Successful Painting Contractors Vs Great Painters

Published: 14th March 2012
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Many successful painting companies are home to some skilled painters, but the sad fact is that this is not the most important element to profitable contracting. What it takes to survive in the painting industry goes beyond just the trade itself, and encompasses a wide variety of business skills. We will discuss some of these things here.

Most painters who want to run their own painting business usually know a thing or two about painting. Many have already worked for other companies as a crew member, and developed some skill and experience. After some years, one wonders why they don't set out on their own so that they can earn more money. After all, the painter is the one doing the work, why shouldn't they reap the rewards? The danger here is not knowing what is required to have a steady stream of job prospects, and running all aspects of the contracting business successfully. The painter knows his way around the brush, but does he know how to take the helm of a business with the same confidence?

Painting companies have several tasks in day to day operation, and production is just one of many. We will leave a discussion of the art of producing quality work for another time, and focus instead on the other aspects of contracting. The most important are lead generation and marketing, estimating and selling, and logistics.

You can't paint and make money without the leads. The leads are the starting point, like the seeds out of which grows a healthy painting business. The painter must have systems in place to generate a regular amount of leads, enough to cover costs and produce a modest profit; otherwise what it the point? Many painters get stuck at this point, even though they can handle all the other areas of their company. Marketing in many forms should be used, and analyzed regularly to assess the effectiveness of each. You need to learn what lead finding tactics work best in your territory, and maximize investment into them. Online marketing is in most cases an important tool, so are having flyers and signs in your neighborhoods, as well as referals and word of mouth. One method alone may not bring sufficient business your way, but when you add up several lead sources, you can amass enough to make a good living.

Once you have the leads, the next step is to sell them. The art of selling can be complex, but you just need to stick to some basic principles to do fine, and have a good booking percentage. The important task of the painter in selling a painting quote is to first have an accurate and detailed estimate of the painting work to be done. You need to learn how to quote jobs well, and price competitively but at the same time making it worthwhile for you. Some painters will price low just to get some business when times are tough, but they end up regretting it when they calculate their hourly wage. The best way to stay afloat is to stick with a fair price that allows you to be comfortable, and from there focus on other selling point like great service and paying close attention to your customer's needs. There is a saying that the minute you start discounting you start to go out of business, and this is true in painting contracting.

new painting companies sometimes have plenty of work but fall apart because their manager can't keep track of anything. Keeping track of the numbers and the scheduling is important if you want to know how things are going, and analysis is required if you want to be able to improve anything. Budgeting and keeping on budget are crucial to production; if you lose track of your schedule, you risk unhappy customers or mistreating painters; likewise, if you don't keep tabs on profits you risk an unhappy wallet. You should know what your monthly volume is, and have clear goals for such. Toronto painting services that succeed are capable of analysis of their performance, and keep improving all the time; having quality painting staff is just one part of the equation.

If you are thinking of starting a new painting business, you need to have a firm grasp on all these aspects of contracting if you want to be a happy painter. Otherwise you risk being overworked, underpaid, and maybe not in the right field.

This information is provided by professional Toronto painters. More information can be found at our Toronto House Painters blog.

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