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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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Running Your Own Painting Business Requires Personal Accountability

You never really understand how easy you’ve had it painting (or working) for someone else until you venture out on your own…

Don’t get me wrong, the benefits of owning your own painting business far out-weigh the effort you will put in to build it.

The first and most important step to becoming a successful self employed business owner is to become accountable to your self. When you make the decision to start a painting business you gave up the “check your brain at the door” mindset and become the sole judge and jury.

That is a good thing… When you hold yourself accountable and set a higher standard then anyone else does, things start to take shape quickly.

Here is a short list of what are considered ‘Top Priority’ when you become the person in charge of the success of your painting business

  1. Mindset – What you think about matters (A LOT)! Develop a ‘can do’ mindset and stop wasting time on things that are beyond your control.There are hundreds of great books and courses on how to develop the proper mindset. Reading five to ten minutes a day right when you wake up in the morning will condition your mind for success and keep you moving in the right direction.

  2. Goal Setting – Knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to get there requires thought and an organized plan of action.The first step is to begin by creating your ideal painting business on paper… Think about every aspect as you want it to be once everything is said and done. Don’t make the mistake and only set financial goals. The money you make will be a bi-product of setting specific and reachable goals.

  3. Consistent Action – As painters we love the instant gratification that our profession offers, but things don’t always happen as fast as we would like when just getting started.

Keep in mind that building a successful long term painting business is accomplished through a series of stepping stones that are continually repeated and refined until they produce the desired results.

Marketing for example, is an ongoing process not a one time event…

You market to make your phone ring… Next you bid the paint job and write the estimate… Then you produce a quality finished paint job… Finally you follow up to attract more business… Then rinse and repeat!

When you hold yourself accountable to these three simple stepping stones –

  1. Create the proper mindset
  2. Set ambitious yet reachable goals
  3. Take consistent action

You will defiantly be moving your painting business in the right direction.

The 2 Biggest Problems With Buying Your Painting Business Signs from a "General" Sign Shop

Just like buying printed advertising in the phone book, "sign shop" salesmen are out to sell you their products. (not necessary what you need)

If you have ever sat down with a phone book advertising rep you know what I'm talking about. They have their sales pitch and the product line that makes their company the most profits...

They will do their dog and pony show (which is usually very good) and try and convince you to purchase "what they're selling" rather than what is best for you.

General sign shops are no different... They have a sign for seemingly every business and event including, campaigns, open houses, For sale by owner, etc. and they will show you example after example of "What Everyone Else Is Using."

As you may or may not know, when it comes to marketing your painting business, doing what everyone else is doing... DOESN'T WORK!

So you try to reason with them and tell them exactly what you are looking for:

A simple, clean look with a clear message, a benefit and strong call to action... (Because those are the PROVEN steps to creating a POWERFUL lead generating marketing tool)

...And then the sign shop sales person will try to tell you that "It's to plain" or "it's not flashy enough" and "Why don't you include a second or third color" or "Different fonts"


You see, sign shop sales people are just that, "sales people"... They are NOT painting business owners and certainly NOT marketers.

They don't give a rats a$$ if your signs generate any leads, they only care about selling you signs and making a commission!

That's problem #1- General sign shop people are NOT painting business owners OR marketers!

Problem #2 is: Most general sign shops do not sell in small quantities (without charging a huge premium).

Sure you can get yard signs for around $2-$3 each but you have to buy them in lots of 250-500! Which is great if you have the budget, however the signs they sell at those prices are weather proof, poster board, which don't last very long. (they are disposable)

Seriously, call up some general sign shops and ask them to print you a short run (Under 50 signs) printed front and back and see what they say... 9 times out of 10 you will hear:

  1. Sorry we don't print orders that small... or
  2. Sure we can do that for you, but because it's such a small run they will be $17-$20 each.
Until now we painting business owners have been at the mercy of "sales people" and I'm not standing for it any longer, so here is what I've decided to do about it...

In November we will be launching a new web site that will offer short run sign and apparel packages, specifically designed for painting business owners, by painting business owners!

I'll post more details as the time draws near. The packages will include Yard Signs, Intersection Signs, Pole/Association Signs, Short Sleeve T-Shirts, Long Sleeve T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, etc.

The layouts are simple, clean and deliver a clear message, a major benefit and a strong call to action... In short these are serious PROVEN lead generating MARKETING TOOLS!

Because we are keeping our product line focused on a specific niche in the market (Painting Contractors Only) we are able to produce short run packages at extremely low prices without sacrificing quality or customer service.

If you would like to be notified when we launch, please leave a comment on this post and be sure to include your email address so we can contact you.

Remember: No other form of marketing or advertising can deliver a better ROI (Return On Investment) than signs!

P.S. We will also be offering custom cut to fit vinyl vehicle graphics!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Hey Painting Business Owners - I Dare You to GIVE More!

It's not too often but some days I wake up feeling like S!@#...

Not for any one reason in particular, but because I feel like I've been working so hard to deliver good quality usable content that helps painting business owners make more money... work less hours... and have more fun and fulfillment running their business...

And I wish I had time to do more or that things would happen faster then they are!

Today started out that way, until I got into the office this morning and waiting there on my desk was a press release about a painting contractor in Chicago, who despite the set-backs the recession has brought to his business... He is still giving back!

What an inspiration! I have never met this man before but I jumped right on the phone and fired off a call to him to say thank you.

The article talked about INTEGRITY and how it is defined by what we do when no one else is looking.

It talked about how rare it is to see acts of generosity during times when the giver most likely wouldn't get something back in return.

The article reminded me exactly why I write this blog and send out our "Painting Contractors Perspective" Newsletter...

I understand that this winter/holiday season is going to be tough for a lot of painting business owners and I want to make sure every independent painting contractor makes it through.

That's why I've been giving away so many proven tips and usable content...

In fact, just last month alone we had hundreds of painters email us questions and letters of appreciation for the work we have been doing.

Is it enough? We don't think so. Not by a long shot...

That's why we are re-doubling our efforts during this last quarter of 2009 to insure that we can help as many people as possible BLAZE into 2010 focused and ready to reach their goals!

So here is my challenge to YOU... I Dare You to GIVE More... to your customers... to your family... to YOURSELF!

NOW is the time to dig in and put forth the extra effort... keep pushing forward... keep improving your attitude and mind set... crystallize your vision and belief to achieve it!

Remember, you are not alone, because we are with you every step of the way! Send in your questions... Tell us your story... and work every day to better your best!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Frustrated With Your Painting Business? Here's the Solution

We get a lot of emails from painters saying they are frustrated with:

  • The economy
  • Competition
  • Not having enough time
  • Lazy employees
  • The price of materials
  • Paying for expensive advertising
  • low or no call volume from their ads
  • low ball painters driving prices down...
...And in my mind I say to them "welcome to business ownership"

Owning a painting business (or any business for that matter) comes with frustrations and set backs, there is no way around it.

Heck, even working a job has it's own set of frustrations, as well as massive limitations. Where as being self employed, holds all potential!

Today I want to pass on the BEST advice anyone has ever given me about how to combat the frustration of being an entrepreneur, are you ready?

Here it is... "Fall In Love With The Process"

Those six little words had such a profound impact on my life, and I hope they will for you as well.

It's important to realize that each day is going to have it's challenges AND it's victories!

The best way I have found to "Fall in love with the process" is by asking good questions when challenges arise, like:

- What is the best solution to this problem?
- How can we resolve this problem so next time it isn't such an issue?
- Who can I call or email for advice about how to overcome this challenge?

And when victories happen... really be grateful and celebrate them, no matter how small they may seem.

Success doesn't happen over night, it happens over time, and the path you take to get there is going to be as frustrating or as fun as you decide it to be.

When we decided to create and publish Painting for Profits and make it available to the public I wanted to make sure that we offered support after the sale. In fact the "support" was (in my opinion) the most important benefit included in the system.

Having caring people around you that you can ask questions to when you are feeling frustrated, is priceless. Being able to ask questions of people who "have been there" and "done that" goes a long way in curing frustration.

That's what we offer to all of our clients when they invest in our programs.

...And if you ask me, that is why so many people have such wonderful success with Painting for Profits!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

ATTENTION Painting Business Owners: Cute & Fancy Yard Signs Do Not Sell!

Walking around the neighborhood the other day I saw a few yard signs for various home improvement business... (Roofer, Gutter and siding and a small builder)

Each of these three signs had the businesses logo, multiple colors and different fonts. They were very cute and fancy which would be great if "Cute & Fancy" sold... but it doesn't!

Sure it may look cool and there is no doubt that it costs more to have signs made using multiple colors and different fonts, but in the long run those cute and fancy embellishments REDUCE call response.

The purpose of using signs to market your business is to get people to call you, right? They are suppose to be lead generators, NOT EGO BOOSTERS, for the business owner.

Here is a PROVEN simple, straight forward sign layout formula, that will increase the call response from your signs.

  1. Keep a clean look and feel - Use ONE color background and ONE color for the text and ONE font. Simple? yes... Beautiful? Not really... Effective? EXTREMELY!

  2. Deliver a CLEAR Message - You should think of your signs as a small direct response ad! Only include the important information which is, the name of your business, your contact phone number, a benefit and a strong call to action.
Here is tried and true - proven - call generating yard sign copy:

Let's say you use a standard 18 x 24 white corrugated plastic sign printed with black ink...

Another Quality Paint Job By


(123) 456.7890

Free Estimates - CALL NOW

This simple yard sign laid out and copy will pull better than a three color, three font, yard sign that costs three times as much.

Does it look as nice? No... However it has been proven countless times to generate 2-3 times the amount of calls!

Two VERY important things I have to mention:

First - Your contact phone number needs to be the largest and most visual feature on the sign...

Second - Your phone number needs to be NO SMALLER than 3" in order to be read by passing cars.


  • Signs are a marketing tool for lead generation - NOT ego boosters...
  • Keep a nice clean look and feel (One color background, One color text, One font)
  • Simple clear message (Phone number as the largest feature and a strong call to action)
There you go... You now have a winning formula for yard sign marketing! Let me know how it works out for you...

Monday, October 05, 2009

October Is Here - It's GOAL Setting Time for Painting Contractors

Here in Michigan fall has blown in... The leaves are beginning to change and there is a definite chill in the air. Yep, Summer is over and the holidays are just around the corner.

For many painting contractors, it's goal setting season! It's time to look back over the year and evaluate what went right and what needs improvement.

Some of you may be saying, hold on a second it's only October, we still have to get through the winter months before worrying about next years goals...

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you haven't made your plans for the end of the season yet, you are a bit behind the curve.

You see, as business owners we need to think (and plan) ahead... If you wait until January 1st to set goals for the New Year, you don't have any time to create momentum.

Setting goals for the next year in October, November and December allow you to know what actions you are going to take to kick off the new year "in stride".

Right now is the best time to decide how next year will be different than this year.

For example: If you spent much of this year complaining about the economy or competition then you should begin to think of more creative ways to overcome those problems next year.

Here are some areas to think about, that can make 2010 much more profitable and a lot less stressful then 2009...
  • Stop using excuses - Focus on positive things that are within your control and stop worrying about stuff you can't control.

  • Put your plan in writing - It's not good enough to have your goals in your head, they MUST be written down on paper and read daily.

  • Double your marketing efforts - Hand out more business cards, flier more neighborhoods, Send out more post cards, write more press releases...

  • Start a monthly newsletter - This is a great way to keep your painting business in front of past customers.

  • Design seasonal promotions - Create them and have them ready to go so all you have to do is send them out when the time rolls around.

  • Fine tune your referral program - Create or rethink your referral program... Work with a local restaurant owner on a 2-for-1 offer...

  • Improve your customer experience - Brainstorm ways to give more value to your customers.

  • Raise your rates 10% - This is the fastest way to increase revenue immediately!

  • Put a shine on your brand and image - Put new vinyl graphics on your vehicle... work with us to develop nice clean looking signs and t-shirts... Incorporate that clean look and feel on all of your written corespondents.

  • Invest in (or improve) your web site - Add an email collection box or audio interview

  • Redesign your business card (put an offer on the back) - Put a "New Customer" discount offer on the back of the business card.

  • Spend some time doing competition research - Find out what other painting contractors are doing and emulate or improve on their strategies.
EVERY painting business needs improvement (including mine) that's why goal setting is so important.

We have a ton of improvements to implement in our local painting business as well as our online and consulting business... 2010's focus is on GROWTH and expansion!

Knowing what those plans are NOW, before the New Year starts will help ensure that we are moving in the right direction and building momentum for 2010.

Tell us what goals you're going to set, that will help make 2010 your best year ever? Leave us a comment.