The Pros and cons of being a Professional Decorator

By Mike Gregory


I’m a professional decorator and I’ve been in the trade for almost 20 years, which is pretty much my whole working life. I’ve been self employed for 8 of those years. I have all the equiptment from airless spray machines to dust free sanders. I thought I’d put pen to paper with a little blog and just explain the pros and cons of being a decorator like me. If you’re reading this and you fancy a career change then you never know, it might just help you make your mind up. At the very least you’ll be able to have a laugh at my expense!


The positives


OK, let’s start on a high and go through the pros. I’m my own boss which is a winner. I’ve got a good base of loyal customers who almost all love me and I get great satisfaction when I’m coming to the end of a project. I’m also a bit of a geek when it comes to products and I’m genuinely interested in all that side of things.

The negatives


Well it’s a bit shit really. Decorating is probably the lowest paid trade for a start. We have to put up with late payers, non-payers, cashflow troubles and ever-increasing paint prices driving profit down even further. If you want to be a decorator, get used to being skint.


We get filthy at work, breathe in horrible dust, put up with stupid customers, drying times stopping play and rooms full of clutter. We spend our evenings pricing up, working out, cleaning tools and organising the van. Decorators have to work damned hard!!


Site painters get looked down on by other trades (I swear to god, next time a sparkie leaves a mess for me to tidy up I’m going to shoot him in the head with a nail gun). We have to make all the other trade’s F ups look neat with absolutely no thanks whatsoever! We start a house before the heating is installed so things take an age to dry, then when the heating is up and running, they blast it on full so everything cracks!! On top of all that, people damage out work and expect us to fix it for free.


Honestly, if you really are thinking about becoming a decorator, I’d think twice. Try plumbing instead! Better still, try harder at school and work in an office. It’s no wonder so many decorators have a drink and / or drug problem.

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The Pros and cons of being a Professional Decorator