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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The majority of painting companies in the United States have fewer than five employees. In fact, most of them have only one employee. Small companies have some advantages over large ones – there’s no waste on middle management, multiple offices or different teams repeating each other’s work.
However, they also have some unique challenges. More than half of all businesses fail in their first year, before they have a chance to grow into a larger company. What separates successful small painting businesses from those that fail? Most painters would rather paint than do these three things – but without them, a business won’t last long.
A recent blog article of ours detailed how to price your painting services for profit. Pricing for failure is one of the most devastating mistakes that a small painting business can make. Make sure that your pricing allows you to pay your bills and have enough left over to live comfortably without working 60 hours per week!
Once your pricing is right, however, you still have to handle your books regularly. Have you received the money you’re owed, or do you need to make late payment calls? Are your bills what you expected them to be – or did one of your providers overcharge you? Have you paid all of your bills on-time, or will you owe late payments? And most importantly, do you have a financial buffer in place to cover a bad week or two? If you spend enough time living on the edge of profitability, eventually an unlucky event will knock you off the ledge.
When you first start your business, the odds are high that you’ll have to go find customers, or pay someone to do it for you. This takes many forms, including postcards, phone calls and knocking on doors. It’s expensive and time consuming, and it takes away from your time painting.
As your business grows, you want customers to find you instead. It’s generally cheaper, and it takes no time of yours at all. Of course, a website is one way to do this – if it searches well people will find you when they need your services. There are other ways too, however. One key way is to try to build relationships, both with customers and people such as real estate agents who are frequently asked about painters. If you have people referring your services, you won’t have to take as much time away from painting to focus on marketing.
Where do you want your painting business to be five years from now? You might want your business to look much like it already does, and that’s fine. But you might also want to grow the business to a point where you’re managing painters instead of handling the painting yourself – or to bring on your first crew of painters.
Wherever you want to land, you need to put a plan together that will help you get there. This should include what changes need to be in place by what date, as well as how much money you’ll need to save to make those changes happen. If you make major changes to your business without thinking about what might go wrong and how you’ll deal with it, you might find yourself managing a crisis instead of painting – and losing a tremendous amount of money in the process.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your small painting business set itself up for success, call us at 919.385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Friday, September 7, 2018
Google frequently changes its requirements to rank highly in search results. If you haven’t managed your web presence in years, you’re probably not getting very much from it. Click here to learn about four things that have changed since 2015.
Friday, August 31, 2018
One of the most important parts of running any business is the difference between gross and net margin. Consider this example: you quote a job at $3,000 plus paint. The job costs you $1,500 in labor and equipment you need to buy or replace. How much money did you make?
The answer is more complicated than it looks. Obviously, you’re up $1,500. But that’s gross margin – that’s before you pay for the rent on the truck, phone bill, marketing and sales costs, or any of the other expenses that can’t be tied to a specific job. What’s really important is how much money you have left over each month after you pay for all of those expenses.
Here’s a tip to make sure you’re where you want to be at the end of the month. Add up all of your monthly bills. Divide that number by your average gross margin percentage (the percentage of money left over after you complete each job). That’s how much work you have to sell in order to break even each month.
An example: For every $1,000 of work you do, it costs you $500 in labor and materials, so your gross margin is 50%. If you have $2,000 in monthly bills beyond labor and materials, you have to sell ($2,000/0.5) or $4,000 worth of work to break even.
Once you break even, you just multiply your sales by your gross margin to figure out how much you’ll earn each month. So in this example, after the first $4,000 worth of work, you earn 50% of every dollar you sell. That money is net profit – and that’s how you really make money.
To learn how ProPainter Websites helps painters across the country earn more money by providing them with a lead-generating website, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Friday, August 24, 2018
There are plenty of reasons a painting business ends up with multiple websites. Maybe your old provider never bothered to take your website down. Maybe a friend offered to build you one years ago, but it didn’t perform well so you bought one from a professional website company. You might have even already had a website when another company called and convinced you to give them a try.
As a company that builds and manages websites for painters, it would be great if we could tell you that having multiple websites is the way to go – but it isn’t. The painting contractors who show up highest in the search engine results generally have only one website.
The reason is simple. Google’s job is to return the most relevant individual websites for the search. If you’ve got two or more websites, they’re competing with each other for attention, which hurts your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a Facebook page in addition to your website, or a Google My Business profile. (In fact, each of those will help your website search better when it is linked to them.) It just means you should only have one website.
Think of it this way – if you were in a competition to paint the most houses in a neighborhood, would you start painting in the neighborhood next door, too? If you did, you would probably get beaten by someone who focused only on painting in the original neighborhood while you divided your resources between the two neighborhoods.
While two websites won’t help you search better, there are plenty of other things that will, such as great reviews, a social media presence, or more content on your site.
To learn the techniques we use to help shops search their best online, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
If you are a painting contractor you might be starting to sweat. It might be because of the weather – it’s really hot out there. But it also might be because the cold season is just around the corner.
Winter is a tough time for painters in colder climates. Outside jobs aren’t possible in freezing weather, which means there are the same number of painters chasing fewer jobs. This leads to fewer jobs and higher price competition – both of which cut into profitability.
It doesn’t have to be so bad! Here are links to five blog articles we have written that can help make wintertime less stressful and keep your profits up year-round.
Keep it Consistent – If you don’t keep your marketing engine going in the summer, it won’t be as effective in the winter, when you need it most. This article explains why.
Increase Your Visibility – Not all marketing requires large amounts of money. Being more active on Facebook and networking with real estate professionals and apartment managers is free. In addition, some home service listing sites only take a percentage of a job’s revenue after it’s been completed and you’ve been paid for it.
Contact Prospects Quickly – Most customers will only extend an offer to quote a job to the first few painters that respond to them, so it’s important to be among the first to respond.
Close More Deals – When you’re competing against so many painters, it pays to know how to impress the customer during the quoting process. And remember, price can certainly matter, but not as much as trust and credibility.
Offer Cold Weather Services – Hanging Christmas Lights, sidewalk salting and snow removal are all in demand in the winter in areas where it’s generally too cold to paint.
To learn more about how ProPainter Websites can help you gain more painting business, contact us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.