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Why would a woman want to become a painter? Why would anyone consider employment in the trades? These are valid questions stemming from incorrect assumptions that young people have about the trades. Let’s examine why being a painter or working in trades is a great career choice based on some indisputable facts.
- Women have found working in the trades very rewarding.
- Flexible scheduling is important to women.
- Tradespeople often get higher pay with benefits.
- Opportunities for advancement.
- Women in trades display high confidence in themselves.
- Women get satisfaction and pride in the work they do.
As a professional painter, you’ll work with your hands to help customers improve their surroundings and live better lives. You can have as much job security in this field as anyone else- there are hundreds of buildings that require decorating or maintenance where your skillset will be needed! Women who choose painting for career opportunities might find themselves making good money working for contractors or starting up on their own. Running your own business has plenty more benefits too: flexible hours/weekends depending upon what type of project you want to pursue.
How Do Trades Compare to Higher Education Jobs?
First of all, learning a trade does not mean you don’t have what it takes to complete College or University. You can be intelligent and still choose to make your living with your hands. In fact, more and more young men and women end up working in trades after getting a college degree. We see this in our company all the time. Our average painter or job manager has some College or University education.
- Unemployment rates of University and College graduates are high.
- Higher education graduates have jobs not related to their field of study.
- Graduate students are burdened with big student loans.
- Paint Apprentices can make money as they train.
What Does a Painter Do? Can I Do it?
Women are just as capable as men when it comes to the physically demanding aspects of the trades. Women can handle most of the heavy lifting and climbing that is required, and they are also better at detail work that most painting projects require. There are a few different types of painters that can be classified by the type of work they do:
Exterior Painters: Exterior painters work on the outside of homes and buildings. They paint to protect the surface from weather elements such as rain, snow and wind. Exterior painting is usually done in the spring or summer when the weather is warmer.
Interior Painters: Interior painters work on the inside of homes, offices, and other buildings. They usually paint walls, ceilings, and trim. Interior painting is usually done in the fall or winter when it is too cold to work outdoors.
Decorative Painters: Decorative painters use paint to create beautiful designs on walls, ceilings and furniture. They often use different techniques such as stenciling, marbling and faux finishing. Decorative painting can be used to decorate a room or to make a statement.
Wallcovering Specialists: Wallcovering specialists install wallpaper and vinyl wall coverings. They use special tools and techniques to apply these materials evenly and securely. Wallcovering specialists can also be called upon to remove old wallpaper and repair the damage to walls.
Epoxy Floor Installers: Epoxy floor installers install epoxy coatings on concrete floors.
How Do I Become a Painter?
Some women painters learn their skills working for companies, mostly under the wing of more experienced painters. It takes a painter at least 2 or 3 years to acquire most of the relevant and useful skills a company uses. It’s a good idea to ask a contractor you want to work for if they have a training program.
A woman considering her options can register for a fully accredited apprenticeship program. This starts with a pre-apprenticeship course and lasts three or four years. Our company encourages this training as it is thorough and includes both field and classroom training. A successful completion will culminate with a “Red Seal” ticket in painting and decorating. Career options within the trade include becoming a painter, crew leader, operations manager, even an estimator.
An excellent avenue for women that want to join the painting trade is the pre-apprenticeship program managed by the YWCA: “Toronto has partnered with the Finishing Trades Institute (FTI) and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) to bring you a unique, women and gender diverse people focused pre-apprenticeship to become a commercial painter-decorator.” This is an ecxellent program and we had the fortune to hire graduates right after completion. Some of these women went on to have meaningful employment and good careers as painters.
A good technician (painter) is not necessarily a good business operator. Running a business requires financial knowledge, marketing and many other business skills. A good painter with sufficient business education has a much better chance of running a successful business.
At Ecopainting we often hire young men and women with very little experience. It’s not unusual for a trainee of Ecopainting to be running full job sites with less than two years training. We use our own training systems that focus on training mostly for the things we do every day. Safety training and the required certifications are always part of our training program.
Is Painting a Good Business for a Woman to Start?
After learning the different facets of the trade, some painters decide to become independent contractors. Starting your own business is always better after you become familiar with the inner workings of the industry. A field painter will learn customer relations, production systems, and master the efficient application of coatings. We are proud to say that some of our better women painters went on to start their own succesful business. One such business is Women Painting & Decorating owned by Deborah Viveiros and Rafaela Valadares. They have been providing amazing painting services for their clients in the western part of the GTA. Rafaela worked for us and as such we are happy to see their company grow.
Tangible Benefits of Being a Woman Painter
Cost savings considerations
It is always cheaper to learn to be a painter than earn a university or College degree. Whether through an accredited apprenticeship or learning on the job, you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy a career. Get yourself some hand tools, some painters pants and you are good to go! When you join the workforce full time, you get paid to learn and get paid well.
Painting is a Forever Job
Every structure and every home will be painted at some point, then painted over and over again. No new building project is complete without the final contribution from the finish trades. While most other trades are important contributors, painters will be forever painting and maintaining the same structure. Then there is the job security factor. Trade jobs cannot be outsourced and the bulk of the work must be produced on site. Some products are hitting the market prefinished with “lifetime” coatings but painters need not to worry. These products are limited and so is their popularity.
The earning potential of trades rivals and often exceeds the earnings of most other occupations. It addition to regular pay, some in the industry receive commissions, bonuses and incentives tied to production. This is the norm for crew leaders, operation managers and estimators. Today most of the trades offer good income and benefits. Considering the skill shortages predicted in the future, trades will be in demand and compensation will certainly increase. An experienced painter working for a good company will get paid well. Full time commercial estimators and experienced project managers are in demand already and make a good living. In addition, the sky is the limit of course for the business owner painter. Even though the market is competitive, running an effpicient painting company can be rewarding and profitable.
In Conclusion – Painting is a Good Career for a Woman
It is important to weigh all of the pros and cons carefully before making a decision about whether or not painting is the right career choice for you. However, after considering all of the information we have provided, we believe that a painting career can be a good choice for women. If you are passionate about decorating and want to make a living out of it, then a career in painting may be perfect for you.
We wish you the best of luck as you explore this option further!
This blog was fully updated on August 3rd 2022.