Saturday, October 23, 2010

Should you start your own faux painting business?

I recently gave a class to a gentleman that was looking to not only learning the art of faux painting but also wanted to know how he could start his own decorative painting business.  Since he was totally new to this market, I gave him as much advice as I could.  In deciding what to blog about next, I thought it would be a good idea to submit an article I have written for some ezine publications as well as a new Google Knol I wrote.  The article is similar to the one I have on my website, too.  I look to adding to this post in the future with additional information and tips.  I welcome any other advice from professional faux finishers that can help newbies get started with their own faux painting business.

How much money can one expect to earn?
Just to give you an idea of how much you can earn starting your own business, I charge $2.25 - $8.00 per square feet. With the patented (7472450) Triple S Faux System that the Lord gave me,  I can faux paint a wall that measures 10 ft. high X 10 ft. long (100 square feet) in about 2 hours.  You can do the math.  Most faux painting professionals are charging an average of $3.00 per square feet for simple faux painting finishes.  They charge about double of that for adding a texture to the wall or for sophisticated plaster finishes.  If you are starting out, I would suggest charging about $1.50 a square foot so you can land some jobs (beat out competitors) and then once you gain popularity or word of mouth reputation, up your price.

What tools should you use?
The wonderful thing about embarking on your own journey into the beautiful art of decorative painting today is that there are a lot more faux painting tools, faux finishing classes, and books available than there was when I started out ten years ago.  My suggestion is to start out with the simple faux finishes such as sponging and color blending.  There are many textured faux finishes that you can learn but they are time consuming and the materials can be quite expensive.  After faux painting literally hundreds of walls, I can tell you honestly that 90% of my clients still choose “color blending” or “color washing”, including the “Old World Parchment” look.  Why, because some of the textured faux finishes are too “busy looking” and the cost for faux painting with texture is nearly double than what it is for non-textured faux finishes.  Besides, once you get your foot into the door, then you can offer them.

How I started my faux painting business
I never dreamed that I would be in the business of Faux Painting or Decorative, considering I was a graphic artist by trade. The thought never crossed my mind. I was unaware of how popular this beautiful form of art was becoming, though.  Back in 1996,  there was only limited information on the various faux painting techniques.  Most referred to faux finishing as “sponging” or “glazing”.  In essence, the term was misused and for the most part, still is.  I am referring to the fact that “FAUX” means “FAKE”, therefore, to faux paint a wall means to paint it in a way that makes the wall resemble a specific surface other than just a plain wall, such as “marble”, “wood”, etc.  The sponges or glazes are just tools to achieve a certain effect on the wall.  I’ve read comments on faux painting message boards indicating the perturbation of professional faux finishers when uninformed clients refer to any type of decorative painting (besides murals) as “fauxing”. It used to bother me, too, yet through the years I’ve learned to accept the fact that those unfamiliar with the details of faux painting could care less about the terminology and more about the beauty of decorative painting instead.  So although you have not been professionally faux painting walls, if you learn how to achieve a few easy faux finishing techniques, you can offer your services to friends and family and they won’t care if you’re uninformed with the terms.  As long as you can make their walls look beautiful, you can make some extra income on the side.  Who knows - maybe you’ll end up with your own faux painting business like I did. Start off by painting your own walls, then invite others to see your work.  If they ask how much would you charge to faux paint their walls, give them a relatively low price since you are just starting out and use it as practice.  If you ever plan to start your own faux painting business, you can get quite a few “practices” in and you can begin gathering photos for your portfolio. That’s how my journey began.