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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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tip #3 of 3 - “How to create instant loyalty using a simple ‘storyselling’ technique”.

Look, the fact is, you are more than just a painter or painting business owner… You are a:

  • Father or Mother
  • Brother or Sister
  • Volunteer
  • Parishioner
  • Sports fan
  • Fisherman
  • Musician
  • Among SO many other things…

My point is, YOU ARE so much more than your profession… and to be honest, it is better to be ANY of these things when you walk into a prospects house to bid a paint job.

Let me explain.

When painting contractors walk into a new prospects house and instantly go into professional painting business owner mode, it creates resistance between themselves and the home owner.

…But on the other hand, when you walk into a home and you are a father or mother, uncle or aunt, etc. you are a person that the home owner can relate to.

Let me explain further.

It’s a fact that people like to do business with ‘people’ they like. Notice I said people, NOT businesses they like. If a home owner only ever sees you as a business owner, there will always be uneasiness because there is an issue of money.

On the other hand, when they see you as a human (because you tell a story that they can relate to) you become more like a friend that can be trusted.

Does that make sense?

Let me share my personal story about how I used storyselling to explode my business when I was just getting started. (You can use the storyselling technique at any stage of your business.)

Just before I moved to Michigan to start my own business, I found out that one of my Aunts had Leukemia… and I happened to be growing my hair out at the time. (I played the drums my whole life, and I still had the dream of becoming a rock star and back in the day, long hair was the look.)

When I got to Michigan, all of my extended family and friends advised me to cut my hair, as they thought it would turn people off. They said I looked like a hippy burn-out and no one would trust me or take me seriously. They said it made a bad first impression, and on and on.

I have never been one to conform to other people’s expectations, but it sounded like they may have a point. I knew the trade and how to provide a quality finished product, and I knew I was honest and trustworthy, so I was confident that I could land clients, despite the length of my hair, but the objections from my family and friends kept playing in my mind.

I always felt most comfortable with long hair (or a mohawk) but I wanted to build a successful business, so I decided to get my hair cut. Gulp! Then I got a GREAT idea!

I had learned about a charity organization called “Locks-of-Love” that takes donated hair and turns it into wigs for people with cancer who lost their hair due to radiation therapy. PERFECT!

…But, there needed to be a minimum of 10 inches of hair for them to use and at the time I only had about 8 inches. I decided that my new reason for growing my hair was so I could donate it to Locks-of-Love and have it made into a wig for my aunt!

All of a sudden I was no longer a hippy burn-out, but rather a deeply caring person contributing an unselfish act for the betterment of someone else! I was now a hero and not a hippy!

And that story became the foundation of my success early on! As soon as I walked in the door and met people face to face for the first time, I would say:

“Please excuse the length of my hair… my aunt has Leukemia and I am growing it out to donate to Locks-of-Love to be made into a wig for her.”

Do you think anyone ever saw me as a hippy? NO WAY! In fact, it gave me INSTANT credibility as the type of a kind; caring person people LOVE to do business with!

My story has changed many times over the years, but MANY of the customers I worked for so many years ago are still clients today.

Spend some time coming up with story ideas that you can use to endear yourself to prospective customers and watch your business EXPLODE!

REMEMBER people like to do business with people they like and trust… here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Talk about how your company donates money to a local charity
  • Talk about how excited you are that your company is helping raise money for some community project.
  • Talk about how you’ve been working with your kids (or someone else’s kids) to learn a new language, improve at a sport, volunteer to clean up the community park, etc.

As you can see, storyselling is the MASTER KEY to unlocking the gate of resistance that stands between you and landing more paint jobs and long term clients.

I hope this tip serves you!

Please humor me for a second while I share a quick story about why I decided to create the Painting for Profits program and update it yearly to make sure it always contains the most up-to-date information working in the industry.

When I started painting professionally (at age 18) I became proficient and learned the skills very quickly. I think that had something to do with the fact that I was good with my hands from playing the drums my whole life.

After years working in the trade and learning other aspects of the business, I was at the top of the pay structure earning $27/hr with no place to go.

I was lucky coming up and I had a few REALLY Great bosses who taught me many important skills that helped me make the transition into my own business. Things like people skills, work ethic, under promising and over delivering, etc. (All of which are more important than painting skills).

The last manager I worked for really took me under his wing and showed me the big picture and the potential success that could come from owning my own business.

I remember him saying to me “Andy, if you take your painting skills, and the skills I am teaching you seriously, you can use them to build a beautiful life for yourself and your family.”

I did just that…

When I told him I was moving back to Michigan to start my own business, he was thrilled. (Bummed that he was losing such a dedicated employee, but never the less, happy for me.)

On my last day working for him he pulled me aside and told me how proud of me he was that I put so much time, energy and effort into developing my talent, and he wanted to help me get started off to a fast start with my new business.

I figured he was going to give me a nice cash bonus to help with the 1800 mile move or buy some equipment, etc.


What he gave me was worth so much more than a fist full of cash. He gave me his KNOWLEDGE!

Paul laid out his entire bidding and estimating strategy in step by step detail… and as he handed me the envelope, he looked me in the eye and said, “Andy, if you use this information to become successful in your own business, I want you to promise me that you will help other painters, when the time is right.”

Paul’s insider bidding and estimating secrets were instrumental in my success… in fact, they are the reason I was profitable from the very first job I landed.

I include Paul’s master outline as part of the Bid to Win Estimating system which is included in the Painting for Profits course.

The painting trade has been very good to me and my family. I have had to learn a lot through trial and error. I have spent the better part of my adult life putting time, energy and effort into figuring out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to growing a successful paint contracting business.

I created the original Painting for Profits course to help guide house painters through the process of starting a business of their own and helping them takes full control of their financial future.

Over the course of the last five years, I have updated and expanded the program to make sure it is BY FAR the best success manual on the market. A claim that has been validated by over 3,000 satisfied customers.

One of my favorite facts about the Painting for Profits systems is that they work all over the world!

We have success stories and testimonials from the U.S., Canada, Europe, U.K., Australia, New Zeeland, (even Brazil and Africa)!

I keep the cost of the program low (under $100) so anyone with the desire to side step the frustration of figuring things out through the costly process of trial and error can easily afford it. AND I stand behind P4P unconditionally with my no questions asked M O N E Y back guarantee!

If you are struggling to get (or keep) your painting business moving in the right direction, you owe it to yourself to give Painting for Profits a try. You have nothing to lose, and a more successful business to gain.

I look forward to adding you to my growing list of satisfied (successful) P4P customers!

Now go market your painting business,

Tip #2 of 3: “The POWER of offering your customers different pricing options”

One of the key secrets of successful painting contractors is their ability to meet and work within a customer’s budget. (READ THAT AGAIN)

One of the biggest mistakes you can make bidding paint jobs is to only offer one price! (I have a feeling that this tip is going to revolutionize a lot of painting businesses.)

Look, we all know that painting is a luxury and not a necessity and when most people decide to have painting done, they know exactly what their budget is going into the project. Of course there is always a little wiggle room, but not much, so if your price is way outside the budget range, it won’t even be considered.

Pay close attention because I’m about to give you the FIX…

For example:

Let’s say you are bidding on a job to refinish/reface a bunch of kitchen cabinets. As you know there is a lot of prep work for that type of job (hinge and hardware removal and replacement, etc.) as well as a multiple step process for getting a nice looking finish.

Let’s say the cost to have your company do ALL the work is $1500.00 which could be itemized on the bid contract. Unfortunately most contractors would go in and submit a bid with a single price of $1500.00, but the SMART contractor who offers pricing options, has a much better chance of landing the job.

Let me explain.

The average home owner knows how to use a screwdriver or drill… what if you offered some kind of discount or savings option, based on the home owner removing all the hardware and taking down the cupboard doors?

Imagine how much time that would save YOU if all you had to do was drive over and load the doors and drawers into your truck and leave!

I know for a fact that MOST people want to save the hundred + dollars by doing that part of the job themselves, and since you are the only contractor who is creative, kind and caring enough to offer such an option, more times than not, you will get the job.

There are many options you can offer, here are just a few:

  • Paint quality option
  • Multiple payment option
  • Room prep option (they move all the furniture and wall hangings, etc.)
  • Paint and supply pick up option (customer picks up the paint/supplies from store)

Giving prospects a way to save some money on their project is one of the BEST ways to stand out from the competition and save you a bunch of time.

When you are sensitive or empathetic to the budgetary needs of prospects right from the get go, it builds a sense of trust and as a bonus it makes it much easier to highlight the value of the higher priced offer.

I know this tip will serve you well. Please do share your success stories with me once you start applying this powerful pricing strategy!

The next post is tip #3 of 3 – “How to create instant loyalty using a simple ‘storyselling’ technique” and I’ll share my story about why I decided to create Painting for Profits.

Now go market your painting business,

To checkout the latest promotion go to and get Painting for Profits at the lowest price of the season.

Tip #1 of 3: “Use an expiration date or deadline on ALL of your contracts/bids.”

You know as well as I do that people will drag their feet if you let them. That’s why you should NEVER submit an open ended bid/contract.

If you have been in the painting business for any length of time then you know that the price of materials (especially paint, AND GAS) can fluctuate throughout the year.

Putting an expiration date on your contracts encourages people to make a decision, or risk paying a higher price down the road.

So what is the optimal amount of time for the deadline?

Good question.

Typically you don’t want to go much shorter than 15 days... and certainly no longer than 30 days, because the last thing you want to do is keep bugging someone to see if they made a decision.

I personally like 30 days because it gives a good solid follow up time schedule.

If you don’t hear back within 15 days make a follow up call letting them know you would love to secure them in your schedule.

On a side note, you can even at that point offer some kind of special promotion to create even more urgency. (I give you over a dozen promotion ideas inside Painting for Profits.)

If you are unable to get a firm commitment on that first follow up call, let them know that you will be making another follow up call “just before the deadline expires on the estimate.” Then make one last follow up call a few days before the contract expires.

If the prospect still can’t make a decision or they decided to go with another company, simply file the bid contract away into a “FUTURE CUSTOMER” file that you will follow up with again later in the year, with another type of offer.

You do follow up with ALL of your NO’s don’t you? You should! Not only is it a great source of information about your marketplace, and it doesn’t cost anything to send an email with multiple types of offers throughout the year.

RECAP: Never submit an open ended bid/contract... ALWAYS use some kind of deadline to create urgency!

Be sure to read my next post: Tip #2 of 3 – “The POWER of offering your customers different pricing options”

Now go market your painting business,