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Archive for January, 2018

How Painters Can Measure Financial Results to Improve Them

January 25th, 2018

If you’re trying to improve your painting company’s profitability without taking on more risk, one of the best ways to do this is to measure your company’s financial results.  By recording three financial metrics, you’ll be able to see which jobs are producing the best results and which ones are losing you money.  Identifying your most profitable work, and aiming your marketing and sales efforts at landing those types of jobs, will allow you to make more money without doing more work.

Here are three metrics that you should measure for your painting jobs.

Gross Margin:  When you subtract paint and labor expenses from the money you’re earning on a job, how much money is left?  For instance, if you do a $4,000 job, and spend $2,500 on paint, painting tools and labor, your gross margin is $1,500 – or 38% of the $4,000 job.

Painting jobs that earn the most gross margin dollars over the shortest period of time are your money-makers.  These are the jobs you advertise to earn.  Jobs that earn the highest gross margin percentage are also attractive, but if they’re very small jobs you might lose money focusing on these just because you aren’t getting paid to drive back and forth to all of those small jobs.

Profit: Of course, running your painting company costs more than just the paint and paint equipment you use at a job site.  You have phone bills, software costs, marketing expenses, truck payments – all of these expenses may not show up on a customer’s bill, but you still have to pay for them.  Taking all of the gross margin dollars you make in a month and subtracting your monthly bills leaves your net margin, also called your profit.

There are two ways you can improve your painting company profit.  You can focus on your best-paying jobs – those with the highest gross margin.  You can also work to bring down all of those overhead expenses mentioned earlier – software costs, marketing costs, any other bills that come due each month.  The odds are high that you can’t get rid of most of those bills, so increasing your overall gross margin is the best way to increase your profits.

Productivity: How many working hours each week do your painters spend painting?  It’s important to keep your painters on paying jobs for as many working hours as possible – those overhead expenses keep coming whether you’re working jobs or not.  Productivity is the amount of time your painters (and depending on the size of your company, the ‘painter’ category may include yourself) spend each week doing work you can bill customers for.

Of course, it’s impossible to reach 100% productivity.  If your painters spend any time quoting jobs, they won’t be getting paid by a customer for that work, but it’s still essential work if you’re going to land new jobs.  Painters also have to travel from job to job, which will be deducted from their productivity.  Keeping an eye on this number, however, will help you focus on making money (on jobs) while you’re spending money (on labor).

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business improve its financial results with a website that attracts your highest-paying customers, call us at 855.385.1134 or email us at

5 Places Painting Contractors Can Find More Customer Leads

January 20th, 2018

Do leads for your painting business come from one or two sources? If so, losing those sources could seriously damage your business. To ensure the long-term success of your business you’ll want to find more lead sources.  Click here to learn now.

What Does Business Success for a Painting Contractor Really Look Like?

January 15th, 2018

With so many hours focused on managing your painting business, sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and see beyond that description of your business.  While your business is a painting business, it’s also a small business.  And while all small businesses are different, they also have a lot in common.  So while it’s critical to stay informed on what it takes to make a painting contractor successful, sometimes it’s also important to take a step back and ask “What makes small businesses successful?”

Everyone has a different spin on the most important factors for success in small business.  Some focus on customer service, some focus on the product being delivered, and others focus on profit.  But there’s one area that most people agree is essential to success.  In fact, the Small Business Association, Entrepreneur magazine,  and USA Today have all discussed the importance of this one factor: planning.

Planning sounds daunting, because it involves designing a set of business processes.  Of course, not all business plans are giant, detailed documents.  A good business plan can be concise.   But it does need to exist.  Because, while plenty of businesses survive without one, that doesn’t mean that they’re successful.

The most valuable part of a business plan is a statement of what you built the business to do.  There are more than a hundred thousand painting companies in the United States, but you decided to undertake the major task of owning your own business for specific reasons. 

What do you want your business to provide to you, the owner?  What do you want it to provide to your customers, and to your community?  If you have employees that rely on you for their own livelihood, what do you want your business to provide to them?

It’s not until you can clearly state your goals that you can start planning how to meet them.   In the process of this execution, you’ll almost certainly find things that need to be done differently to achieve your goals.  You’ll probably consider ideas that seem great until you ask if they’ll actually help you achieve the goals that make your business worth owning.  In fact, you might find out that your goals change entirely.  But having those major goals in place, and working towards accomplishing them, is ultimately what makes business ownership fulfilling.

If your business is in no immediate financial danger, but it’s still not making you happy, it might be time to go back to those core goals of your business.  Beyond a salary and business survival, what do you want your business to achieve?  How can you get there?  And how will you measure that success?  Asking these tough questions will do more than make your business more profitable – it will make all the work you do to keep it thriving more fulfilling.

To learn more about how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business achieve success, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at

Two Ways Painting Contractors Can Improve Their Reputation and Make More Money

January 5th, 2018

How does a painting company increase its revenue potential without growing in size and complexity?  As discussed in a previous post about paying closer attention to costs and the types of jobs you accept, many painting business owners (and business owners of all types) face a financial dilemma.  While they want to increase their revenues, they’re already working enough that they don’t want to lose any further valuable personal and family time.  On the other hand, hiring more employees always opens the risk that you’ll hire one or more bad apples – someone likely to cause headaches, who could jeopardize the company’s revenues or even its long-term reputation.

One way to increase your earnings is to establish yourself as a premier painter – one sought by customers who are willing to pay more for a better experience.  But what makes a better “experience?”  Where are these mythical customers that will pay more to have the same amount of work done?

Put simply, many of them are customers with more money than time.  That doesn’t mean that they’re all rich – many of them may be willing to make a financial sacrifice to have a job done right because they simply don’t have the time to risk cancellations, or a second attempt.  Here’s how to attract them to your business, and how to keep them happy.

A Stellar Reputation

When customers are in a rush for a paint job (to sell a house, for instance) or they can’t afford to waste a lot of time making things happen, many of them make the decision to pay a little more to have confidence that it will be done right.  Many of them look for multiple reviews or testimonials that state in detail how a painting contractor went above-and-beyond to get the job done right.  “If they dealt with that situation,” the customer will think, “certainly they can deal with mine.”

Do you go to great lengths to complete some of your jobs?  Have you fit in a job by working at night, or worked late to finish a job that other painting contractors wouldn’t take because it was on short notice?  Did you do particularly great work on a complex job?  When those customers express their appreciation for the extra effort, ask them if they would be willing to provide a detailed online review on a site like Angie’s List, Google or Facebook.

If you can collect enough of these reviews, and regularly add to them, you’ll likely start getting calls from people who need someone to rescue them from a bad situation, and are willing to pay for it.  You’ll also get calls from people who can afford to pay more for a job done right the first time, and don’t want to deal with the hassles of a ‘budget painter’.  While these customers may have unique challenges for you to solve, you’ll be compensated well for your efforts.

Presenting Yourself as a Business

When customers need any type of service performed, they make assumptions about the caliber of service they’re paying for as soon as they visit a website or have their call answered.  Many of them will categorize the service provider as a “painter” or a “business” within seconds – virtually everyone will be categorized by the time a quote is delivered.   Of course, many painters own their own business, and have no other employees.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be a painting business in the eyes of customers!  In fact, that’s exactly what you should try to do.

People expect to pay more for services from a “business” than they do from a “painter” – and many of them are fine with that.  In fact, some customers are specifically looking for a business, not just a painter.  What’s the difference between a painter and a painting business?

In a customer’s mind, a painting business is organized, and they’re focused on the overall service they provide.  A painter is focused mostly on the painting job at hand.

In a customer’s mind, a business handles things professionally.  They provide a formal quote, along with detailed information about what’s included and excluded.  A painter may provide only basic details in an emailed quote, such as the price, the room size, and the date of the job.

In a customer’s mind, when a business makes a commitment, they can have confidence that it will be delivered.  This confidence is well-placed, and if the commitment isn’t met, the business acknowledges it has underperformed and seeks to make things right.  A painter is more likely to overbook, or have other challenges that prevent the job from being done on time and in budget.

A company has a reputation that they’ll work hard not to lose – a brand that has been built over years but can be destroyed by a few bad customer experiences.  That means that they’ll work harder to keep that reputation intact, but it also means they can afford to charge a premium.  That extra money is an “insurance policy” that the customer purchases – they’re paying a certain amount for the paint job, and an additional amount on top to ensure that it’s done correctly, on-time, in-budget.  With the right reputation, customer service skills, and quality work, you can earn the right to charge this premium to customers who want that insurance.  This is one of the most effective ways to increase your earnings without working more hours or hiring employees!

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help you make more money, call us at 855.385.1134 or email us at