Basic Rules for The Self-Employed Decorator

By Mike Gregory


If you’re a decorator and you’re thinking about becoming your own boss, there are a few very basic things that you must get right in order to succeed. I’m no big professor or guru so this blog is going to be very basic, but getting all the points right will be vital for your next step. These are the basic rules for any self-employed decorator.


Don’t under sell yourself!!


Running a small business isn’t cheap and you’ll have running costs to pay from the start, up until you retire. Not just that, but you do a lot of unpaid work in the evening, either quoting, washing tools or getting organised. You need to find a way you can make it pay, so do not undercharge on quotes, even when you’re desperate for work!!


I’ll give you an idea of what I mean. Your running costs include your insurances, keeping your van on the road, tool maintenance, mobile phone and any scheme memberships. Everyone’s running costs are different, but mine are roughly £30 per day.


So if your running costs are £30 per day and you’re only charging £120 on your day rate, then your actual wage is £90 per day. If you have to do some running around after your day on the tools, maybe go out and price a job, then you’re working 10 hours for that £90. That’s only £9 per hour!! You can earn a better working at Asda!!


Look the Part


A decorator need to come across in the right way!! If you turn up in a car with paint up the sides and scruffy genes on, then you’re not going to win the work. Have a van, keep it clean, make sure you’re wearing whites and keep them clean too.


Look After your Tools


For no other reason, than it’ll be expensive if you don’t. Wash brushes and rollers every week (or every day if you have time). Keep everything in a box or bag and make sure you can get your hands on the tool you need, when you need it.


Clean and Tidy Job


Your work needs to be bang on, that goes without saying. The other thing that goes a long way is keeping the job clean and tidy. Set your base out and keep all your tools on it. When you finish a job, get everything looking immaculate before you go. Get it dust free, remove any waste and make sure there is no paint on anything there shouldn’t be paint on. You’ll impress everyone you work for by doing this.

Don’t be a Mug!!


You are the expert!! Do not let your customers tell you how to do your job or push you around. Your price is your price and you are available when you are actually available. If a job runs over, do not be afraid to pick up the phone and have an awkward conversation with your next client to push their start date back. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed!!

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Basic Rules for The Self-Employed Decorator