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Advice for Those Starting a Painting Business

With the pandemic seemingly crawling towards its finality, business is back on the table. In the next few months the UK should see thousands of people looking to start their own painting business and many of them will be looking for some advice.

With this in mind, we decided to ask some well respected painters and decorators for their advice for beginners starting to make their way in our profession.

Keep reading to gain some valuable advice and insights.

Dean

Don’t cut corners and use quality products. Know them well and don’t let customers provide materials. Stick to one merchant to begin with then grow them as your business grows.

Start timing yourself on each thing you do! Time is money! Note preparation time and cost on everything – this is your foundation on pricing and you’ll win or lose on prep. Learn how efficient you are. Know your worth and this will help you price work at rates you are comfortable with without needing to ask others. Choose work you want that will look good on your portfolio and customers who pays to appreciate a high level of service.

Don’t be a busy fool doing cheap work and being rushed off your feet finishing what ends up being sub standard paint jobs. No point working like a slave for cost of living wage doing 250 jobs over a 365 day year when you could earn the same working half that time. Make sure you have quality of life around self employment – this is why you’re doing it after all.

When you get good enough and have a reputation, you will eventually only attract high quality work and fill your 365 yearly with great work at great profit and know it’s worth the graft. Too many people I know have lifestyle businesses that offer small margins of profit and they work all hours and 6/7 days a week.

THIS TRADE IS HARD ON YOU – balance it or you are knackered physically with nothing to show for it. Always remember you aren’t getting holiday pay so you’ll need to save for that. You aren’t getting sick pay you need to save for that. You aren’t getting a pension YOU NEED TO SAVE FOR THAT. You aren’t getting free equipment you need to save for that. You aren’t getting support on mistakes – they cost YOU. You aren’t getting your transport maintenance paid for you need to save for that.

Obviously this advice is for self employed but much of the knowing your worth info will help you when deciding to go self employed. How fast are you, price the materials, know the value in them, note them in a diary, set a solid foundation of knowledge and you will do well employed or not.

James

The most important advice I can give you as a painter: please take pride in your work. Never try to rush through a job. Quality is way better than quantity. You’ll make more money in the long run if you put all the great product than rush through a project as a hack! Remember the one important thing: take pride in your work.

Mel

Here’s my advice for newly self-employed painters (hope your readers can take something from this):

  • Don’t underbid yourself
  • Communication is key with your client
  • Be ready to learn from those around you
  • Treat a client’s home and property as your own
  • Prep is the most important part of your job, otherwise you’re just polishing rubbish
  • Deliver quality results

Ben

It’s a little bit of a cheeky one but always overestimate time frames, so the client is pleasantly surprised with the speed of your work but you won’t have to rush.

Tom

If you’re just starting out I’d apply at a few companies and try to learn from the boss. Remember attitude and work ethic is of massive importance. We see a ton of new guys that say they have this but then have a terrible attitude and zero motivation and expect top pay. Dealing with that makes it very hard to want to take the extra time to help someone learn. Essentially its adding extra work to the experienced guy’s day without the extra pay.

Some guys wont want to help at all and you’ll end up hating it. Attitude and ability to follow instruction is the most important part. The guys that have been doing this for 20 years have been applying a liquid on stuff defying gravity and learned to do it efficiently without making a mess. There is more to it than the average person gives us credit for!