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Cheap (But Effective!) Marketing for Your New Painting Business

You love painting, so you've taken that passion and created a business out of it. The next step is to establish a solid clientele, and to do so you need some easy, cost-effective marketing strategies to build your reputation. Whether you're new on the scene or looking to expand your canvas, these creative and practical tips will help your painting business stand out without blowing your budget.

1. Prompt Communication and Professionalism

First impressions are like a fresh coat of paint - critical for a polished look. Out of all the tips in this article, this is the most basic and the most important:

Return calls and texts promptly, and always show up when you say you will.

It seems simple, but a professional demeanor and good work habits are the cornerstones of any successful business, and it will set you apart from the competition.

2. Establish a Basic Online Presence

Having an online presence is essential for any modern business. You don't need to spend money on it just yet, though - get started with the basics using these free online tools:

  • Professional Gmail Address: Create a professional Gmail address that reflects your business name, like "brushstrokes@gmail.com."
  • Google Business Profile: Register your Google Business Profile to ensure you appear in local search results and Google Maps. To optimize your listing, make sure all details are accurate and regularly updated. A good Google profile is like having a giant billboard on the busiest street in town - and it's free.
  • Social Media: Create free business pages on platforms like Facebook, Nextdoor, and Instagram. Consistent contact info (name, address, phone, email) across any platforms you choose to use is a must, so pay close attention to detail.

Tip: Once your business has gotten rolling, consider setting up a simple website. For more details about building your online presence, check out this article.

3. Branding Essentials

Branding is the visual identity of your business. Invest some time in the following:

  • Logo: Create a simple, memorable logo that works with your business name. (Less is more when it comes to logo design.)
  • Business Cards: Design professional business cards that include all necessary contact information.

example of a painting business card with logo and clear contact details
Sample business card created with Canva

  • Vehicle Signage: If you can swing it, invest in a good-sized magnetic sign for your work vehicle. They're very reasonably priced and it's ongoing advertising that rolls wherever you're working.

Tip: Have any friends that are computer-savvy with a keen eye for design? Offer to paint a room for them in exchange for their help with your logo and business card. While you don't have to spend a lot of money on it (and in fact, we strongly recommend you don't when first starting up), it's worth investing a little time to ensure your branding reflects your business values and services.

4. Utilize Local Community Resources

Use free and low-cost local advertising opportunities wherever possible, such as:

  • Community Boards: Go old-school and print out some basic fliers with tear-off pieces of contact info, and post them on boards at community centers, coffee shops, and local businesses.

Tip: Posting tear-off fliers on community mailboxes in new, affluent neighborhoods and lobbies of new condos is also a great idea. New residents will be looking to switch out that builder's white!

A painting business marketing flyer for posting on community boards and mailboxes, where the tear-off pieces include a business name and a phone number
Example of a simple tear-off flyer created in Canva. You can stick to text-only and write one out by hand, too - just be neat!

  • Facebook and Nextdoor Groups: Join and participate in local groups where potential clients may ask for recommendations for a good painter - which happens all the time! Ask your family and friends to do the same. Don't miss out on the opportunity to promote your services to eager, local buyers.

5. Leverage Client Relationships

In the painting business, word of mouth trumps almost everything else. Make sure that you always:

  • Engage with Your Clients: Building rapport can lead to repeat business and referrals. Take the time to chat with clients, understand their needs, and ensure they are satisfied with your services. Remember, a smile with a pleasant greeting takes no time at all, but it means a lot!
  • Leave Business Cards: After completing a project, leave 3-5 business cards with your clients and encourage them to share with family, friends, and colleagues in need of painting services. Think of your business cards as seeds - they may sprout into your next big job.
  • Ask for Reviews: Positive reviews are incredibly powerful marketing tools, especially when they're left by local, verifiable clients. Ask satisfied clients to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, Yelp, or social media profiles.

QR code that leads to the ServiceM8 review page for Software Advice
Free QR code generated with Adobe

Tip: Consider adding a QR code (those little scannable squares) to your invoice that will take your client immediately to your review site when they scan it with their smartphone! It's an easy way to encourage positive feedback while your work is fresh in the client's mind.

To create a QR code:

  1. When signed into Google under your business account, click the Google Apps icon from the Google homepage.
  2. Click Business Profile Manager.
  3. Click Ask for reviews.
  4. Copy the review link.
  5. Go to a free QR code generator (this example uses the Adobe QR Code Generator).
  6. Paste the review link in the URL field and click Download.

You now have an image of your review link QR code saved for use in your marketing efforts.

6. Employ Guerilla Marketing Tactics

Guerilla marketing involves creative, low-cost strategies to attract attention and, when done well, make people remember you with a smile. Here are a few fun ideas:

  • Sidewalk Chalk Art: Create eye-catching sidewalk chalk art with your business name and contact information on sidewalks in high-traffic areas.
  • Bookstore / Library Infiltration: At local libraries and bookstores, slip your business cards into books and magazines related to home improvement or interior decorating. (If you're doing it at a bookstore, ask permission first and be very careful not to damage the book in any way!)
  • Volunteer Work: Offer to paint a bench in a local community garden, a mural at a school, or another project in a public space.
  • Post-Its on Neighboring Homes: You don't need expensive door hangers when a simple Post-It will suffice! When completing a job in a neighborhood, place a few handwritten Post-It notes on nearby houses. Let them know you're currently working on a home in the area and include your contact information (and possibly a neighbor discount code). You can even tape your business card to it, just make sure you add a personal touch.
A sample post-it note that could be used for marketing a painting business doing work in the area to neighboring houses
Sample post-it note with business card attached

7. Build Professional Networking Relationships

When you run a painting business, networking with the right professionals can lead to a lucrative stream of referrals. Reach out to:

  • Paint Stores: Strike up a relationship with local paint stores (it helps if you do the majority of your business there) and get on their preferred contractor lists or bulletin boards. These stores frequently get requests for recommendations from clients looking for reliable painters.
  • Real Estate Agents and Home Stagers: Real estate professionals are always telling clients to repaint before listing - so be the repainter. Send local agents an email with your rates, typical turnaround times, and some testimonials from happy customers.
  • Local Property Management Companies: Property managers are always looking for reputable painting services for their properties, especially if the price is right. Consider offering a volume discount to kick off the relationship.

8. Get People Talking

Once you have an online presence established, you can take steps to generate buzz. Here are some simple marketing tricks to get things rolling (paint pun intended):

  • Before and After Pictures: Showcase dramatic before-and-after photos of your work on your social media pages - with your client's permission, of course.
  • Seek Out Opinions: Paint companies often feature "colors of the year" and different seasonal palettes. Create a social media post with your opinion of the choices (always keep it light-hearted and positive), and ask your readers if they agree or disagree.
  • Free Paint Job Contest: Host a contest offering a free paint job (labor only, materials extra) on social media, where people gain entries by sharing your business page. This not only draws attention to your business, but it also generates leads and engagement. If the winner is ok with it, turn it into a whole story - people like to know how things turn out.

9. Leverage Free Online Tools

There are many free tools that can help you with your marketing and customer service efforts, such as:

  • CanvaCanva is an excellent marketing tool for small businesses. It offers easy-to-use templates for business cards, fliers, social media posts, and more. But remember: a painter should demonstrate a great eye for detail, so proofread anything you create carefully, and get a detail-oriented friend to do the same!
  • ServiceM8: ServiceM8 is the perfect software for small painting businesses, with a free starter plan to get you up and running. With its job management platform and mobile app, you can schedule jobs, automate client communications and invoicing, and access your client info from anywhere. It even offers an easy website creator that will let you create a professional website for your painting business in minutes (literally), with booking functionality built right in!

10. Final Thoughts About Marketing Your Painting Business

Marketing your painting business doesn't have to be expensive. By utilizing these cost-effective strategies, you can build a strong presence, attract clients, and grow your business.

Remember, the key is to remain responsive, professional, and engaged with your community.

And when you're ready to take your painting business to the next level, ServiceM8 painting business software is here to help. It makes managing your jobs a breeze, helps you look even more professional, and ensures your customers get top-notch service and clear communication every time. So, when you're ready to elevate your business, let ServiceM8 be your go-to tool for success.

ServiceM8 offers a free starter plan for small businesses. Try it out today.

Article last updated on
July 15, 2024

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