How to Start a Professional Painting Business – How To Get Customers


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Now that you are ready to get started with your painting business, you can start looking for customers.  Fortunately, this is now easier to do than ever, thanks to the internet.  Putting an ad for your services on a site like is free.  Business advertising online is a powerful way to reach new customers in your area. Be sure to use your town and surrounding areas in your ad. You can also advertise in grocery stores and other local shops where there are bulletin boards.

Taking out a newspaper ad can be expensive.  If you decide to do this, remember that it pays to continue to advertise with them for a long period of time.  Once people get used to seeing your name, they will know to call you when they want painting done.

You can put flyers on the sides of mailboxes on homes that look like they need painting. You should also join a local builders association and advertise your services to local contractors.  You should use your internet website in local directories as well to gain business.  These directories are free to submit to and many people are learning about local businesses in this way.

New businesses opening up in the area or who have closed down are also a good way to find business. Contact the landlord and see if they need the place painted.  Contact building landlords and offer your services for rental units.  Most landlords will paint a unit before putting it up for rent.

Use family and friends to get referrals.  Give them your cards and brochures and ask them if they know someone who needs some painting done.  Look for all avenues when it comes to finding your first customers.  Once you get started in your business, the customers will come to you.  Until then, you have to go to them.

Make sure that you are accessible.  Have a cell phone and use it for your contact information.  People who dial a number looking for a painter and who reach a machine will not leave a message.  They will simply dial the next painter.

Once you get a call from a customer, make arrangements to see them as soon as possible.  You never want to make it sound as if you are desperate for the work, but you also do not want the customer to slip through your fingers.  Tell them that you are in the middle of a job but that you can make some free time for them on such and such date and time.  This gives them the impression that you are successful and are not just sitting by the phone waiting for work.

Take a good look at what the customer wants painted.  Figure out how much time will be spent on the job, how soon you can get a crew together and how much materials will cost.  Tell them that you will give them an estimate on the job.

You should always give a customer a written estimate.  If  they choose to accept your offer, you should make them sign the estimate.  At the time that you present an estimate, you should also sign it and make it known that it is good for a certain period of time.  You should have a binding contract with the customer if they decide to accept your bid.

Always get money for materials up front.  You should also get a portion of the job paid up front as well, at least this will cover some labor and material costs if the customer decides to stiff you for the rest of this money.  Yes, this does happen sometimes.  It is one of the hazards of being in any service business.  The next chapter will discuss what you can do about such an incident.

Get back to the customer with the bid in two or three days at the most.  Many people report that they call out contractors to do jobs and never hear from them again.  This happens even today, with the economy being in the state that it is in.  By providing them with a written estimate in a timely manner, you appear professional and stand a better chance of doing the job.

You will want to do the job right and fast.  If you say that you are going to show up at a certain time for the job, be there.  Unless it rains, you should be there when you promise.  One of the biggest gripes that customers have about those who perform services is that they do not show up when they are supposed to show up.  Do not start a job, wait a week and then go back.  Chances are that you will have a very dissatisfied customer on your hands.

No one wants to have their house in shambles for days on end.  You should make sure that you complete any job in a timely manner.  At the end of the job, you need to ask for the payment for the completion of the job.

You should make sure that any problems are addressed at the time the job is being performed.  If you paint an entire house in a certain color and take two days doing it, and at the end of the two days the customer says that they do not like the color, you have a problem.  You need to make sure that the customer is satisfied with the process.  Some customers will be easier to please than others when it comes to painting jobs.

Some people will be satisfied if you just slop paint on the walls and spill it all over the carpet.  Some will be upset if you get one drop of paint on a piece of wood.   This is the way it is with all service business.  You must realize that not everyone will be pleased – some people are downright impossible to please.  But the overwhelming majority of your customers should be pleased with your service or you are doing something wrong.

Satisfied customers will give your business a good name and also recommend you to others.  Those who are not satisfied may badmouth you, but will usually not go out of their way to do so.  You should make sure that you ask satisfied customers if they will let you use them as a reference for future jobs.

Once the job is complete and the place cleaned up, get the money.  You are better off getting a certified check, cashier’s check or cash.  You can, however, set up a merchant account and enable yourself to accept credit cards.  This can cost you a percentage of the profit, but it does give you an entire new customer base from which to work.  You should make sure that you are paid as soon as the work is completed, as stipulated in your contract.  Never do a job without a contract and never give a waiver of lien until you have been paid fully by the customer or contractor for whom you are working.

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