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How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business

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How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business

4/5 (2 valutazioni)
376 pagine
6 ore
Apr 27, 2011


The painting, faux painting, and mural business is one of the most lucrative small business opportunities around, with more than $100 billion spent annually according to the International Franchise Association. The need for skilled, qualified painters for everything from the family home to other businesses or the side of a new building has made those with the right skill set highly sought after. This book was written with all of those expert painters in mind, ensuring that everyone who has ever been interested in starting their own painting business gets every possible resource they need to successfully run that business. You will learn what the basics of the career entail and how to go about running your business. You will learn how to bid on a job and get paid for your work and finally how to start painting the walls. Dozens of the top faux and mural painters in the nation were contacted and interviewed for this book, their expertise compiled into a series of tips and tricks that will help you both understand how to run a business and be a successful painter. Everything you need to become a faux painter, from the first clients to the expansion of your business is included in this guide; the beginner s only needed resource. The companion CD-ROM is not available for download with this electronic version of the book but it may be obtained separately by contacting Atlantic Publishing Group at

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice. Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

This Atlantic Publishing eBook was professionally written, edited, fact checked, proofed and designed. You receive the same content as the print version of this book. Over the years our books have won dozens of book awards for content, cover design and interior design including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award for excellence in publishing. We are proud of the high quality of our books and hope you will enjoy this eBook version.

Apr 27, 2011

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How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business - Melissa Kay Bishop

How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful

Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business

By Melissa Kay Bishop

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business

Copyright © 2011 Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.

1405 SW 6th Avenue • Ocala, Florida 34471

Phone 800-814-1132 • Fax 352-622-1875

Web site: • E-mail:

SAN Number: 268-1250

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be sent to Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., 1405 SW 6th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bishop, Melissa Kay, 1971-

How to open & operate a financially successful painting, faux painting, or mural business / by Melissa Kay Bishop.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60138-332-7 (alk. paper)

ISBN-10: 1-60138-332-0 (alk. paper)

1. Painting, Industrial--Management. 2. House painting--Management. 3. New business enterprises--Management. 4. Texture painting. I. Title. II. Title: How to open and operate a financially successful painting, faux painting, or mural business.

HD9716.P162B57 2010



LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or Web site is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or Web site may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that Internet Web sites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read.

Trademark: All trademarks, trade names, or logos mentioned or used are the property of their respective owners and are used only to directly describe the products being provided. Every effort has been made to properly capitalize, punctuate, identify and attribute trademarks and trade names to their respective owners, including the use of ® and ™ wherever possible and practical. Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. is not a partner, affiliate, or licensee with the holders of said trademarks.

A few years back we lost our beloved pet dog Bear, who was not only our best and dearest friend but also the Vice President of Sunshine here at Atlantic Publishing. He did not receive a salary but worked tirelessly 24 hours a day to please his parents.

Bear was a rescue dog who turned around and showered myself, my wife, Sherri, his grandparents Jean, Bob, and Nancy, and every person and animal he met (well, maybe not rabbits) with friendship and love. He made a lot of people smile every day.

We wanted you to know a portion of the profits of this book will be donated in Bear’s memory to local animal shelters, parks, conservation organizations, and other individuals and nonprofit organizations in need of assistance.

– Douglas and Sherri Brown

PS: We have since adopted two more rescue dogs: first Scout, and the following year, Ginger. They were both mixed golden retrievers who needed a home.

Want to help animals and the world? Here are a dozen easy suggestions you and your family can implement today:

Adopt and rescue a pet from a local shelter.

Support local and no-kill animal shelters.

Plant a tree to honor someone you love.

Be a developer — put up some birdhouses.

Buy live, potted Christmas trees and replant them.

Make sure you spend time with your animals each day.

Save natural resources by recycling and buying recycled products.

Drink tap water, or filter your own water at home.

Whenever possible, limit your use of or do not use pesticides.

If you eat seafood, make sustainable choices.

Support your local farmers market.

Get outside. Visit a park, volunteer, walk your dog, or ride your bike.

Five years ago, Atlantic Publishing signed the Green Press Initiative. These guidelines promote environmentally friendly practices, such as using recycled stock and vegetable-based inks, avoiding waste, choosing energy-efficient resources, and promoting a no-pulping policy. We now use 100-percent recycled stock on all our books. The results: in one year, switching to post-consumer recycled stock saved 24 mature trees, 5,000 gallons of water, the equivalent of the total energy used for one home in a year, and the equivalent of the greenhouse gases from one car driven for a year.

Author Dedication

This book is dedicated to all those who have a dream and are working toward making it come true. It is dedicated to those who are making the world a better place with their own special talents and creating happiness for themselves. Of course, it is dedicated to all who are painters at heart and those who are seeking a way to make their calling a way of life.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter One: You, the Blank Canvas

Chapter Two: Priming Your Painting Business

Chapter Three: Coloring Inside the Lines

Chapter Four: Rendering Your Office and Staff

Chapter Five: Tell the World

Chapter Six: The Must-Have Website

Chapter Seven: Meet the Client

Chapter Eight: May the Best Bid Win

Chapter Nine: On the Site and on Your Mind

Chapter Ten: Interior Painting: The Basis for all Painting

Chapter Eleven: The Basics of Color

Chapter Twelve: Tools and Techniques for the Faux Finish

Chapter Thirteen: Tools and Techniques for a Mural

Chapter Fourteen: Exit Plan



Author Biography

Faux Painting Examples


Just to paint is great fun. The colors are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing.

~ Winston Churchill (1874–1965), Former Prime Minister of England

Every child is born into art. Shape, form, and color, mixed with imagination, capture the young spirit and mind, and thus begins a life-long relationship with art. However, at a certain point, many put away their paper and crayons and continue to simply live side-by-side with the art world. Whether it is the clothes they wear, ads they see, color of their walls, or trips to museums, art is still a part of their daily lives.

Others never closed the box of crayons. For these people, living alongside art is not enough and only fuels the need to make more of it. As we grow into adults, taking care of ourselves financially becomes the focus of our lives, but for many, that magical box of vibrant colors still calls. Luckily, for those compelled to heed the call, there is a way to answer and still make a profitable living. This avenue still lies in paint and color, but with a much larger work surface. By entering the painting, mural painting, or faux painting industry, the drawing tablet grows to the size of a house, a restaurant, or apartment complex.

By trading in the crayons or watercolor sets for gallons of paint, big brushes, and ladders, you can enter the home services industry, which according to the International Franchise Association, consumers in the United States spend $100 billion on each year. You can play with color and images while still paying your bills. This industry also allows for the freedom most artistic people enjoy by allowing you to create your own schedule and take on as much or as little work as you like.

If you have picked up this book, you are likely someone who has a box of paints tucked away or who keeps them out in the open and splattered on your clothes, proudly saying to the world, I am a painter. Do you have any work for me? I also suspect you have a desire to incorporate your life’s passions into your life’s work. With this book, I intend to help you do so.

Many of us with a proclivity toward art tend to be a little muddy on all the technical aspects of business. Although you would probably rather take an impressionistic approach to running your life and work, business is about coloring between the lines. This book will fill you in on all the details of business ownership with easy-to-follow tips, instructions, and examples. You will learn everything there is to know about being a successful, competent, and legal business owner and independent contractor. However, business itself does have a creative side that will allow plenty of room for your own personal touch and flair, to make it a creation all your own.

By reading this book, you will also gain insider tips on painting tricks of the trade from the experts. You will hear personal success stories from the pros and get advice on how to make your own success story.

Whether you are a doodler, hold a master’s degree in fine art, or simply love the act of applying color to a blank wall, you will find valuable information in this book to help you take the leap from hobbyist to business owner. If you are undecided about whether you want to make that leap, this book will help you sort out all that is involved, giving you a solid place to land.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: You, the Blank Canvas

For sheer excitement, you can keep movie premieres and roller coasters — an empty white canvas waiting to be filled, that’s the thing.

~ Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Former Prime Minister of England

The beginning of any endeavor is like a blank canvas. The experienced painter knows the feeling of standing before a white space where there is endless possibility. This is where you begin and imagine where you might go. What will you create?

This is also where you stand before beginning a business and career as a painter. What do you want to create for yourself? Do you want to become a master of the art of painting? Do you want to create your own style that can be marketed? Do you want to do something you love while making some extra money? Or, do you want a full-time career as a muralist, faux painter, or interior painting business owner? Do you want to stay local or let your trade take you around the country or, possibly, the world? All these scenarios are possible when you take the right steps. Your career is your blank canvass. What will you fill it with?

A Portrait of the Past

The year was 17,000 B.C. The place was Lascaux, France. In a dark cave on the eve of man’s transformation from Neanderthal to modern man, one man — perhaps considered a shaman within his society — communes with a blank wall. A rough stick in one hand, a plate of natural pigments in the other, he begins to invoke magic to bring about a successful hunt for his people. By rendering bulls, antelope, and other large animals on the walls of his home, his people believe he is capturing their spirit, thus securing the capture of their bodies for food, clothing, and basic survival.

Elaborate Chinese mural.

This is a version of what happened at the first known painting site. Discovered in the 1940s by wandering teenagers, the cave in Lascaux, France is believed to be where the first mural was created. Because it is the first known painting, it illustrates that painting is a part of what makes us human and began on walls, not paper.

Painted walls are found throughout history. In Byzantine churches in Europe and Buddhist homes and temples in Asia, walls were painted and decorated by skilled artists. In America, the 1930s and 40s witnessed a surge of murals when the Work Projects Administration ordered the makeover of post offices and courthouses across the country, with images of historical and geographic significance painted on the walls.

In the 21st century, artists are still working magic on walls of homes, churches, businesses, and government buildings. Transforming spaces with color and imagery has become the norm for any type of building. Whether it is to warm up a space with an accent wall of a golden hue or create the image of a magical forest in the bedroom of a small child, painted walls are everywhere and come in many forms.

Painting Defined

Basic interior or exterior painting work can be found wherever there are buildings. Painters are highly sought after, especially where construction or restoration work is being completed. Even a simple coat of paint can transform a space. A gallon of plain white revives an old tired space into something fresh. Colors create specific moods for a room and serve as the foundation for its interior design. It is also the foundation for any mural or faux painting work.

Mural painting is defined by imagery. Scenes, portraits, or landscapes are usually the subject of murals. When thinking about murals, the image of a large wall covered with epic scenes and images comes to mind. But, a mural can also be a simple vignette or accent touch. Sometimes a wall calls for an isolated vine or branch to cut across an otherwise blank space.

Faux means fake in the French language. In painting, it indicates an image or texture that appears to be real, but is created with illusion and paint. Artists skilled in these techniques can turn drywall into wood, tile, crumbling brick, or mortar. Faux also includes accents that give texture to a wall with techniques such as graining or ragging. These accents are simple to learn. They are a matter of having the right tools and a little practice.

Faux painted copper door.

Another aspect of faux and mural painting is one that requires much skill and practice. As the French seem to have the market on painting terms — it did originate in their country after all — the term trompe-l’oeil is French for trick the eye. This technique is basedon illusion and creates images that are three dimensional and realistically rendered. The purpose of these images is to fool the viewer into believing they are not only looking at paint, but an actual object. This approach extends to any object an artist can imagine. It can place stately columns in a simple home, floating flower petals on a wall, or even water drops on any surface.

Example of ragging technique. Painting by Gail Harrison.

There is an ancient Greek tale that has been told throughout the ages about a contest between two painters. Zeuxis and Parrhasius, both born in the 400s B.C., challenged each other to a match of their skills. Legend tells that Zeuxis produced a still life so real that birds flew down from the sky to feed upon the trompe-l’oeil grapes. Parrhasius, in turn entered the room with a painting shrouded in tattered curtains. When Zeuxis tried to remove the curtains to see his opponent’s contest entry, Parrhasius immediately won, for the tattered curtains were the painting itself.

A trompe-l’oeil of a classic style window, with a rough stone wainscot.

Is Painting Your Passion?

Zeuxis and Parrhasius obviously had a passion for painting. To produce works such as theirs, it takes a great deal of practice, which requires a love of painting. Owning a painting business also takes a great deal of passion, not only for paint and color but for creating something all your own.

Trompe l’oeil statue. Painting by Dan and Karen Dollahon.

If you are considering making your artistic calling your career, now is a good time to ask yourself some questions about your interest, drive, and determination to make your dreams a reality.

Consider the following questions:

1. Am I able to spend long periods of time enjoying the process of painting?

2. Does time seem to disappear when I paint?

3. Am I willing to constantly seek ways to improve my craft?

4. Do I enjoy the process of painting as much as the result?

5. Do I take great pride in what I create?

6. Am I happiest when I am in charge of a project and use my own ideas?

7. Am I physically able to paint for many hours?

8. Would I like a job where I get my hands dirty?

9. Am I excited about starting a project from scratch?

10. Do I know the limits of my technical skills and physical abilities?

11. Am I willing to make the effort to keep up with the many details that owning a business requires?

12. Do I keep my checkbook balanced?

13. Do I pay my taxes on time?

14. Can I keep my work area organized enough to suit my needs?

15. Do I love hunting for a bargain?

16. Am I comfortable negotiating prices?

17. Can I live comfortably without a regular paycheck while my business is in the beginning stages?

18. Am I good at working with people?

19. Do I receive a great amount of satisfaction by making others happy?

20. Is one of my goals to inspire others to succeed and be a role model?

21. Are my family and friends supportive of my business idea?

If you answered Yes to the majority of these questions, then becoming a professional painter might be the right path for you. While a love of painting is essential to starting this type of business, the requirements for becoming successful go beyond the enjoyment of creating color and imagery.

Painting is a very physical activity. Large amounts of time on your feet are required as well as having good upper body strength in order to lift a brush or roller repeatedly and carry ladders, gallons of paint, and other heavy equipment. Keeping your body in top physical condition is recommended for this type of work.

It is said that a cluttered space creates a cluttered mind. Maintaining a healthy mind and organized work area are needed in order to succeed as a professional painter. Keeping track of your money and legal requirements requires self-discipline. As a painter, it is essential to keep your creativity flowing and problem-solving skills sharp.

As you might be beginning to realize, being a successful professional painter takes much more than putting color on a wall. If some of the tasks of running a business, such as bookkeeping and advertising, seem daunting, do not fear; this guide will walk you through all the fun — and not so fun — steps to success.

Case Study: Art is Life

Pablo Solomon


Lampasas, Texas

Pablo Solomon had a unique first exposure to art. When he was a child, the Southern Pacific Railroad was near his home. When muralists were hired to paint the station walls, Solomon watched the process.

After the project was complete, his father convinced the artists to give Solomon their leftover paint. His successful career as an artist began.

Solomon’s art receives inspiration from life. He has traveled and experienced much. He takes in all the wonderful memories of people, places, and art. He claims all artists steal ideas and that if you study art long enough, you realize how little truly creative art is out there.

Through his years of martial arts studies, he came to realize something very important for an artist. You eventually understand that to truly be a master, you must develop a style that fits your body, your strengths and

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  • (4/5)
    “How to Open and Operate a Financially Successful Painting, Faux Painting, or Mural Business” is a step by step guide to turning a hobby or part time job into a booming money-making company. Author Melissa Kay Bishop presents this how to guide for the would-be business owner in hopes that it will ease their transition from ‘casual painter’ to ‘professional artist’. For the artist, most efforts are centered on the creative aspects of painting. However, Bishop ensures that the potentially mundane but important business aspects are not overlooked. Her advice could be effectively used by anyone looking to start a business but her recommendations are tailored specifically to the needs of a painting company. For example, she covers insurance but then gives the various considerations and options which would best serve painters. Bonding, permits, licenses, and ethics are only some of the many subjects included. She also includes a helpful companion CD which includes applicable business forms discussed in her book as well as a business plan model which can be adapted for a variety of needs. I was especially pleased that a color section was included in this book. The black and white pictures didn’t clearly show textures or paint techniques so the color pages really made a difference. Not all of the black and white pictures were replicated in color but that didn’t deter at all from the section’s effectiveness. I did find several editing errors; the most glaring was in the section on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Bishop refers to them as ‘spiders’ on page 162 but four pages later calls them ‘octopi’. Having read (and reviewed) several website building books, I’ve yet to see SEOs referred to as ‘octopi’. Further, this can cause confusion for those readers with no previous SEO knowledge. I also thought the basic painting techniques included towards the end of the book seemed almost like an afterthought and didn’t really belong in this book. Not only were the instructions vague, a person interested in setting up a painting business would already know the basics and not need this information. This section would be better served in a ‘faux finish 101’ how-to book. Reviewed by Vicki Landes, author of “Europe for the Senses – A Photographic Journal”