Starting a House Painting Business

How Much Does It Cost To Start a House Painting Business?

Tanner Mullen
March 21, 2021

How much does it cost to start a house painting business? 

There's a few "House Keeping" items you'll want to ensure are taken care of before you start your House Painting Business. Starting a House Painting Business is one of the most lucrative professions with one of the lowest cost-of-entry. So, in this post, we're going to discuss 5 costs to help you get your House Painting Business off on the right foot!

Cost 1: File an LLC and Register Your Company with the state:

Form Your LLC or S-Corp Designation: Speak with a tax professional about what designation is best for you.

Costs: Cost to file this depends on the state you plan to work in. It's pretty self explanatory to do it yourself, so we won't be factoring in costs to hire someone else to do it for you. Here's a chart of the rates each state's filing fees depending on which designation you choose.

Average: Based on this chart, you can expect to pay between $40-725 for Registering your business depending on the designation you choose and the state you live in.

Cost 2: Insurance

Licensing & Insurance: Licensing is of course state-dependent, so definitely check on that individually.

One of the most common questions I get is: What type of insurance do I need to start my house painting business?

There's two major types of insurance that you will need when starting your house painting business:

General Liability is the first one. This insurance covers any incidents on the actual job itself. An example of this would be if for whatever crazy reason, someone gets over-spray on a car. The General Liability insurance will cover any damages associated with on-site work. Some policies even cover health-related occurrences such as a slip or a fall, however, not to the extent of what a Workers' Comp policy will.

That leads us to the next insurance type you'll need, which is a Workers' Compensation Insurance policy. This insurance will ensure that the costs associated with medical care in the event one of your workers gets injured on the job is completely covered. Most states require this coverage so It's important to check your state & local guidelines to see if you are required to carry this coverage. However, even if you are not required to carry it, I recommend carrying it simply for peace of mind.

General liability Insurance: 

Price: $50-150 per month (quoted based on projected payroll)

What's it cover?: Property Damage

Workers’ compensation:

Price: Percentage calculated based on the state you work in (I pay 10.56% of every $1.00 in Florida)

What's it cover?: Workplace Injury

What if I'm using subcontractors?: % based on labor paid, and If you are contracting 1099 you won’t pay this until you are audited so I don’t calculate this as a startup cost!

Filing an Exemption: If your state requires you to have Workers' Compensation coverage, as an "officer" of a legal entity (LLC or S-Corp) you have the right to exempt yourself from carrying the coverage. There is usually a filing fee of between $50-100 to do this on a yearly basis.

Cost 3: Bookkeeping, Taxes, and Payroll


Hire a CPA or use QuickBooks. If you’re serious about going into business a CPA is the best route. Why? Their fee that they charge is an end of the year deduction, and you can wind up missing a ton of important deductions that they will help you subtract from your net income if you don’t know what you’re doing, or you don't stay up to date with changes in the tax-code.

Cost: $100-350/ month depending on if you go with an individual or a firm.

Payroll Administration:

This is a big one. Payroll administration for your house painting business is a huge way to create a professional atmosphere of trust for your workers. If you go with a company like Gusto, you can allow them to self-onboard whenever you make a hire, and pay them direct deposit. Running payroll is very easy, you can simply add the hours each individual works on a weekly basis, and Gusto will deduct the money from your bank account and pay the appropriate taxes on the behalf of the company and your employees.

Workers' Compensation Administration: 

Normally, whichever payroll company you choose will offer to administer your Workers' Compensation simply because this is calculated based off of costs. They usually have an affiliated carrier that will help onboard you for Workers' Compensation.


Hiring a payroll company will also give you the ability to run great reports on weekly, monthly, and yearly costs. Your employees / subcontractors will get a weekly, or bi-weekly pay stub depending on your payroll frequency.

Cost: Gusto is the least expensive self-serve option, they have a base plan under $40 to get started, with a $6 per employee charge on top of that. If you go with another company that does most of this for you, they usually charge between $200-500 per month to administer your payroll.

Cost 4: Startup Equipment

Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, you can finally get started building your inventory! 

The cheapest way to do this is to hire subcontractors who have their own equipment, however, if you want to have an inventory for yourself, and you plan to build a company with employees (who are not responsible to have their own equipment) then we can briefly discuss startup costs. In another blog post, I will write a detailed list of each piece of equipment and the cost associated with it. However, for this post, we're going to simply focus on the ballpark cost of what equipment will be needed to get started.


Paint Sprayer - $600-1000

Sundries (Brush, Roller-Poles, Drop Cloths) - $250

Cost 5: Paint

When I first started my house painting business, I was able to open up a Credit account with a local paint store. This allowed me to finance the paint at 0% for 30-days. So, my start-up cost for paint was virtually zero. If you don't have good enough credit to start an account, once you sell the job, you can ask for a deposit to cover paint. Depending on the job size, you shouldn't expect to spend more than $500 for paint on your first job. However, this cost is usually proportionate to the job size, so the idea would be for you to get enough of a deposit to cover this cost.

Starting a House Painting Business Cost Summary: 

So, to recap, here's our cost summary: 

  • Licensing, Legal, and Startup Fees - $500.00
  • General Liability Insurance - $150
  • Workers' Compensation Exemption - $50
  • Workers Compensation (Only calculated on payroll, not a startup cost) - $0
  • Bookkeeping - $150
  • Payroll - $35 signup fee
  • Startup Equipment - $250-1250
  • Paint - $0 if financed, job proportionate
Total House Painting Startup Cost: $1500-$2000

Thanks for reading this blog post about starting your house painting business! Stay tuned for updates and other helpful tips on getting started and growing your house painting business. Don't forget to sign up for your free trial of DripJobs CRM For Contractors to help you organize your contacts, automatically follow up, send quotes, and schedule jobs!