks, venture capitalists, or government grants.
  • Update your business plan regularly to reflect changes in the market, customer feedback, financial performance, and operational efficiency.

By developing a comprehensive business plan, you can identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your painting contractor business and minimize the risks of failure. The business plan serves as a roadmap to guide your daily decisions, actions, and investments and build a strong and profitable business over time.

3. Create A Financial Model

Creating a financial model is crucial for any start-up business as it helps in identifying the amount of funding required, predicting revenue, and calculating relevant key metrics. A financial model typically includes various types of financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Here are some steps to follow when creating a financial model for your painting contractor business:

  • Identify start-up expenses: These expenses include costs such as legal fees, office equipment, insurance, and marketing expenses. Identifying these expenses accurately will ensure you have the necessary funds available to start your business.
  • Estimate revenue: You can estimate your revenue by analyzing competitor data, market research, and sales forecasts. Be realistic with your projections and consider worst-case scenarios to ensure you have enough funds to cover unexpected expenses.
  • Forecast expenses: Forecasting expenses includes research on costs, such as wages, rent, utility bills, taxes, and other recurring expenses. Be thorough in your analysis to ensure you have a complete understanding of all costs associated with your business.
  • Calculate net income: Once you have estimated revenue and forecast expenses, calculate your net income, i.e., profit. Analyze different scenarios to determine where you can cut costs or increase revenue to maintain profitability.
  • Review and revise: Review your financial model regularly, refine your assumptions, and make changes as required. As a start-up business, you may need to adjust your model frequently as you establish yourself in the market.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Consider using accounting software to help create and track your financial model.
  • Don't overlook non-financial factors such as your business's reputation and customer satisfaction as they can impact your revenue.
  • Get professional help from a financial advisor or mentor to ensure accuracy and effectiveness of your financial model.

Creating a financial model can be complex and challenging, but it is an essential task that can help you succeed in your painting contractor business. Accurate financial modeling will help you make informed decisions, manage cash flow, and keep you on track to achieve your long-term goals.

4. Look For Funding (Loans, Grants Etc.)

Starting a painting contractor business can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to financing. You need to acquire equipment, hire employees, and set up your workspace, among other startup expenses. While many entrepreneurs rely on personal savings to finance their new business, there are other options available. Here are some financing options for your painting contractor business:


A loan is an excellent option if you need significant capital upfront. However, you must have a solid business plan, good credit, and the ability to repay the loan. There are different types of loans, such as SBA loans, bank loans, and online loans, so it's essential to research which loan is right for you. It's essential to have a clear understanding of the interest rates and repayment terms before applying for a loan.


If you prefer not to take out a loan and have a unique business idea, you can research grants for your painting contractor business. Many organizations and government agencies provide grants to small businesses. However, it's essential to check the eligibility criteria and application process before applying.


Crowdfunding is a relatively new financing option that allows entrepreneurs to raise money through online platforms. Entrepreneurs create campaigns with specific goals, and anyone can contribute to the campaign. This method of financing is growing in popularity, although it requires a lot of marketing and promotion to be successful.

  • TIP: Before seeking funding, it's essential to have a clear business plan that outlines your goals, expenses, and financial projections.

Equipment Leases

Leasing equipment can help you conserve your cash and avoid significant upfront costs. There are many leasing options available, depending on the equipment you need. It's essential to research your leasing options and ensure that the equipment is fit for your business needs.

Angel investors

Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest in startups and small businesses. Angel investors can offer mentorship, expertise, and networks. However, they usually require equity in your business since they are investing a significant amount of money. Networking and building relationships with potential investors are essential steps to finding angel investors.

  • TIP: Be sure to fully understand the terms of any agreement before agreeing to financing, leasing, or investment.

Tips & Tricks for Financing Your Painting Contractor Business

  • Be sure to shop around for the best interest rates and repayment terms when seeking financing.
  • Networking with potential investors and building relationships can help you find financing opportunities.
  • When applying for grants, be sure to tailor your application to the grant's eligibility criteria and requirements.

5. Establish Company Structure

Before you launch your painting contractor business, it's important to establish the company structure. Here are the key steps to follow:

5.1 Choose a Business Entity

The first step is to choose the type of business entity you want to establish. Options include a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each has its own pros and cons, so it's important to consult a legal professional to determine which option is best for you.

5.2 Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Next, you'll need to obtain any necessary permits and licenses required by your local or state government. This may include a contractor's license, business license, and permits for any construction work you will be doing.

5.3 Establish a Business Structure

You will need to establish a business structure, including choosing a name for your business, registering your business with the IRS, and obtaining any necessary tax ID numbers.

5.4 Determine Your Accounting and Bookkeeping System

It's important to have an accounting and bookkeeping system in place to keep track of your expenses and income. You may want to consult with an accountant or bookkeeper to determine which system will work best for your business.

5.5 Hire Staff and Establish Work Processes

As your business grows, you may need to hire staff to help with painting, customer service, or other tasks. Establish clear work processes and procedures to ensure that your team is efficient and effective.

5.6 Establish Safety Regulations and Protocols

Safety should be a top priority for any painting contractor business. Establish safety regulations and protocols to keep your employees and customers safe on the job site.

Tips and Tricks for Establishing Your Company Structure:

  • Consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure you are setting up your business structure correctly.
  • Keep accurate records of your finances and business operations.
  • Communicate clearly with your staff and customers to establish expectations and avoid misunderstandings.

By following these steps to establish your company structure, you'll be laying a solid foundation for your painting contractor business and setting yourself up for success.

6. Obtain Permits And Licenses

Before starting your painting contractor business, it is important to obtain all the necessary permits and licenses. These will not only help you avoid legal issues and fines, but will also help establish your business as a credible and legitimate company.

  • Research and understand the required permits and licenses for painting contractors in your state/city/region.
  • Contact your local government agencies and inquire about the specific licenses and permits required for your business.
  • Apply for the necessary permits and licenses, and be sure to have all documents and fees in order.
  • Ensure that your business is fully insured and bonded, as many permits and licenses require proof of this.
  • Keep all permits and licenses up-to-date and renewed as required by your local government.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Don't assume that you only need one permit or license. There may be several that apply to your type of business in your area.
  • Check to see if there are any special certifications or training required for painting contractors in your region.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to apply for permits and licenses. This process can take time, so plan ahead.

By obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, you will be able to operate your painting contractor business with confidence and avoid any legal issues that may arise.

7. Source Supplies And Equipment

As a painting contractor, you will need various supplies and equipment to carry out your work. From paint and brushes to ladders and safety gear, sourcing the right tools and materials can be a time-consuming process. Here are some tips to help you streamline the process:

  • Research suppliers: Look for vendors who specialize in painting supplies. Consider both local and online options. Check reviews and ratings from other contractors to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.
  • Create a checklist: Make a list of all the supplies and equipment you require. This will ensure you don't miss anything important and will help you plan your budget.
  • Compare prices: Once you have your checklist, start comparing prices from different suppliers. Ask about quantity discounts and seasonal promotions to save some money.
  • Invest in quality tools: Don't compromise on quality. Investing in reliable tools and equipment will ensure that you can do your job more efficiently and produce better results, which will attract more clients.
  • Consider leasing: If you need expensive equipment like scaffolding or power washers, consider leasing instead of buying outright. This can help you save money and free up cash for other aspects of your business.

Pro Tips:

  • Don't buy everything at once. Prioritize the essentials and add to your inventory as you go along.
  • Attend trade shows and exhibitions to stay up to date with the latest tools and technologies.
  • Don't forget about safety gear. Invest in high-quality masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect yourself and your workers from hazardous materials and chemicals.

By following these tips, you can efficiently source the supplies and equipment that you need to launch your painting contractor business. Remember, investing in quality materials and reliable equipment will help you stand out from competition and build a loyal customer base.

8. Market The Business

Congratulations! You have successfully launched your painting contractor business. Now comes the most important part, marketing. You need to get the word out to potential customers and let them know about your business. Here are some ways to market your business effectively:

  • Create a Website: In this digital age, a well-designed website is a must. Make sure your website is user-friendly and displays all your services and contact information clearly.
  • Social Media Marketing: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you reach a wider audience. Create a business account on these platforms and keep your audience engaged with regular updates and posts.
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Nothing beats a satisfied customer. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave a review on your website or social media page. Positive reviews can attract more customers to your business.
  • Referral Marketing: Offer discounts or other incentives to customers who refer your business to their friends and family. This can be an effective way to increase your customer base.
  • Email Marketing: Send regular newsletters and updates to your existing customers about your services, promotions, and discounts.

Marketing Tips & Tricks

  • Collaborate with other businesses in your area, such as interior designers or real estate agents, to reach more potential customers.
  • Attend local events like home shows or trade fairs to showcase your services and reach out to new customers.
  • Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your website's search engine rankings and attract more traffic.

Marketing is an ongoing process, and you need to keep experimenting with new ideas and techniques to attract more customers to your business. Remember to track your marketing efforts and analyze the results to see what works best for your business. Good luck!

9. Hire And Train Staff

As you start your painting contractor business, it's important to make sure that you have the right staff in place. This includes both office staff and painters. Here are some steps you can take to hire and train your new employees.

  • Define the Roles You Need to Fill: Before starting to hire staff, you need to determine what roles you need to fill. This includes both office staff and field staff. You'll need an office manager, salespeople, painters, and administrative staff.
  • Write Job Descriptions: It's important to create job descriptions for each role, so that applicants know exactly what you're looking for. These descriptions should include the job title, tasks and responsibilities, and required skills and qualifications.
  • Advertise the Job Openings: Advertise your job openings on various job boards, classified ads, and your website. You can also use social media to spread the word.
  • Screen Applicants: Review resumes, cover letters, and application materials to narrow down the candidates and identify those you want to interview in person.
  • Conduct Interviews: Conduct interviews to get a better sense of the candidates' skills and qualifications, as well as their fit with your company culture.
  • Make Job Offers: Once you've identified the right candidates, make them a job offer. Be sure to discuss pay, benefits, and other important details.
  • Train Your Staff: Once you have employees on board, it's important to train them. This includes both technical skills (such as proper painting techniques) and soft skills (such as customer service).
  • Continuing Education: Make sure that your staff are continuously learning through continuing education classes and seminars. This will help them maintain and improve their skills.

Tips & Tricks

  • Tips #1: When crafting job descriptions, emphasize the qualities you're looking for in your ideal candidate, such as a positive attitude, reliability, and attention to detail.
  • Tips #2: When interviewing candidates, make sure to ask behavioral questions that reveal how the person has handled situations in the past, rather than hypothetical situations.
  • Tips #3: To keep your employees motivated, offer performance incentives such as bonuses or profit sharing.

10. Operate And Grow The Business

Once you have launched your painting contractor business, the next step is to operate and grow it. This step is crucial for ensuring the success of your business in the long run. Here are some essential chapters you should consider implementing as part of your business strategy:

Chapter 1: Hire And Train Employees

If you want to grow your painting contractor business, you will need to invest in hiring and training employees. This will help you increase your capacity and handle more painting projects. Look for skilled and experienced painters who can deliver high-quality work. Create a training program that will equip your employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure they meet your clients' expectations.

Chapter 2: Invest In Marketing And Advertising

If you want to attract more clients, you need to invest in marketing and advertising your painting contractor business. Consider developing a website that showcases your services and your portfolio. Use social media platforms to reach more potential clients. You can also advertise your business in local newspapers, community newsletters, and on radio stations. Don't forget to ask your satisfied customers to leave you positive reviews on major review websites like Google, Yelp, or Facebook. This can help you attract more clients who are looking for professional painting contractors.

Chapter 3: Develop Partnerships With Suppliers And Contractors

Developing partnerships with suppliers and contractors can help you grow your painting contractor business. You can negotiate better prices for materials and equipment, get access to new products, and collaborate on larger projects. Consider reaching out to other contractors and businesses in your area to explore potential partnerships.

Chapter 4: Monitor Your Finances And Performance Metrics

Monitoring your finances and performance metrics is crucial for the growth and success of your painting contractor business. Keep track of your expenses, revenues, and profits. Use performance metrics such as customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and project completion time to evaluate your business's performance. This will help you identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategy and operations accordingly.

Chapter 5: Evaluate And Adapt Your Strategy

As you operate and grow your painting contractor business, you will need to evaluate your strategy regularly and adapt it to changing market trends and customer needs. Stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments and trends. Listen to your customers' feedback and adjust your services accordingly. This will help you stay competitive and relevant in the market.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Tip 1: Use project management tools to increase your team's efficiency and productivity. Tools like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp can help you streamline communication, assign tasks, and monitor project progress in real-time.
  • Tip 2: Offer referral incentives to your satisfied customers. Encourage them to refer their friends and family members to your painting contractor business. This can help you attract new clients and increase your business's credibility.
  • Tip 3: Stay engaged and active in your community. Attend local events and networking meetings. This can help you establish connections with other business owners and potential customers.

Opening a painting contractor business can be a profitable and rewarding venture, especially with the steady growth of the industry. By following the ten steps outlined in this checklist, you can start your own business and achieve success.

Remember to conduct thorough research of the painting contractors industry, develop a business plan and financial model, and establish a strong company structure. Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, sourcing supplies and equipment, and marketing your business are also essential steps to take.

Hiring and training staff is crucial, as is operating and growing the business over time. By following these steps, you can create a successful painting contractor business that generates up to $40 billion in revenue annually in the United States alone.

So start planning today and turn your passion for painting into a thriving business!

Excel financial model

Painting Contractor Financial Model
  • 5-Year Financial Projection
  • 40+ Charts & Metrics
  • DCF & Multiple Valuation
  • Free Email Support