- Welcome to “Founder Finances,” a new Insider series discussing founders’ monthly budgets.
- In this story, the founder of a painting business shares his $50,000 monthly budget.
- His investments go toward office rent and outsourcing tasks, which are vital to the business.
Branden Sewell worked as an administrator at a painting company for five years — answering phones and crafting the marketing strategy — before negotiating out of the partnership and rebranding the company as his own in 2020.
When he relaunched the business as Seal Pro Painting, a painting company serving customers around central Florida, he applied two lessons he learned from his prior experience: Implementing a hybrid office structure builds company culture, and hiring a freelancing accountant saved him money in the long run.
Last year, Sewell booked just shy of $500,000 in sales. By the end of April 2022, his sales reached $225,000 — putting the company on track for $675,000 in sales this year.
“I made some changes to the model and how I wanted to do things, which was a big reason for rebranding,” said Sewell, who is 29 years old.
From leasing office space to outsourcing tasks, Sewell broke down his monthly budget — including payroll expenses for 11 employees, marketing through affiliate programs and social-media ads, and paint supplies, and shared the importance of spending money to make money.
Insider has verified all financial information with documentation.
Here’s the budget breakdown
This table reflects Seal Pro Painting’s budget from April 2022 but is standard for every month. However, this amount has increased since the company’s founding, said Sewell: “We had very little overhead starting out and no debt,” he said in a follow-up email. “Now we have more overhead and utilize debt to leverage growth.”
Along with the budget listed above, Sewell also takes 12.7% of certain sales transactions to repay a $50,000 loan, and borrows $3,500 through a line of credit each month.
Invest in an office space to build culture
Sewell pays just over $600 a month for his Titusville, Florida-based 600-square-foot office. He works from the office daily but also uses the space for weekly company meetings, interviews, and onboarding processes for new hires. While previous employers believed a physical location was unnecessary overhead, Sewell felt disconnected from the company and his teammates when everyone worked separately.
Sewell made this decision as 33% of entrepreneurs couldn’t pay May’s rent in full or on time, according to the small business network Alignable, which released its Q2 rent report on June 1.
Especially during COVID-19, working remotely made building company culture difficult, which is a crucial aspect of his business plans, he said. He officially signed Seal Pro’s first lease at the start of 2022.
“It’s really hard to build a thriving, healthy culture from
or conference calls,” Sewell said. “The way I’m able to build culture and really have influence on my team is to sit in front of them, connect with them.”
Additionally, having an office space allows Sewell to focus fully on his business from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, he said. Finding a separate location has allowed him to differentiate work time from family time, he said.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to know yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses,” he said. “If you’re the kind of person that I am, where you get distracted, I knew having this location was going to be what I needed.”
Outsource tasks that might cost time and money in the end
Accounting services are another cost Sewell prioritizes in his budget: He currently pays $200 per month for an accountant to take care of business finances and documents. While he was encouraged to do his own bookkeeping in previous roles, it was never something he felt comfortable with, he said.
Sewell realized that he wasn’t actually saving money by doing the accounting himself. Not only was it taking up valuable time, but he’d also make mistakes that would cost him.
“At the end of the day, those expenses are actually saving me money,” he said. “Because when I hired an accountant, it was the first time I didn’t owe money on my taxes” because of errors.
For entrepreneurs who feel like they have to do everything themselves, Sewell recommends outsourcing the tasks you aren’t as knowledgeable about. What early entrepreneurs don’t realize is that they’re costing themselves money in the long run, he said.
“I don’t really look at it as an expense, I’m just making a wise decision.”