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Friday, August 6, 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!


Wednesday, July 7, 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!


Wednesday, June 9, 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!


Wednesday, June 2, 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.


Sunday, May 23, 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.

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