Running a Successful Painting and Decorating Business

Updated Feb 17, 2024 | Posted Jun 12, 2017 | Professional insight, Business | 2 comments

Running a successful painting and decorating business is something I’ve always aspired to do, from way back when  I started in the decorating in (1988).

It wasn’t until 2003 before I felt confident enough to take the plunge. There where so many “what ifs” to sort out in my head. Young family, finding work, pricing work, tax and insurance, what if I had to take time off for illness. you could fill a page of negatives!!

I was lucky, I got some very good advice from an advertising executive who helped me with flyers and business cards. Who to target and how to make a customer pick me. I leafleted a specific area and  got some really good work ( still have the same customers from then).

I handed my notice into my old boss who had been a great guy to work for but I wanted something more, I wanted to be the boss and have my name on the van, I liked the idea of saying to people I work for my self, and feeling maybe even a bit important.

it was a culture shock those first few weeks and months, worrying about the next job and even further ahead. dealing with prospective customers and all that came with that. the pricing of jobs and sending quotes. it wasn’t easy at times,  and gave me sleepless nights at times ( no change there then lol). There are certain things in business which you just don’t learn when you’re working for another decorator. How to “spin plates” is the biggie. You need to stay on top of everything as you go along, or everything suffers.


But that feeling of securing a big job and being busy for the next few weeks, months was great and it still is to this day, you feel the pressure is off for a bit and you can relax a little, if you can call it being relaxed as self employment don’t let you do that very often!

I set a few ground rules for myself when I took the plunge. which I will continue to expand on in the next one. Work/life balance is important, but so is grafting and taking a decorating business forward.


Final Thoughts


Looking back at the uncertainty seems a little serial now. Stepping out on your own and doing everything for the first time takes guts for anyone, but you don’t struggle for long. Running a successful decorating business soon becomes second nature.

You learn to put yourself first, you learn how to deal with situations, and you learn how to make money without sacrificing too much time with your family. I don’t mean to sound pompous, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.


I’ve been thinking about how new start-ups (like myself) are not getting much help from the government. I’ve also read on here how people are struggling to get leads/work during this time and haven’t had an enquiry for weeks!! It’s scary times for us all and skilled decorators are looking for any type of work to keep up with bills etc.

I wanted to offer some advice on how I’ve managed to keep work coming in. Some people on here may read this and think, what does he know? He’s only been around 5 minutes.

I started my own decorating business less than 10 months ago and I seem to have a good name for myself already. Luckily for me, I’ve had plenty of work and continue to have enquiries throughout this pandemic. I’m booked up for a few months now and it’s down to hard work, good quality workmanship resulting in word of mouth and good marketing/advertising.

Firstly, I like to say presentation is key. Attending a quote in a branded van with clean(ish) branded workwear will show the potential customer that you mean business. First impressions count 👌 I know everyone isn’t fortunate to buy a van but work for it. It’s made a huge difference to my workload.

During the quote I’ll ask them what they want, explain the work required, what we offer as a business and timeframe. I build a rapport them and make them feel comfortable. I don’t want them to stress over the work. I also try and attend a quote within 1/2 days of the enquiry and fire the estimate over to them the same day. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing the quote up at 9/10pm. For 10 minutes of my time, I feel the customer appreciates it. I’ve been told many times, they like how prompt I was throughout the process and they feel like I give a shit about them. Therefor I win the work.

When I’m at a job I’ll leaflet 20/30 houses in the area and will get a few enquires. Again, for 30 minutes of your time you could win 2/3 more jobs seeing you through the rest of the month. In areas I want to work in all also put up signs.

Any work I do, I’ll take before and after pictures then post them on social media. A lot of the older generation say Facebook is a wasn’t of time. I disagree, social media is a fantastic tool and I’ve won great work off it, leading to more work from that customer.

It all helps with generating leads and I hope this helps someone else on here. Good luck 😁


Final Thoughts


I’ll go one further, the secret to a successful decorating business is being able to take a step back and look at the industry as a whole. Keep track of your running costs, look at where you can make more money. Know how much profit you make from job to job and put some of it back into your business.

I see decorators saying things like “you can’t charge more than £150 a day in my area”. I really don’t believe them. I just think they target the wrong clients, and they don’t focus enough attention on bringing in the better work.

Dan Mc

Professional Decorator

Updated Feb 17, 2024 | Posted Jun 12, 2017 | 2 comments


  1. Alan mahon

    Nice blog Andy


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