Painting as a Sole Trader, How to Work for Yourself

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If you’re a professional painter and are looking to start your very own painting business in Australia, you probably have a lot of questions. In this post, we’re going to take you through all the steps that you need to take to transform your dream of owning and running a painting business into a reality. But before we take a look at what you need to do to set up your business, let’s talk about some of the pros and cons of a sole proprietorship.

Sole Proprietorship: The Advantages and the Disadvantages

Let’s start this section by talking about some of the advantages of painting as a sole trader in Australia:

  • Minimal paperwork: Business structures like limited liability corporations involve tons of paperwork. However, when it comes to a sole proprietorship, the owner only needs to obtain a permit or a business license depending on local government and/or state requirements. As a result, the process of starting the business and scaling up is rapid.
  • Complete control: The owner of a sole proprietorship is in total command in terms of all the business decisions. While other business structures involve officers and board members, there’s no one but you, the owner, to dictate how the business operates in a sole proprietorship structure. 
  • Greater privacy than other business structures: Corporations or LLCs have to disclose and/or report their operations and income from time to time to their respective local governments. However, this isn’t really a concern for sole traders, which gives greater freedom and privacy to sole proprietorships.
  • No profit sharing: In businesses with complex ownership structures, the profits mostly have to be shared. But in a sole proprietorship, the owner gets to keep all the profits.

However, there are also certain disadvantages of a sole proprietorship business structure, such as:

  • Lack of liability protection: As sole proprietorships aren’t legally incorporated, they don’t offer the owners any kind of liability protection. If the owner of a sole proprietorship faces any tax, legal, or financial issues, the owner becomes personally liable to sort things out.
  • Getting business credit and financing is difficult: Businesses that are legally incorporated have their own business bank accounts and business credit cards, which make it easier for them to secure substantial loans from banks. This isn’t the case with sole proprietorships, where owners are granted loans by banks based on their personal investments and credit histories.
  • Selling the business is hard: Sole proprietorships can’t be sold like other businesses. Instead of selling the business, the owner has to typically sell the business assets. This means that if the owner of a sole proprietorship dies, the business comes to an end as well.
  • No loss sharing: If a sole proprietorship makes heavy losses, it’s up to the owner to bear their brunt. In other business structures, losses are shared just like profits.

How to Set Up Your Painting Businesses

In this part, we’re going to take you through the steps required to get your painting business up and running.

  • Qualify yourself: You need a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating to be eligible for starting a painting business. TAFE, a registered training organisation, offers certification courses that are priced at around $14,270 (non-subsidised). A White Card is required as well, which certifies that you meet the necessary safety standards for working in the construction industry.
  • Complete all formalities: As mentioned before, the formalities and paperwork are minimal for a sole proprietorship. So once you’re ready to take the plunge, complete all the required formalities, such as obtaining the necessary permits and/or business licenses.
  • Make sure that you have all the equipment and tools: Once your business is up and running, you need to make sure that you have the right tools and equipment. This also includes the vehicle that you intend to use for business purposes.
  • Purchase insurance: For a painting business operating in a sole proprietorship structure, there are three types of insurance that are of great importance; public liability insurance, business automobile coverage, and tool insurance. Make sure you have the right painters insurance for your business. 
  • Establish your brand: Your painting business should have its own identity, which is why you need to establish your brand. Feel free to create your logo or consult branding professionals. Either way, it’s necessary that your brand identity is established before you actually start offering your services to customers.
  • Promote your services: Once all the formalities, equipment, and insurance are sorted, it’s time to market your services to your target audience. Get business cards printed and share them with your personal and professional contacts. Don’t forget to create your business profile across various social media platforms. If you’ve got the money for it, consider hiring digital marketing professionals to handle online promotions and advertisements.

So, once you’ve gone through all these steps, you’ll finally be ready to start painting professionally in Australia!

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