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A No-Nonsense Guide for Starting Your Painting Contracting Business

As a painting contractor who has walked the road of starting a contracting business, I've had my fair share of trial and error. The internet is flooded with advice from khaki-wearing, button-up shirt clad 'gurus' who've never laid hands on a paintbrush or set foot on a work site. They offer tips that rarely translate to the real world. Today, however, I'm going to serve up some down-and-dirty, no-nonsense tips from the trenches, laying out crucial steps for starting a contracting business.


Planning: The Cornerstone of your Business

The adage, "failing to plan is planning to fail," is particularly applicable when starting a business. To begin, you need to answer a few questions:

  • What services will I offer?

  • What will I avoid offering?

  • Where does my strength lie?

  • What do I enjoy doing and find profitable?

These questions help identify the intersection of profitability, market demand, and your passion. Once you figure out the services to offer, turn to the financial aspect.


Understanding the finances you need is crucial. Many people jump into a contracting business after one-off jobs, assuming the money will keep rolling in. They don't consider the continuity of jobs and the overheads required to maintain the business.


Search for contractor budgeting and overhead articles, podcasts, or videos. They will help you estimate the money you need to keep your business afloat. Also, figure out what to charge for your services, your sales process, and how to track and keep leads.


Lastly, plan your daily activities. If you wake up without a specific plan for the day, you'll find yourself aimlessly running errands. Have a clear vision of what your typical day would look like.


Protection: Shielding Your Hard Work

As you build your business, earn money, and create goodwill, you also become vulnerable. Operating without proper protection like insurance, the necessary permits, or licensing can torpedo your efforts in a heartbeat. Protect yourself to avoid losing everything when disaster strikes.


Payment: Mapping Out Your Income Channels

Knowing how you'll get paid is fundamental. Have a business bank account and a system to accept different payment forms, like checks or credit cards. If you're still worried about the cost of credit card charges, you're probably not charging enough.


The type of business entity you establish is also crucial here. Starting as a sole proprietor offers limited protection. Therefore, knowing who the check is made out to, be it you or the business, can make a significant difference.


Promotion: Making Your Business Known

Promotion is your number one job when starting a business. Your trade skills are secondary to getting leads and selling jobs. Word-of-mouth referrals are great, but they aren't sustainable for building a long-term business. To make your competition irrelevant and command your prices, you must promote your business every day. With social media and online marketing tools, it's easier than ever.


In a nutshell, if you plan to quit your day job and start your own business, ensure that you have a solid plan, protection, a clear payment system, and a robust promotion strategy. Remember, you must also identify what makes you unique among the sea of other contractors out there. The path might be tough, but with these steps in mind, you're setting a solid foundation for your painting contracting business. The road to being your own boss and building a successful business begins here.



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