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Can you learn to paint from YouTube

learn to paint

Do you ever read one of our blogs, watch our videos or get involved in the Spraying Makes Sense Facebook group and think? What a load of rubbish; there is no way one course can suddenly turn me into an expert sprayer, and it definitely won’t turn my business around. I didn’t learn to decorate within a day, and I won’t be learning to spray in that time, either. Well, to be honest, you are right!


Yes, seriously, you’re right. You can’t learn to paint a wall, kitchen or whole house within two days so why would our course give you the skills to do the same! If you are coming on a course expecting it to fix absolutely everything within your business, then the course isn’t right for you. Just like your decorating journey, it took time, effort, and a whole load of hard work, and although the learning curve is similar to spray painting, the key difference is the rewards spray painting can provide are so much more. 

Becoming an expert

There is a theory that it can take up to 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything, whether golf or spraying. That’s 1250 days or three and a half years which is a lot of time. Now, we know that spraying isn’t as complex as learning golf, and we’re not expecting anyone to be the next Tiger Woods of spray painting. But you have to start somewhere; you need to learn the basics, whether it takes 8 hours, 16 hours, 50 hours or more to learn those. From there, you can learn on the job, going from an expert decorator with a basic understanding of spraying, to an intermediate spray painter, to a professional and then becoming an expert spray painter.

So let’s look at the 8 or 16 hours you’ll need to learn the basics. How are those 16 hours made up? 

Courses at the academy, online courses or YouTube videos

When Youtube came to form, I never thought it would be a place people would go to learn. How wrong was I? As it’s now all we hear. People saying that they learned from the school of Youtube. That they expected to be able to pick up all the skills they needed within a few videos.


So, where do we stand on YouTube? It has its place. It’s brilliant for learning quick skills or systems that people have discovered and are now sharing. But when it comes to becoming a professional in something, it has its limitations. For instance. Would you live in a house built by someone who learnt from YouTube? Have an operation done by someone that learnt from YouTube? Get on a plane piloted by someone who learnt from Youtube. OK, those comparisons are dramatically different, but so is the learning curve and the price to learn. Most of our courses are under £1000 while it can cost up to £70,000 to learn to become a pilot, so the comparisons have some relevance when you consider the cost to learn.

So a YouTube video, or a £1000 course. Which is the kickstart to spray painting you need.


Don’t be sold to

But don’t just take my word for it. We’ve encountered many decorators who tried to learn via YouTube, thought they knew the skills and were confident enough to go out and buy a machine. Unfortunately, often the wrong machine and the one recommended to them in the video rather than the one that was right for them and their business. 

Because the one thing decorators don’t realise. In fact, the one thing that most YouTube viewers don’t realise is that YouTube is an algorithm. It shows you the video that has been promoted well for your search term, often with the most promotional spend behind it. 

So for the keyword ‘Show me how to spray paint,’ who do you think will come out on top? A serious decorating manufacturer with minimal ad spend because they sell via professional academies like ours instead of online, or B&Q and all their affiliates? What’s an affiliate? I make money from that sale if I create a video and tag a B&Q product. I wouldn’t, but that’s an example of an affiliate.

Designed to sell

One way or another, YouTube is designed to sell. Relying on the information in that video more than that of an established painting and decorating academy, which has the experience and access to the tools you need.

That reminds me of a great book that you should read. Sold or be Sold by Grant Cardone. Great for business owners who want to avoid falling for the typical sales techniques.

Listen to one of your own.

Most of you would have seen Trevor on our socials before, maybe through the content we have shared or he has commented on a post. Either way, Trevor is one of the most incredible transformations we’ve ever seen. From someone who refused to use social media to market, brought a machine without the proper knowledge, and thought they could learn solely on Youtube; to the grandmaster of spray painting and business owner he’s become.


Some will think it’s easy to get someone like Trevor to recommend us; he loves us. You’re right; he does, and I don’t say that with any ego, but because of the confidence we have in the service we’ve delivered. The same as you should be with your customers.

For us, Trevor took the basic concept of learning to paint and transformed it into something else. It is Trevor himself that has made it work.

So what can a practical course teach you that a YouTube video can not?

Regarding the importance of learning to spray, just like when you learn to paint, getting things right quickly is vital. You don’t have time to mess around trying out the things you saw online. Time is money, wasted paint is money, and annoyed clients are money. Everything comes down to money and how much you can earn and lose by understanding how to do things correctly.

Imagine walking into a home with the wish to spray paint for the first time. Which would you rather be? Armed with a few days of practice with people helping guide you or the knowledge gained from a 40-minute YouTube video? How much will the mistakes cost you?

Don’t dismiss Youtube.

I’m not saying dismiss YouTube completely; YouTube has its place, but as I mentioned before, YouTube should be a quick reference to the things you already know; or help you learn techniques you can adapt to your existing knowledge. YouTube is a top-up. It’s not something you should take as gospel, but information that you should be able to use your own experience to understand if it’s relevant and adaptable to what you already know.

Understanding that spraying is a learning curve.

Look, I understand that in 2023 we’ve all been convinced that there are quick wins and shortcuts. 

‘Grow your business to a million within 12 months’. 

‘How I transformed my decorating business to 7 figures in 5 months’, 

‘This video will teach you to spray like a pro’. 

I’ve seen them all, mainly on YouTube. YouTube content creators are expert sellers, the modern version of cold callers from 2010. But these ‘get quick rich’ and ‘learn everything by tomorrow’ schemes don’t work. Adapting your business and learning something new takes time. 

But being honest is a difficult sell; who would you rather believe, someone telling you it’s a slow and steady process or someone who will tell you that you can be a millionaire by tomorrow?

How about another decorator?

‘Like many traditional painters, I initially had concerns about switching from the tried and tested brush and roller methods to a spray machine. However, after listening to Ian and some of the others who had been on the courses, particularly in the Spraying Makes Group, I thought that looked cool and believed the numerous benefits that were being mentioned, like efficiency, speed, and achieving a flawless finish. Trevor mentions this in his video with Ian.

Further on in the video, Trevor mentions what most decorators struggle with, the confidence to take it seriously, the confidence to say ‘show me what to do’. The initial spark that takes them from painter to sprayer. It’s easy to stay in your lane, and as they say, ‘better the devil you know’. So Trevor did what we’ve seen so many people do; learn by themselves via YouTube, and buy something cheap and cheerful to get by. In Trevor’s case, an Erbauer. 

As you can imagine, without training and a cheap machine, it went as well as you could have expected. Trevor gave up for six months and returned to brush and roller! Thankfully Trevor knew there was still more to spraying and finally reached out to us. And as I mentioned above, because of this, Trevor has become the great sprayer he is today.


Tipping Point

For us, it’s been great to hear Trevor’s story. It’s been great to be a part of his journey, from his first self-taught attempt with a little knowledge gained from YouTube; and his Screwfix Erbauer; to buying a GX21 and attending a PaintTech course (all this is in the video). For Trevor, like a lot of decorators, investing a little under £2000 for the machine and course is a lot of money. So it’s important you get it right. 

This is a common theme that we’re seeing, though. Decorators are trying low-cost solutions before investing and attending our courses. Because of that, there has also been a real rise in influence for buying decorating machines and Mirka sanders. We’ve seen a tipping point in decorators taking themselves more seriously and buying the better machines for more cost.

Embarking on a journey to learn a new skill, particularly in a field as niche as spraying, can be daunting. But we’re here to make things easier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

With that in mind, let’s dive into some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to clarify common misconceptions and provide some guidance on your spraying journey.

FAQ 1: How long will it take to learn the basics of spray painting?

The time taken to learn the basics of spray painting varies for each individual. For some, it might be 8 hours; for others, 16 hours, and some may need even more time. Learning the basics is the first step, and from there, you continue learning on the job, moving from a novice sprayer to an intermediate, then to a professional, and ultimately an expert spray painter.

FAQ 2: Is learning from YouTube enough to become a professional spray painter?

While YouTube is a fantastic platform for learning new skills, it has its limitations. It’s perfect for learning quick skills or systems, but when it comes to becoming a professional, relying solely on YouTube might not suffice. The learning curve and cost associated with professional courses have much more relevance when it comes to mastering the art of spray painting.

FAQ 3: Are there drawbacks to learning from YouTube alone?

Yes, YouTube operates based on an algorithm that shows you videos with the most promotional spend behind them. Hence, it’s designed to sell. Relying solely on the information in a YouTube video over that of an established painting and decorating academy might lead you to buy the wrong machine or make uninformed decisions.

FAQ 4: What can a practical course offer that a YouTube video cannot?

A practical course offers personalised, hands-on training that a YouTube video cannot replicate. It provides guidance, feedback, and the opportunity to correct your mistakes in real-time. It helps you master techniques more effectively and avoids potentially costly errors in the future. A course equips you with a comprehensive understanding of spray painting, which is invaluable when you step into a real-world scenario.

FAQ 5: What is the significance of learning to spray?

Learning to spray is essential because time is money in the painting industry. Getting things right quickly is crucial. Mistakes can be costly, both in terms of wasted paint and potentially disgruntled clients. Therefore, learning to spray helps you work more efficiently, saving time and money and ultimately allowing you to improve your offering to clients.

As you embark on this journey, remember that spraying is a learning curve. Be patient, practice regularly, and remember that mastering a new skill takes time and effort. And while YouTube is a great resource, it shouldn’t be your sole source of education – especially when becoming a professional is your goal.


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