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When Do Profitable Painting Contractors Turn Down Jobs?


February 28, 2019

With the busy season just around the corner for many painting contractors, it’s a good time to remember that there’s more than one way to run a successful painting business. It’s also important to remember that there are (at least) hundreds of ways to run one into the ground.  Two especially effective ways to sink a business are always saying yes, and always saying no.


Always Saying Yes

During most businesses’ first months, any customer is a good customer.  That’s not because every job is profitable – it’s because each job is an opportunity to earn a new referral source.  During those first months, you treat every customer like family because you want them all to tell their friends and co-workers that you treated them like family.

But as successful painting contractors continue to grow, they learn that always saying yes is a bad way to drown in work.  They realize that some work isn’t worth the hassle.  Jobs that were fine in those first months start looking too small or too far away, or it becomes obvious that certain jobs come along with a nightmare customer.  Saying no to these money-losing jobs is one of the first steps to profitability.

Always Saying No

It’s easy enough to see why a painting contractor would fall into the trap of always saying yes.  But why would anyone always say no to new work?

Most often, it’s because they’ve already said yes too many times.  Their calendar is full of low-margin work, and they have to turn high-margin business away because they don’t have time to take the job – or even answer the phone.  The painter might not even know they’re turning away high-margin work, because the customer can’t reach them to ask for a quote!

This problem turns into larger problems when angry callers rate the painting contractor poorly online for not answering their phone, or mark their business as ‘closed’ on Google after reaching out to them multiple times and getting no response.  This is why it’s important to get back in touch with people asking for a quote even if you can’t help them.

Saying Yes to Profitable Work

The best-run painting businesses have marketing that provides more work than they can handle, especially during the busy seasons.  This allows them to select only the most profitable work, leaving less desirable work for other painting contractors to take.  Importantly, they always leave time in their calendar to talk with potential customers, so they can determine what jobs are worth taking and which ones are worth politely declining.

Of course, there’s a risk that you’ll end up with a couple of empty spots on your calendar if you decline a low-profit job.  That risk is small, however, compared to the risk that you’ll have nowhere to put a great opportunity that falls in your lap.

This is why it’s important that your marketing activities bring you more work than you can possibly complete during the busy season.  Some of that work simply won’t be worth completing – and if you’re not saying no to that work, then you’re leaving money on the table.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can bring more customers to your painting business, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

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