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written by
Charlotte Harwood

How to start your own decorating business

painting a wall with roller brush

There’s a common misconception where painting and decorating is concerned. Plenty of people think that it’s one of those jobs that anyone can do, and to an extent that’s true – but not everyone can do it well. It takes real skill and an eye for detail to make a good job of it, and expert craftsmanship can turn it into a very lucrative business opportunity. 

But you can’t just pick up a paintbrush and call yourself a professional decorator. There’s a range of different skills required to make a success of it, like tiling, plastering, wallpapering and more. If you’ve got some basic skills, great – but it’s always worth investing in training to become a master of all trades so that you can offer a broader range of services.

Experience: the key to success

The painting and decorating industry is one that’s commonly hit by stories of rogue traders and botched jobs by pseudo-workmen who are just out to scam unsuspecting individuals. And it’s because of this that experience is valued so highly when looking for a decorator. If you’ve built up a reputation as a painter and decorator then that’ll give you the best foundations to build on when you turn it into a professional venture, as well as the competitive edge over others.

But don’t be put off if you’re just starting out in the industry. You can still gain kudos if you’re new to painting and decorating by getting some relevant training and qualifications  under your belt. There are plenty of courses on offer up and down the country that’ll help you improve your services. You’ll even get a certificate when you complete each course to make it all official. 

Build your business plan

Once you’ve got some training or experience, your next step is to create a business plan. As a starting point, think about what kind of customers you’ll be targeting. Do you want to be a residential painter and decorator, commercial, or both? They differ widely, with commercial decorating being unsurprisingly more large-scale than residential, which often means there’s more money to be made. But that also means that a bigger team is needed to complete the job, which isn’t viable if you haven’t got the funds to employ extra hands. 

On the other hand, residential painting and decorating can usually be done relatively quickly and with lower overheads. There’s also little in the way of the bureaucracy that you’ll find with commercial decorating, and in that respect it’s a lot easier. But there’s also a lot less pay with residential painting and decorating, so you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons to see which suits you best.

Hire the right team

Unless you’ve decided to go it alone, you’ll need to hire some extra members of the team to help get things done. The kind of team you build depends heavily on whether you go down the commercial or residential route, as you’ll need to tailor the size of your workforce accordingly. 

You’ll also need to think about the kind of skills you want your team to have and whether you want to specialise in one area of painting and decorating or be all-encompassing. On top of that, you’ll need all the right equipment for the services you’re offering, which is all dependent on your budget. 

Get insured

Manual jobs like painting and decorating aren’t without their risks. Make sure that you’re protected with all the right insurance so that any injuries or mishaps are properly covered. Public liability insurance is essential to protect your business from customers claiming injury or damage to personal property, and if you take on additional members of staff you’ll also need employer’s liability insurance to protect you from injury claims made by your employees. Without the right insurance, just one incident could put you out of business.

How XLN can help

Every business needs to be connected. If you’re a painter and decorator, or you’re looking to become one, find out about our business broadband and phone packages  to see how we can help you save money on these essential services.

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