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Painting Business How To Tips

Painting Business Tips, Tricks and strategies for running a successful painting business. Use and Profit from nearly two decades painting skills, business and consulting experience.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Painting Contractor Tips: How To Sell Painting Services At Higher Prices

Truth be told, the rates painting contractors are able to charge (Or not charge) has more to do with self image and self-esteem than any outside factor including, competition and economy...

You see, unless you believe in yourself and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you offer superior services, more value and a better overall customer experience than any of your competitors... you will be forced to compete on price.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that the sale starts in your mind...

Here are three simple steps that will help you gain more confidence when selling your painting services and allow you to sell at higher prices:

  • Do Your Competition Research - Spend some time looking at what other painting contractors in your area are doing. What do their ads look like? How does their image come across? When you call them, what are they like on the phone? (Do they even answer the phone?)
Taking the time to conduct "Counter Intelligence" will pay of in the long run. You can use the information that you gather to improve your selling process, brand & Image, etc.

So many painting contractors find it difficult to differentiate themselves from the competition because they never do their due diligence to figure out what the competition is doing.
  • Put Your Plan In Writing - Much like competition research, most painting contractors never set goals or put together a plan of action to achieve their goals.
Knowing what you want and having a plan of action to get there builds confidence and raises self-esteem. Putting your ideas in writing and then taking action on a daily basis towards those goals helps you stay focused and achieve measurable results.

If you are out there every day taking action without a rhyme or reason, very little actually gets done. After a while it will feel like you are just chasing your tail, you will get burned out and that's when stress and frustration begins to set in.

Be sure to take the time to create your ideal painting business on paper first and then simply work every day to live it out.
  • Systematize the core components of your business - When you have specific systems and procedures in place for each core component of your painting business it makes running and growing your business a lot more fun and enjoyable.
Systematizing your selling process for example will help you close a lot more jobs... Here is a quick example of how to do that.
  1. Someone calls you for an estimate... Create a phone script and list of questions that allow you to gather the important information. That way you take every incoming call through the same process.

  2. Send out (email) a thank you letter or welcome package with a "pre-sell" letter that outlines the benefits of using your painting services...

  3. Make a follow up phone call 24 hours before the scheduled estimate to confirm the homeowner will be there....

  4. Show up for the estimate 10 minutes early...

  5. Have a specific list of questions to ask as you walk the job with the homeowner... Try to ask buying questions like: Have you chosen the color yet? When would you like the work completed? etc.

  6. Have a 24 hour policy for getting the estimate written up and sent out...

  7. Make follow up phone call... never let an estimate sit out there for more than a week without making a follow up call. Following up shows the homeowner that you are interested in gaining their business.
The follow up call is not to pressure them into making a decision but to gather information on where they are in their decision making process and/or to reiterate the benefits of using your painting services.

Begin to take ownership of your business and start putting some of these tips in place if you haven't already. We know from experience that they can make a huge difference!

Having these kinds of things in place automatically helps you sell your services at higher prices. Doing so will also put you head and shoulders above most of the painters in your market.

Hope some of these tips help! Please leave us a comment.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Just One Tip Can Make All The Difference - A Painting Contractor Lesson

I don't know about you but I am an information junkie... constantly learning and seeking knowledge. I guess that's why I enjoy what I do so much. I get to talk to painting contractors in the field on a weekly (nearly daily) basis and I learn something new from every conversation/email.

What prompted me to write this post today was a phone conversation I had with "Gary" right after he purchased our Painting for Profits program.

Gary, has been in business for 3.5 years and worked in the field for five years prior to that...

He told me that he has a pretty good handle on things but is always looking for any little tip or piece of advice that will help move him further down the track. (I feel the same way)

Not long ago I had a chance to fly down to Tennessee and consult with a really cool painting contractor named Buster, and as we were walking through one of his new construction projects he gave me a tip that continues to save me time and money...

Here is the tip Buster shared with me:

We were walking through the new construction project I noticed one of his employees spraying trim. It looked beautiful but all I could smell was latex paint.

So I asked Buster if that was what they use for trim paint in high end homes in Tennessee...?

He said no, they use oil but he found a shortcut that has saved him a lot of time and money.

Here is the process:

All wood doors, base trim and crown molding get one coat of primer... one top coat of latex (tinted the same color as the finish coat) and one finish top coat of oil.

You save days of dry time... and in a lot of cases you are able to top coat the same day!

I asked him about durability or customer complaints...

Buster said home owners love it because it is much more environmentally friendly and was just as durable.

Brilliant! Not only did I get paid for my consulting time with Buster, I got a tip that KEEPS making me money!

I hope this real world "from the field" insiders tip helps save you a lot of time put more money in your pocket!

Keep in mind that just one tip can make a huge impact in your business... Just one little tip can skyrocket your income or save you tons of money.

...And it's our hope that you get a lot of useful tips from this blog... The kind of tips that you can go out and apply and see real improvements in your business.

SIDE NOTE: If you haven't done so yet, go to the top of this blog and sing up for our free weekly "Painting Contractors Perspective" newsletter. You will also receive a copy of the special report "Cracking the Painting Business Success Code".

As always we are interested in hearing from you so leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What Business Are You REALLY In?

You could ask that question to 10 different painting business owners and get ten different answers.

However there is only one correct answer assuming your goal is to build wealth with that painting business, and that is:

You are in the business of "MARKETING" Painting Services.

You see, until the phone is ringing consistently there is no business!

...and when a painting contractor makes the mental mind shift from "producer of paint jobs" to "Marketer of painting services" things begin to change.

They move from working in their business to working on their business... and it doesn't take long to realize that working on your business pays a whole lot better.

Unfortunately many painting contractors are apprehensive about making the leap from painting in the field (by themselves or along side their employees).

  • They feel that the quality of work would suffer if they weren't their to watch over the employees shoulder or to produce the work themselves...

  • They are afraid because they have never managed a crew before, and they don't know how to go about finding good employees... or

  • They think they wouldn't be able to handle all the work, which could reflect negatively on their reputation...
If you have experienced any of these sticking points (or others) and they have held you back from growing your painting business, stay tuned to this blog, because we will cover some proven ways to overcome these challenges in up coming posts.

Until then please leave a comment and tell us about any sticking points that are slowing you down from working ON your business.

Monday, August 31, 2009

There is NO ROOM for Women In the Painting Business:

Today's blog is a response to an email we received last week. Here's what it said:

Dear Andy,
I am a female in the painting business and I would really like some inside trade secrets. I have a lot of men give me a hard time because they say a woman belongs at home. This is such old school.
I'm in a position to take on a lot of work as I have now found a great crew but don't really know how to bring that work to me. I have always done interiors and am certified in plaster finishes. I went to school for the plaster finishes.
I would love nothing more than to keep this crew busy and get myself off the ladders and just supervise.
What advice can you give me?
Thanks, Moon

Before I get to the tips, I just want to say that there is room for EVERYONE in our profession! There always has been and will always be more jobs to paint than there are painters to paint them.

One of the primary reasons women get a bad wrap in our profession, is that the guys are intimidated by them because homeowners have a tendency to trust women more, which gives them a significant selling advantage.

The guys who actually believe "there is no room for women in the painting business" are just afraid that they will be out shined by a female...

There is more than enough work to go around so get out there and start your business!

Here are a few insights to help women in our profession get and keep their painting businesses moving in the right direction.

  1. Put the guys on ignore and go do business - The great thing about the painting business is that it doesn't discriminate... it's a business and a trade open to nearly everyone regardless of - gender, skin color, political affiliation, age, social economic standing, etc.

  2. Create a better marketing and sales process - Use the fact that you are a woman in a male dominated industry as an advantage... Let homeowners know that you have had to work twice as hard to gain the respect of your peers and that work ethic translates into a better customer experience.

  3. Educate yourself and develop a strong work ethic - Stay up to date on the industry trends as well as marketing, sales and customer service... Always keep working to improve your brand and image within your community.
In the end business is done between people and once you learn how to DO the "Painting Business" it matters very little if you are a man or woman... what color your skin is or who you vote for.

Honestly it comes down to three things:
  1. Delivering a quality paint job the first time every single time...
  2. Affordable prices backed by superior value... and
  3. Being someone the homeowner trusts (Building long term relationships)
Ladies keep in mind, you are not doing business with other painters, you are doing business with homeowners. Let the "old school" talkers talk, they are only hurting themselves by having a bad attitude.

Go about your business, learn to market effectively, bid profitably and focus on delivering a value based customer experience... AND FOLLOW UP!

That is what will help you achieve your dreams in this male dominated profession. Keep the wise words of Charles Swindoll in mind:


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than success, than what other people think or say or do.

It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.

We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the only string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."

...and just for the record, one of the best bosses I have ever worked for was a woman (Michelle) and her knowledge and work ethic rivaled most of the men I've seen. Michelle set the pace and didn't give a second thought to what other painters had to say... and that's why she is still so successful today!

As for the advice I can offer to Moon about how to find and land painting jobs to keep her crew busy, that's easy... invest in a copy of 'Painting for Profits'. The step-by-step tips, marketing techniques and business growth strategies work just as well for women and they do for the guys!