How to Start a Painting Business in Ontario: Step-by-Step Guide + Funding Options

According to the Ontario Construction Secretariat, the construction industry is a major economic driver, accounting for $70 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 600,000 people.

Within the construction industry, the painting sector represents a significant portion of the market, with a growing demand for residential and commercial painting services.

One of the advantages of starting a painting business is the strong demand for these services. With a growing population and expanding real estate market, there is a constant need for high-quality painting services to maintain and enhance the appearance of buildings and homes.

Additionally, painting businesses can enjoy the flexibility of choosing their projects and working hours, allowing for a better work-life balance.

However, starting a new painting business also comes with its own set of challenges.

Competition within the painting industry can be fierce, requiring business owners to differentiate themselves through their skills, quality of work, and customer service.

Additionally, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, complying with regulations, and managing finances can be complex and time-consuming.

Despite these challenges, with the right strategies and dedication, starting a new painting business can be a fulfilling and profitable venture.

In this article, we will explore the essential steps involved in starting a new painting business, from setting up your business to developing a strong customer base and growing your brand.

Step 1: Develop a Business Plan

Developing a business plan is an essential step in starting a painting business. A well-written business plan can help you define your goals, target market, competition, and financial projections.

Here are the general steps to develop a business plan for a painting business:

  • Executive summary: This section is a brief overview of your business plan. It should include your business name, location, and a summary of your services.
  • Company description: This section should describe your painting business in detail. This can include your mission statement, business goals, and how your business differs from competitors.
  • Market analysis: In this section, you should conduct market research to identify your target market and competition. This can include analyzing demographics, consumer trends, and local competitors.
  • Services and products: This section should detail the services and products your painting business offers. This can include exterior and interior painting, wallpaper removal, and drywall repair.
  • Marketing and sales: In this section, you should outline your marketing and sales strategy. This can include social media marketing, print advertising, and building relationships with real estate agents.
  • Operations and management: This section should detail your business operations and management structure. This can include how you will hire and train employees, manage finances, and handle customer service.
  • Financial projections: In this section, you should outline your financial projections for the next 3-5 years. This can include revenue, expenses, and profit margins.
  • Appendix: This section can include additional information, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, permits, and legal documents.

Step 2: Register Your Business

In Ontario, any individual or company that engages in business activities must register with the government of Ontario and obtain the necessary licenses and permits.

Here are the steps needed to register your business with the government:

  • Choose a business name: Choose a unique name for your painting business that is not already registered in Ontario.
  • Determine your business structure: You can register your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Each business structure has different requirements and benefits, so it’s important to research which structure is right for you.
  • Register your business name: You will need to register your business name with the government of Ontario. You can do this online through the Ontario Business Registry.
  • Obtain a business number: You will need to obtain a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can do this online or by phone.
  • Register for a tax account: Depending on your business structure, you may need to register for a tax account with the CRA. This can include a GST/HST account or a Payroll account.
  • Register for any necessary licenses and permits: Depending on your business structure and services offered, you may need to obtain certain licenses and permits to operate legally. This can include a business license, a tax registration number, and any necessary industry-specific permits.
  • Register for workers’ compensation: If you plan to hire employees, you will need to register for workers’ compensation coverage through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).
  • Open a business bank account: It’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate. Open a business bank account to manage your business finances.
  • Register for any necessary insurance: Protect your business with insurance. This can include general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and professional liability insurance.

Step 3: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is an essential step in ensuring that your business is compliant with provincial laws, protecting your business and your clients.

To obtain licenses and permits, you need to:

  • Research the licenses and permits required: Depending on your business structure and services offered, you may need to obtain certain licenses and permits to operate legally in Ontario. It’s important to research which licenses and permits apply to your business. Some common permits and licenses for a painting business may include a business license, a tax registration number, and any necessary industry-specific permits.
  • Apply for the necessary licenses and permits: Once you have identified which licenses and permits you need, you will need to apply for them. This can be done online or in person, depending on the specific requirements for each license or permit. Some permits and licenses may have fees associated with them.
  • Obtain insurance: Depending on your business structure and services offered, you may need to obtain certain insurance policies. This can include general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and professional liability insurance. Insurance requirements may vary depending on the specific licenses and permits required for your business.
  • Renew licenses and permits: Many licenses and permits need to be renewed periodically. It’s important to keep track of when your licenses and permits are set to expire and to renew them before they expire to avoid any penalties or fines.

Step 4: Purchase Equipment and Supplies

Investing in high-quality equipment and supplies can help you achieve better results, work more efficiently, and improve customer satisfaction.

It can also reduce the risk of accidents or injuries, as well as minimize the environmental impact of your business operations.


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    Here are tips to purchase appropriate equipment and supplies:

    • Identify the necessary equipment and supplies: Depending on the scope of your painting business, you may need to purchase a variety of equipment and supplies. Some common equipment and supplies for a painting business may include paint brushes, rollers, trays, sprayers, drop cloths, ladders, scaffolding, sanders, scrapers, and safety equipment.
    • Determine your budget: Determine how much money you are able to spend on equipment and supplies. This will help you prioritize which items you need to purchase first and where you can potentially cut costs.
    • Research suppliers: Research suppliers in your area or online to compare prices and availability. Look for suppliers that offer high-quality products at reasonable prices.
    • Purchase equipment and supplies: Once you have identified the necessary equipment and supplies and determined your budget, you can begin purchasing. Consider purchasing in bulk to potentially save money.
    • Set up storage and organization: Once you have purchased your equipment and supplies, set up a designated storage area to keep everything organized and easily accessible.
    • Maintain and replace equipment and supplies: Regularly maintain and replace your equipment and supplies as needed to ensure that they are in good working condition and that you are providing high-quality service to your customers.

    Step 5: Build a Team

    With a skilled team, you can take on more projects and complete them faster, which can lead to increased revenue and profitability.

    Additionally, by delegating tasks to team members, you can reduce your own workload and have more time to focus on other aspects of the business, such as marketing and business development.

    To create a wonderful team, you’ll have to:

    • Identify the roles needed: Identify the specific roles that you need to fill to operate your painting business. This may include painters, administrative staff, salespeople, and project managers.
    • Develop job descriptions: Develop clear job descriptions for each role. This will help potential candidates understand the requirements of the job and ensure that you are hiring individuals with the necessary skills and experience.
    • Advertise job openings: Advertise job openings through various channels, such as job boards, social media, industry-specific websites, and referrals. Consider offering referral incentives to your current employees or industry contacts to help attract top talent.
    • Screen and interview candidates: Screen and interview candidates to determine if they have the necessary skills and experience for the job. Consider conducting a skills assessment or having candidates complete a project to demonstrate their abilities.
    • Conduct background checks: Conduct background checks, such as criminal record checks and reference checks, to ensure that potential employees have a clean history and are a good fit for your business.
    • Make job offers: Once you have identified the right candidates, make job offers that are in line with industry standards and your budget.
    • Provide training: Provide training for new employees to ensure that they are familiar with your business operations, safety procedures, and quality standards.
    • Foster a positive work culture: Foster a positive work culture by providing regular feedback, recognizing achievements, and offering opportunities for professional development.

    Step 6: Market Your Business

    Marketing is essential for any business to create awareness, generate leads, and ultimately, convert them into paying customers.

    Without effective marketing, your painting business may struggle to attract new customers and generate revenue.

    To create an effective marketing strategy:

    • Develop a marketing plan: Develop a marketing plan that outlines your target audience, unique selling proposition, marketing goals, and strategies. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you are reaching the right audience with the right message.
    • Create a website: Create a website that showcases your painting services and provides information about your business. Include your contact information and photos of your past projects to demonstrate your expertise.
    • Establish a social media presence: Establish a social media presence on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Share photos and videos of your painting projects, customer testimonials, and industry insights.
    • Network with other businesses: Network with other businesses in your industry and in related industries. Join industry associations and attend local events to meet potential customers and collaborators.
    • Offer promotions and discounts: Offer promotions and discounts to attract new customers and encourage repeat business. Consider offering a referral program to incentivize current customers to refer their friends and family.
    • Invest in advertising: Invest in advertising through online platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, as well as traditional advertising methods such as print ads or direct mail.
    • Leverage customer reviews: Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on your website and social media pages and use them to your advantage. Positive reviews can help build trust and credibility for your business.
    • Maintain a professional image: Maintain a professional image by using consistent branding and providing excellent customer service. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and happy customers can become advocates for your business.

    Step 7: Set Your Pricing

    Setting your pricing is an important aspect of your new painting business, and it should be done carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that your business remains profitable and competitive.

    Here are some tips on creating a competitive marketing structure:

    • Research your competition: Find out what other painting businesses in your area are charging for their services. This will give you an idea of the price range that customers are willing to pay.
    • Calculate your costs: Determine the cost of materials, labor, and overhead for each job. This will help you establish a baseline price that covers your expenses and provides a reasonable profit margin.
    • Consider your target market: Your pricing strategy should be tailored to your target market. If you’re targeting high-end clients, you may be able to charge more for your services than if you’re targeting budget-conscious customers.
    • Assess your skills and experience: If you’re an experienced painter with a proven track record of delivering high-quality work, you may be able to charge more than a new painting business with less experience.
    • Offer package deals: Consider offering package deals or discounts for multiple jobs to incentivize customers to choose your business over competitors.
    • Be transparent: Be upfront and transparent with customers about your pricing and what they can expect from your services. Avoid hidden fees or surprise charges that can damage your reputation and lose customers.

    Step 8: Protect Your Business

    It is critical to protect your new business by insuring and taking measures to mitigate risks.

    Starting a new business can be a risky endeavor, and taking steps to protect your business can help you avoid financial losses and potential legal issues.

    Here are some of the ways to protect your business:

    • Get insurance coverage: Protect your business from unexpected events and lawsuits by obtaining insurance coverage such as liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
    • Draft contracts: Create contracts that outline the scope of work, timelines, and payment terms for each project. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes with customers.
    • Implement safety protocols: Develop and implement safety protocols to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries while working on job sites.
    • Manage your finances: Establish sound financial practices to keep your business financially stable, such as keeping accurate records, managing cash flow, and controlling costs.
    • Build a strong reputation: Focus on delivering high-quality work, building strong relationships with customers, and establishing a positive reputation in the community.
    • Stay up to date with industry trends: Keep up with changes in the industry, such as new painting techniques or regulations, to stay ahead of the competition and provide the best possible service to your customers.


    Starting a painting business requires careful planning, hard work, and a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the market. However, with the right strategies in place, it can be a rewarding and profitable venture. 

    By focusing on delivering high-quality work, building strong relationships with customers, and establishing a positive reputation in the community, painting businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors and succeed in a growing industry.

    Whether you are just starting out or looking to grow your existing business, the key is to remain adaptable, innovative, and committed to excellence.

    With a strong work ethic and dedication to your craft, your painting business can flourish in Ontario’s thriving construction industry.

    Resources for Painting Businesses in Ontario

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    1. Great article and resources. This was very well written and straight forward and the associated links are very helpful.

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