On occasion, my company will be hired by a homeowner’s association or property management company to do some painting in common areas of a small community of townhomes. Many times, while doing this work, an individual home owner will ask us to do some small job for them, such as paint a door.
These requests usually create a number of problems.
Painting a single door is seldom an efficient use of our time. After applying the first coat, the paint must wait for it to dry before he can apply the second coat. If his only job for the day is painting a door, I have to charge an outrageous price to make it worth doing. Most customers understand this, but don’t want to pay $350 to have a single door painted.
Turning a problem into an opportunity
A few years ago, I realized that there was a way to create a win-win out of these situations. If I could arrange for the painter to paint five or six doors in the same group of townhomes, I could charge a reasonable price, keep the paint busy for a day, and make a profit. That is when I discovered that I could sell paint jobs while I slept.
When I am contacted to provide an estimate for one of these jobs, I survey the community for other work that might be
desired by the individual home owners, such as refinishingdoors or painting balcony railing. Because these communities are small (usually less than 20 homes) and the homes are similar in design, I can quickly work up a price for this work for each home.
Once we are awarded a contract, we begin marketing to the home owners. We explain that we will be working in their community, and while we are there we can offer special pricing on other work. I direct the home owners to a web page that describes the work we are offering and the price. And–here is the really cool part–I provide a link for them
to order the service and pay for it through PayPal. I literally sell paint jobs while I am sleeping.
The first time I did this I turned a $1,000 job into a $5,000 job. Because the home owners were paying via PayPal at the time the service was ordered, I didn’t have any collection issues. Other than a few hours working up the pricing, setting up the web page, and doing a little marketing, it was almost painless for me.
And it was very convenient for the home owners.
Because we have been hired by the HOA or property management company, we have instant credibility with the home owners. The convenience we offer greatly reduces the chances that they will seek another estimate. I don’t have to spend hours giving multiple estimates for small projects. And we can schedule our crews much more efficiently.
Looking back, this seems like such a simple idea that I am surprised it didn’t occur to me much sooner. However, as is often the case, many ideas seem simple in retrospect. But whether the solution is simple or not, sometimes all we need to do is think out of the bucket.