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Old 10-09-2016, 09:50 PM   #1
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Smile new beginings

I'm a woodworker and I do all of my own finishes and have for years specializing in ornate lacquer and distressing. I'm currently working at a small cabinet shop building and finishing cabinets for little compensation not to mention I do all aspects of the remodels so I feel it's time to go out on my own. I can't afford the start up cost of a cabinet shop so I think my best bet is to start a finishing business. I guess my main question is what is the the start up cost for a painting business and how long does it take to get started?
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:39 PM   #2
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I started out with a 6' step ladder ($50), 8' ft to 16' extension ladder ($80) , a 24' ladder ($160). a tarp ($20), brush($15) ,a roller cage ($7) roller sleeve($5) and roller pole ($15).
You can find used ladders and some tools on craigs list a lot cheaper than I listed. Business license ($150) Vary's from state to state. Insurance $1,500 to$2,000 a year. That will vary as will. Check with an insurance broker Not just one or two will known insurance company's.How long does it take to get started? Depending on how many clients you have. Go to realtors office to start. Once you get going ask your clients to help get your name out. If you are fair. honest and do what you told the clients you would do your business will grow. Hope this helps. Welcome to paint talk
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:14 PM   #3
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Woodworker,

You might consider taking the time to write down exactly what your business is going to look like when it is done. Consider:

How many employees, in what positions

How much revenue, profit?

Who is your customer going to be?

Why should they use you as opposed to someone else (Hint, do NOT use price as a reason)

Are you going to have a shop? own/rent?

The list goes on and on. The more you can define your dreams (don't listen to the naysayers), the more likely they are to become reality.

To the extent you can tell us what those dreams are, may help us in providing the information you need. Your initial question, "How much does it cost to start and how long does it take?", has no right or wrong answer. Imho, being a "painting contractor" would require a minimum of 100k liquid. Anything less, and your a "side jobber". Nothing wrong with that either, we all started on the side.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:54 PM   #4
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Woodworker,
I have been doing ww and finishing for about 20 years , I am starting a carpentry and painting business in the spring. I have been planning and preparing for it for 12 months. I am going part time in my current job so I can work at my business and still have an income.

The advice you got about planning is right on the money. You will be surprised at the things that can cost you including:
Vehicle is it reliable is there space for lettering
Equipment think good quality contractor grade $$
Office space at home with computer

Other things to consider:
How will you manage your current job if you decide to start part time
Who is your customer and what type of jobs are you willing to do
I have had some people asking about 2 story soffit and fascia work that they want done for peanuts
Insurance now that is a topic that is so upsetting to me I won't say anymore than you do have to get it
Find a good accountant and make friends with your small business bank manager they can help out especially at the start.

HTH
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Old 11-29-2016, 06:14 PM   #5
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When it comes to starting a business on your own, I always tell people to make sure that you have a years worth of living expenses set aside. It's rare that you will need less and not having it will make every month a living hell of stress and worry. You should also consider, depending on your state, 10k just to start up. You're gonna need to have your bond, insurance, a bit of money (which you can obviously substitute time for) for marketing, and rainy day money for when your vehicle explodes on you when you have a booked week (been there).
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:09 AM   #6
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We started with a 6' step. As we needed ladders or tools we would then buy them.

This is what I think is the order you should start with. Insurance is a must have and should really be the first thing you purchase.

Insurance/Workers Comp
Hand tools
Ladders
Vehicle to haul stuff
business cards
flyers
accountant
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:44 AM   #7
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Plan for slow down / recession cause as history shows we are due bigtime.
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Old 12-01-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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My recommendation to you is to try not to quit your job just yet. It's a reliable source of income, small albeit perhaps as you claim, but still comes in.

When you trek out on your own, there's no guarantee and work doesn't always just come in, especially at first since no one really even knows you exist.

So if possible, keep your job and do small jobs on the side. It will also let you fund your new found business (buying cards, buying paper for brochures, paying for a website maybe, etc.). All those things cost money and the money comes from where?? Important to have a source of funding. You need to make things as simple as samples...costs money. Once you get a little bit of a following or develop some sort of pipeline then you can decide if you want to quit.

Here's a good example: What if you get sick and need a day or two off? Well...when you run your own business and you need to work to get paid...it's hard to take that time off. If you have a job that pays sick leave, those type of things come in useful. Same goes with benefits. Just some food for thought.

Being a wood worker and dealing with lacquers and other such finishing processes. I would try and take a look at that as an advantage. Did you research how many people in your area can do what you do? Are there cabinet refinishing companies or painters that have a knack for refinish or distressing? What about furniture refinish?

There's a lot of work in refinishing especially when you open things up to furniture, custom distressing/aging, etc. If you don't know where to look, go to the paint stores (dun edwards, ben moore, sherwin williams, maybe even the local HD/Lowes, & other local stores) and ask them who does that type of work or who would they recommend.

If they hesitate or aren't really sure...there might be a market there. They see painters and cabinet guys all the time, so they should know who's name to spit out.

If it looks like a good opportunity, go to VistaPrint and grab yourself some business cards. Do a couple samples, take them by the stores, talk to the managers and get to know people. Pass them your cards or put them on the board. You want those guys to know that if they need a re-finisher (if that's what you try to do), you should be the go-to guy.

Another good place to spark some interest is your local farmers market. Grab some pieces to refinish and sell them, even if it only pays the booth/entry fees. Get your cards/pamphlets out there and help spread the word.


*A lot of people start businesses with the idea of making money, but it's just as important to not lose money. When you start spending it, you need to replace it. So while it may seem like your taking a loss by not making as much as you want; you have to think that replacing what you spend will allow you to continue to go in the future.

Last edited by woodcoyote; 12-01-2016 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 12-01-2016, 04:05 PM   #9
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I sense that this practical advice is inherent in most people who can read, write, hold a job, and are conscientious, but perhaps would like to exercise some risk. Yet, so many end up carelessly flying by the seat of their pants in the interest of immediate internet exposure, the power of hiring and firing workers, and adjusting hours that suit their personal sensibilities, all at the expense of sustainability. Why is that?
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Old 12-01-2016, 08:08 PM   #10
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Start a cabinet shop. Get a loan. Beg, steal or borrow. It's where the money is.

I know a guy that invested a million in a cnc for his shop. He's knocking it out of the park. His cabinets are top notch.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epretot View Post
Start a cabinet shop. Get a loan. Beg, steal or borrow. It's where the money is.

I know a guy that invested a million in a cnc for his shop. He's knocking it out of the park. His cabinets are top notch.
The small cab shop industry is actually in a decline and has been nation wide for about a decade already.

It's going for more specialty work and the only reason why they haven't gotten completely annihilated is the large cab manufacturers have down time for re-tooling of such things specialized. But once they get into a system (more with CNC technology) they'll put the small guys under because they have the economies of scale on their side (helps when you buy lumber by the rail cart).

But* that's where re-finishers come in aka painters. Virtually impossible to get new cabinets put in compared to the price of what we can charge to change the color.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodcoyote View Post
The small cab shop industry is actually in a decline and has been nation wide for about a decade already.

It's going for more specialty work and the only reason why they haven't gotten completely annihilated is the large cab manufacturers have down time for re-tooling of such things specialized. But once they get into a system (more with CNC technology) they'll put the small guys under because they have the economies of scale on their side (helps when you buy lumber by the rail cart).

But* that's where re-finishers come in aka painters. Virtually impossible to get new cabinets put in compared to the price of what we can charge to change the color.
I agree. However, this guy is custom. Maybe that's the difference. He also makes chairs.

He doesn't even make lower cost cabinets. He orders them from a production shop.
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:06 AM   #13
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Default Why do u wanna do two things

Do cabinets or do painting. Focusing on two things is too much... Or just focus on refinishing cabinets.

It's where most guys fail, they want a business but they wanna do too many things. It's hard to market a business that does more than one thing good..... Not saying you can't offer multiple services but ur business should be based off one aspect. ......

Marketing. Don't waist money on leaf services and other advertising, there is plenty of free advertising for you to utilize when u are just beginning. Fb, and other social sites, post ads in fb groups , things like that , hrs easy for you to do at home and don't really cost Jack. Build a client base then maybe once your ready to scale you can start a advertising budget but only with effective sources like things people actually use. Google for example is the new yellow pages.

Get your tools per as you need them, you will have plenty of time to start saving tools. Take care of them don't let your employees ruin them.....

Get ur insurance and trade license If your state requires it when u can afford it.....

You can do it man you just gotta be hungry dude, u already know the answers to the questions your asking. You can do anything you set your mind too man.....

The answer is you don't need no money to start.... You need desire.... Something far more valuable.... You ca not buy customers , ull find that out. ..... U can only work your butt off and earn them.....

Just do it man...... If your gonna do it do it..... Walk in there morrow quit and come back home and start marketing immediately..... It ain't rocket science man.....

Facebook, Instagram and some desire to walk up to some people and shake there hand and I traduce yourself as a business owner with a solution to there needs is your start-up cost buddy...... From there u can make it what u want.
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