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Budding Painter and Decorator..

Discussion in 'Decorating and Painting' started by Max7, 27 Aug 2014.

  1. Max7

    Max7

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    Hello there,

    I've read quite a few posts on here, and there's some great advice with regards to doing DIY. I would like to ask if anybody could give me some pointers on starting my own painting and decorating business and I apologise in advance if this has been asked a million times before. Here's a little about me.

    I'm female, aged 47 and currently working in an office environment. I've always enjoyed doing DIY and in particular painting. I understand totally that this in no way warrants me being an expert in this field, but I do find it so enjoyable and rewarding.

    I've asked a few friends what they think and the same answer keeps coming back: " There is a market for female trades, especially when it comes to the elderly or single people living alone. " Would you agree with that? Is my age a barrier here?

    Also, I'm having difficulty in finding a suitable training course in my area
    ( Bournemouth/Christchurch ). What, in your opinion, would be an ideal course to do which would set me up with the basic skills that I need to start a business? Do I need to embark on a year long course at college, or could I pick up these skills by just doing a night school course somewhere? Or, alternatively, if I could ask around and maybe I could get experience by working alongside somebody at the weekends. Would that work?

    I don't have oodles of money as many of you probably didn't when you first ventured out, but could you give me any pointers on marketing, and the essential tools I would need to get me going.

    I apologise for the many questions, but I appreciate any and all the advice you can throw at me.

    Cheers,

    Max
     
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  3. arthurthesolo

    arthurthesolo

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    Hi Max!

    To start with I'd focus on the fact you're female! In my area there are a few lady plumbers, gardeners and DIYers and they openly market that fact - and they seem to be doing very well, positive sexism or not! Age won't matter here I don't think, just confidence, competence and being friendly.

    Have a look on Facebook and search for "buy and sell in (insert your town name" pages. People usually trying to shift sofas and stuff but you can comment and tell all the fans that you're available to hire.

    Also put a poster in your local post office, independently owned shops, yellow pages, newspaper (although this can be expensive).

    See if you can get some work from local handymen who are looking to par some work they don't have time to do - or if not then ask them to keep your card in case they are too busy and can suggest you to a client for some jobs. You can get a few hundred free business cards from a few websites with free trials so that's a good freebee.

    I'd imagine a few people will typically go to their usual DIY guy for work because they trust them so try and undercut the local competition for a while as you build up a customer base. Just get the tools you need on a job-to-job basis, and make sure you look online too to get the cheapest tools from the likes of Tradefix Direct, screwfix, Toolstation etc.

    This website has DIY courses for women, if not maybe the local college!

    Hope that helps and let us know how you get on :)
     
  4. dcdec

    dcdec

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    Just buy yourself a set of steps, a cheap brush set from B&Q and an old hatchback and you're a painter, it really is that easy!
     
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  5. Max7

    Max7

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    Thanks so much to both of you for replying.

    So you think just a set of brushes, a van, and a pair of ladders is all that's needed?

    Arthurthesolo, you've given me lots to think about, and I really appreciate your input and advice.

    I'll let you know how it goes, and of course, if I have any questions, I'll be back on here to ask!

    Cheers,

    Max
     
  6. misterhelpful

    misterhelpful

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    I think you'll find that dcdec is being ever so slightly sarcastic. ;)
    I fully understand why because, although the actual practices of painting and decorating appear relatively simple compared to other trades, there are many things that need to be learned and understood before you can competently go out and achieve long lasting results for a paying customer.

    You will require a vast array of tools and equipment to be capable of doing all decorating jobs and need to know all about the various products to use in every situation for guaranteed results. Customers will ask you to recommend products, explain everything you need and intend to do in order to give them what they want, and also give a relatively accurate quote on the spot. Without the good knowledge of products, potential issues, prices, timescales, etc, you could be in trouble before you even lift a paintbrush.

    You will encounter problems on jobs that you have never had any experience with on DIY tasks, and will need to know how to deal with them correctly. You only have to skim through the topics in this forum to see how DIYers come up against problems, which for an experienced decorator wouldn't be an issue.

    I don't think age or sex is a major barrier but you need to consider, having been in an office environment, whether you will be able to meet the physical demands of decorating 5-6-7 days a week, which is what you will need to do to make money when starting out new. Many 'tradesmen' will take advantage of elderly/single/unwitting customers so being female could help you there, but if you don't do a professional enough job, you could end up being tarred with the same brush.

    I am all for someone trying to start a new venture and, having been in the trade for 20+ years, I wish you success if you decide to do it, but you really will need to get the experience and knowledge you seem to be seeking in order to become a reputable decorator and not just 'pick up a paintbrush'.

    BTW, undercutting local tradesmen will not really get you any fans within the trade, especially if you are hoping to get some experience with some of them. ;)

    Good luck
    mrH :)
     
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  8. dcdec

    dcdec

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    Just a bit Mr H !

    How can anyone know the standard required without learning what that standard is?
     
  9. I agree, undercutting local tradesmen is an awful thing to do. I was in the photography business for many years, I studied hard, got a degree, then worked my way up. Then the birth of the digital camera and suddenly everyone is an expert, and everyone cutting the price or doing it for free. This, over time has driven down the cost of photography and its harder and harder to make a living. Those that do the best are the photographers who know what they are doing 100% and still charge a reasonable amount but the whole price has dropped because of chancers. I should imagine a lot of folk in the decorating business are in the same situation.

    The last thing you want to do is to go into this business without knowing how to do it. Decorating is something that you can learn just the basics at home, but are you being honest with yourself - are you really good enough and are your standards high enough to charge folk and get a good rep? If not, do not start until you are at that stage. Bad word of mouth will see you stop being a decorator before you ever get started, whereas good word of mouth can make your career.

    I would spend time at night school at least and I would try and get work experience for quite some time at the very least before you consider setting up on your own. You'll thank yourself for it in the long run.

    Good luck and I hope you do well!
     
  10. Max7

    Max7

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    Lots of food for thought there, and I thank you for all the advice and tips you have shared.

    I'm aware that starting up in business ( whatever that business is ), will require very hard work and training, but I'm willing to put in the hours and learn.

    Thanks again folks.

    Max
     
  11. opps

    opps

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    Whilst not wanting to discourage you, which parts do you find enjoyable and rewarding?

    I am concerned that as a DIYer you may have underestimated how much of the job involves preparation. I frequently find myself spending 2 or three days just filling and sanding before I even apply any paint. It can be mind numbingly boring but it is a necessary evil.

    That said, I still find it a rewarding profession
     
  12. Max7

    Max7

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    Hi Opps,

    I think it's the idea of " creating " which I like. Whether it's an image, or a piece of writing, it gives me pleasure. I've been told that painting and decorating is hard work and can be laborious, but so is sitting in front of a computer all day entering data, but maybe in a different sense... :cry:

    I'm glad you brought up the filling and sanding :) That's something I hadn't thought about, but then again, I'm not trained or qualified yet, but I'm hopeful that lots of things like that will be covered in any training courses I do.

    Thanks again,

    Max
     
  13. DIYnot Local

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