How To Start A Painting Business From Scratch

Want to start a painting business? Starting a new painting business from scratch can be pretty daunting.

I know I was a bit lost when I decided to start my own contracting business.

But fortunately, you found this site and I will show you step by step how I started my own painting business.

I’m going to share everything I wish I knew when I started. Everything from Branding, to Banking and more.

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Let me say this, I am not saying that this is the best way way to do it.

This is just a way that worked for my new painting business and helped me make and save money.

When I started I had 2 paintbrushes, a cut bucket, a small ladder and I was working out of an old Acura MDX.

Now we have employees that we can provide with tools, vans, and all the fun tools you can have as a painting business.

This EBook is a complete cheat sheet !

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Save yourself the headache of researching and find it all here!

  • How to start your business
  • get insurance
  • incorporate your business
  • how to find new customers
  • getting paid
  • how to hire employees
  • and more!

Everything you need to know is in this book and it’s only $5. Well worth it!

What’s going on everybody, and welcome to the I wish I knew podcast where I will be sharing some of the things that I wish I knew when I first started my business. So let me introduce myself first. My name is Juan. I am the owner of 518 Painters in Albany, New York. We specialize in interior painting and cabinet refinishing. So the whole reason behind this podcast is to really just kind of share some of the things that I learned and that I’m learning as I’m growing my business. Cause I’m definitely not where I want to be yet. I still want to grow the business. But I started off really small. I started off, working out of the back of my Acura and, I barely had any tools and barely had any, knowledge of the business itself. I mean I knew how to paint.


I learned painting years ago, originally I’m from Germany and I started as a plumber. I started to learn the trade but didn’t quite finish cause over there in Germany it’s a little bit different. Over here you go to college, you get a job and whatnot, in Germany they kind of push you more into learning a trade. So once you finish with school, you can decide, after ninth grade or 10th grade to then continue to go to school or learn a trade. You learn that trade for about three years, whether it’s a plumber or electrician, painter, whatever. You learn that for about three years. And then you take your final exam and then you become, what they call a “master of the trade”, which then enables you to teach others and start your own business.

But over there it’s a little bit harder to start a business, just because they make it, they make it harder for you to start your own business because they rather have you as a trained professional and working for somebody else. So they kind of make it harder for you to get your license. And, you have to have, I think like back then it was like 50,000 in your bank account. Just to even, sign up to get a license, and then you’d have to pay another 25,000 to get that license. So it was a, it was a bunch of bs that they, they kind of tried to keep you as just the worker, you know, just a really good trained worker. So I learned the trade back in 1999/ 2000 and I’ve been kind of painting on and off since then. Then, eventually, I decided to move to the States and try my luck here.

Why I Started

I always knew I was going to be my boss. I was wanting to start my own business. So I figured I’d come over here because since this is the land of opportunity, you know, I tried over here. So when I first came to the country, I started as a dishwasher, you know, then I worked in retail and kinda, you know, got stuck working retail for a couple of years and kind of said to myself, you know what? This is not it. , there’s more than he, I need to a, you know, I need to sell them on business. While I was working in retail, I had started working for another painting franchise and I did that for about a year and said to myself, you know what, I can’t do this anymore. I have to, I have to start my own business. So I just quit both jobs and went on my first estimate by myself at that time, my girlfriend was pregnant and she had lost her job.

Getting Started

And it was pretty daunting. I was kinda, I’m not gonna lie, I was almost, I kind of started second-guessing myself if I should do it or not. Luckily my girlfriend at that time kind of pushed me into it and said, do it, do it, I believe in you. So I did it, you know, went out and did my first estimate and completed it, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Went out there completely underbid. That job didn’t lose out but barely made any money on it. But from there on I got my first referral. They referred me to their friends, and they referred me to another friend. And I kinda started building up clientele like that. It was enough to get me by for a couple of months.

But then I had said to myself, I said, okay, listen, there’s gotta be a better way to market myself, you know. I wanted to get more, more leads, um, besides, from this lady, you know, from the initial job and her referrals. So I kind of had to sit down and, really figure out how to market the business, you know, and I started, I hopped online and I went on Google and I checked out all these little things, on how to market your business, everything from going door to door, making flyers. And then I came across online marketing and, how beneficial it could be. So when I had to start my business I didn’t have anybody to show me the ropes. So what I did is, you know, I learned everything on the fly as I went.

Picking A Business Name

That’s why I want to share my knowledge with you so you don’t have to go through all that stuff and you don’t have to dig up all this information and try to stay up all night figuring out where to find this stuff. I want to give you all these websites or these tools, everything that, you need to, to start your business and grow your business. So the first thing you want to do is get a business name. I suggest you get something that has to do with the area that you’re working in. The reason being is that Google likes that. It helps you with your Google rankings, If you, have your area in your name and what you do with your service, what you do. So if you are a painter that is in Connecticut, it would be beneficial if your company name had Connecticut painting.

So it could be Connecticut specialized painting or, excellent painting of Connecticut. You want to have the painting in there and you want to have your area in there because what that does, triggers Google and lets them know that whenever somebody is looking for a painter in Connecticut, it lets them know that you might be the best fit for them just because of that name. Just because when you get your domain name for your website, it’s going to be that same name and that’s going to help Google recognize your business, what you do, and where you are located. So even if you want to use your name, let’s say, your last name is Smith. Try to incorporate, Smith and try to incorporate the area and the painting. So, Smith’s painting of Connecticut, for instance, would do great with Google.

Getting A DBA

And if you can get that domain name, you are set. So the next thing you want to do is after you figure out what you’re going to call your business, you want to register that business name. What I would suggest I would do a little Google search to make sure nobody has that/ nobody’s using that name, especially in your area. Then what you want to do is you want to get a DBA, which is short for doing business as and you can hop online and you can just do a quick Google search. How to file a DBA, go click on the website and download that form, fill it out, and then you’re going to have to go to your County clerk’s office. I don’t know how much it is in your area. When I did back in, I don’t know, 2013, I think it was like $25.

Getting A EIN

So that’s the second thing you want to do when you start in your painting business. Next, you want to get an E I N number, which is your employee identification number. It’s kinda like the social security number for your business. You’re gonna need this number to A, open up a business, banking account, and B, when you are filing your taxes, they’re going to ask you for that number. So you wanna do a quick online search, um, how to get an EIN number. And that search results should get you to the website. Now filing for your EIN number is free and I believe it only takes a couple of hours to get it back. Once you have your EIN number, you then want to go and get your business banking account. You’re going to need your DBA and your EIN number for that to open a business banking account and you just go to your local bank, whatever bank you’re using, and tell them that you want to open up a business banking account.

Setting Up Your Bank Account

Try to pick a bank where you don’t have a minimum balance fee. And here’s a little tip while you’re there, ask for three checking accounts and one savings account. So they’re automatically going to give you a checking and savings account, but ask for three checking accounts. They can do that right there. You want to name the first one income, one name, the second one profit, and you want to name the third one operating expenses. The reason you want to do that is that it’s going to help you save your money and distribute your money properly. So, for instance, when you get a check, as soon as you get your check-in, do you want to take that check and put it into your income account? That should be your main account from where you want to take that and, you can do this all over your phone.

You can do it on the laptop with the online banking, you wanna take your check, well the first thing you want to do is you want to take off 5%. This is what I do. You don’t have to do 5% but I do 5% you can do 1% and you can do 2% and I got this off of the profit first book. Mike Michalowicz is the author. And after I read his book and started implementing this system, I started seeing some cash in my pocket. So again, you want to take a check and put it into your income account, then you want to take 5% 2% whatever you decide on doing a, you can start small and then a grow or you know, add more as you go. But I started with 5% always stuck to 5%.

My Personal Method

I’m going to take, I’ll take 5% and put it into my profit account. Then I’ll take the 30% that I have to pay for taxes. I take it out of the check and put it into the savings account that’s going to be for taxes only. And you never, ever, ever, ever touch that account. A reason is that when it comes time to pay taxes, you want your taxes to be there, never touch it for ANY reason. Even if you’re behind on rent, if you, I don’t care, whatever it is, don’t touch your tax money cause that will mess you up. It’s nothing worse than catching up and back paying, tax back pain for taxes. After you take out the money for the taxes, you wanna take the rest of the money and put it in your operating expenses. Now your operating expenses should fuel your business.

Managing Money

It should pay for, whatever you need for your business, whether it’s your bills, whether it’s tools, whatever it is, the gas, your van, whatever it is, that should come out of the operating expenses. And that’s how you kind of keep track of your income and your expenses as you grow. And later on, the more you get into your business, you’re gonna want to pay attention to all your numbers. And it sounds crazy now, but later, trust me, you’re going to be on top of every penny spent and every penny that comes in. So now back to the profit account. The profit account is what I’d like to do. I’d like to let it build up for six months and then I take it out and I put it in different bank accounts and like a separate online banking account.

So I don’t have to see it. The reason being is, that just Play money. So that’s money that you earned from working. That’s money which you pay yourself with. So you’ve got your business, you make all this money, but every time you look at your bank, there was no money. Like, Aw man, I can’t, you know, here’s something that I wanted that can even afford it. I don’t know whether, it’s something anything, four Wheeler or, I don’t care, whatever it is a, a, maybe even a vacation. But that profit money is YOUR money. You earned them money and treat yourself every three months, every six months, every once a year. I don’t care, whatever it is, but make sure you take that 5% off the top and you’re never gonna miss that. As soon as you get to check and take off that 5% and I promise you you’re not going to miss that.


All right, so I’m going to wrap it up for today. I hope you learned something and if you are just starting your business and you really are trying to figure out where to start, start with this.

Get your name, get your DBA, get your EIN and get your business banking account.

Hopefully, you’ll join me in the next episode. Also, I’m going to have all of this information on my website. So I’ll leave a link below. It’s gonna have all the links that you need to find your DBA and how to get EIN and whatnot. It’s gonna be all written out in a little post. For those of you who need to maybe print this out and, read along, I’ll leave the link below, and hopefully you’ll join me next time. Until then. Keep growing!

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Pick A Business Name

The first thing you want to do when you start a painting business is figuring out the name of your painting company.

If you are planning on franchising the painting business in the future then I would suggest a name that is not specific to one area.

But if you are planning on staying local and crushing it there, then I suggest incorporating the city in your business name.

“Excellence Painters of Albany” or “Painting Pros of New York” for example.

Or maybe even “Scott’s painting of Niskayuna”, whatever you pick make sure it includes the area that you want to dominate before you start a painting business.

I named my painting business  518 Painters.

“518” is the area code we service and “Painters” is to trigger Google and let them know what we do.

With so many businesses online you want to make it super simple for Google to find you and know what you do. So that they can pair you with the person that is looking for a painter in your area online.

google maps 518 painters

Register Your Business Name

Once you figure out your name you should try and Google it to see if anybody already uses that name. If not then you are good to use that name when you start a painting business.

Next, you will have to register your name and get a “DBA” (Doing Business As). Just Google “How to file a DBA in …..(the county you live in).

It will tell you how to file the DBA with your county.

How To Get A EIN Number For Your Painting Business

Now that you have your DBA  for your painting business it is time to get your EIN number.

The EIN number is your Employer Identification Number.

You will need this number to file your taxes. You can get this number for free on the IRS website.

Just Google “How to get an EIN number” and the search result should come up with an link

It is really simple to file. Just follow the instructions it gives you once you click on that link. 

Set Up A Business Bank Account

After you get your DBA and EIN Number, your next step should be to set up your Business Bank Account for your painting business.

Go to your bank and let them know that you need a “Business Account”. You will need your DBA for this.
Use this account only for your business!

Your checking account should be for expenses and your savings account should be for your taxes.

Every time you get paid by a customer you should deposit your check and immediately put the taxes (30% in most cases) in your savings account.


Only when it is time to pay taxes for your painting business.

Here is a little money management suggestion that I wish I did when I started my painting business.

Have them set you up with 3 checking accounts. Name them as followed:

  1. Income
  2. Operating Expenses
  3. Profit

Whenever you get a check deposit it into your Income account.

From there take 5% from that check and put it in your “Profit account”.

Do this first before anything. Then take out 30% and put it in your saving account named “Tax”.

The rest should go in your “Operating Expenses” account to pay any bills associated with your painting business.

Do this with every check and after 6 months take out the money in the “Profit” Account and treat yourself or keep saving.

That money is just for YOU to do whatever you want.

You deserved it after putting in all that work.

Once you complete these steps you are ready to start a painting business that will be killing it!. Of course, you will have to get insurance as well but that is easy to figure out. 

Your next focus should be building an online presence. 

If you want to learn how to do that read “Building An Online Presence For Your Business”

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