The majority of painting companies in the United States have fewer than five employees.  In fact, most of them have only one employee.  Small companies have some advantages over large ones – there’s no waste on middle management, multiple offices or different teams repeating each other’s work.

However, they also have some unique challenges.  More than half of all businesses fail in their first year, before they have a chance to grow into a larger company.  What separates successful small painting businesses from those that fail?  Most painters would rather paint than do these three things – but without them, a business won’t last long.

  1. Bookkeeping

A recent blog article of ours detailed how to price your painting services for profit.  Pricing for failure is one of the most devastating mistakes that a small painting business can make.  Make sure that your pricing allows you to pay your bills and have enough left over to live comfortably without working 60 hours per week!

Once your pricing is right, however, you still have to handle your books regularly.  Have you received the money you’re owed, or do you need to make late payment calls?  Are your bills what you expected them to be – or did one of your providers overcharge you?  Have you paid all of your bills on-time, or will you owe late payments?  And most importantly, do you have a financial buffer in place to cover a bad week or two?  If you spend enough time living on the edge of profitability, eventually an unlucky event will knock you off the ledge.

  1. Building Tools for Customers to Find You

When you first start your business, the odds are high that you’ll have to go find customers, or pay someone to do it for you.  This takes many forms, including postcards, phone calls and knocking on doors.  It’s expensive and time consuming, and it takes away from your time painting.

As your business grows, you want customers to find you instead.  It’s generally cheaper, and it takes no time of yours at all.  Of course, a website is one way to do this – if it searches well people will find you when they need your services.  There are other ways too, however.  One key way is to try to build relationships, both with customers and people such as real estate agents who are frequently asked about painters.  If you have people referring your services, you won’t have to take as much time away from painting to focus on marketing.

  1. Planning for Success

Where do you want your painting business to be five years from now?  You might want your business to look much like it already does, and that’s fine.  But you might also want to grow the business to a point where you’re managing painters instead of handling the painting yourself – or to bring on your first crew of painters. 

Wherever you want to land, you need to put a plan together that will help you get there.  This should include what changes need to be in place by what date, as well as how much money you’ll need to save to make those changes happen.  If you make major changes to your business without thinking about what might go wrong and how you’ll deal with it, you might find yourself managing a crisis instead of painting – and losing a tremendous amount of money in the process.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your small painting business set itself up for success, call us at 919.385-1134 or email us at