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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found this site as I was looking for information on starting up. Here's my story and questions:

I don't have very much experience in painting, but am fairly good in the business sense. My Dad, who has no business sense, is a great painter. Here's my business idea. And my questions are at the bottom.

I have a '98 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, and will have the money to start up early this summer. Until then, I'm wanting to learn all I can about starting my business, learning what equipment I absolutely need to begin, and all the painting books, magazines, websites, experts help, that I can get. My Dad will help me learn about all the painting aspects of it as well.

I'm checking out every business website I can find to help me get ready. SBA, TN.gov, etc. I know it's going to be hard to jump in headfirst into something I'm not an expert in, but I'm 25, do not have a college degree yet, and had nothing but dead-end jobs up until now, so I'm wanting to make something of myself with a lot of hard work and dedication.

I'm going to do this myself, and hopefully my Dad's help every now and then, as a consultant maybe. I have my wifes support, which is all I need right now, and I'm not expecting to 'get rich quick', or making a killing early on.

I'm just hoping to make this a labor of love, a business I can continue on for years to come, and something I will enjoy doing, especially since I won't have a boss (except for my wife).

1. What equipment is absolutely necessary to start up for a one-man operation?

2. Without a line of credit, where would be the cheapest, but good quality, supplies? eBay, Paint Supply stores, or Home Depot/Lowes?

3. What books, magazines, articles, or websites, besides this and Painttalk.com should I get or visit to help me learn?

I'm sure I'll have more questions later, but for right now, since it's midnight, that's all I can think of.

Lastly, I respect anyone who works hard for a living, I respect each and every one of you. Electiricians, plumbers, construction workers, painters, etc., everyone of you.

I hope I can get as much help as previous posters with similar ideas. I thank you in advance.
 

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You say you have good business sense. Ok. That being said have you considered that you are starting a contruction business during the largest construction downturn in the last fifty years? Many many long time contractors are on here spending a lot of time on this site trying to drum up a better mouse trap.

I agree with you that business sense is more important than painting skill. Having said that, you can definitely lose your ass if you f up a job ie burn down a house, fall off a ladder, have inadequate paint adhesion on a massive scale, have a sprayer explode in a parking lot covering 30 cars in paint. Lose your license, send your liability through the roof, bond costs, lawsuits etc...

The most important tool you can have to make money is good credit and lots of it. People will not trust you if you have to ask them to pay for the paint, the brush, the whatever up front. Also, how will you pay for employees if you do land a big fish? How do you survive while your waiting for your good corporate customers to pay every 30-60-90-180 days or whenever they feel like paying you?

Good credit also makes bonding and liability cheaper; car insurance cheaper, auto loans cheaper. The single most common cause for a business failing is inadequate credit and/or cash reserves. That's one of the primary reasons the economy has taken a dump. The credit crisis = the big guys couldn't get money to make payroll.

The next most important thing to do is to correctly organize your business as an llc if you're truly in it for the long haul. It gets harder to change down the road. There is inertia.

Finally I like a 3 inch purdy nylon sash brush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply. What I meant in 'business sense' is that I am good with numbers, etc. I know the economy sucks, and work will be hard to get, but like I said, I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I am in it for the long haul, so I will most likely get an LLC.

As far as credit goes, like I said, I have some money to start up, at least enough to start my first job, because I know it will be a small one. Also, I have my Dad, who will give me a little capital. If I can get one job, I'll be good on that end, and of course, I'm paying off most of the debt that I have, so my credit will be a lot better within a year.

I'm also asking about insurance, so I DON'T get caught up in a bad lawsuit, and remember, I said I was going to learn as much as possible before this summer. I'm not going into this completely blind-folded.

What are some materials I can get my hands on for further learning?

Thank you for replying.
 

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paper hanger,painter
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but I'm 25, do not have a college degree yet

My advice. Stay in school and get a degree in something that will relate to what is left of the job market,ie,medicine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for replying, but I didn't ask anything about getting a degree. I know what I want to do, and just want to get reference points and advice about the business from the experts. I was just giving you my background.

I'm not asking for prices, I'm not being disrespectful, and I gave all the info I could possibly give. I think someone posted somewhere that if a new poster did those three things, it would go great on here. I'm abiding by the rules, I just want some advice, not advice on college.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for that. That gives me a ton of books to read, and that's ONE of the things I was looking for, so thank you. It would be great if there was one thread with all the info I could ask for. And that thread almost does it.

And like I said, I know better than to ask for prices or disrespect, because I have been reading a lot on here before I actually joined.

Thank you RC.

Now, on to my other questions, if any of you have the time.
 

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semi-skilled laborer
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I have no idea why you would want to be a painting contractor if you have no experience. Being good with numbers is all fine and dandy but the square root of 100 ain't gonna make the paint stick. You say your dad is a painter, yet you have no idea where to get equipment or what equipment to buy, that makes no sense. Is your dad a painter, or has he just painted a few things and you thought they looked nice when he was done?
You have no idea about coatings, application or anything that goes along with them. How are you going to be able to bid a job when you have no idea what you are going to need to do? You could wing it and just slap paint on everything and hope for the best, which means you will be considered a hack and nobody but the bottom of the barrel customers will hire you.
You could spend the next 6 months reading everything you can on being a painter and you will still have no idea what you are doing, it is definitely a hands on kinda job. Right now everyone is hungry for work, guys who know what they are doing are dropping prices, you will not be able to compete. How are you going to charge? By the hour or by the job? You will not be fast enough to charge by the job, and you will be so slow nobody will pay you by the hour.
You seem to be thinking that painting is easy and you will make some money at it right away because you have this business savvy. Get real, painting is like any other trade, there are hacks and there are professionals, you coming in green and knowing nothing makes you a hack straight out the gate. This is a no win situation for you, you will not make money in this economy with no experience. You may think I am being hard on you but I am trying to help you, go find a job and support your family, now isn't the time for knowledgeable people to get into the trade, and surely no the time for people who have no idea about it.
You can hate me all you want for what I am saying, but it is the best advice I can give you.
 

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There is so much that you need to look at. My first thought would be to actually paint a room to see if its something you can see yourself doing in the future. Wanting to start a business and to be self employed is great but finding your niche and something your good at and possibly enjoy doing is the real question.
If you get that far and you want to continue, I would find a local paint supplier that deals more with paint contractors than homeowners. I would not go to HD or Lowes etc.. Get a charge acct., stay on these websites and ask questions. You will have to get Liability Ins, Workers Comp. etc.. Start with small jobs and learn from your mistakes. Also, have your father work with you until you feel compfortable. Its not easy to be successful but possible. Good luck.
 

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My thought is... Hurry UP!

We've got about 1000 more "painting contractors" heading out of Detroit everyday.

I bet there's plenty of bankers, IT workers, and ex-Circuit City people that can paint too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Aaaahhhh.... the sarcasm has already started.

To answer the questions put in front of me, as much as I already believe I won't be taken seriously, just like the people that come here and say "Hey, how much would you charge for this?", here you go:

My Dad has painted for about 35 years. If I'm wanting to start a legitimate business, why would I 'slap paint on the wall', and hope I do good? And that's why I came on here, to get ideas on how to charge, etc.

And Modern, when did I say I wanted to make money quick? Not once. I said that I know it's going to be a hard career, but I want to do it. This isn't a 'get-rich-quick' scheme. I'm a hack because I know what I want to do? No, I would be a hack if I went out right now, bought a brush and roller, cheap paint, and some over-alls, and went door to door this evening asking 'Hey ya'll, I wanna pain' yo' house, won't ya let mea?'

And yes, the misspelling was intentional. But one thing that WAS my fault was that I didn't mention that I have a job, I'm not just going into this without income. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out, but I'm going to try.

I'm not expecting support from anyone on here, since I'm entering into all of yours profession trying to get business. I'm just looking for people to give places where I can get info, if not from yourselves. Let me succeed or fail on my own. If you're not working where I live, why do you care whether or not I succeed or fail? I'm not taking your business, so why not try to help someone who wants to do this, instead of just posting to put someone down?

And I've already, after this short period of time, talked to a few people who are going to teach me about paint, business, and let me work with them, so yes, I'm going to get hands-on training, from someone who's been doing this for 40+ years.

I'm sorry about not posting my city, I'm going to when I get done here.

My Dad already said he would do that Wayne, and thanks for being critical but cordial (I'm being serious).

I thought I had mentioned that I had painted a couple of rooms, and it almost seemed right. Not natural, but I felt right doing it (come on flamers). My Dad, who knows me more than anyone, has already given me some tough love because he knows I haven't done this type of work in my life. But he wants to see if I'm serious about it, so he's helping.

I don't know what it will take for me to be taken seriously on here. Maybe after I've done it for what, 5, 10, 20 years? Or when I show a testimonial? I don't know.

I would love to stay on here, ask questions when I have them, and have people on here that want to help, but it really just seems it's more flamers than helpers on here.

And reading most of Steve's posts, I thought he was somewhat of a helper, but wow, just another hard-ass who lumps me in with all of the 'bankers, IT workers, and ex-Circuit City people' who 'can be painters, too'. Yay.

And seriously, thanks to the few who actually acted like they want to help. I really appreciate it. Maybe I can get a few more good posts from people before this thread inevitably goes dead.
 

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I don't understand,elwayfan..

Why WOULDN'T I lump you in with everyone and anyone else that can paint a little... wants to own his own business (for one reason or another), and makes "painting contractor" his choice?

Luckily I don't have to bid against you guys...or I might be upset about it.

(instead of just having hurt feelings about you calling me a hard-ass.)
 

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Da Boss....
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Having grown up as the son of a painter you should already know a little about painting. My daughters already knew how to cut in base by the age of 9!

My advise is pretty much the same as waynec said. Use your dad as a source of information. Maybe offer to help him paint a room in his house & work side by side with him. You have a father with 35 years in the field!!!!!

I would also develop a relationship with a local paint store in a good neighborhood. After they get to know & respect you and your abilities, they should be recomending you.

You could also hire a professional painter to work for you.......
 

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I ain't trying to flame you kid, I am trying to play it straight. Painting is not an easy trade to break into, you have to decide what you wanna do, repaints or new construction, residential or commercial. New construction residential you can pretty much rule out, the custom homes aren't gonna give a new guy a try without some kind of work history, and the production homes are usually over run by the illegals who will do it cheaper then you can.Plus nobody is building right now .......
Commercial new construction will be hard for you to get into because you don't have the man power to do the bigger jobs and the GC's don't know you. So that leaves repaints, now you have to decide how to advertise these repainting services that you will be offering, flyer's, yellow pages, craigslist, website, or whatever. There are a million threads here on this, so read them.
Maybe you should line up a few jobs from family or friends and get your old man to show you the ropes. It is just hard for me to see someone who has never painted professionally to be able to run a business doing it.
Painting is 90% preparation and 10% application, live by that rule.
This isn't gonna be like painting your bedroom, your customers will expect perfection, even the cheap ass ones .... actually they usually want it the most.
Clean your equipment religiously, it pays the bills and deserves respect.
Equipment wise I would say to go to Lowe's and buy one of their $300 Spray-tech sprayers, you can get a better one later after you have made some money. Use angle brushes, they are easier to cut with. Don't listen to anyone who says real men use 4 inch brushes, buy what you feel comfortable with. Buy quality brushes and rollers, even the best painters cant do nice work with cheap equipment that sheds and falls apart. Buy a good extension pole, cheap ones are junk and break easily. Buy some nice ladders, the size will depend on what you plan on painting.
I don't know what else to tell you, I don't know if you will make it or not but what the hell, I will try to help you if I can.
Start painting stuff .......... you wont be good without experience. So paint everyone you knows house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thanks Schmidt. I just don't understand why most people on here are asses, instead of helpful. What happened to them that they have to be so synical towards everyone who just wants to get their foot in the door? So I'm a newbie, so what? I'll fail or succeed on my own, why do you care so much about what I'm going to do that you have to cut me down without even knowing me.

So, apparently there's no real help aside from the two or three here that have heart. I'm not leaving because that's exactly what you want me to do. Whatever you have to say, say it. I'm taking it all with a grain of salt anyway because I thought it was professionals who were here, but now know it's just a bunch of disgruntled 'professionals' who post.

Just like any other web forum. Most people that mean something are out doing good, and the rest, bash on other people they'll never meet. I guess I'm just suprised since a forum called contractortalk with supposedly only professionals as members would be different. I guess once you've seen one forum, you've seen them all.

But to those of you who took the time to seriously reply with the best advice you could give, thank you.

And to the others, well, thank you.

I'll keep reading this thread, but I guess I really don't expect any real advice on info. Thanks to those who did help, though.

And I apologize to Modern. I pegged you as another flamer who couldn't care less. Well, you may not could care less, but thank you for posting the info you just posted. I appreciate it. I hope to hear from more like you, Wayne, etc. Thank you.

And yeah, I planned on trying to get my friends and family to let me paint something, for the experience, and to see if I can actually do it. I'm not going to start a business without having any experience. If I feel comfortable after I do a few family members and friends' houses, then and ONLY then, will I consider opening a business. I guess I should've mentioned that before. I'm guessing it looked like I was just going to get a license, brushes, and go at it. I'm sorry if I come off that way. Continue on, please.

And lastly, nothing to do with this thread, but I thankfully found out I can just put people on an ignore list, so I won't be able to view their messages. I'm just ignoring the blatant flamers, not the people giving me harsh advice. Basically just Steve. Everyone else is helping, whether you know it or not.
 

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Da Boss....
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As far as advise.... "Take what you can use & leave the rest". Good advise for life also.

As a side note, My father started our company in his mid to late 30s. Absolutley zero painting experience. I know he lucked out. He started in an affluent neighborhood and in good economic times. You don't have that going for you so you will need to work harder & have a little bit of luck.

One thing he did was to hire an experienced painter after he had made it a year. One of the best things he did. I also remember him saying that he got more jobs after he raised his prices. Seems people respected him more/thought they were getting a better contractor.

Lastly, its all about "percived" quality. Of course you have to do a good job, but you will need to convince people you are the go to contractor. Neat aperance, clean tools & truck. Oh, you WILL need a truck/van. Working out of your car will destroy that "percived quality".
 

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And lastly, nothing to do with this thread, but I thankfully found out I can just put people on an ignore list, so I won't be able to view their messages. I'm just ignoring the blatant flamers, not the people giving me harsh advice. Basically just Steve. Everyone else is helping, whether you know it or not.
NOOOOOOO!

*falling to my knees and begging forgiveness*
 
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