Local SEO requires a multi-pronged approach. The first thing to concentrate on is optimizing certain web pages or your whole website for your geographic location. For example, painters in georgia and variations of that keyword phrase would be used in strategic areas throughout the website. Secondly, your contact page should have your address and phone number. Overall, your website should have numerous things on it that highlights your local presence.
Offsite, you should go to every search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing), vertical directory (YellowPages, YellowBook, MerchantCircle) and either claim (do a search for your business) or create a local profile. Make sure to use the exact same information in every profile. Review sites like Yelp and Angie's List will also be useful as reviews get considered before a potential customer contacts you. Placing an ad on Craigslist can be of help as well. Luckily, all these options are currently free to setup.
Lastly, new websites take time to get visibility on search, so PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, where you bid on keywords, may get you first page placement. The downside to this is some industries are highly competitive and keyword bids may be costly.