File the necessary business documents. For starters, you’ll need a general business license to begin taking on contract work. You may also have to have other specific licenses that permit you to operate in off-limits zones or handle certain materials. A separate home business permit will be required if you plan on using your own residence as the headquarters for your contracting business.
In Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Tom tricks his friends into painting his aunt's fence. You probably won't get that lucky, but there are good reasons many homeowners keep their painting in-house. No building codes apply to interior decoration; if you do something dumb, you don't risk life and property as you would if you were, say, tackling a rewiring job; and because labor typically accounts for 80 to 85 percent of the price of a paint job, you'll save a ton by doing the work yourself.