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Surviving and Thriving in 2024: Building Up Your Decorating Business

The ongoing costs of living aren’t playing well with anyone. So many people are holding more into their money, work is slowing down, and decorators up and down the country who are trying to run a business, your decorating business, are really feeling the pinch. Additionally, material costs are skyrocketing; living expenses are mounting, so you need to find a way to charge more for the work you can find. All good in an ordinary world. But the final cherry on the cake is people less trained and talented than you are coming into the market and undercutting your prices!

So what’s the solution? 

  • Make your services cheaper. In fact, do them at cost. No! Better than that, do them for free! When you’re competing on price, it’s always a race to bankruptcy.
  • Or, make yourself known for being the best at what you do. Shout it from the rooftops, and get customers to refer you. Make it so your potential customers have a choice: go cheap and pay for the mistakes, pay your costs and get it done right the first time.

Seriously, ask them how much their peace of mind is really worth.

Tackling the Elephant in the Room

But let’s break this down a little more and tackle the elephant in the room. We get several messages a week from decorators telling us of their struggles, and we hear across the board that it’s not just an isolated event. Our sales team has lots of conversations with people relying on CITB funding to get their courses paid for. So even though it might feel like just you, it’s really not. It’s hard on most decorators out there.

Look, we’ve talked about this several times, and as of next week, we’re going to move on to more sunny uplands, but for now, it’s essential to say it how it is, say what’s happening, and together come up with some solutions.

We all know the cost of living crisis will continue into 2024. However, we honestly believe that there is a way to stay ahead, to not only survive but thrive and grow your decorating business. It’s all based around doing things differently and building your business from a slightly new angle.

So, from our point of view, and to start the debate off, we have several steps we consider decorators should take.



The Financial Benefits of Spraying

Here’s your first wake-up call: add spraying to your decorating business! It’s not just about wielding a different tool; it’s about stepping up your efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness in a market that waits for no one. Sure, the transition can be daunting. But, like any other significant shift, it’s the fear of change, not the change itself, that’s the real monster. We hear from many decorators who refuse to change and add spraying into their business, but when we ask why, there’s no real answer. ‘It’s a fad’, ‘It takes longer than brush’, ‘It’s not real painting’. We’ve heard it all. But though you might have excuses, there is one thing spray painting is. What your customers want!

Mastering the Art of Effective Estimation

This isn’t a nicey nice fluff piece blog that tells you all your problems will be sorted if you come on one of our spray painting or spray plastering courses. If you are building up your decorating business, you need to understand that it takes time and effort. So, even with spraying, you need to understand your numbers. You need to have confidence in your numbers, to put in a price and hold your ground. Learning to estimate effectively isn’t just about protecting your bottom line; it’s about claiming your worth and presenting it confidently to your clients. Right now, you might be undercharging and undervaluing your expertise, and that needs to change. 

Please don’t sit there saying you know it all. Blockbuster did that, and look at them now.

Estimating is not about guessing. It’s about understanding the value you bring to your clients and translating it into a fair price. Get this wrong, and you’ll be caught in a downward spiral of dwindling profits, client disputes, and a tarnished business reputation. Nail it, and you’ll see better profitability, improved client relationships, and enhanced credibility in your field.

But learning to estimate effectively is not an overnight process. It takes time, patience, and, above all, practice. It begins with understanding the scope of the job, calculating your material and labour costs, and factoring in overheads and desired profit margins. Training can be invaluable in helping you understand this process and get it right. 



Project Management: Your Key to Efficiency

Let’s cut to the chase; nobody likes unnecessary hassle, especially unpaid snagging. A poorly managed job is a minefield of missteps that drain time, money, and energy. It might be anything from not communicating with the client correctly, staff not doing what you want, wrong paint, paint not drying, forgetting the heaters or fans, or just overall bad management. Effective project management is your route to less stress, quicker job completion, and, ultimately, more profit. It’s about working smarter, not harder. 

Whether it’s a small decorating job or a large-scale renovation, effective project management is the foundation of efficiency, client satisfaction, and, ultimately, profitability. It’s about planning, coordinating, and executing your work effectively. It’s the difference between chaos and control, between scraping by and making a profit.

There are many tried-and-tested tools, systems, and strategies that you can implement in your business, such as those taught in our project management courses.

Unleashing the Power of Effective Marketing

Last in this blog, but indeed not everything you need, is marketing. Marketing isn’t a magic wand to wave around, but when done right, it’s close. The right marketing strategies can turn a slow business around by increasing visibility, driving up client interest, and carving out your niche in the market. 

For us, who market robustly and see the advantages, we find it strange that when times get tough, the first thing people always stop is their marketing. They stop spending on ads, stop creating content and start targeting friends and family at discount prices. Those who can’t afford to but feel they need to be helpful.

But if you are going to make 2024 the year of change, the year you turn the tide, when things get tough, it’s the one thing you can’t afford to lose. The challenges are daunting, but they’re not insurmountable. You have the tools and the skills at your fingertips, and by joining marketing groups such as The Decorator’s Growth Club, you’ll have the determination. All you need to do is leap. And remember, in the face of crisis, we don’t just survive – we thrive.



Let’s not sugarcoat it: we’re going through tough times. The rising cost of living is challenging all of those in the trade sector. But as we’ve discussed, there are concrete steps you can take to not only survive but thrive during this crisis.

Switching to spray painting can boost your productivity and profitability. But as I’ve made clear, it’s not an overnight success, and that’s why we have focused heavily on getting ready for 2024. It may seem a long time away, but soon it’ll be January, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not starting back in July.

None of this is easy; all of it requires commitment and courage. We know that what we mention here works. We’ve seen it work, we know those who have made it work, and we’ll be talking about them in future blogs. We also know that out of the thousands that read this blog, only a small handful will action it. That handful will look at CITB and get funding for courses. They will take our courses on spraying, estimating and project management, and they will be the ones to join The Decorators Growth Club. That handful will be the ones to survive and thrive in 2024.

So which are you? 

I ask, right now, if you are going to invest in these four areas! If you are hungry enough to grow your decorating business, see the difference that spraying can make. Sometimes, the path to surviving and thriving in this crisis starts with one single step.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that you may have questions as you navigate the challenges of the trade sector during these difficult times. To help, we’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address some of the most common concerns. 

  • How do I transition from traditional methods to spray painting?

Transitioning to spray painting requires an investment in equipment and training. But take your time; you can make the switch with the right approach and resources. Begin by seeking training courses, practising on smaller projects, and gradually incorporating spray painting into larger jobs as your confidence grows.

  • How can I learn to estimate jobs accurately?

Learning to estimate accurately is a combination of understanding your costs, recognising the value of your work, and practising. Consider seeking out training that focuses explicitly on estimating in the decorating sector. With time and experience, you’ll develop an instinct for accurate and fair estimating.

  • How can project management improve my business?

Effective project management helps you plan, organise, and complete your projects more efficiently. It leads to better time management, fewer unexpected hurdles, improved client satisfaction, and, ultimately, increased profitability. It turns potential chaos into a manageable, streamlined process.

  • How can I market my business effectively?

Effective marketing involves telling your business’s story, showcasing your skills, and reaching your target audience. This can involve building a strong online presence, leveraging local advertising, relying on word-of-mouth referrals, and creating strategic partnerships. Consider employing a multi-channel marketing approach to reach potential clients wherever they are. 

  • Where can I find resources to help with these changes?

There are many resources available to support you in these changes, including training courses, online tutorials, forums, and community groups. Begin by identifying your needs and seeking out resources that match them. Remember, investing in your skills and knowledge is a step towards a more secure and profitable future for your business.


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