How to Become a Painting Contractor: License & Requirements

Everything you need to become a successful painter

By George Leon | Posted on May 14, 2022 | Updated on June 25, 2022

Becoming a painting contractor is surprisingly more straightforward than many people think. One constant in the world is that new homes and buildings will need paint, and existing properties will need the same thing. Demand and low barrier of entry make starting a painting business an appealing avenue.

If you aspire to own your own painting business and start getting painting contracts, it’s necessary to follow the steps we lay out in this blog post to get set up for success.

Let’s get into what you need to start a painting business:

If you want to operate a business, you need to handle your legal and finances first. Depending on the state, painting contractors legally need to be licensed, insured, and bonded before they can enter the painting trade. For any business owner, it’s necessary to register your business, most likely as an LLC or corporation. Having a legal entity such as an LLC or corporation will allow you to also open up a business bank account to keep your personal and business finances separate.

Write a Business Plan

The first thing any business needs is a business plan. The good thing about working in the trades is that your services are needed virtually everywhere, and you’re not reinventing the wheel. You can take what’s made other painting businesses successful and replicate them in your industry.

What are a few necessary things every successful painting business thinks about?

  1. Business Structure
  2. Services Offered
  3. Market Analysis
  4. Management & Staffing
  5. Revenue & Profit Goals
  6. Hiring Employees vs Hiring Subcontractors

Plan these five items out ahead, and you will be miles ahead of 99% of painting contractors.

What Tools and Equipment Do I Need to Start a Painting Business?

Here’s a list of necessary tools, supplies, and equipment that can get you started as a professional painter:

  • Quality brushes
  • Two ladders 8′-12′ and a 28′-32′ sizes
  • Rollers and trays
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Caulk and masking gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Wire brush
  • Spray machine
  • Pressure washer
  • Scaffolding

Ideally, you should have a budget of between $3,000- $5,000 if you’re buying all of this from scratch. You will make all of this back and some as you get jobs. If your goal is to get commercial painting leads, plan on spending more on equipment since you will likely need a larger team to handle large-scale projects.

Tips On Starting A Painting Business

Set Up A Marketing Plan

Without customers, you don’t have a business. For contractors, it’s best to take a short-term and long-term approach to marketing. How can I get customers THIS WEEK while also setting up marketing strategies that consistently gets me customers in the future?

Short Term Marketing Ideas:

Long Term Marketing Ideas:

  • Create a website
  • Claim your Google Business Profile
  • Create branded social media accounts
  • Get business cards
  • Decal your car

Learn How To Bid

Knowing how much to charge customers will help you optimize your ability to get jobs while making a proper profit every time you get paid on your painting invoice. The only way to get good at bidding paint jobs is by sending lots of painting proposals, so all we can say is, “buckle up”!

Keep Track Of Finances

It’s necessary to keep track of all your expenses and revenue. At the end of each month, you should have an idea of your total profit for tax purposes and so you can pay yourself. Bookkeeping will keep you in good standing with the IRS and save you tons of time as your painting business grows. Tracking finances is always crucial whether you have a large team or you’re a one-man painting company.

Consider Formal Training

Whether you plan on doing the painting yourself or hiring out the fieldwork, investing in learning the basics of the trade through a painting training course can help you better understand how to provide stellar results for your clients.

Final Thoughts

If you have the will and the skill to be a painting contractor, then there’s no reason why you can’t start a painting company.

I wish you luck as you embark on the exciting journey of entrepreneurship in the painting world.

Written by

George Leon is a Managing Partner at Scalebloom (Parent company of BusinessHue). He used to be a partner at a painting company in Charlotte NC. George loves to help business owners scale their business with modern marketing strategies and branding.