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Friday, March 27, 2020
As many states began to shelter-in-place a week ago, we offered some ideas on what painting contractors could be doing right now if they are running low on painting jobs.
Here are seven more:
Target the Exceptions – Most people and businesses are less likely to want painting services right now. But for a few, it’s a great time. For example, retail locations are rarely empty, but in many places they are right now. For those businesses, it’s a great time to get a facelift without interrupting their business.
Request Payment for Completed Work – Asking for money from people who owe it to you is never fun. But if you’re not able to work enough new jobs, it’s one of the easiest ways to bring cash into the door.
Touch Up Job Resumes – If you are planning to hire a painter (or an estimator) in the future, it’s a good time to research job descriptions that other painting contractors have placed online to see what is required in a competitive job description.
Update Your Portfolio – Have you recently done great exterior work on houses, but forgotten to take photos? Now is a great time to revisit those houses and take some photos (if the houses are still in good shape, of course). Nothing makes a painting contractor’s website, flyer or postcard shine like a well painted house.
Update Your Online Presence – Are you active on social media? Is your Google My Business page set up and updated with recent photos? Does your website have up-to-date content, pictures, and a list of the services you offer? These things are all great for getting new customers, but they take a while to start working. If you want to be ready when America opens again for business, now is the time to be working on these things.
Build a Pricing Strategy – There are many aspects to building a profitable business, but one of the most important (and most overlooked) ones is a pricing strategy. How much money does it take to complete a 2,000 square foot house? How much of your time does it take? How much profit would you like to make on each job, and how can you reach that profit ratio?
Build a Budget – Once you have a pricing strategy and a goal for number of jobs each month, you can build a monthly budget. How much money do you plan to leave in the business each month? What will you spend that extra money on? More employees? Better business services or software to make managing your business more efficient? New equipment to allow you to do more types of jobs, or to do jobs more efficiently?
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help you earn more business, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
What’s the value of a new customer? It depends on the customer – but it also depends on the painting contractor. Click here for ideas on how to turn a single customer into many jobs over the course of a few weeks.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
These are not normal times for much of anything. Virtually every business in the United States has been affected by the global pandemic. A handful of them are busier than they can possibly handle – businesses like hospitals, internet providers and delivery companies. The rest of them are trying to find ways to survive in the new reality; unfortunately, that’s where many painting contractors find themselves.
Here are three things you need to be doing to stay afloat during the next weeks or months.
People are glued to the news right now. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything with most of the news out there. It’s just informational.
As a business owner, however, you need news you can use. American Painting Contractor has put together a page of resources specifically for painting contractors, however, and it’s full of things you can do. There are emergency plans, templates for emails you can send to customers, and information on Small Business loans for affected companies.
Many people have frozen up in the past few days, paralyzed by shock and panic. The businesses who are going to come out of this doing well are the ones that are thinking (not worrying) and acting quickly.
Customers don’t want you in their house – so market exterior services. They don’t want to be close to non-family members – so offer to interact via phone. They’re worried about money – so, if you can afford it, offer payment plans.
These things alone aren’t likely to keep you busy for 40 hours a week – but crises create opportunities as well as threats. For businesses that are financially stable, it’s a great time to get their office painted without worrying about how the fumes will affect employee productivity. If you haven’t offered small and mid-size business services before, now might be the time to try.
And if there’s not enough painting work, the need for delivery services is beyond anything the world has ever seen. Whether it’s groceries, business-to-business courier services, or even transportation of medical tests to the diagnostic lab, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to work right now.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
The world six months from now is not likely to look like the world did last month. Finding jobs will be harder. Finding employees will be easier. The government will be flooding the market with money, including businesses, but that money will likely come with strings attached; those who hire new employees will be rewarded.
If you’ve ever wanted to build something bigger than yourself and give back to your community, there may be an opportunity in a few months to do just that. If you want to help your community, and your country, rise from the ashes of a recession and come back stronger than before, this is the time to start planning for how you might do that. When the opportunity arises, you won’t be able to grab onto it if you haven’t built a strong business plan.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business earn new customers, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Friday, February 28, 2020
If you asked people what factor impacts a home’s price the most, many would tell you the size. They’d be wrong. The size of a house is an important factor, but not the most important. It’s all about location.
Consider this example: there are several places in the US that are desperate enough for new residents that they’ll pay you to move there. It turns out that rural Maine, Nebraska and Oklahoma aren’t popular places for new college graduates to start families. On the other hand, the average monthly rent in San Francisco is around $3,500, and the median house price is $1.3 million.
The same is true for online marketing. If you have money to spend, there are website developers that can make websites that look like a work of art. The visuals on these sites speak loudly, and they make your business look very professional. Unfortunately, these websites generally aren’t in the best part of town – and on the internet, the best part of town is somewhere on the first page of Google.
The reason these sites don’t search well is that Google looks at a site’s written content to figure out what the site is all about. When someone asks Google a question about painting contractors near them, Google wants to return websites that feature information about services the painting contractor provides in that person’s area. Typically, the most attractive websites don’t have much written content.
Even if customers do find these websites, they don’t necessarily lead to the most requests for service. You want to make it really clear what your phone number is and how to contact you – even if that means a small sacrifice in the site’s visual appeal.
None of this means that ugly websites perform well. Painting contractor websites still need to look good, and they need to use modern coding (Google doesn’t like ancient websites either). But you should always make sure that your web designer understands what you’re trying to do with your website. If your goal is to impress people who already know about your business, a cutting-edge visual design might be the way to go.
But if you’re using your website to attract new painting customers, you don’t need stunning visuals – you need plenty of pages worth of written content about your services. Make sure your web designer is focused just as much on leads as they are on layout.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your website bring more customers to your painting business, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
The first day of spring is about three weeks away. For many painting contractors, this is when the work begins to pick up again, as the weather starts to cooperate more. The phone starts ringing more often. Empty calendars begin to fill up, and soon you’ll be looking for a place to schedule customers.
This is when the money is made. But unfortunately, it’s also when it’s destroyed.
Once your calendar starts to fill up, you aren’t going to have time to figure out how to maximize your revenue. Which types of customers are top priority? Which ones will you politely tell you aren’t able to complete their small job? If your schedule is light for a few more weeks, this is the perfect time to answer these questions.
Most importantly, how are you going to respond to all of them (including the ones you can’t help) in a reasonable amount of time? This is important; never responding to a quote request makes some people angry, and some choose to take it out on your reputation by trashing you online.
What often ends up happening is that you make on-the-spot decisions, angering high-value customers, prioritizing low-profit work, and scheduling right through your weekend breaks.
Don’t get stuck in this trap! Here are a few tips to maximize the value of peak season.
Use an alternative to ‘no’. Even when your schedule is packed, many people feel insulted when you refuse to take their business. Instead of telling them you’re unavailable, tell them you wish you could help but are booked for the next few weeks. Offer them a time a few weeks out. The odds are high that they’ll call someone else instead – but at least they made the choice. And if they do decide to take you up on your offer, they’re probably not going to be a very demanding customer.
Prioritize referrers – and referrals. If someone calls and mentions they heard about you from a friend or family member, that person becomes a priority. If the referral source hears that you weren’t able to help them, they’ll probably stop referring business to you. That might not sting in the summer, but the next time you’re looking for jobs to fill up your calendar, you’ll probably regret not finding some way to work that referred customer into your schedule.
Don’t lose focus on what matters. When jobs are stacked up one after another, it’s easy get overwhelmed and focus on getting them knocked out. But the 15 minutes you spend with a customer after a job making sure they’re satisfied might be more important than the 20 hours you spent on the job itself. Don’t destroy a potential referral source to save 15 minutes of customer service work!
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business be more successful, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.