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Commercial Painting Bid Lists and Leads

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, painting contractors pull in a mere $40,000 a year. Despite long hours and laborious work, a lack of streamlined business operations leaves many painting contractors struggling to make a liveable income. Although painting income statistics are bleak, many painters have failed to tap into a highly lucrative business: commercial painting contracts.

Residential projects remain the primary business objective of most painting contractors, but residential painting fails to provide the high-profile clients, consistency, and lucrative contracts of its commercial counterpart. A residential job typically runs between $2,000 and $5,000 per project. Alternatively, a commercial painting contract can be priced at $100,000 for a single project, with larger projects priced in the millions.

Commercial painting contracts involve painting commercial establishments, such as office buildings, universities, or manufacturing plants. In general, most commercial contracts will involve buildings that are 40,000 square feet or larger. While residential projects are usually small in scale, commercial projects are big undertakings and usually require at least a month to complete. Traditionally, painting contractors have been plagued by low salaries and poor business strategies. Commercial painting bid lists and leads provide opportunities for painters to increase their personal income. At Painter’s Academy, we provide the essential marketing tools painters need to generate commercial leads and build their way to financial success.


Commercial vs. Residential Painting Projects

Most painting contractors focus their energy on residential projects. However, residential projects are small in scope—bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens—and don’t provide the consistent revenue that comes with commercial accounts. Here are some additional downfalls of residential projects:


  • Clients are often emotionally charged and harder to satisfy.
  • It can be a hassle to get paid in a timely manner.
  • The projects don’t provide recurring revenue.
  • The scheduling is time-intensive.


Projects usually pay enough to cover overhead costs and have thin profit margins.

It’s hard to make a sizable profit painting bedrooms. Commercial projects are the best way to scale your painting business; they offer larger projects with higher profits. Most importantly, commercial accounts provide consistent, reliable revenue. Universities, manufacturing plants, and large office buildings typically need their halls, rooms, and basements painted once a year. As a painter, landing a commercial client means gaining annual paychecks you can rely on.

Additional benefits of commercial projects:


  • Facility managers just want the job done and have lower expectations than residential clients.
  • You’re more likely to get paid in a timely fashion.
  • The projects take a month or longer.
  • You can send your crew out on a project for long periods of time and minimize time-consuming scheduling.
  • Commercial projects are usually priced to give painters a 40–50 percent profit margin, which is much greater than residential projects.


If you’re a painter who has struggled to build the income you deserve, tapping into commercial contracts is your pathway to profits. With good commercial contracts, you can start to pay off your mortgage, send your kids to better schools, and ultimately build a financially stable lifestyle.

Painters looking to break into the commercial industry should set a business goal of having their project percentages be 95 percent residential and 5 percent commercial. Over time, with hard work and effective marketing strategies, your goal should be to increase your percentage of commercial projects. Gaining commercial contracts requires focusing on four key strategies: market research, effective messaging, marketing campaigns, and timing.


Market Research: Finding Commercial Projects in Your Backyard

Many painting contractors fail to identify commercial projects in their backyard. All communities, —even rural ones—have a couple of big employers. Big employers have big buildings that need painting. The first step to gaining commercial contracts is to conduct market research and identify a couple of promising prospects in your community. If you don’t want to manually create a list yourself, Painter’s Academy provides marketing tools that will do the work for you. Our system provides a list of commercial leads and opportunities your team can use to create contacts. Once you’ve identified a couple of facilities that have the potential for lucrative contracts, you should reach out to their facility managers.

Painting contractors often complain that the industry is too competitive. Specifically, painters are plagued by the idea that landing a commercial project requires having connections. However, the reality is that the competitive landscape of commercial contracts is wide open. Most facility managers use their existing painters simply because they have not been approached with a better offer. In such a profitable sector of the painting industry, untapped potential and opportunity abounds. With a streamlined marketing strategy, you can start landing clients that will improve your financial stability.


Messaging: Strategically Approach Facility Managers

You’re not going to land commercial contracts by showing up and asking the facility managers to give you work. In order to land a contract, you need to show up with a strategic pitch. You must effectively explain why your services are better than those of the painter they currently use. Facility managers have a tough job, and many of them have to manage contractors that don’t show up on time, aren’t reliable, and don’t get the job done on schedule. They have problems and they want them solved. If your messaging doesn’t center around how you are going to solve their problems, it’s going to fall on deaf ears.

Successful messaging requires a system and strategy for developing and tracking outreach. Painter’s Academy helps painting contractors develop a service trial program to pitch to facility managers. This approach helps get you in a door that would otherwise be shut in your face. Because commercial contracts can add so much value to your business, free trials are a smart investment of your time. With a free trial, you provide a way to build trust with facility managers and land commercial contracts.


Marketing Campaigns: Implementing a Multi-Step Approach Across Various Mediums

Landing commercial contracts is not a walk in the park; it requires an aggressive marketing approach across various platforms. Many painting contractors fail to do the hard work of consistent, targeted marketing. Once you have a list of contacts, you need to call, email, and most importantly, visit them to get the deal. Landing commercial contracts is not a single call or email ordeal; it is a long-term marketing strategy. You will make dozens of calls and send many emails before you get a bite.

The biggest challenge of this portion of outreach is identifying the decision-makers in a company. You might call a school or manufacturing plant a couple of times before getting the contact information of the person you really need to be talking to. While it can be easy to get discouraged in this process, it is essential to stay persistent. Painter’s Academy can help you implement marketing campaigns across various mediums that will help you maintain communication with commercial prospects. With hard work, multi-media marketing pays off and will land you high-profile clients.


Timing: How to Close Repaint Jobs

In the painting industry, timing is paramount. For your average commercial bid, you only have 72–96 hours to build trust with the facility manager. In order to land a commercial contract, you have to act fast and be prepared with a pitch that will close the deal. Facility managers buy the show, not your craftsmanship. You may be proud of the work you provide, but in the sales process, the thing that makes managers hand you a check is your ability to convince them why you are the best. When pitching to facility managers, many painting contractors lack the ability to focus on selling their skills. At Painter’s Academy, we provide the business coaching you need to nail your pitches and land clients in a short time frame.


Use Painter’s Academy to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Many painters focus their energy in the residential market; their business model is focused on small projects with thin profits. When you bet on residential, you’re most likely to get bedrooms or, if you’re lucky, a whole house. Conversely, when you bet on commercial, your smallest gigs will be floors and basements, and when you hit it big, you’re painting whole buildings. Commercial contracts are necessary for painters looking to grow their business and increase their profits. Landing commercial clients requires hard work, targeted marketing, and thorough market research.

Getting started in the commercial paint industry can be overwhelming. Most painters get stuck because they do not have a marketing system for finding commercial repaint contracts for maintenance painting. At Painter’s Academy, we provide the tools and business coaching painters need to obtain commercial contracts. Our Core 5 system teaches you how to find, sell, and keep commercial repaint contracts. Our team is passionate about helping small businesses succeed. With more than 13 years of experience helping painting businesses grow, we have the expertise to take your business to the next level. If you want to start generating commercial leads, call today at (423) 800-0520, or fill out our online contact form.

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