What Big Changes Can You Expect in The Painting Industry In The Next 2-3 Years?

The painting industry is one of the slowest industries to change of all industries.  The basic tools have been around for quite some time.

The first paint brush dates back 100,000 years!

The oldest ladder found dates back 10,000 years ago!

The first paint sprayer was invented by Joseph Binks in 1887.  

Surprisingly, the roller cover wasn’t invented for 53 years after the sprayer in 1940.  

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the tools are not what will change much.

What About Painters?

In the mid-1900s, painters were known to have a high alcoholism rate. Today, painters have a reputation for being unreliable.

I do think the painting industry could improve greatly if all phases of painting were taught in Votech, but that’s not on the horizon. Painting skills are not valued as much as electrical; HVAC, plumbing, and welding are not valued. That’s unfortunate because becoming a knowledgeable and competent painter takes years of practice.

The painting industry is on the cusp of making its biggest change in systems and processes.

Here are some predictions that I see: There is a shortage of good painters in the country. Quality painting companies that invest in their staff and customer experience will be able to charge enough to have net profit margins of over 20%. These high margins will attract disgruntled white-collar workers who are willing to set up shop and make a go of it via franchising. These white-collar middle- and upper-level managers are used to working in tech-savvy environments. CRM, digital marketing, training, and possibly leadership training are standard operations.

These types of individuals utilizing turnkey systems will have a distinct advantage over small, unorganized painting companies. I’m not saying independent paint companies don’t have terrific systems and processes. Just that most don’t. The average size of the painting company is 1.75 painters, and that includes the working owner. These small paintings require the owner to wear many hats, which equates to customer dissatisfaction. It is hard to get estimates out in 24 hours when:

  • There is no estimating system.
  • The owner paints 8 hours a day.
  • Picking up materials and making trips to the landfill
  • Returning to past jobs for touch-ups
  • Going Fishing
  • Kissing his wife goodbye


It’s very difficult to find time to develop systems and processes without a concerted effort to not only paint but rather grow a business. Our hero is tired.

Meanwhile, the franchisee sets a marketing strategy, gives estimates, and maintains quality control.

As more independent painting companies develop systems and processes and as more painting franchises are sold, I believe there will be an improvement in customer service and customer expectations.

These changes in systems and processes will mean more painting companies are integrating CRM systems to stay in touch with customers before, during, and after the job.

Organized businesses will increase their ability to estimate faster by using better-estimating tools. There are now estimating software systems that decrease the time spent calculating square footage on blueprints. There are multiple estimating software tools that are sure to become more commonplace.

If good painters become more valuable, which they are, their wages go up. Owners don’t eat the cost; they raise their prices. The higher their labor rate, the higher their profits.


As gross profits become more attractive to investors, more people with knowledge and experience in very competitive industries will be attracted to the less competitive industry of painting.

I believe that there will always be a place for a working owner with a couple of guys, but there will be an increase in larger painting companies of 20 or more people.