You must get this all the time:
How fun. Day after day, these questions for painters.
It is what keeps me running a ProShot on something one day, and turning right around and putting an HVLP on the next coat.
It is what keeps me setting up 3 different size rollers in triplicate when staring at 30,000 sf of drywall. And that is only after I have had chats with every airless in the room.
It is what has us running a whole pile of specialized sanders instead of looking at the old orbitals and our hands.
Do What You’ve Always Done?
These days, if you do what you have always done, you may not get what you always got. Times change, resources change, expectations for time and money, schedules and budgets change.
For the most part, people don’t need their painter to be Picasso anymore.
They need their painter to:
1. Show up for the estimate
2. Be honest and responsible in assessment and pricing
3. Schedule well
4. Deliver a good service and stand behind it
#4 is the hardest. It is what separates marginal paint contracting companies from great ones.
And one more question…as you get better and better at what you do, can you avoid the trap of charging less while more efficiently delivering more? That is assuming that you already have sidestepped the trap of cutting corners to deliver less.
Yes, you need work and cash flow, but profitable work and cash flow are best.
The paint business, like any, is about relationships.
The KEY Relationships Are With:
The people you put in the customer’s house are critical. If customers are not comfortable with that experience, you can be sure they will not be repeat customers, no matter what your pricing is like. Finding, interviewing, hiring, training and supervising your paint crew is a management skill.
Management skills are often where paint contractors fall right on their faces. Sure, it would be nice to just send painters out in the field and have them be a self sustaining unit that just does everything the way you want it done. That takes years to develop.
You can fool yourself, but you can’t fool customers.
Finding customers who value the level of service and quality that you offer is also critical. Often, if you are delivering marginal service, customers are clear that they would have been willing to pay more for something better. That is the worst form of buyer remorse. Don’t sell on price. Sell based on your numbers, and deliver value that matches your pricing. Everyone appreciates a square deal, and that is not likely to change.
We all love to complain about paint. Building good supplier relationships can make your life a lot easier. If you show loyalty to your supplier, you will get best pricing and service. Find the supplier whose product lines best match the type of work you do, and whose inventory capacity matches your need to get product quickly. If they have a good field rep who takes your calls and can deliver when needed, that’s huge.
You have to give to get. If you are loyal to your employees, customers and suppliers, you will get the same in return. That is when everyone wins. Failure to breed a culture driven by loyalty causes many a paint contractor to feel like a middle man – a conduit for money. Money in, money out.
Life is too short for this. Build strong relationships and nurture them. It is good to revisit these questions for painters once in a while and make sure you have the right answers, and more importantly, that you can back it up.
The best advice I can give is to make it fun for all involved to deal with you.
What About You?
What strategies have you found successful in building effective relationships with employees, customers and suppliers?