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Monday, August 19, 2019
It’s expensive to gain a customer. That’s because other painting contractors want those customers, too. Some painters (especially those big franchises) spend tons money trying to get people to recognize their name in cities across the nation – sending coupons or mailers to their houses, buying Google ads, and in some cases even buying TV or radio commercials.
It might make sense for franchises that can spread out all of those costs across the entire country. But for most painting contractors, it’s taking profit out of every job you get.
Great Customer Service is the Best Business Hack in the World
It also requires plenty of up-front cash – cash that most painting contractors don’t have laying around to buy business like this. Fortunately, if you’re providing fantastic customer service, you don’t need to. If you’re just starting your business, you might need to work hard to get your first customers, but once they’re there it’s not hard to provide service that far exceeds expectations.
Patiently explain options to customers and give them choices on when and how to get the job done. Make sure you’re answering their questions when you’re talking with them. Earn their confidence before the job, and make sure they’re even more confident in you after the job is done.
When customers feel like you provided honest service and took their needs and requests into account, they won’t need a coupon book mailed to them to remember who painted their house. If you go out of your way to help them meet a deadline, or work around their schedule and leave the house spotless, they’ll turn into loyal customers that will call you whenever they need painting work.
Even more importantly, these won’t be passive customers – they will be active ones. That means you can rely on them for referrals and online reviews, especially if you ask them for the favor. Both of these things will bring you new customers, but they don’t cost a dime. All you have to do is to keep knocking customer service out of the park.
Don’t get complacent!
It’s easy to focus on customers when you don’t have many of them. It gets a lot harder when you’re already booked and a job is running behind. You’ve still got to make sure your service is top notch – even phone calls with customers you don’t have the time to help.
A great reputation can be destroyed even more quickly than it was created. An unfriendly response from your business can turn into a one-star review whether you perform services or not. Negative word-of-mouth and poor reviews will have immediate impacts. It might be the off-season before you notice that your referral business is slowing. If this happens, all of those expensive ads might start looking like the only way out. It is much cheaper to keep the focus on customer service, even if it reduces the number of customers you can serve!
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your business thrive, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Searching well on Google is one of the most cost-effective ways for painting contractors to earn business, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Click here for three ways to earn business while you’re waiting for your new website to “take hold” and generate results.
Monday, July 22, 2019
Have you ever had a customer receive a painting quote and then decide they’re going to do the job themselves instead of having it done professionally? It’s frustrating because you’ve invested in the time to visit their house and provide a free quote, and then they decide not to give anyone the business.
It’s especially frustrating if you told them a little bit about their house and the work they’d need done, and then they take your free advice and do the job themselves.
If you’ve had this experience, it can make you want to be less open in the future about everything that needs to be done to make a house look great. Resist that urge! Whenever you’re given a chance to quote a job, make sure you give the customer as much detail as possible.
There are two reasons this helps you. First, if they receive multiple quotes, but you’re the only one to bring up a specific issue and tell them what you’ll do to address it, they’ll question the capabilities of the other painters. If you give them more details about what you’ll do to keep the floors and furniture free of paint, and other painters don’t volunteer that information, they will assume you’re more careful or have a better process. Each of these assumptions is good for you.
The second reason to give them detail is to help them understand what they’re going to get into if they try to do it themselves. The reality is that many people wish they had hired a painting contractor once they start doing it themselves. They just didn’t understand how much work was involved! They fail to put floor coverings down and then get paint on the carpet. They think they can paint without taping, and end up with paint all over the ceilings, electrical outlet covers, light switch and electrical outlet covers, and moulding. Their furniture gets ruined because they took a shortcut.
This is why providing more detail will generally make customers less likely to do the job themselves. So if you’ve got a 20-step process for painting a house, go ahead and go through it with your prospects. Sure, there’s a small chance they might steal your process. But they’re much more likely to realize that they don’t want to go through those 20 steps and hire you to do the work for them so it will actually get done correctly.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help you get more business, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
When you open a new painting business, it can take years for locals to think of you when they hear the words “house painting.” But there are steps you can take to increase your visibility and memorability, which will speed this process up considerably.
Click here for five effective techniques to become known more quickly.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
If you’ve been running your business for a while, there’s a good chance you can estimate how much profit you make off of an average day’s work. But not many days are average. Sometimes it’s an unexpected snag in the painting itself that holds you up. Sometimes you or an employee gets sick or has to deal with a personal emergency. Either of these can cut into a job’s profitability, but neither of them can do the damage that a bad customer can do.
Bad customers don’t just eat away at your profitability – they can cost you thousands of dollars in future revenue. They can increase your stress, consume hours of your time, and generally make owning a business much less enjoyable. And sometimes they’re hard to see coming.
Here are three types of horror story customers:
Is a customer having difficulty discussing the job without talking about how badly their last painting contractor treated them? That’s probably not a good sign.
Everyone’s gotten hurt by one business or another, and it’s reasonable to bring up a bad experience when it fits into the conversation. But if someone is so angry about their last interaction with a painting contractor that they can’t let go of it, that might be a sign that your business is next in line.
It’s possible that their last painter made a major mistake. It’s also possible that they weren’t able to complete the job on time due to something outside of their control, like weather or employee issues. Either way, if you take this customer, you’re only one failed expectation away from having your reputation attacked constantly for the next several years. It’s probably not worth it.
Have you ever had a customer ask you for a quote and then tell you fifteen minutes later that they’ve already found someone else? Unfortunately, that’s all too common – and not irrational at all. Sometimes, two or three businesses get back to a customer within fifteen minutes, and they arrange multiple quote visits scheduled almost immediately. It pays to be fast.
What is irrational is if a customer sends an email and is upset that you didn’t respond within the hour. You’re a painting contractor, not an ambulance service. And while it might be tempting to overlook a comment about your slow response and try to earn their business, it’s probably not wise. There’s a good chance that nothing you do will ever be good enough for this type of customer, and the time and money you spend attempting to keep them happy will far outweigh any profit you make from the job.
People may be looking for different things out of a painting contractor, but price matters to almost everyone. There’s nothing wrong with a customer asking if they can get a better deal by using a different paint or having the work done at a different time of year. What is bad is if they’re enjoying asking for that discount.
Competitive bargainers want to brag to their friends about how much money they cut off the sticker price. They talked their way into $5,000 off of their brand new car! They negotiated their kitchen table’s price down by 70%! To these people, another five percent off of your price might be the difference between a good deal and a good story. If it is, they’ll try to get that five percent after the job starts, probably by pointing out some small aspect of the job that didn’t go as expected.
Not only do these customers eat away at your margin, they tell everyone in town about how much they talked you down. Your customers will haggle with you for years. Let the guy across town be their next great story.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your business gain profitable new customers, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.