Please note that if you intend starting this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the UK to know what is expected of you. The bottom line is that, you need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your city to know what you need to do before you can legally launch your painting and decorating business.

You can start your painting and decorating business from a small town in the United Kingdom and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.

20 Steps on How to Start a Painting and Decorating Business in the UK

  1. Understand the Industry

Operators in the painting and decorating industry are responsible for the painting and decorating of buildings. In the UK, they are also referred to as a decorator or house painter. The purpose of painting is to improve the appearance of a building and to protect it from damage by water, corrosion, insects and mold.

It is important to state that larger firms operating within the painting and decorating industry were generally capable of performing many painting or decoration services, from creating an accent wall to sign writing, to the gilding of objects or the finishing or refinishing of furniture.

More recently, professional painters are responsible for all preparation prior to painting. All stucco or popcorn or texture scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, drywall or wood repair, patching, stain removal, filling nail holes or any defects with plaster or putty, cleaning, taping, preparation and priming are considered to be done by the professional contracted painter.

Statistics has it that general painting services for houses and apartment buildings was projected to account for 47.6 percent of industry revenue in the coming year. With steady increase in residential / housing construction in the UK, residential painting services widened as well. The growth of the single – family home market has driven up demand for interior wall painting services.

A recent statistics released shows that there are 526 small business names in the UK beginning with “Paint”. There are 380 painter and decorator small business names in the UK beginning with “Paul”. There are 230 painter and decorator small businesses in the UK with “color” in their names.

Just like most business value chain in the construction industry, the painting and decorating business is also affected whenever there is economic depression. Experts project that the painting and decorating industry will shrink over the next five years and after then it will recover strongly because the housing market will experience a surge during this period. Logically, the industry will experience growth once there are increase in household spending on home improvement.

Starting and operating a painting and decorating company can be demanding, but the truth is that it can be rewarding at the same time. One good thing about the industry is that it is open for both big time investors who have the capacity to start the business on a large scale and aspiring entrepreneurs who may want to start on a small scale.

  1. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize painting and decorating services cut across businesses such as construction companies, shipping companies, households, players in the real estate industry and anyone who needs painting and decorating services hence the demographic composition of this business is all encompassing. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those who need the services of painting and decorating companies.

  1. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

In as much as there are no distinct niche when it comes to painting and decorating services, a painter and decorator may decide to choose one or more areas where they can specialize, and some of the areas are;

  • General residential painting and decorating
  • General nonresidential painting and decorating
  • Paper hanging and wall covering
  • Construction painting and decoration
  • Non – building painting and decoration (ships, trains, airplanes and camper vans / cabin houses et al)

The Level of Competition in the Industry

Surviving in the business world as a painter and decorator requires more than your expertise, but also how to network with key people that matters in the real estate and construction industry.

One thing is certain, the fact that the any serious minded and hardworking person can become a painter and decorator with little or no formal education makes the industry open to all and sundry hence the increase in the level of competition in the industry. So, if you are starting your painting and decorating business, then you should be ready to compete with both professional and non-professional painters.

The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are well – equipped, your workers are well – trained, your customer care services is top notch and you know how to reach out to your target market.

  1. Know Your Major Competitors

Here are some of the most popular painting and decorating companies in the United Kingdom;

  • S & A Painting and Decorating Ltd.
  • Barry’s Lux Decorating
  • MGK Decoration Ltd.
  • Novitas Decorators
  • PerfectWorks Painting and Decorations
  • Capital Painter
  • Cloud Painters
  • Paint and Decorator VJK
  • Pro Finish Decorating Ltd.
  • The Good Painter Company
  • Paintex – Painting and Decorating Company
  • Ayrshire Decorating Contractor – Alpha Trade Solutions

Economic Analysis

When starting a painting and decorating business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and start competing at the national level.

When conducting costing and economic analysis for your painting and decorating business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; products, place, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors while running your business. As a painting and decorating business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.

  1. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise. Besides, it is easier to start and run a painting and decorating company in UK from the scratch without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your services based on your creativity and of course, your ability to fix their painting and decoration needs.

Please note that most of the big and successful painting and decorating companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

  1. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own painting and decorating company today in the UK, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established painting and decorating companies in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on households, individuals and also start-up construction companies who need the services of a painting and decorating company.

Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your painting and decorating company are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising fuel prices.

So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect household/consumers spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.

  1. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity

The United Kingdom has a wide array of options that you can choose from if you are looking for a business structure to build your business on. The most important thing is to select a business structure that will best serve your overall business vision and mission.

In UK, you have the option of choosing start your business as a Sole trader, Limited company, Private limited company (LTD or Ltd), Public limited company (PLC), Limited liability partnership (LLP) or Guarantee Company (LBG) If you are not sure which business structure to choose from, then consider going through the quick preview below before making your choice;

  • Sole Trader

A sole trader is a business-type where one person owns and runs the entire business. It is the simplest business structure you can adopt. It is very suitable for any one-person business; this includes independent accountants, web developers and gardeners among others.

A sole trader is entitled to all/any profits of the business but is also liable for any debt/damages incurred. In the UK, there are currently over 3 million registered sole traders, and the number is growing with a massive influx of skilled freelancers.

  • Limited Company

A limited company is a legal business structure that means a business is a separate entity from its owners. This means the owners are only liable for any business debts to the extent of the amount of money they have put into the business, thus limiting any exposure for business owners beyond their total investment. There are two types of limited companies you can incorporate in the UK.

  • Private Limited Company (LTD or Ltd)

In a private limited company, the owners privately hold shares. This is the most common and preferred incorporation structure for most small businesses in the UK. Over 5.2 million limited companies are operating in the UK now.

The bottom line is that if you have plans to grow your small business beyond yourself (one person), then a Private Limited Company would likely be the most suitable structure.

If you are considering operating a mom-and-pop kind of business or a one-man business, then a Sole Tradership would probably be the best structure to build your business on. But if you have plans to build a business brand that has a significant amount of senior management, capital and that deals in services, then a Limited Liability partnership would be the best choice.

  1. Choose a Catchy Business Name 

Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own painting and decorating business in the UK, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Owen McQueen® Painting & Decoration, LTD
  • Davies Hobe & Sons® Painting Company, LTD
  • Larry Whyte® Painting & Decoration Studio
  • The Rainbow® Painting and More Ltd.
  • King James® Paint & Décor Company
  • Brownie & Black™ Painting & Decorating Company
  • Sixth Avenue® Painters Company
  • Nicholas Albright® Paint & Décor, LTD
  • Top Class® Painting and Decorating Company
  • Bob Mason® Painting & More, LTD
  1. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United Kingdom, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Interestingly, the Painting and Decorating Association in UK has a wealth of insurance and other small business resources available for entrepreneurs. Here are some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own painting and decorating business in the United Kingdom;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Commercial Umbrella Insurance
  • Public Liability Insurance (PLI)
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
  • Employers Liability Insurance (ELI)
  • Key Man Insurance (KMI)
  • Trade Credit Insurance (TCI)

You can contact the following leading insurance companies in the UK to purchase the needed insurance policies for your painting and decorating business;

  • Aviva PLC
  • Old Mutual Ltd
  • Prudential PLC
  • RSA Insurance Group PLC
  • Direct Line Group Insurance PLC
  • Hiscox Limited
  • Admiral Group PLC
  1. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own painting and decorating business in the United Kingdom, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection / trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.

  1. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

From a general perspective, you do not need professional certification before you can be allowed to legally start your own painting and decorating business in the United Kingdom. It is a business that is open to both the schooled and the unschooled; both the skilled and the unskilled hence there is no need for a special professional certification.

However, because of the risk professional painters are subjected to especially when they paint bridges and other high-rise structures, it will be to their advantage to pursue professional health and safety certification. If you are able to obtain a professional health and safety certification as a professional painter, it will go a long way to show to your customers that you are serious about your business.

  1. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United Kingdom without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own business in the United Kingdom;

  1. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a standard painting and decorating business in the UK is not capital intensive especially if you choose to launch the business on a small scale and you are the only full – time employee on your payroll. Purchasing a truck/van (for easy movement of your tools and working materials) and your equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, in essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not need to source for fund to finance the business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your painting and decorating business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from, government, donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
  1. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Starting a painting and decorating company comes with its own challenges; it is a business that can be started in any location as long as there are people and organizations that need painting and decorating services. As a matter of fact, you can start your painting and decorating business in your house and still grow the business to profitability since most of the contracts will be carried out on site.

Generally, in business, it cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses that patronizes carpentry services and with the require purchasing power, and lifestyle.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city.

Having said that, these are some of the cities in the UK where you can locate your painting and decorating business;

  • London
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Windsor
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey
  • Oxfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Wakefield
  • Exeter
  1. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

When it comes to starting a standard painting and decorating company, you will need a truck/van, working materials (paintbrushes in a variety of sizes, paint rollers and trays, materials for cleaning brushes and rollers, dustsheets, sandpaper, spirit levels, Stanley knives and stepladders) and other related equipment. It is important to state that this equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility, the size of the painting and decorating company you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. Besides, you don’t need a big workshop / garage to operate from since you will be going out to attend to your clients.

As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Usually, a small painting company would have the owner (chief painter) and one or more assistant (could be trainee painters or professional painters as well).

Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard painting and decorating business on a large scale, then you should look towards hiring an office manager, business development officer, office assistant, 5 or more full time professional painters and decorators and perhaps a company truck driver. Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard painting and decorating company in the United Kingdom.

The Service Delivery Process of a Painting and Decorating Business

The service process involved in the professional painting and decorating industry depends on the niches or the services the painting and decorating company offers. On the average, the process starts with biding or submitting a proposal for a decorating contract, once the contract is won, then it is expected for all the contract document to be signed and advance payment made as required.

Once the payment has been sorted out, then the painting and decorating company is expected to deploy professional painters and equipment to execute the job.

It is the practice for professional painting and decorating companies to first access the risk involved and the job they are to do before billing the organization. Most often than not, if the contract involves painting and designing of bridges or high-rise buildings, the bill would usually increase because of the high risk involved in climbing and also the equipment such as gathers et al that would be used in executing the job.

  1. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

The fact that the entry barrier for starting even a small – scale painting and decorating company business is low means that more players may come into the industry if they have the skills and training. In essence, you must come up with unique marketing strategies if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your painting and decorating business;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, construction companies, home staging companies, shipping companies, and players in the construction and real estate industry amongst others.
  • Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your painting and decorating company
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people who consider you an expert in the field)
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.
  1. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you offer your painting and decorating services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your working materials from sources that will give you reasonable discount. Another strategy that will help you offer painting and decorating services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name.

Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services. So also, if you are able to secure business partnership as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.

  1. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The Painting and Decorating Industry in The United Kingdom is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of carrying out your projects.

In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that you are always on time when called upon and always ensure that you pay attention to details when carrying out your job. The truth is that if there are fluctuations in the services you provide, customers can choose to shift allegiance and settle for other options available.

  1. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers retaining your services. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

  1. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend good money to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your painting and decorating company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and construction / real estate related magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community – based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your painting and decorating company
  • Install your Bill Boards in strategic locations where you operate
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your painting and decorating company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your painting and decorating company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the locations where your painting and decorating company operates.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
Ajaero Tony Martins