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Friday, November 9, 2018
If you’ve been disappointed by your results from expensive Google Ads, you’re not alone. In fact, they’re a bad investment for most painting contractors. View the “Why Google Ads Don’t Work for Painting Contractors” infographic below for more information.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
If you started your own paint company, it’s probably because you like painting and don’t mind working alone. One of the things that you get away from is all of the rules and red tape associated with a corporate job – you get to set your own hours, take your own clients, and meet your own quality standards.
That doesn’t mean that you get to ignore process, however. In fact, process is far more important for a one-person company than it is for bigger ones. There’s nobody but you to make sure that everything gets done – even the parts of the job you hate. You’ve got to perform well on the things you do best in a business, and the things you struggle with or don’t enjoy. And no matter how you divide your time, there’s still only 168 hours in a week – hopefully with around a third of that spent sleeping.
Any part of your job that you can make more efficient and consistent by building a process is going to give you more time. If you need more money, that’s more time to paint. And if you don’t – hey, you’re your own boss – that’s more time to hunt and fish.
Here are three processes that every painting contractor needs to build.
Your Dashboard – Every business has six to twelve metrics that can help determine how the next few weeks or months are going to go. Remember that backward-looking data (like last month’s profit or how many jobs you completed last week) can’t tell you where you’ll be in the future. Your dashboard should help you figure out what the future looks like, so that when you need to make that picture look better, you’ll know what you need to do to make that happen.
Here are a few examples. How many jobs do you have booked for the next month? How many referrals each month are you getting from previous clients? What will your expenses be in the next quarter? How many jobs do you get in the next season, historically?
Try to store this information somewhere where you can gather it easily each week. Once a week, take a look at where you stand, and determine how much time or money you need to allocate to sales and marketing efforts, and how you should price your work.
Your Finances – After a full week of painting, going through a bunch of checks and bills doesn’t sound like much fun. But it’s essential to run a good business – and it will save you more in terms of stress than it will ever take away in terms of time.
Make sure you know your cash flow, expenses, and profit over the last few months. And always put the appropriate amount of money away for quarterly taxes – a bad surprise from the IRS can take months or years to recover from!
The most successful businesses are those with consistent revenue and profits, and the only way to get there is by knowing what you need each month and making a plan to get there. Unfortunately, this is impossible without (at least) monthly business accounting.
Your Sales and Marketing Funnel – The odds are high that you became a painter because you like painting, not sales. Unfortunately, you have to sell jobs before you can paint houses. Actually, you might not have to sell all of them – but somebody does!
Anything that brings a customer closer to a sale without you having to be involved is going to save you time, and that’s time you can spend making money by painting. That’s why its important to have sales and marketing techniques that work in the background.
Of course, a website is a great example of that, because people can learn all about your business without you having to explain anything to them. It’s not the only technique however. Make sure your existing customers know how much you value referrals. Make sure real estate agents in the area know you do great work and you’re affordable. Make sure your name is known in the community, whether that’s by yard signs, sponsoring a Little League team, or even just a logo on your truck.
Finally, when people do call, make sure you have a process to present yourself and make sure they get everything they need to determine whether you’re the right painting contractor for the job. You don’t need a script, but you do need a checklist. Do they trust that you do high quality work? Do they feel safe with you in their house? If they are bidding the job out, will they give you an opportunity to counter any bid? Make sure they aren’t left with questions you could have answered after that first introduction call.
To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business earn more business, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Some people start painting on the side, and then realize that they are making more money than they do at their primary job. Others pick it up as a high school or college job, and see potential for growing it into a business. Still others are looking to change careers, and see painting as a business opportunity with a low cost of entry.
No matter how people get to the point where they consider starting a painting business, they will reach a point when they wonder: is this really a good idea? Here are a few questions that will help you answer that question.
Do you enjoy sales and marketing? The odds are high that your ability to pay the bills didn’t depend on sales and marketing work when you started out painting for friends and family and it led to referrals, or when you were painting for a summer job. When you start a painting business, that will change.
A large percentage of your time will be spent managing your workload. When work is light, that might mean dropping flyers off door-to-door or networking with people in your community who can send jobs your way. When work is heavy, that means answering the phone again and again only to tell people you have no availability for months. While this work doesn’t directly generate money, it’s necessary to fill up the calendar with future jobs!
Can you be very organized? A real business requires more than a paint brush and a ladder. It requires bookkeeping. It requires meeting commitments to customers, which requires careful scheduling and can sometimes mean long weeks. It also requires being able to switch quickly from painting to sales to customer service on the fly. If you’re starting a painting business so you can paint all day, you’re likely to be disappointed.
Are you an optimistic person? There’s always plenty to stress about when running a business. One star reviews. Taxes. Lawsuits. Slow season. Truck payments. If you’re able to put all of that stress aside and focus on hard work, customer satisfaction, and business growth, there’s also plenty of opportunity. But if you feel like these worries might bring you down, it’s going to be tough to own and run a business – because while stressful situations can be managed, they can’t be eliminated.
If after answering those three questions you still feel like running a business sounds like a great idea, congratulations! You might be a great candidate for starting a painting business.
Call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com to learn how we can make it easier to get painting leads coming into your new business!
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Congratulations! You’ve decided to bring your first painting employee on board.
Click here for a few tips that will set you up for success and continued growth.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Winter isn’t a great time for painting in most places. It’s especially bad in the northern parts of the country, where it’s too cold to complete exterior jobs. But the number of paint jobs declines in the winter elsewhere too; home sales are a major catalyst for paint jobs, and home sales are highest in the spring and summer. January and February are particularly bad months for home sales.
Winter is when your website really does heavy lifting for you; if you want to stay busy throughout the winter, you need as many ways for customers to find you as possible. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to get jobs – most of them involve staying in front of your prospects in a way that’s relevant and useful. Here are three ways you can do just that.
3-month follow-up calls: Each week, call customers whose work you completed three months ago and make sure they’re still happy with your work. It’s uncommon that they’ll ask you to fix anything that you haven’t already heard about. But you’ll impress them with your commitment to satisfaction, while also providing them an opportunity to ask for more painting or refer someone to you.
Offer customers cold-weather services: If you live in a particularly cold area, winter is an expensive time. That’s because houses that leak heat can cause the energy bill to skyrocket as the furnace struggles to keep up. Sealing doors and windows, whether accomplished using plastic, caulking, or drywall repair, can save far more than it costs. Bolstering insulation can accomplish the same result. And as December approaches, many people don’t consider their home truly winterized until the Christmas lights are hanging from the roof.
All of these present opportunities to both make money and re-introduce yourself to existing customers. One important note: whatever services you decide to perform, make sure that you’re licensed to do them if it’s required in your state!
Provide value to your prospects: Most customers won’t expect to hear from their painting contractor monthly – there’s simply not enough information about house painting that they care about to make that kind of communication valuable. But if you do want to provide any valuable information to your customers, winter is the time to do it! A painting newsletter could provide information on this year’s most popular colors, safety updates on paint or painting products, or interior services you can perform to update a room’s look (such as decorating walls with crown molding or creating a feature wall). Make sure to include a referral request and a discount coupon for existing customers to help generate leads for your business!
To learn more about how ProPainter Websites can keep you busy through the winter, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.