Common Mistakes that Can Hurt Painting Business

May 3, 2022 · 5 minutes to read

Running a small painting service business is often a rewarding career move. Every day is as different as each surface you paint, and you get to do something that’s quite enjoyable – especially if painting is your passion.

A painter painting the room

Yet there are some common pitfalls painters can fall into that could make each day considerably less enjoyable. Below are some common mistakes small businesses make that can hurt their painting business. Read on to find out some ways you can avoid painting mistakes that could adversely affect your painting company.

Under (and over) pricing

The downfall of many small businesses is the inability to correctly price their product or service. You could be Michelangelo with the brush, but your business is simply not sustainable if you are operating at a loss. By eradicating this mistake, you can simultaneously reduce your losses and increase profits.

The same also goes for overpricing your painting service, as customers will begin running to your competitors if you charge too much.

The key to pricing your service correctly is to calculate its true value by evaluating the cost of materials and labor. Calculating your material expense is relatively easy as you can look through your business bank account to verify the amount spent.

While it is usually the cost of labor where things often go wrong for small businesses, this can also be easily done by tracking how long it takes to do a job.

Once you’ve got these numbers, create an hourly rate that is both profitable for you and competitive in the local market.

Try doing this exercise regularly to ensure that your painting business remains competitive as both the price of labor and materials can change in value over time.

Not sticking to the contract or timeline

When potential clients are courting you for a job, many will ask for two things: a guarantee and a timeline. The guarantee outlines what you are expected to do for what price and the timeline explains when that job is to be done by. Both are usually included in the final contract, which both you and the client sign.

One way of inflicting great reputational damage to your painting business is not sticking to the plan. It shows to future potential customers that you are not a person of their word and are generally unprofessional.

Of course, things happen in life and business that create unexpected delays for projects. You or your employees could get sick, your car might break down or it might rain for a week when you’re meant to be painting outside.

The key is to propose deadlines with these variables in mind. It falls on you to prepare to mitigate these circumstances if they arise so consider giving yourself some wiggle room in your schedule to accommodate these possibilities. And if everything goes to plan, you will finish your project ahead of time, which is what your happy customer will say to their friends.

Cutting costs on safety

Painting can be a demanding profession both physically and mentally. And, sometimes in moments of weakness, painters can cut corners on their safety. This is like an invitation for costly mistakes to creep into your workplace and is something you can not afford to do.

There should be no compromises on the safety of you, your clients, and your team. Whether it’s not putting on the correct footwear, not changing the filter in your respirators, or not sectioning off the area properly, these small decisions can have dire (and expensive) consequences.

Thankfully, this is often an easy fix. While painting offers great spontaneity, many of the tasks you do can be boiled down into a set process. Think about your processes with safety top of mind and create non-negotiable rules to follow for you and your business.

Not having suitable business insurance

Many of the previous points recommend preparation as the key to avoiding several mistakes that could prove costly to your painting business. And here is another: sorting out your business insurance early prepares you if the worst were to happen.

Even if you’re prepared and your processes are all in place, mistakes can happen. And sometimes the risk is too great to fix the painting mistake on your own.

Clients, subcontractors, delivery people and vendors could make a claim against you for injuries or property damage, and you could be held financially liable even if it were an accident.

Consider this: A contractor falls over your painting equipment on site and suffers injuries that require medical attention. Since it was your equipment that resulted in the injury, you could be held liable and be made to pay the contractor’s medical bills.

Thankfully, having a General Liability insurance policy could protect you from such situations.

Also referred to as Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance or “slip and fall” coverage, General Liability cover is designed to protect painters against claims and lawsuits that may arise from a bodily injury sustained by a third-party or damage to a third party’s property.

While in some states this form of coverage is mandatory for painters, it is best to consider getting this as a painter whether it’s required. General Liability cover can also protect you from false claims, which can often be just as expensive to defend against.

Running a painting business can often be quite dramatic. Luckily, sorting out your business insurance doesn’t have to be. Compare quotes from leading insurers all online through the BizInsure platform and receive coverage information instantly.

*This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your contractor license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.

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