Although estimates vary, the residential and commercial painting market is worth at least $37 billion in the U.S., and $56 billion if Canada is included. Entrepreneurs looking for proven models in this field have a solid short list to examine with these top painting franchises of 2018.
This is an industry that took a serious nose-dive along with all construction-related fields during the Great Recession, but one that has been reinvigorated in the post-recession recovery, growing by 4.1% from 2012 through 2017. Focusing just on the residential side of the equation, the market is worth $15 billion and grew by 8.6% from 2012-2017.
Growth will continue in the coming years, driven by lower unemployment and higher disposable income levels. The painting services industry is one in which success depends heavily on a company’s reputation and customer referrals, making the quality of work and customer service primary factors.
Five of the companies on this list follow a similar business concept of free in-person estimates without hidden costs, two-year limited warranties on work completed, high-quality paints, and a broad range of related services. Of the two companies that break with this model, one specializes in exterior spray painting and the other is committed to completing a project within the space of just one day.
Here are our picks for the 7 best painting franchises of 2018:
1. CertaPro Painters
CertaPro Painters is the largest painting franchise in terms of number of locations, offering both interior and exterior painting services for residential and commercial projects. Headquartered in Oaks, Pennsylvania, CertaPro Painters is a subsidiary of FirstService Brands, a North American company focused on property services, whose portfolio includes California Closets, Floor Coverings International, Paul Davis Restoration, College Pro Painters, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, BrandPoint Services, and TLS.
CertaPro’s Certainty Pledge offers free in-home estimates for its services, promises constant communication throughout project planning and execution, and a limited two-year warranty against peeling, blistering, or chipping paint resulting from defective workmanship. The company’s Quality Callback Program is a post-job Quality Assurance Team survey conducted from one to three weeks after project completion to determine how satisfied customers are with every aspect of the project.
Additional services offered include cabinet refinishing and repainting, color consultation, concrete staining and epoxy finish, crown molding services, drywall repair, EPA-certified lead paint services, faux painting and decorative services, popcorn ceiling removal, power washing, wallpaper removal and installation, staining, and more.
This franchise ranks #306 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 1992 and franchising since then, the number of locations has grown slightly in recent years to the current total of 365, of which none are company-owned and 29 are located outside the U.S.
2. Five Star Painting
Five Star Painting aims to “capture your dreams and enhance your lifestyle by adding color to your world” with its painting services. Prospective customers can call to arrange for a free estimate or use the company’s online calendar to choose a date and time. The free estimate is described as “an exact price quote” based on actual measurements and includes a two-year warranty. Additional services include wallpaper removal and installation, garage floors, decks and fences, pressure washing, carpentry services, acoustic ceiling removal, textured and faux painting, and eco-friendly painting services.
The company positions itself as “Five star quality without the five star price” and is a Neighborly company. Born from the Dwyer Group (parent company of Five Star Painting), Neighborly was designed to unite the company’s growing roster of individual brands into one consumer-facing brand. Neighborly’s cross-marketing campaigns can utilize Dwyer’s existing database of customers, potentially generating more business for franchisees.
This franchise ranks #457 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2002 and franchising since 2005, the number of locations has declined slightly in recent years from a high of 197 in 2014 to the current total of 161, of which none are company-owned and 9 are located outside the U.S. (in Canada and Brazil).
3. Fresh Coat
Fresh Coat franchises offer full-service interior and exterior painting services for both residential and commercial customers. It describes its business model as referral-based and eco-friendly. Fresh Coat has a 3-3-3 pledge in which the company promises to answer calls within 3 minutes, deliver free quotes within 3 days, and begin each painting project within 3 weeks. Because each project is unique in size and scope, the company does not make any promises about time to completion.
The company describes its process as consisting of four steps: (i) Meeting with prospective customers to get to know their design preferences; (ii) Tailoring recommendations to fit customer needs; (iii) Supplying a detailed, free itemized quote so prospective customers can pick and choose the items and services they want; and (iv) After finalizing the details, the project start date is determined.
Other services offered include plaster and drywall repair, deck sealing, deck staining, fence staining, fence painting, pressure washing, wood refinishing, epoxy floors, and gutter cleaning.
Founded in 2005 and franchising since then, the number of locations currently stands at 123, of which none are company-owned and one is located outside the U.S. (in Canada).
4. 360° Painting
360° Painting prides itself on using only premium paints from well-known brands such as Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore. The company’s painters use a careful, step-by-step approach when applying paint in order to ensure “…crisp lines, smooth surfaces, and a drip-free finish.” Its methods can be adapted to the texture and/or material of the surface being painted.
The company also offers a number of related services, including deck painting and staining, fence painting and staining, concrete staining, and drywall repair. Prospective customers can schedule a free, in-person consultation and estimate using the company’s online booking system or by calling a toll-free number.
This franchise ranks #287 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2005 and franchising since 2006, the number of locations has expanded to the current total of 82, of which none are company-owned and four are located outside the U.S.
5. ProTect Painters
ProTect Painters offers residential and commercial painting services along with a host of other services that include wallpaper removal, wallpaper installation, acoustic ceiling removal, garage floors, eco-friendly painting, carpentry services, cabinet refinishing, decks and fences, pressure washing, exterior solid stains, and paint primers. The company relies on name-brand quality paint from Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Behr. ProTect offers a two-year warranty on workmanship and materials, meaning it will repair blistering or peeling caused by any failures of its workers.
ProTect Painters is part of the Service Brands International franchise system that includes Molly Maid and Mr. Handyman. Service Brands International in turn was acquired by the Dwyer Group in 2015, a company that owns a collection of franchise companies related to various home services. ProTect Painters is also a Neighborly company (see Five Start Painting above).
Founded in 1996 and franchising since then, the number of locations has climbed in recent years to the current total of 59, all of which are located in the U.S. and none of which are company-owned.
Spray-Net distinguishes itself within the painting industry by specializing in exterior spray-applied painting for homes and businesses. Its exclusive line of industrial-strength exterior paints and coatings combined with its spray painting technique results in a permanent, like-new factory finish that it claims cannot be achieved using regular latex paints with brushes and rollers, all within a cost-effective framework.
The company is so confident in the quality of its work that it offers a 15-year warranty against peeling and weather-related conditions. The warranty can also be transferred to new owners when a home is sold.
It uses eco-friendly paint that is water soluble and low-VOC exterior paint. Included in its services are minor repairs, caulking replacement, surface preparation, masking, painting, and final clean-up. It also commits to completing residential projects in just one day. The company also offers in-house industrial painting for door and window manufacturers.
Founded in 2010 and franchising since 2014, the number of locations currently stands at 45, three of which are company-owned and all of which are located outside the U.S.
7. Wow 1 Day Painting
Wow 1 Day Painting is a full-service interior and exterior painting services franchise whose distinguishing feature is its commitment to complete any project in only one day. This was the concept of founder Brian Scudamore, who wanted to disrupt the painting industry with a radical new approach to providing painting services – getting the job done in just one day. He had hired a company called One Day Painting for his own painting project, was thoroughly impressed with the results, and realized it was a concept worth franchising.
Scudamore is also the moving force behind other service-based franchises such as Shack Shine, You Move Me, and 1-800-Got-Junk? These brands are managed under his umbrella company O2E Brands, which stands for “ordinary to extraordinary.”
The one-day approach is very appealing to busy families and businesses that want to minimize the disruption caused by a painting project, which could drag on for days or weeks with some companies. Upon returning home, customers find their painting project completed, along with a card signed by everyone in the work crew leaning against a bouquet of fresh flowers, all within a pricing framework that is competitive in the industry.
Founded in 2008 and franchising since 2010, the number of locations currently stands at 37, of which none are company-owned and 12 are located outside the U.S.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.