Starting A Painting Company

Build your own company or buy a franchise?

What are the pros and cons?

 Are you weighing the options of starting a painting company on your own or buying a franchise I can give you some plain speak? 

   I have seven strategic comparisons to either starting a painting business alone or through a painting franchise.

About the Author


 I started my painting company independently, without any experience. But now, I am a franchisor actively looking to sell painting franchises.  I certainly know both sides and would like to give the plus and minuses of each.

Founder of Klappenberger & Son, David Klappenberger

“I promise to be objective in comparing the two methods.”

So how did I decide on a winner for each round?

 I factored that franchises have royalties, territorial limitations, and other restrictions and fees independent painting companies do not have.  Therefore, if a Klappenberger & Son franchisee only had a slight advantage, I gave the Independent painting contractor the round.   

Round #1 Initial Cost When Starting Alone or Buying A Franchise

Tools & Equipment

Is there a significant advantage to buying a Klappenberger & Son painting franchise in terms of tools and equipment?  No. 

  If you use sub-contractors, they have tools, trucks, and ladders.  If you use employees, you will need to buy the tools, which will run about 5k.

Price tag showing the cost difference when starting a painting company

Generating Marketing Materials

The difference becomes more apparent when we look at the steps to having a professional appearance.

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Marketing material
  • License
  • Insurance

Starting a painting company on your own will always take longer than if you invest in a painting franchise.   


Starting your own painting company will require a logo like this one of Klappenberger & Son
starting a painting company or buying a franchise is a hard decision. Rasheed Bowen chose to buy a franchise because of the training support and this beautiful van!
Responsibilites of starting a painting business
Your responsiblities when starting a painting company include everything!

When you invest in our painting franchise, the franchisor takes some of the workloads! 

In no particular order:

  • Website updates, a landing page, Social Media – These crucial tasks take expertise and time. It is one thing to make a beautiful website. It is another thing to have it visible when customers need your services.  If you are trying to start a painting business with no experience, the last thing you need to do is learn:
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Google’s ever-changing requirements

According to Entrpenuership, start-up companies spend between 12%-20% of their gross sales on marketing. Established companies can reduce that number by 6-12%

In addition, social media costs for new companies start at $1,500.00, and a more robust and active campaign would cost closer to $4,000 per year.

   When the new website is complete, it will not generate leads.  You are competing with the big boys such as Home Advisor, Angie’s List, and painting franchises.  When starting a painting company on your own, it takes time for Google to raise your organic listing.

Round #1 Conclusion    


 Klappenberger & Son Painting Franchise Winner

Reason:  When buying tools or a truck, a painting franchise is not advantageous to starting a painting company independently. However, having a website, logos, and marketing material professionally done is incredibly beneficial.  Customers today reach for their cell phones for everything, including calling for painting and handyman estimates.  They are looking for a professional company, and our painting franchise provides that.   If I were writing a book on “How to start a painting business,” I would include a website, log, and marketing material at the top of the list of importance. 

To have your website findable, your PPC operating correctly, or Facebook adds having a proper ROI takes an expert.  A novice has no chance.  These challenges are not for an inexperienced entrepreneur who is trying to start a painting company.   

Round #2 

Organizational Advantages: Starting-up Verse Franchising

   When starting a painting company, the bookkeeping responsibilities are the first to get pushed to the side.   Your day is preoccupied with estimating, project management, sales, and solving problems.  The backlog of admin work happens to everyone, including our painting franchises.  So, we added a bookkeeping service.

When you invest in our painting and handyman franchise, you pay a reduced monthly fee to have your books kept current.

This monthly service will give you profit and loss statements, accounts payable, and job cost analysis.


 The cost of this monthly service starts at $525.00 a month.  This monthly fee is far less than what a part-time employee would cost if you start a painting company independently.  

Round #2 Organisational Advantages Conclusion

Reason: The time you save and the reports’ accuracy are well worth the monthly cost. Time management is a reality that all young businesses face.

 Klappenberger & Son Painting Franchise Winner

picture of clock representing saving time


 Having monthly updates keeps you informed of how your business is doing.  Small companies that do not know their numbers are surprisingly common.  What is less surprising is they are most likely to fail. 

Keeping your accounting books current is the best practice in how to start a painting business.

Round #3 Fees and Support Vs. No Fees No Support

  Starting a painting business with no experience will cost you time and money.   The School of Hard Knocks is a very real place, and Professor Murphy teaches it with a hard stick. 

 I wish I had someone tell me how to start a painting business.  In the beginning, I made a lot of costly mistakes.  Mistakes come in two forms, that is, reputation and money.  When you correct your errors, it will minimize damage to your reputation.  However, time is money, and it eats away at the profits quickly.

Starting up a painting company cartoon
Starting a painting company without training can cost youu a bag sack of money as this picture shows

Mistakes almost always come with a price tag. I do not know how much money I spent at the School of Hard Knocks.  I expect the tuition was likely six figures before I came up with my system and training videos.  If I were advising someone how to start a painting business with no experience, I would suggest these four things.

  • Watch multiple How to YouTube videos before starting
  • Ask the Sales Rep at your local paint store
  • Read all the paint labels carefully
  • Participate in both handyman and painting tasks to get a feel for the work.

Our painting franchise, Klappenberger & Son, has over 45 videos that include topics such as:

  • What Went Wrong – Get the cliff notes to the School of Hard Knocks
  • How to Estimate Accurately
  • Sales – building confidence with the customer
  • Best Practices for painting and handyman
  • How to grow a painting business

Round #3 Conclusion

Fees and Internal Support Verses No Fees and External Support

Reason: Life is short.  When you have the tools, training, coaching, and guidance, you have the ingredients to establish yourself faster.  If you can stay focused and disciplined, your margins will be significantly higher. 


 I believe that the benefits of owning a Klappenberger & Son painting franchise outweigh the investment costs if time, stress, and profits are essential.


Yes, fees stink—no doubt about that.  I cannot argue fees are no fun to pay.  However, I will often pay a fee to go on an expressway.  

Reason: Life is short.  When you have the tools, training, coaching, and guidance, you have the ingredients to establish yourself faster.  If you can stay focused and disciplined, your margins will be significantly higher. 

 I believe that the benefits of owning a Klappenberger & Son painting franchise outweigh the investment costs if time, stress, and profits are essential.


Round #4

No Territory Restrictions Vs. Restrictions

If you are starting a painting company alone, you have a couple of advantages.  Firstly,  you are not limited to any geographic location.  If you start your own painting company, you can work and advertise wherever you want.  Painting franchises have specific territories that restrict where a franchisee can work and promote.  

Klappenberger & Son is aware of territory limitations, and that is why we give you the most largest territories.  Our painting franchises have territories 2-5 times larger than our competitors.   

Starting a painting company does not have geograhic restictions as this lady show a big map of possibilities

One downside to working in an area too large is the lost time driving.  Driving an extra hour per day adds up to 261 hours a year or 11 days straight without sleeping!  If I were to advise someone on starting a painting business, I’d suggest targeting local areas. 

Klappenberger & Son has few restrictions on the type of work you can do.  Besides painting, Klappenberger & Son franchisees can do remodeling, decks, and other home remodeling projects.  However, as a sole proprietor, you can switch to any service you choose at any time.

Traffic sign cautioning about don't drive tired

Winner of Round #4

Territory Vs No Territory

Winner: Independently Owned Painting Company


Reason: Not being limited to where you can work or advertise is always better than limitations.   With that said, our franchisees have the most extensive territories and the most freedom to do diverse work in the painting and handyman franchise industry.