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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Many painting contractors face intense pressure to provide the lowest price quote to win jobs, but doing this can eat most or all of the profit in a painting job.  This is the second in a three-part series about how to earn business through trust instead of rock-bottom pricing.  The first post, about personalizing your quoting process, is available here.

For many businesses, each customer provides revenue month after month – for years.  Cell phone service providers are a great example.  The reason they’re willing to pay so much money to get new customers is that one customer might pay them 50 or more times before switching providers.

Unfortunately, that’s generally not the case for residential painting contractors.  Most customers have one house, and once it has been painted, they probably won’t need to hire you again for years.  For contractors, that can lead to intense focus on earning the business, doing the work, and getting paid.  Customer interaction after the job is complete takes a back seat to finding new business.

Just because a customer isn’t going to hire you again doesn’t mean they won’t be valuable to you in the future.  In fact, they are your cheapest, easiest, and most effective source of future revenue.  That’s because a referral is extremely valuable in the painting industry.

For one thing, referrals are more likely to happen in residential painting than in most industries.  Anyone who sees a customer’s house and talks to them regularly will bring up the new paint job – it’s just a polite thing to do.  The customer’s most likely response will be to thank them and tell them a bit about what led to their decision to paint the house and how the process went.

Simply put, if your company made an impression – good or bad – your customer is going to bring it up at least a half dozen times in the weeks immediately after the job.  Those conversations are reviews of your service, and most of them are being provided to family and friends who trust your customer’s opinion.  These opinions travel, too: each of the people your customer tells about your company could in turn recommend you to anyone else they talk to about home renovations in the coming weeks.

Good customer service is hard to find these days, and it only takes a few simple acts to make a shockingly good impression on a customer.  Here are some things you can do during the final walkthrough to make your customers want to recommend you to everyone who mentions their new paint job.

  • Take your time. Commit all of your focus and attention to the customer and their home.  Eliminate distractions like your mobile phone.  Don’t make them feel like they are keeping you from something else.
  • Ask them if they’re happy with your work, or if they have any spots that they want you to touch up. It’s better to hear about these now, while you’re still on-site, than in a follow-up call a week later.  And it’s better to deal with them a week late than to read about them online in a negative review of your company.
  • If you read the recent post on increasing value during the quoting process, you’ve already asked the customer what they hoped to accomplish with their paint job. Whatever it was – increasing home value, highlighting a new bathroom renovation, or just making a room look bigger or more modern – bring that topic back up during the final walkthrough.  It reminds them of why they hired you, and lets them know that the job was about more to you than the number of hours worked and paid.
  • Finally, tell them how important it is that you want them to be happy, both because you take pride in your work and because you know people may ask about their recent paint job, and those conversations are one of your best sources of new work. This is also a time to ask for an online review if they’re pleased with your service.  If they love the work you’ve done and they know these informal referrals matter to you, they’ll probably be happy to mention your company’s name in conversation, and many customers will even take the time to leave you a positive online review.

Don’t ask for payment until after you’ve confirmed they’re happy with the work and there are no touch-up requests.  Their mind will be on the paint job while you’re in front of them, but it might seem like too much of a hassle to get you back out to the house to fix a few things once you’ve left.  Instead of being thrilled with the job, they just settle for satisfied – and satisfied probably won’t get you any new customers.  Bringing customers from satisfied to thrilled doesn’t take much sometimes, but the business reward for you can be extraordinary!

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business gain more customers and earn more money, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Many painting contractors face intense pressure to provide the lowest price quote to win jobs, but doing this can eat most or all of the profit in a painting job.  This is the first in a three-part series about how to earn business through trust instead of rock-bottom pricing.  Future posts will cover personalizing your post-job walkthrough and following up with customers after the job has been completed.


Most able-bodied people who hire a house painting contractor aren’t looking for the cheapest solution out there – the cheapest solution is to simply paint the house themselves.   But, even though they aren’t necessarily looking for the cheapest painting contractor, they end up choosing a contractor based on price.  That’s because money is the easiest way to make a decision when there aren’t any other major differences.

Imagine this scenario: you go into a store to buy a speaker system.  There are three of them, and as far as you can tell, they’re all similar.  One has more options, another is slightly louder, and the third takes up less floor space.  The smaller one is $100 cheaper than the other two.  What do you do?

You could debate what’s more important to you.  But if you don’t spend hours every night listening to music, and they all sound good, you’ll probably just buy the cheaper one.  If none of them particularly stand out to you, there’s no point in wasting the extra hundred dollars.

Don’t Be Average

Unfortunately, this is the experience that most people have with painting contractors.  Hiring a pro might sound like less of a hassle than painting the house themselves, but it’s still a hassle.  Will the painter show up, or will they cancel at the last minute?  Will the paint job look good after they’re done?  Will they move or cover furniture?  Will the painter be someone you trust in your house?

None of the contractors they call make that much of an impression.  One might call back slightly faster than the others.  One seems slightly more interested, while the others get off the phone as quickly as possible.  They’re nice enough when they show up to quote the work, but none of them are very personable.  To these customers, It seems like their house is just another job to every contractor they call.

The easiest way to get a customer to consider something other than price is to be the obvious choice for a hassle-free experience.  Don’t bother telling them about excellent customer service – everyone says that.  The key here is to show them instead of telling them.  Here are a few tips to make a great impression.

  • When a customer calls to ask for a quote, focus on the conversation and ask them detailed questions about their house and their job.
  • Ask the customer what they see as the most important part of the work they’re doing. Are they trying to increase resale value?   Do they want to make rooms look larger with a lighter color?  Is the paint job part of a bigger renovation project – and if so, what are they trying to accomplish with that project?
  • When you quote the job, don’t wait for them to ask if you do things like cover furniture or what shape the house will be in – explain all of that as part of your process.

Make it clear that you want them to feel like this task is off their plate – and on yours – as soon as they hand the job to you.

If a prospect likes you personally and felt you were ‘on the ball’ in all of their conversations, they’ll consider your company even if your price is a bit higher than the other painting contractors they called.  They’ll have to consider whether it’s worth that small upcharge to work with someone who will do a good job the first time.  For many of your prospects, it’s definitely worth the money to have the feeling that the problem is taken care of once they’ve given you the job.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business gain more customers and earn more money, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Have you ever gone into a restaurant or a store and been shocked at how disconnected from reality the people working there were?  If you ask the server at a pizza restaurant whether they sell by the slice, or you ask an employee at the grocery store where to find the cleaning supplies, sometimes they’ll look at you like you have two heads.

You think to yourself – How do you not know the answer to that question?  Whether they’re doing it consciously or not, they look at you like you’re stupid, and it makes you want to leave and never shop there again.

These questions are rational to anyone who hasn’t spent so much time inside of those businesses.  But to people who have spent a great deal of time there, it’s impossible to imagine someone wouldn’t know the answers to those questions. They forget what it’s like to not know everything about how the business operates. (And, they are also not very good at customer service.)

Unfortunately, this can happen to anyone who takes the time to learn their industry.  If you spend most of your waking life thinking about the painting business, you probably get questions all the time that seem crazy. 

People might ask if they can save money by skipping the primer step, or painting over wallpaper.  They might assume that nobody can really paint a straight line unless they use painter’s tape on everything.  They probably won’t think about freezing temperatures being a problem at all.

When you get these questions, it’s possible that the person is trying to get a rock-bottom price, and they won’t be the type of customer that you are hoping to do business with.  But it’s equally likely that they just don’t want to pay extra for a “perfect” paint job and want to see if skipping a step or two will save them money.  They may have no idea what they’re asking you to do at all.

These questions may seem to have obvious answers, but they may not; it’s difficult to know what you wouldn’t know if you weren’t an expert in the painting industry.  When you get questions like this, it’s important to imagine yourself at that pizza counter or grocery store. 

Don’t just tell them you won’t do what they’ve asked you to do.  Take the time to explain why you do things the way you do them, and what would happen if you didn’t. 

Often times, the customer will accept your explanation without any further complaint.  In some cases, they’ll appreciate that someone took the time to actually explain what goes into the paint job they’re paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for.  But no matter what goes through their head, the conversation will definitely go better than that unconscious look of shock that sometimes happens when you aren’t prepared for these questions.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help you gain more painting business with a website that searches well, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

One of the biggest changes that happened as a result of the recession was the creation of the Side-Hustle Economy.  Many people who lost their jobs went searching for other ways to make money, and a few smart business owners realized that there was plenty of money to be made in connecting these people with customers who wanted services on the cheap.

The economy recovered, but people never stopped working those side-jobs.  The companies that came out of that are among the largest in the world.  Uber and Lyft are probably the most famous side-hustle companies, but there are plenty of others.  People make things to sell on Etsy.  They buy and sell merchandise on Amazon or Ebay.  They even rent their houses on Airbnb.


Unfortunately, painters may find themselves fighting against side-hustle workers soon enough.  People looking for a little extra money can go to sites like Takl.com or TaskRabbit.com and check a few boxes, and they’re a painter (and a mover, and a furniture assembler).  And while they might not have any experience, they’re also not trying to make a living at it – they’re just looking for some money on the side.

How do you compete against this?  Here are two ways.

Focus on Cost

Many people who want a house painted have no idea how much work that entails.  There’s a good chance that side-hustlers don’t either.  That can get expensive fast.

Taking the time to move furniture and cover carpets makes the job a bit more expensive.  Dropping paint on a couch because you didn’t move it makes the job much more expensive.  And hiring someone who doesn’t have insurance can become extremely expensive if they do serious damage to your house or to themselves.

If a person doesn’t know much about painting, they probably don’t know much about paint either.  That means they’re likely to end up with cheap paint, which will take longer to apply and may not look good even after multiple coats.  If they have to pay to get all of this fixed, they’re going to spend far more than if they simply paid to have it done right the first time.

When you quote a job, taking the time to explain why you do the things you do can be the difference between a customer that trusts you, and one that goes price shopping online.  If they do price shop, the odds are high that they’ll find someone who will come pick up a roller and start slapping paint on the wall for half of what you’re charging.  They’re also going to be too embarrassed to call you back and ask for help when it looks terrible.

Focus on Value

When people purchase a service, most people care about more than just the cost.  In fact, cost is just a tie-breaker.  Unfortunately, when people don’t have any other apples-to-apples comparisons they can make, price becomes extremely important.

If you’re a professional painting contractor, the odds are high that you have a lot more to offer them than a fresh coat of paint.  You have a history of successfully completed jobs.  You have a history of showing up when you say you’re going to show up, and getting the job done on time and in budget.  You have employees who have a history of not stealing from the homes they paint.

When you point out these things to customers, they can decide how important they are to them, and consider them when they’re selecting a painting contractor.  If they don’t think of them, then they might stay fixated on price.

This is why the part of the job that’s the least fun for many painting contractors – the job quoting process – is so important.  Quoting a job correctly is about much more than winning the bid.  It’s about proving that your company’s best traits are actually important.  You’ll know you’ve made a great first visit to a customer’s house when they leave the conversation understanding far more about the job they’re asking you to do than they did before you visited.

This will only become more important as sites like Takl and TaskRabbit become more prevalent. It’s hard to beat a side-hustler on price, but you should beat them all day on safety, quality, reliability, or value.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your business gain more business and improve your margins, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

 


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more information leads to better decisions. What really helps your potential customers make better (and quicker) decisions are the most important three to four pieces of information.

Provide your potential customers everything they need to make a quick decision. Click here to learn how to do that.

 

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