What Do I Need to Start a Painting Business in California?

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Starting a painting business is more than gathering a paintbrush and finding a few clients. Starting a business in California requires business owners to follow basic rules and regulations. A painting business should also address potential customers and create a business brand that stands out from the competitors. Starting a California painting business requires research and preparation.

Business Registration

You will need to get a business license to legally operate a business in California, even if it is a service-based painting business. To register, you need to identify what type of business structure your painting business follows. Examples for legal business structures in California include:

  • sole proprietorship
  • general partnerships
  • limited partnerships
  • LLP
  • LLC
  • corporations

California business laws require you to register your painting business in the county level if you are operating under a fictitious name. If you are using another name, register the business with the California Secretary of State.

Permits and Local Licenses

Permits and licenses required for a painting business in California are determined on a local level. The licenses and permits are issued based on the laws and regulations that apply to the given county the business is located. For example, in Beverley Hills in Los Angeles County, a painting business will require a building and construction permit, a burglar alarm permit, a business tax certificate license and a zoning approval. Each of these licenses and permits are issued by different departments or licensing areas under the State of California.

Business Planning, Website and Portfolio

A successful painting business will plan out all aspects of the business. This is often done in a business plan that covers the accounting, marketing, direct competition and market possibilities for the given business in the local area. A local painting business should also have a website, where potential customers could get more information about the business and contact the owner for a potential job quote. The website should also have a portfolio that shows your previous paint jobs. This is helpful for customers who may not know the difference between stain blocking, hardcover paintings, staining and varnishing, for example.

Supplies and Tools

Create a list of tools or supplies you will need to properly complete a painting job for a customer. This list will differ greatly depending on the type of painting services you offer. Examples of tools and supplies include paint roller cover, paint roller, brushes, trays, masking tape, plastic sheets, stains and paints, clothes, primers, outdoor wall solutions, wall-covering removal, adhesives, knives and scrapers, sandpaper, budgets, sponges and caulk for fillers.