For Paint Contractors: Are You a Painter, or are You an Entrepreneur? Part 4: Working Backwards

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You’ve sat and dreamed for a long time about what your perfect life will look like.  All of the details are crystal clear in your mind, you have a week, a month and a year plan for your new life, you are actually starting to smell success like steak on the grill.  Now is the implementation stage of your newfound success.  You have the vision, now, it’s time to make it happen, and you start by looking at the end goal that you have for yourself, and work backwards from there.  Let’s just stick with your business for right now, and leave the yachts, an island, Ferrari, and butler. for another post.

For easy numbers, let’s assume you have in your business, yourself, and one other painter, and your goal over the next 2 years is to have 10 painters working for you, or 3 crews.  How do you get there?  This is very attainable but it is not going to happen by chance, nothing does, chance doesn’t exist, that too, is another post.  Start at the end and work backwards; what will it cost you to run a 10 man crew per week? Figure that first.  How many apprentices, and how many foreman-Journeyman will you have?  Be realistic and come up with your number.  How much overhead will this many painters cost you to run?  In order to make a profit, how much gross do you need to pay 10 painters and not sink?  Right now, you can get by with 6 jobs per month, how many jobs do you need to support 10 painters?  Is your current system for getting customers a scientific one, or is it word of mouth, and you just wait for calls?  If scientific, and you can prove the lead conversions  by dollars spent on marketing, multiply by 10, there is your new advertising budget, roughly.  If right now you are that “word of mouth” kind of business owner that has no lead source other than hoping the phone rings from a prior referral, start getting leads and tracking them.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, door to door sales, going to businesses continually and talking with managers, scouting neighborhoods and look for clues on who needs painting done.  Word of mouth is great, but if it is your only lead source, you’ll soon sink.

The most important thing for you to start today, is to think like a contractor that has 10 painters working for your business.  Start generating leads, start putting together your plan for finding new employees.  Do you have SOP’s for your business?  Standard Operating Procedures?  If not, create them immediately.  Write down what you expect work to look like with complete detail.  What you expect the shop to look like, what do you expect when painting interiors, exteriors, cabinets, uniforms, lunch and breaks, smoking, radios, phones, customer relations, literally everything.  Have it ready to print up and hand out to every new employee, foreman, journeyman, before they start.  Make sure they understand your expectations.  Painters come from different shops and everyone has their own way of doing certain things; that doesn’t matter, this is your company and this is how you want it done.  I went for a long time allowing painters to do it their own way and have never had it turn out fruitful.  Your SOP’s will save you a lot of headache in the future, it’s a system, that once it’s in place, works like an employee for you.

CRM’s.  Customer Relations Management.  Get one today.  This will allow you to keep track of every customer, and provide notes on everything you know about them.  Once entered, you can set it up to email that customer whenever you like, just to keep your name in their head.  It will write up professional looking estimates, invoices, everything you need to go on with your business. You can do email campaigns to all of your past customers with 1 click, very powerful system.

The important thing is that you start today.  Wealth is not attained quickly, but generated over time, and if you do your work each day to work for your goals, you’ll soon see how effective this strategy is.

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