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Why It’s Best to Invest in Marketing When You Are Really Busy

August 6th, 2021

If you are like most painting contractors, you are as busy with work as you want to be right now. In fact, you might be much busier than you want to be. The last thing on your mind is generating more business.

But in reality, times of packed schedules and business growth are ideal for making marketing investments:

  • Cash flow is better and the expense is easier to absorb
  • Most marketing takes time to make an impact and could be timed perfectly to keep your work steady even after massive demand slows down
  • Working with more customers as you are launching new marketing initiatives gives you the opportunity to organically spread the word faster

So what types of marketing investments made when you are really busy can deliver a strong payoff later? Here are five:

Professional Photography

Yes, it’s true – today’s phones can produce photographs that are better than yesterday’s best cameras. But how often are you really taking pictures of the work you are doing? If you are doing it consistently and using the photos, then go ahead and skip on to the next one. But, if you are not, hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your recent jobs can provide you with photos to post to your website and social media for months.

Your potential customers want to see great photos of your work. A professional photographer can provide you with those and they’ll have an eye for shots that you likely won’t think about that could have a big impact when potential customers see them.

Video

People love video these days and posting videos on your website and social media channels can significantly increase your engagement. Your local video production agencies will have great ideas for the types of videos that will work in your market. You could do several short ones or a couple longer ones that really highlight your work. You are much more likely to get bigger bang for your buck with “this is who we are and what we are all about” videos than you will with a highly polished advertising video.

Flyers

While they are more traditional, flyers can still be effective, especially when they use images of some of your best work. When considering hiring a painting contractor, consumers are looking for shortcuts that prove credibility. A well done flyer is one of those things that can quickly enhance your credibility in the eyes of potential customers. Be sure to use great photos, list your services, include some testimonials and highlight your Google reviews star average if it’s good.

Sponsorship

Is there a community event that you’ve always thought you’d like to sponsor but never really wanted to spend the money to do so? If your profitability has been great, now may be the time to take the leap. People remember the sponsors of community events. The participants will often go out of their way to give business to sponsors, especially if it’s a running or cycling event where the proceeds go to charity. And if you get your logo or name on the back of the t-shirt, people will be wearing it for years.

Website

Well you knew we were going to include this one, right? A brand-new website or a new investment in SEO for a website is usually going to take three to six months to really pay off. The competition is strong and Google likes to give credit to web pages that have proven to be relevant over time. Invest in a new website now and your investment will start paying off just in time for when things slow down during the winter season.

If you are busier than ever, now is the time to leverage that income to set your business up to achieve continued, consistent success going forward. By making wise investments in marketing you can ensure a steady flow of work even after today’s crazy rush slows down.

Need a website? We can help! Call us today at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com to learn more about how ProPainter Websites can bring you more painting business!

Three Things Painting Contractors Should Be Doing on Facebook

July 7th, 2021

Facebook is a great tool to use to showcase projects and display important information for potential customers. But you only have five or six seconds to spark a potential customer’s interest to learn more about your business. Over the last week, we’ve visited more than 100 painting contractor Facebook accounts. We saw a lot of great Facebook profiles and some that are just starting out. Wherever you fall on that scale, these three tips can help make your Facebook profile more effective.

#1 — Take High-Quality Photos and Post Them Frequently

The first thing painting contractors should be doing on Facebook is arguably one of the most important and it’s posting high-quality photos to showcase their work. When a potential customer is shopping around for a painting contractor, they’re looking to see that you’ve completed the job they’re requesting. A variety of high-quality photos showcasing before, during and after jobs demonstrates exactly what a potential customer gets when they work with your team. Remember, high-quality and clean photos exhibit your professionalism to potential customers.

Motti Painting Solutions - high quality images

#2 — Set up Automated Messenger Responses

The second thing that we recommend that painting contractors should be doing on Facebook is creating automated messenger responses to answer frequently asked questions. This not only saves you time, but it also makes key information easily accessible for potential customers. The automated messenger responses are visible to potential customers as soon as they visit your Facebook page giving them answers to their questions instantly. If you find yourself consistently having to answer the same question from potential customers, add an automated messenger reply!

Marco Island Painting - Q & A

#3 — Fill Out the About Tab

The last tip we’ll leave you with goes hand-in-hand with the second tip. Thoroughly fill out the about tab on your Facebook profile. Displaying your contact information on the front page of your profile makes contacting you easy. As a business, you want to make a potential customer’s path to you as easy and clear as possible. Once you’ve filled out all the basic information, try adding keywords that include the areas you serve and your specialties to boost your search potential.

AIC Painting - Facebook About Page

There are tons of tips out there for optimizing your Facebook profile. Don’t get overwhelmed by it. Pick a few things and implement them. Small changes to your Facebook profile can add up to huge progress in helping you connect with potential customers.

Call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com to learn more about how ProPainter Websites can bring you more painting business!

Three Things That Painting Contractors Want But Don’t Ask For

June 9th, 2021

Before becoming a marketer, I wrote business research reports for large companies.  I interviewed some very smart people along the way.  Some of the best bits of wisdom I received were the ones that seemed the most obvious.

At one point, I interviewed an executive who helped smaller companies that were being acquired by larger ones.  One of her quotes has stuck with me over all of these years.

“When you want something, just ask,” she said.  “The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no.”

The truth is that it can be uncomfortable to ask someone for something they might not want to give you.  People miss opportunities for first dates, salary increases and lower car and home purchase prices because they’re too scared of rejection to ask for them.

And it happens to people who own painting companies, too.

Here are three things painting contractors want (or should want) but often don’t ask for.

#1 Online Reviews

People rely on online reviews to decide where to buy local services including house painting.  And customers are far more likely to leave a review if they’re asked.  Despite this, many painting contractors don’t ask for reviews from happy customers.

There are plenty of reasons people don’t ask.  It’s easy to forget to ask, especially if you’re having a good conversation with the customer.  And nobody wants a customer to feel like they were unfairly pressured to post a positive review.  But one of the biggest reasons painting contractors don’t ask for reviews is that it feels awkward to ask a customer for a favor right after they paid for service.

It shouldn’t. Most happy customers won’t be annoyed as long as they think the person making the request actually cares about the review.  So don’t ask them for a review using that sad, monotone voice you hear from the person at the grocery store register.

If you feel like a customer had a good experience, take the extra ten seconds to explain that great reviews help bring you business. Tell them it would help you out if they could post a review about the specific painting services you provided and what the experience was like.  If nothing else, tell them it helps you grow your business without spending more on annoying postcard mailers.

We’ve even put together this quick guide on how to ask!  And we provide a tool to our customers that makes it really easy to email their happy customers to ask for a review.  If just 10% of your customers give you positive reviews, there’s a good chance you’ll be the most-reviewed (and best-reviewed) painting contractor in your area within six months. That will have a major impact on your search results. 

#2 New Employees

There are some places where it makes sense to be careful advertising your need for additional employees.  If a Help Wanted sign is the first thing on your website, customers might assume you’re too busy to handle their job and take their business elsewhere.  Competitors could also try and use your staff shortage against you when talking with potential customers.

With that said, you shouldn’t miss any opportunities to let people know you’re hiring new painters.  As you are probably well aware, it’s a tough hiring market right now – if someone can get the word out to an interested painter that you’re hiring, it’s probably worth the risk you’re taking to advertise that information. So be sure to let friends, family, and anybody else who might be able to help know that you are looking for somebody.

Don’t be afraid to ask your employees for referrals, either!  If your employees are having to work extra hours to get all of the work done, they’re probably not going to be upset that you’re trying to fix the problem.  In fact, offering a referral bonus to any employee who helps you find a painter is a great way to show them that you’re willing to put money towards solving the problem.  Over-worked employees will appreciate that fact – even if they don’t have anyone to refer at the time you ask.

#3 Additional Service Sales

Nobody enjoys the dreaded upsell.

When you buy an electronic device at the store and the employee at the checkout has to offer you a three-year “replacement plan”, you can tell they hate asking if you want it.  You can tell they know your answer, too; they already have their finger above the button to take them to the next screen.

If you’ve got a service that you hate selling this much, stop selling it!

But you probably don’t.  If you offer a service other than painting, it’s because you’re happy to have the business (at least in the off-season!).

Your customers might need someone to do exactly what you do “on the side” – in fact, they might already be asking for quotes!  But if they learned about your business when they were looking for a painter, they may have no idea that you would do it for them.

So make sure to let them know what other services you provide!  If you’re just making them aware of your services and not “pushing” them, that’s not going to reflect poorly on you.  You’re just doing your job, which is telling customers what problems you can help them solve.  Even if they don’t take you up on the offer today, they could always ask for it later when the need becomes more significant.

If you really want to avoid the perception of an upsell, there are laid-back ways to let them know about a service.  You can tell them about the service after you’ve given them a receipt for the job you just completed for them, which makes it a nearly pressure-free interaction.  You can staple printed material about the service on their invoice, which lets customers read about it when they aren’t face-to-face with you.  But don’t be shy about letting customers know about all of your services – that’s the best way to earn a return on any investments you’ve made in your other service offerings.

Call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com to learn more about how ProPainter Websites can bring you more painting business!

Doing Your Best Work – and Leaving the Rest Behind

June 2nd, 2021

If you’re a painting contractor, it’s always better to have too much work than to have too little. But “catching up” by scheduling 55-hour weeks isn’t much fun either.  This is the third of three articles providing techniques to balance your workload and make every job worth the effort you put into it. The first was Exceeding Customers’ Expectations (without Exceeding their Needs). The second was How to Pass on Work (Without Saying No).

Most of the work painting contractors do is physically demanding.  But that doesn’t mean it’s all equal. Some jobs are just worse than others.  An indoor residential repaint is better than a 3-story exterior job in 90 degree heat.  You’ll probably earn more profit from a big job near your home or office than a small job forty-five minutes away.  And who wants to “discover” the inside of a foreclosed house or remove a popcorn ceiling?

In the off-season, it’s great to have all kinds of work coming in the door. Some of those jobs might not be the most fun, or the most profitable, but they help you (and your crew) keep busy and pay the bills.


But when you’ve got more work than you can handle, you’ve got choices.  Why choose bad work?

When you’ve got choices, do the work you most enjoy

When you’re booked out for weeks or months, it makes more sense to choose the jobs that are more pleasant and more profitable – and try to push out work that isn’t either of those things. Don’t feel like you have to automatically take a first come, first serve approach.  When a customer calls you with a less-than-stellar opportunity, make sure that you emphasize how much you appreciate the opportunity, but don’t put that work in the express line. Instead, try to push it out.

If the customer is okay with delaying the work a few weeks, you can celebrate filling a less busy slot on your calendar.  If they choose someone else, you can at least rest easy knowing that you aren’t sending your competitors the easy stuff.

Filling a busy week with the best work you’ve been offered is a lot harder than just saying “yes” until you have to start saying “no”.  You have to know what work is most profitable. You have to know what type of work is already on the calendar.

You also need a good idea of how many other requests you’ll probably get each week. To estimate this, it helps to know how many quote requests you received last week, and how many you received during that week in the prior year.

Of course, you don’t get to respond to all of your customers at once.  When you let a less pleasant job slip through the cracks, there’s always a chance that a good one won’t come through to replace it.  But if you’ve been painting for a while, you probably have a pretty good idea when it’s looking like a work week is going to fill up completely. Don’t let the last job you schedule for a busy week be the worst one!

To learn how ProPainter Websites helps painting contractors attract their ideal customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

How to Pass on Work (Without Saying No)

May 23rd, 2021

If you’re a painting contractor, it’s always better to have too much work than to have too little. But “catching up” by scheduling 55-hour weeks isn’t much fun either.  This is the second of three articles providing techniques to balance your workload and make every job worth the effort you put into it. The first was Exceeding Customers’ Expectations (without Exceeding their Needs).

When a customer calls and they’re ready to pay for your services, it’s hard to say no.  That’s especially true if you’ve been short of work recently.  What if you end up needing that money?

It’s also hard because saying “no” too often can impact your reputation.  If you become known as the “always-busy” painter, you’ll lose referrals and jobs.  That means spending less time painting and more time on marketing and sales efforts.

Saying No without Saying “No”

But you don’t have to say “no”.  You don’t even have to say it when you really don’t need (or want) the work.

When someone calls you, it’s probably because they need their house painted.  But even if you can’t paint it, you can still help them!  You’ll look like more of a hero if you help them fix the problem without charging anything for it.

The first thing you can do is to let them know that, while you’re busy right now, you’d be happy to help them out later.  Provide a specific window of availability both for the quote and the service.  There’s always a chance they’ll take you up on that offer, especially if they appreciate your honesty about how busy you are and think you sound eager to do things the right way.

If they need the work done sooner than you can get to it, the best thing to do is to refer customers to another painter who does good work.  

The type of company it makes the most sense to “offload” jobs to depends on painting competition in your area and what types of services you offer. But whoever you choose, make sure you trust them!  If they mess up, you’ll get some of the blame.

For some painting contractors, it makes sense to refer overflow work to a relatively new painting business in the area.  The owner will be happy to get the small, lower-margin jobs that are your least attractive opportunities.

If there aren’t any newer painters in the area, it might make sense to pick a “friendly competitor” you can trust and cross-refer work to each other when the load gets too heavy.  Ideally, whoever you choose will also refer good work to you when you have space on the calendar to take it.

The one thing you don’t want to do is ignore phone calls when you’re booked and delete the voicemails without responding to them.  You’ll never know what opportunities you’re letting go until you listen to them.  And customers do review businesses that they’ve never hired!  A surprising number of one-star online reviews are for service providers who angered a customer by screening their call and never returning it.

To learn how ProPainter Websites helps painting contractors attract their ideal customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

Exceeding Customers’ Expectations (without Exceeding their Needs)

May 20th, 2021

If you’re a painting contractor, it’s always better to have too much work than to have too little. But “catching up” by scheduling 55-hour weeks isn’t much fun either.  This is the first of three articles providing techniques to balance your workload and make every job worth the effort you put into it.

Customers can be pretty vague when they call. Many calls start out with some version of “Hey, I wanted to get a painting quote for my house.”  It’s easy to be frustrated by that, because they’re just making you ask for information that they already know you need.  What’s the address?  What do you need painted? What’s your timeframe?

Don’t be frustrated: they’re giving you a gift!  When they give you control of the conversation, they’re giving you the opportunity to ask what you need to ask so you can make an offer that’s great for both of you.

Of course, they’re expecting you to confirm that the job is in your service area and it’s work that you can do.  But once that’s out of the way, it’s up to you to ask whatever it is you need to know to make a great offer.

If you’re short of work

Offer to come over immediately if they’re available.  If they take you up on the offer, it might be a sign that the job is time-sensitive.  If you can get started tomorrow, you might cut their quoting and hiring process short – and earn the job without having to fight for it.

If you’re trying to be efficient

The worst thing you can do is exceed their expectations in ways that don’t matter to them.  There’s no need to offer paint pick-up if they’re already planning to pick it up while they’re at the big-box store for other projects.  There’s no point in rushing to finish the job if they aren’t in a hurry.  This is why it makes sense to get an idea of what their priorities are before you suggest next steps.


If you’re already slammed

You might not want the work right now.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an opportunity.  You don’t have to make that decision until you know a little more about the customer and the job.

First, who referred them?  If it’s a referral source that’s important to you, you might not want to indicate you’re really busy. If that information gets back to the referral source, they might stop sending jobs your way.

How quickly were they hoping to get it painted?  If they say they’re trying to get it knocked out right away, you might want to crowd an already busy week with another job. But when it comes time to price the job at least you know that availability matters to them.  If they don’t seem to be in any hurry, that’s an opportunity to let them know about the “fall discount” you offer after summer work starts drying up.

Figure out how to meet their needs without offering something they’ll say yes to even if they don’t care much about it.  Then you can put all your effort into outperforming where it really matters to them.

Finally, you’ll probably get an idea of how easy they’ll be to work with (and how likely they are to complain about perfectly good work) in the few minutes it takes you to ask a couple of questions.  If you’re busy, and they’re “prickly”, it might be a good idea to pass on that job, or at least to offer them a time far enough in the future that they’re not likely to accept it.

To learn how ProPainter Websites helps painting contractors attract their ideal customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

Having a Performance Conversation with a House Painting Employee

April 23rd, 2021

Nobody wants drama between team members.  It’s bad for morale. It’s bad for productivity. And it will ultimately lead to lower customer satisfaction, especially when the customer’s home is your workplace.  Because conversations about an employee’s sub-par performance can absolutely create drama if they go south, even managers who consider themselves straight shooters will put off talking to an employee that suddenly has attendance or performance issues.


But once it’s clear that it’s not a one-time issue, it’s better to address the behavior earlier than later. Otherwise, an underperforming employee will cause problems that fall on other employees – or worse, on customers.

You can’t rush into conversations about employee performance, though. The fifteen to thirty minutes it takes to have that conversation can lead to improvement and continued growth, but can just as easily lead to resentment and termination.

Here are three tips to get a good outcome from a tough conversation.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Everybody has bad days.  If a high-performer gets to work a few minutes late one day and has a good explanation, there’s probably no need to make it a performance issue.

But when a pattern starts surfacing, it’s better to bring the issue up with the employee than to keep waiting for it to just go away.  This gives the employee an opportunity to recognize the issue and address it.  If you wait until their poor performance is creating more work for you or other co-workers, there’s a performance issue and there will likely be a relationship issue, and that can make the problem even harder to overcome.

Be Specific About What You Need

Don’t soften your criticism so much that it’s unclear what you want to change.  For example, avoid saying “It seems like you’re having trouble getting to work on time.” or “Your productivity rate is down a good bit from what it was.”

It might seem nicer to be vague than to include specific numbers when talking about performance.  But the employee will leave the conversation frustrated and stressed, knowing that they need to do better to keep their job but not knowing what ‘good enough’ looks like.

If you really want to be kind to an underperforming employee, make sure they know what success looks like and that they have a plan to get there.  That means ensuring they leave the conversation with success metrics that you can both measure easily and regularly.

Provide them with specific metrics where they’re underperforming.  Then tell them what level metrics need to reach before their performance is acceptable again.  And if it’s someone you really want to be successful, you can let them know that by asking them if there’s anything you can do to help them be successful and helping in the ways you can.

Revisit the Topic Frequently

If you’ve planned ahead for a conversation about performance, you probably know what you’re going to say and have thought about how the employee might respond to it.  You know how big of a problem their performance is, and how quickly it needs to get fixed.

Your employee hasn’t had time to think about any of this, and probably doesn’t know they’ll be discussing their performance at all.  So while you’re laying out your case and telling an employee where they need to improve, that employee is probably doing a terrible job of listening to you. Instead, they’re thinking: “Are these fair criticisms?  Why didn’t I notice myself falling short?  What do I need to say to keep my job?”

This makes repetition more important in performance discussions than it is in most other conversations.  Before ending the conversation, make sure that both of you agree on where they’re falling short, how far the metrics need to rise and how frequently they’ll be measured.

After that first conversation, discuss these metrics with the employee weekly if you can – each discussion is another opportunity to emphasize the importance (and the timeline) of improvement.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help bring new customers to your painting contracting business, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

Why A Website is Critical for Painting Contractors in 2021

April 20th, 2021

The world’s first website celebrates its 30th birthday this summer.  Since then, websites have become very important to the success of small businesses.  And despite there being many ways to reach potential customers on the web, it’s still critical for any small business, including painting contractors, to have a website.


Here’s why.

Most People Use Google To Search for Local Services

When people are looking for a painting contractor near them, the first place they go is Google.  And a company’s website content is still the main factor Google uses to determine which companies to display first.  If you don’t have a website, you’re probably not going to be one of the handful that customers see near the top of the results.

That’s true even if somebody only looks at the Local Pack or on Google Maps. That’s because Google uses websites as a key indicator of quality and credibility. So even if you have maximized your Google My Business profile, your rankings in the Local Pack and Google Maps will suffer if you don’t have a website. Not having a website is like not having any reviews. It doesn’t prevent people from finding and choosing you, but it certainly makes it much less likely.

If you want your company to be listed near the top of the search results, you’re going to need a great website.  That website needs plenty of content about the services you provide, it needs to have accurate information about your business hours and service area, and it needs to work well when people look at it on their smartphones.  These are still some of the most important factors Google uses to decide which painting contractors land on the first page of search results and toward the top of the listings on the Local Pack and Maps.

Consumers Look at Websites to Confirm Credibility

Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy for people to call themselves a painting contractor – there’s not much equipment to buy, and most states don’t require a license to paint.  That means there are plenty of painting businesses out there with owners who don’t know how to paint and don’t know how to run a business.

Customers know this.  And while most customers don’t want to pay the “franchise premium” for a big business to come paint their house, they also don’t want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bad paint job.  So before they hire someone, they look for signals that a painting contractor isn’t a fly-by-night operation, but someone who can actually get the job done right.

A professional website is one of the main things people use to determine whether a business is “for real.”  People deciding to paint houses between jobs or as a seasonal side hustle might throw together a Facebook page, but they aren’t going to bother with a website to help build their business.  A modern, professional website can instantly provide credibility for anyone deciding whether to trust you with their job.

Websites Are Still the Only Place Online Where You Control Your Image

There are dozens of businesses that make money by sitting between you and your customers.  Facebook and Google have become two of the largest companies in the world by selling ads to businesses like yours.  Companies like Yelp, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List built their entire business model around sitting between you and your customers.

All of these companies are happy to provide a place online for you to present your business.  But they’re also in control of how you look, and they use that fact to get more money from you.  They decide what customer reviews get placed next to your name.  They decide what you can say, how many words you have to say it, and what contact information you’re allowed to provide.  And they’re going to make decisions that are in their best interest.

Your website is the one place where you’re in control of your image.  You get to choose what to emphasize on your website.  Nobody can pay extra to have their company listed above yours.  If someone posts a fake negative review on Google, it’s up to Google whether it gets deleted from their site – but nobody’s making you put it on your website.

When you list your online presence on business cards or flyers, It’s important for that to be a place that you control.  Otherwise, the first thing that people see when they visit that place might be something negative about your business!

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your business earn new customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

How House Painters Schedule for Success

March 24th, 2021

A recent poll by American Painting Contractor magazine asked painting contractors about their biggest business challenges.  This is the last of three blogs addressing the most reported challenges.

In the painting contractor business, time is money – and unscheduled time is lost money.

Running a business takes money. So does paying your employees – including yourself! When you’re short of work, each empty hour on the work calendar is a missed opportunity to pay for each of those things.  Light schedules can also lead to other problems. If your employees aren’t satisfied with the number of hours you’re providing them, they’ll find another employer who can provide more.

All of these stressors can lead painting contractors who are short of work to swing into full sales and marketing mode – cutting prices, increasing advertising and saying yes to more types of jobs. But while packing an upcoming month with work might offset the financial losses of a slow month, it also causes problems of its own. Boom-and-bust work cycles put you and your employees on a roller coaster of money worries and physically exhausting 60 hour weeks.


So a balanced schedule is important. But how do you navigate through customers schedules, unexpected employee absences and seasonal changes in demand to get a well-rounded weekly calendar of work?  It’s no wonder that painting contractors with more than one or two teams often employ an office staff member who spends most of their time juggling the scheduling needs of customers, employees and the business itself.

Are there other ways to spread your work out?  Unfortunately, nothing is going to completely get rid of scheduling challenges.  But there are ways to improve them. Here are three things you can do to make schedules work out better for everyone.

Tips to Build a Better Work Schedule

Use Calendar Software

The most avoidable scheduling challenge is the scheduling mix-up.  If you and your customers sometimes have a different memory of what time you agreed on, a new process may save some future headaches. Calendar software like Google Calendar or Calendly will allow you put an appointment on your calendar and to send “invitations” to customers via email for that exact same time.

Right after agreeing with a customer on a time add the job to your calendar and send an invitation to the customer as well.  You’ll get a notice if they accept the invitation and you’ll know both of you have the same time on your calendar.  Another bonus – calendar software will also notify you if you try to schedule two customers at the same time, helping you avoid a last-minute customer apology and scheduling shuffle.

Implement Off-Season Discounts

If you’ve ever rented a house for a vacation you’ve probably noticed that the prices can vary dramatically depending on the season when you’re visiting.  For instance, if you’re looking to stay on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, you can probably get a significant discount in January.  You’ll also need to plan pretty carefully, because the ferries stop running when the waterways freeze over.

Painting has a peak season too.  And if your schedule starts reaching a point when you feel pretty comfortable that it’s going to fill up during peak season, it might be a good time to start offering a fall or winter discount for new customers who aren’t in a hurry.  You might not make quite as much profit on the job in the fall or winter, but you’ll avoid a lot of stress in the spring and summer.  And you’ll also be happy to already have jobs on the calendar for months when work is harder to come by.

Alert Your Team to Busy Weeks

Review your calendar regularly and make sure to give employees as much notice as possible when you’re facing a busy week (or month).  If employees only have a week’s notice, they might not be able to move other obligations quickly enough to provide the extra hours you need.  If you already know that next month’s schedule is looking crowded (and you don’t expect that to change) letting employees know a month early gives them extra time to prepare for a heavy workload and the extra pay that comes with it.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting contracting business bring in more customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

Painting Contractors: Don’t Miss the Easy Opportunities

March 19th, 2021

Several months ago, I had one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  During a nasty storm, I watched as a (thankfully small) tornado spawned in the cul-de-sac just outside of my house.  I was also extremely lucky; while several roofs and cars in the neighborhood were crushed by falling trees, the only damage to my house was a single piece of fascia flashing that was bent and ripped off the house.

My wife’s vehicle in the driveway right after the tornado passed.

Then, something even more unusual happened – I couldn’t get anyone to fix it.  I called roofers, siding contractors and even handymen.  Nobody would call me back – it was too small of a job for contractors, and too high up in the air for a handyman.

I must have called a half dozen companies in the weeks before I saw three roofers on a house two doors down from mine.  Their company truck was parked out front and had a phone number on the side, so after a few minutes of thinking about it, I called, and a guy picked up the phone and asked me how he could help.  It only took me about 30 seconds to notice that the person on the phone with me was standing right there in the neighbor’s lawn.

We got off the phone and both took a 15 second walk to my house. After looking at my bare fascia, he said he had flashing in his garage that would work perfectly, and he’d do it for $100. 

After all the time I had wasted on trying to get this fixed, I would have happily paid twice that – maybe more. I just wanted to know when he could do it.  He said he was returning to work on the neighbor’s roof the next day and could take care of it then. And he did – by the time I had dropped my kid off at school the next morning, it was already fixed. 

But, it gets better.

I paid him $150, and offered $50 more if he could quickly look at my roof and confirm there was no damage from the tornado (thankfully, there wasn’t).  I was thrilled with this arrangement, but he must not have felt right about taking the extra money.  While he was examining my roof for damage, he also cleaned out my gutters – another task I had planned to deal with later in the week.

When It’s Easy to Be a Hero, Be a Hero

From my perspective, this guy is a hero.  He took care of three problems for me in one visit, and did each of them more cheaply than I would have paid for anyone else to do them.  From his perspective, he made $200 for an hour of work and $25 of materials, with no travel time at all.  It’s hard to keep a business afloat with $200 jobs, but if they come along that easily, why not take them?

Here’s the most important part.  This business owner knew that he wasn’t just doing a job.  He was marketing his business, too. That’s why he left me his card after he was done, and asked me to call when I need a new roof.

I put his number in my cell phone.  Guess who I’m calling when I need a roof in a few years? Here’s a hint – it’s not any of the roofers that didn’t even bother to price my small job.

Building a Reputation the Easy Way

This story offers several examples of how to think like a growth-focused small business owner.

This contractor was on a job and could have easily screened my call. But he took my call instead and stayed focused on my problem during the conversation.

It would have been easy to tell me his calendar was full and offer to come back at a later time. But when I asked for help, he saw the request as an opportunity and not a complication.

And most importantly, he knew I was frustrated with a problem he could fix quickly and easily.  So he took the time to fix it. That’s how companies earn five-star reviews.  That’s how word-of-mouth marketing spreads.  That’s how small businesses turn into bigger businesses.

So if you’re painting someone’s house and see a vehicle slowing down and taking an extra look at your truck (or the work you’re doing), take the time to introduce yourself.  Ask if they need help.  And if they do need a small job done a few doors down, give them the no-travel rate and knock it out quickly.  Be a hero.

And then leave your card behind for when they – or their friends or family – need a real paint job.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting contracting business gain new customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.