How to Start a Small Business in Specialty Indoor Painting
Description of Job
• Design and specify specialty interior painting.
• Apply special effects.
• Finish and clean up interior work.
The Need and Demand For This Business
There is no law that says interior walls need to be coated with flat, boring eggshell paint.
An interesting alternative for many homeowners is to decorate using techniques such as marbling, stenciling, sponging, strié (dragging), ragging, rag rolling, stippling, distressing, and faux finishing. In most cases, amateurs are not trained or equipped to perform such work.
This sort of job is usually limited to one or two rooms in a house and there- fore may be less attractive to a commercial painter; the skills involved are also different from those required to paint a living room off-white.
Challenges Faced By This Business
You need to understand and master a range of special techniques and tools. Make sure your clients understand exactly what effect they are requesting.
You can practice many of the techniques in your own home; you might want to create a room—perhaps a den, a section of the basement, or even the interior
of your garage—and create examples of the sort of work you are available to perform.
Things You Should Know About the Business
There are many web sites and books that describe various techniques and tools for specialty painting. Many large home supply and craft stores offer classes on specialty painting. Here are some interesting techniques:
• Glazing or color washing. Dilute paints or varnishes to thin them so they can be used to apply a transparent or translucent film of color.
• Stippling, or pouncing. This process delivers a sandy or lightly pat- terned effect using a specialized stippling brush to modify the surface of a glaze.
• Ragging, or rag rolling. A second glaze color, of a different hue, is wiped into place with a rag to create a purposely uneven effect.
• Strié, or dragging. A glaze is applied to a base color, then a dry brush is dragged over the glaze in a vertical or horizontal direction to create fine lines.
• Sponging. A rough sponge is used to apply an uneven finish to a base coat or to a second coat of paint in a contrasting color.
• Stenciling. You may hand-paint stenciled designs to a painted wall.
How to Get Started in this Business
Post flyers and ads at community centers, in home outlet stores, and on bulletin boards. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Offer to conduct a class at a community school to get some publicity and per- haps some clients. Buy a table at home decorating and crafts shows to display samples of some of your work.
Make contact with interior decorators and contractors in your area; do the same with commercial painting companies that do not compete with you for spe- cialty jobs. Offer a bonus or commission for business they refer to you.
You will need specialty brushes, sponges, stencils, and other equipment, as well as basic painting tools such as ladders, trays, rollers, tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, and masking tape.
You will have to bear the cost of experiments and practice sessions you con- duct as well as preparation of a display room or a photo album or web site to show examples of your work.
You’ll need a vehicle large enough to transport your equipment. Other expenses include research books, classes, advertising, and promotion.
How Much to Charge For The Service
Most painters quote a fixed price for a job, based on a careful estimate of the number of hours it will require plus the cost of paint and other materials. Many specialty paint jobs require multiple applications of wall covering. Some jobs are quoted on a cost-plus basis: a charge for hours of work plus the actual cost of paint and other supplies.
Prices for specialty painting are usually higher than those for standard indoor work because of the extra time, materials, and skill required.
Legal and Insurance Issues
➀ Legal ➁ Legal ➂ Legal ➃ Accounting ➄ Insurance