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Google Changes the Game for Painting Contractors to Be Found Online

January 14th, 2022

Google recently made a change in their search engine results pages that could exponentially increase the importance of actively managing your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). It’s likely to significantly reward painting contractors who put the time into optimizing the profile and thoroughly punish those who don’t.

What Changed?

In the image above you can see a portion of the results of a recent search for painting contractors. Google has made significant changes to the Local Pack and Map area of the search engine results page. The first thing you may notice is that the Map is now to the right of the Local Pack. Previous to this change the Map was above the Local Pack. The new alignment will likely slightly increase the amount of consumer clicks that occur on the Local Pack listings and slightly decrease the number of clicks on the Map.

However, the much more significant change is that Google is now using “Best Match” as the “Sort by” default over “Distance”. You can see that in the image. Previously, in the vast majority of cases Google would use “Distance”, or the business’s proximity to the person conducting the search, as the most heavily weighted factor for what businesses showed up in the Local Pack. In fact, the user didn’t even have the option of “Sort by”.

How Will This Impact What Painting Contractors Google Includes in the Local Pack?

The reason this adjustment is so monumental is because it completely changes the game for painting contractors when it comes to being found in local search. Whereas before a decently completed Google Business Profile could still get you into the Local Pack if you were close to the person conducting the search, now your fate is left up to Google’s definition of “Best Match”.

While we don’t know exactly what Google analyzes to determine what the best match in the Local Pack would be, we have a long track record of how they’ve determined “Best Match” in an almost identical circumstance – the organic search results.

It would seem to be highly likely that Google will heavily weight some of the same factors for Local Pack rankings that they do for websites in the organic search rankings, things like quality content, topical keyword relevance, location keyword relevance and degree of focus on the specific topic or service.

What Should I Do?

Painting contractors who jump on this opportunity by completing and optimizing their Google Business Profile to include topical and geographic keywords where possible and appropriate while also considering how they can leverage the posting feature are likely to get a significant boost over their competitors. Login to your Google Business Profile. Make sure all the information is accurate and then complete everything you can while being sure to emphasize the services you provide. Double down on the advantage you have just created for yourself by being sure to ask for reviews and encouraging your customers to mention the services you provided in the review.

ProPainter Websites sets up, updates and manages our customers’ Google Business Profiles as part of our core service to help painting contractors leverage a strong web presence to gain new customers. If you are interested in having us do that for you, please call us at 919-424-6121 or schedule a meeting for a day and time that is convenient for you.

Want More Customers? Use Their Preferred Communication Method

December 17th, 2021

With so many different ways to communicate with customers it can be difficult to juggle them all. The good news is that a recent survey sheds some light on how consumers prefer to be able to contact local businesses. The better news may be that the results of the survey show that you can focus on a smaller number of communication methods, especially if you are in a market with older potential customers.

Leadferno surveyed 1,000 consumers in November 2020 and then again in November 2021. Here are the results of their surveys:

How Consumers Want to Be Able to Contact Local Businesses

As you can see from the image, nearly 50% of those surveyed said they would prefer to be able to contact a business via the phone, making it far and away the number one choice. Website form and email traded spots over the last two years with fairly close numbers for second and third. At just below 11%, text message came in fourth with live chat and Facebook Messenger fairly distant fifth and sixth choices.

Of further interest is what the survey found when they broke out the results by age groups:

Age Matters When it Comes to Communication Methods

Not surprisingly, those 55 and older prefer the phone by an even larger margin than the general population at 58.5%. This group is also much less likely to prefer live chat or Facebook Messenger.

However, the preferred communication method for 25 to 34 year olds is much flatter with phone still leading the way at 26.5% but by a much smaller margin with text message (23.7%) and website form (20.6%) right behind it. Live chat is also significantly higher for this group.

Implications for Painting Contractors

1. The phone is still number one. Make sure that you are available by phone and that you are willing to connect by phone. If you cannot be available by phone, you may want to consider utilizing an answering service so the potential customer gets a warm voice answering the phone.

2. If most of your market is made up of 55+ year olds, you absolutely want to be sure you and/or your business is available via the phone.

3. Don’t feel like you have to be available on every possible communication platform. You will most likely just spread yourself too thin and just increase the likelihood of a bad customer experience. Using the phone, a website form, email and text will work for the vast majority of your customers.

4. Your best bet is to communicate in the way that the customer most prefers. Ask them early on or respond to them in the way they communicate with you. However, serious things should still be communicated in person or on the phone.

5. If your likely customer base is made up of 25 to 34 year olds be prepared to communicate primarily by text. You will likely need to be available via live chat and Facebook Messenger as well.

If you need a website to help pull in potential customers with your website form, please call us at 919-424-6121 or schedule a meeting for a day and time that is convenient for you.

Emotional Decisions – The Value of a Proven Process

November 29th, 2021

It’s easy for painting contractors to underestimate the stress and uncertainty that floods the minds of homeowners when it comes to getting their house painted. That’s especially true for experienced painting contractors.

You may be in people’s homes, painting every day. But for the homeowner, this is a once every 5 to 10 years event. They are not sure how long it’s going to take, what the day-to-day is going to be like or what alternative plans they may need to make to stay out of their home.

This creates a significant opportunity for painting contractors. Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman conducted studies that showed that 95% of purchasing decisions are emotional decisions. With that in mind, if you can provide a stressed and uncertain homeowner with the comfort to feel that choosing you is the right decision, then you will almost always win the job.

Proven Process for the Win

With a proven process you can set the homeowner’s mind at ease and give them that feeling of comfort. That’s especially true when you can say that you’ve successfully executed on the process over and over again with the result being happy homeowners.

Do you have a proven process? If so, and if you have it documented then you are ahead of the field. Go ahead and skip to the next heading.

If you have a proven process but you haven’t documented it yet, set aside some time over the next couple weeks to do so. This is often the case with successful businesses that haven’t grown to the point where you have multiple people who have to execute multiple processes. You know the process, it lives in your head and you haven’t had reason to document it yet.

If you don’t have a proven process, you might just not be giving yourself enough credit. Take some time and write down what you think your process is. Now test it over your next two to three jobs. Are you repeating that process? Do you need to update anything?

Consider Your Proven Process in Relation to Your Customers

Since we’ve been talking about homeowners, let’s continue with that example. Since we know they are likely to have stress relating to not knowing what to expect, you want to let them know exactly what to expect. What are those questions that you continuously get from prospective customers?

How long will it take? What are your prep activities? How much disruption will they likely have in the home? What hours do you usually paint? If it’s a multi-day job do you usually complete a room at the end of the day or do you leave all of your materials and drop cloths out?

You get the picture. To the extent that you can, let them know every part of what they can expect. Build out your documented proven process to do this. The purpose of the proven process is to put your customers’ minds at ease. Help them feel that you know exactly what you are doing. Build up their confidence.

How to Use Your Proven Process

Once you have your proven process finalized, you want to make sure that people see it. Put it on your website and highlight it on your home page. You could put the process on a separate web page but include intro text on the home page that reads “Our proven process has resulted in hundreds of happy homeowners.” And add a button that reads “View Our Proven Process.”

By putting it on your website you are working to alleviate customer concerns before they even call you. That could give you a big leg up on competitors. Just remember that you want to live up to the promise of the proven process from the beginning. So, if part of your process is being responsive and communicating well with the customer, you’ve got to be sure you are living up to that before they even become a customer.

Include your documented proven process in any collateral that you give to a potential customer. Even if you don’t have highly designed flyers, a bulleted list can have an impact.

You could also consider creating an image. You can get a lot of ideas for that by Googling “proven process” and looking at images.

You could use the image on your website. You might also want to create a separate flyer that features the image.

Anxious, nervous, stressed and uncertain are all words that describe the feelings of many homeowners who are considering using a painting contractor. You want to make them feel comfortable, confident and certain about picking you to do the work. By having a process, documenting it as your Proven Process and getting it in the hands of prospective customers as soon as possible you can increase your calls and your wins.

We can help you highlight your proven process on a great-looking website that will be found by potential customers in your area. Schedule a meeting to talk about the details at a time that’s convenient for you on our Contact page.

Why Facebook Is a Bad Substitute for a Website

October 29th, 2021

We have heard several painting contractors tell us, “We don’t need a website, we are on Facebook.” If you have all the business you’ll ever need from current customers, don’t need to build any more business relationships AND have gotten all of your customers to follow you on Facebook, then that statement might be true.

That’s not to say that Facebook can’t be a valuable tool. It certainly can be. But, for the vast majority of painting contractors a Facebook profile will be a very poor substitute for a website. Here’s why:

People use Google to find local businesses

According to a late 2020 survey from BrightLocal, 93% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. The first place people go when they want to find those local businesses is Google…by a very wide margin. And a website is going to give you the best chance to be found on Google by those potential customers. That’s because they are used to typing the name of the service they want into the search bar and then combing through the organic search results to look at the websites of the options they want to consider.

The story is very different on Facebook. Unless somebody specifically searches for your painting business by name, the only place you’ll be seen on Facebook is in the news feed of people who already follow you when you make posts. So, you are significantly limiting your audience by trying to substitute a Facebook profile for a website.

Facebook determines what posts are seen in news feeds and it doesn’t like to show business posts

Facebook has an algorithm that determines what posts a user will see in their news feed. Their goal is to give the user more of what they want so that they will stay on Facebook as long as possible. Because people interact more with posts from friends and family, Facebook is more likely to show those posts (plus ads!) than they are the posts that are coming from your business.

And you are posting, right? Remember, your only chance to be seen is by posting frequently. Contrast that with a website for which you do want to make small updates fairly regularly (like adding new photos one or two times a month) but certainly don’t have to remember to post every day or every other day.

People expect credible businesses to have a website

Right or wrong, perception is reality. While consumers may be willing to buy a t-shirt directly from Instagram, they expect more from a business that is going to have employees spending time in their home. Credibility is extremely important for home services businesses. Your website can provide that credibility.

When consumers can’t find a website for a business, they are going to think twice about calling them. They’ll question the credibility. “Is it new? Is it a fly-by-night operation? Can I trust them?” You don’t want potential customers asking those questions about your business.

You control your website, Facebook controls Facebook

Whether you build and manage your own website, or you work with a service provider like us, you get to make the decisions on the images, content, design, etc. You have a very high level of control over the messages and pictures people see when they go to your website.

On Facebook you are at the whims of what Facebook wants to do. Just like they control their users’ news feeds, they control what you are able to do with your profile. So, while you may like the “control” you feel you have over your Facebook profile today, that could change tomorrow.

While Facebook is a good forum for engaging customers and building your brand, a Facebook profile does not provide the benefits a website does when it comes to attracting new customers and building credibility. In addition, Facebook is in complete control. What you like most about the platform today could be gone tomorrow.

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!

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.