How to Create a Painting Business Plan

How to Create a Painting Business Plan

Don’t think of a business plan as a long-winded, boring manifesto about your company. Think of it as a ticket to freedom.

Business is booming! Who needs a plan?

You do. You need one. Really, truly.

As the saying goes: fail to plan, plan to fail. If you ever expect to put down your roller and mosey into the sunset of financial security, a business plan is what will get you there.

No matter how long you’ve been in business, how well you can recognize a matte from an eggshell finish, or how inundated you are with work, there’s no escaping the fact that having a business plan is a pivotal foundation for running a painting company.

Writing a business plan can feel daunting, which is why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to lead you through it in a way that’s straightforward and, dare we say… enjoyable.

What is a painting business plan?

A painting business plan is a strategic document that outlines high-level corporate details and goals for a painting company. It can help guide long-term decision-making for the next 5-10 years, or longer, and will cover financial, operational, sales, and marketing strategies.

Why does my painting company need a business plan?

Great question. If you ever go searching for corporate investment funding for your business, having a business plan will be essential. But beyond that, there are a bunch of reasons why you should have one, including:

  • It helps optimize your team’s time.
  • It keeps you from falling prey to distractions.
  • It’s a great reference when making decisions.
  • It’ll make you a more confident leader.

What should I include in my painting business plan?

  1. Executive Summary - highlights of your business plan
  2. Company Overview - key details about your company and culture
  3. Market Analysis - industry, competitors and customers
  4. Marketing & Sales Strategy - how you’ll land jobs
  5. Operations Plan - how you’ll execute those jobs
  6. Financials & Revenue Forecasting - how much you’ll make from those jobs

These are the standard sections that appear in a typical business plan, but you don’t have to follow it exactly. The big thing to note is even though this is how the plan is formatted, it’s not the order in which you’ll write it. Below is a framework for the thought process you’ll need to go through in order to create your plan.

How do I write a business plan for a painting company?

  1. Conduct market analysis: Who’s your competition?
  2. Work out what matters: What’s your company’s purpose?
  3. Study your numbers: Where are your profit margins?
  4. Decide how you’ll close jobs: What’s your lead funnel?
  5. Set an operational path: How will you get the work done?
  6. You’ve got your plan - now summarize it!

Step 1. Conduct market analysis

Market analysis a great place to start working on your business plan because it forces you to pause and get a sense of the painting industry landscape in your region, who your competitors are and where to find the best customers:

  • Is there a strong need for painters in your region?
  • What types of jobs are dominant? Residential interiors? Commercial exteriors?
  • Who are the big players in your area? What are they doing that you’re not?
  • Who are your ideal customers? Are they the same ones you’re currently serving?

Your answers to these questions will make up the third section of your business plan: Market Analysis.

Step 2. Work out what matters

Once you’ve got a handle on what’s happening out there, it’s time to turn your focus inwards and determine what sets you apart from your competition. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want your brand to stand for?
  • What can your company do better than anyone else?
  • What motivates you more than money?
  • What larger purpose does your company bring to the world?

Your answers to these questions will become the foundation of the second section of your plan: Company Overview.

Step 3. Study your numbers

It’s going to be extremely difficult to forecast your revenue without a budget, but if you don’t have one, do the best you can with whatever data is available. But be sure to start tracking your financials… like, today!

If you need a hand getting started, download our Budget Quick Tool.

Ideally, you want to figure out the following:

  • What are your operating costs?
  • What’s your gross profit margin?
  • What’s your net profit margin?
  • What do they need to be?

Your answers will help you build out the last section of your plan: Financials & Revenue Forecasting.

Step 4. Decide how you’ll close jobs

You know how much you need to make, now you need to determine your conversion levels.

  • What’s your average job size?
  • How many jobs do you need to complete to meet your financial targets?
  • How many estimates do you need to do to land that many jobs?
  • How many leads?
  • How will you find them?

The answers to these questions will underpin the fourth section of your plan: Sales & Marketing.

Step 5. Set an operational path

Alright, so you know roughly where you want to go, now to sort out how you’ll get there.

  • What’s your BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal)?
  • Who will you need on your team?
  • What systems do you need to implement?
  • How will you keep track of progress?
  • How will you instill a sense of accountability within your team?

These answers will help you round out the fifth section: Operations Plan.

It will also lay the groundwork for your annual strategic planning, where you’ll break the big vision established in your construction business plan down into executable actions. Our Strategic Plan template will help.

Step 6. Summarize it!

Now that you’ve worked out the nuts and bolts of your business plan, it’s time to capture the highlights (emphasis on “highlights” – this isn’t the place to get bogged down in details).

Basically, you want to answer the following questions:

  • Who is your painting company?
  • What is it going to do?
  • How?

It may be the last thing you write, but it will be the first section of your plan: Executive Summary.

Creating a painting business plan can seem complicated, but take it a step at a time. Remember, you’re the expert. No one knows your company better than you do.

Don’t overthink it.

Do’s & Don’ts of creating a painting business plan

  • Think big.
  • Remember data doesn’t lie. 
  • Make your plan actionable.
  • Create your plan for the people that will carry it out. Give them something to be excited about.
  • Get distracted. Once you know your purpose, build your plan around it. 
  • Pretend creating a business plan isn’t hard work. 
  • Get caught up in the nitty-gritty. This is a place for broad strokes.

How do I turn my plan into action?

As Mike Tyson has famously said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. A plan is only as good as your ability to implement it. Act like everyone else, and you’ll end up exactly as they are: average.

What differentiates elite painters from the rest is their ability to execute. But that’s definitely easier said than done, and not something you need to tackle alone.

As part of Breakthrough Academy’s coaching program, we’ll help you develop a Master Business Plan that includes everything you need to bring your goals to fruition, including an at-a-glance dashboard to keep tabs on your finances, sales and projects.

Ready to amp up your profits and offload some hours? Learn more about Breakthrough Academy’s coaching program for elite painters.

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