One Man Painting Company: Pros of a Solo Painting Business

Is a solo painting business worth it?

George Leon | Updated January 29, 2023

When starting your painting business, you have a lot of decisions to make. One of those decisions is whether or not you plan to hire employees or subcontractors or perform all the painting jobs yourself and be a one-man painting company.

While each option offers its own benefits, one option might appeal more to you than another.

As a new painting company business owner, it can be hard to know the right route for your business.

We’ve broken down the pros and cons of hiring a team of employees, working with subcontractors, or being a one-man show to help you determine which option best aligns with your business goals.

Should Your Hire Employees for Your Painting Company?

Not sure if you can handle all the painting leads on your own? If so, you might be considering hiring your own employees or subcontracting your painting jobs to help knock out more jobs each month.

Before deciding the best choice for your business, you need to understand the difference between hiring employees and subcontractors. If you’re leaning towards hiring permanent employees, there are legal responsibilities you’ll be held accountable for.

As an employer, you would be responsible for:

  • Hiring a competent and skilled team that you trust to handle the jobs you give them
  • Providing your employees with all the supplies and materials needed to perform jobs
  • Offering your employees health benefits, paid vacation, sick leave, family leave, and other benefits, if eligible
  • Paying your employees a salary regardless of the amount of work they complete
  • Processing payroll and dealing with business taxes related to employees

While it can be nice to work with the same group of people on all of your projects, hiring employees can be a costly endeavor when you first become a painting contractor.

That’s why many painting business owners opt for hiring subcontractors or performing the work themselves — which we get into next.

Should You Use Subcontractors for Painting Jobs?

Hiring painting subcontractors can be a very cost-effective option for those starting out. Instead of dealing with endless headaches from managing your own team, hiring and training new employees, and working on payroll and benefits, hiring subcontractors takes some of that burden off.

Unlike employees that will work for you and only you, painting subcontractors:

  • Send you a painting invoice for each job.
  • Pay for their own painting supplies instead of relying on you for materials and equipment
  • Aren’t eligible for employee health benefits or paid time off
  • Have the ability to work for multiple painting companies at the same time
  • Are given the ability to accept or decline paint jobs that are offered to them

Subcontractors are a great way for a painting company to get a few extra hands to help with an influx of sales, but won’t cost you any money if there is a lull in sales due to seasonality.

You can reach out and hire them to help with jobs only when the extra help is needed; otherwise, you can handle all the jobs coming in on your own.

Is It Possible to Do It All Yourself?

Now that we’ve covered the two options you have for hiring help, you might be wondering if you can be a one-man show and handle all the painting jobs independently.

Whether you don’t want to deal with the hassle of managing a team or you’re trying to cushion your bottom line as much as possible, handling everything on your own is feasible.

The emergence of helpful apps for painting contractors makes it easier than ever to run a solo business. For example, you can use Quickbooks instead of hiring an accountant or use customer relationship management (CRM) tools to make it easy to stay in touch with your customers without needing an office administrator.

Advantages of a One-Man Painting Company

If you have some experience painting, you’ll be able to write a business plan and take on jobs starting from day one, bringing in money right away. There won’t be any downtime, and you’ll automatically start seeing those profits come rolling in.

You will even have the opportunity to estimate your painting jobs a bit lower sometimes because you won’t need to worry about divvying out any of the costs to split amongst a team. However, you don’t want to get into the habit of lowballing your bids.

Disadvantages of a One-Man Painting Company

While it’s possible to be a one-man show in the painting business, you won’t be able to grow your business quickly or at all. You will only be able to handle so many jobs on your own — and you’ll hit that quota pretty quickly once you ramp up.

This means that you might have more leads than you can handle.

Once more leads come in the door than you have the time and ability to fulfill on your own, it’s time to consider bringing on an employee or subcontractor to help.

Doing so will allow you to increase the number of jobs you complete each month, which has the opportunity to double the amount of profit your painting company is making each month. The more revenue you make, the faster your business will go.

But be mindful of hiring too many people too soon — the more you can handle successfully on your own, the quicker you’ll cushion your bottom line.

If you eventually decide to grow your team, either with employees or subcontractors, don’t hire more than one person at a time. By cost-effectively building your team, you won’t see a big dip in your profits by adding people to your team at the right time. And as a business owner, that’s a win-win scenario.

The Verdict: You Can Run a One-Man Painting Company

So is it possible to have a one-man painting company? Yes. But you will need to consider the limitations it causes.

While you’ll get to keep all of the profit because it won’t need to be split amongst a team, being a solo act greatly impacts the number of jobs you take on a year. The more jobs you can complete, the more profitable your business is.

Ultimately, you will need to weigh the pros and cons and determine what aspects of being in the painting trade are most important to you.

Written by George Leon

George Leon

George Leon is a Managing Partner at Scalebloom. 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.