Business Overview

Mural painters are artists who specialize in painting works of art on such physical structures as the interior walls, ceilings or floors of private, corporate, nonprofit or governmental settings. Muralists can also work on the exterior sides of buildings, or on gates, roofs or other surfaces.

Who is this business right for?

Muralists should be talented artists who can (usually, but not always) work in oversized imagery. You should also be able to sell yourself on the basis of your talent and portfolio.

What happens during a typical day at a mural painting business?

Most of your time will be taken up in the actual work, since a mural can involve several weeks or more of full-time work. For this reason, it is essential that you constantly self-promote your service. You must regularly update your portfolio and website, communicate via social media, and attend expos, shows, and exhibits where you can showcase your work and connect with prospective clients. You will also need to complete the necessary tasks of buying art supplies, invoicing clients, paying bills, and promoting and marketing your business.

What is the target market?

That will depend on your niche or niches. Some mural painters work exclusively with residential clients, in which case you’ll deal with homeowners who want to beautify a nursery or other spaces. Other muralists might focus on corporate clients, non-profits, civic planners or building owners. Regardless of who you’re trying to reach, your prospective clients are people who want to improve the aesthetics of their interior or exterior space. Or, in the case of corporate clients, they might be looking for a unique way to promote their message -- such as with their logo or new campaign imagery.

How does a mural painting business make money?

Mural artists generally charge in one of two ways for their work: by an hourly rate or by the square foot of painted space. Since you’ll have to give your client an estimated cost before starting the job, you shouldn’t charge by the hour unless you have the ability to accurately estimate the time commitment. If you greatly misjudge, you might end up working quite a few free hours. It is normal to request and receive half of the estimated cost as a down payment before you start the mural.

What is the growth potential for a mural painting business?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016 gave the Craft and Fine Artists field a “slower than average” job outlook for the 2014-2024 time period. As with any sort of home or building improvement project, clients are better positioned to contract an expensive when the economy (or at least their economy) is good.