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Guest Interview: Chris Moore of Elite Business Advisors “Industry Partners” Series Episode2

In this episode of the Painting Industry Partner series, titled Systems Equals Success, we are hosting Chris Moore. Chris is the Founder of Elite Business Advisors, a painting business consulting company that helps painting companies with their financials, marketing, and day-to-day operations. Essentially Chris works with painting contractors one-on-one and through his team to teach them to treat their painting business as a business, not as a job, to allow them to achieve the scale and success that many owners aspire to.
Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • Current trends he sees in the painting industry
  • How painting company owners can best prepare for an economic downturn
  • Key advice that he has learned from working with some of the most successful painting companies across the country
  • What Elite Business Advisors does
  • How to know whether your painting company may benefit from his services
Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast. The show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I'm your host, Brandon Pierpont, founder of painter marketing pros and creator of the popular pc, a educational series, learn do grow marketing for painters. In each episode I'll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences in this episode of the Painting Industry Partners series titled Systems Equal Success.

 
We are hosting Chris Moore. Chris is the founder of Elite Business advisors, a painting business consulting company that helps painting companies with their financials, marketing and day to day operations essentially. Chris works with painting contractors one on one and through his team to teach them to treat their painting business as a business, not as a job to allow them to achieve the scale and success that many owners aspire to. Chris will be discussing current trends he sees in the painting industry as well as how painting company owners can best prepare for an economic downturn.
 
He will also be providing key advice that he has learned from working with some of the most successful painting companies across the country. Finally, chris will be running us through exactly what elite business advisers does and how to know whether you're painting company may benefit from his services if you want to ask chris questions related to this podcast or about Elite business advisors in general you can do so in our exclusive Painter marketing mastermind podcast forum on facebook. Just search for painter marketing mastermind podcast form on facebook and request to join the group or type in the U. R. L. Facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter marketing mastermind again that you are L. Is facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter marketing mastermind there you can ask chris questions directly by tagging him with your question.
 
Chris thanks for coming on the show man and running this painting industry partner episode with us. Thanks for having me. Absolutely chris we are offline, we are good friends, we collaborate quite frequently. Um so this is a is an exceptionally fun one for me. Yeah no I I agree man and I know you're going to be coming on the elite business advice one here soon too so I'm glad we can swap opportunities here. So yes, absolutely. I know what you do for your clients is great and it's you guys pick up the ball where we stop the ball on the marketing side.
 
So I love it, that's what I love the collaboration and the partnership we got. Yeah it's a it's super synergistic for clients. So um awesome man I guess kind of open up, tell us a little bit about about you kind of how you got started in the industry at least business advisors etcetera. Yeah. Yeah I'll give I'll give the 12 years feel and like, you know, hopefully 60 seconds here. But no, so I started, I was actually in the painting industry when I was in college, I did an internship with a company called student painters, very similar to College works College pro a lot of the other college painting models out there.
 
Um and you know, fell in love with entrepreneurship and business. I was an entrepreneurship major in college, which I want to clarify right now. Everybody listen to this, what I learned in college, I used like maybe like a half a percent of that nowadays before I was like, man, I wish I went to college like you did. And I'm like, shut up, it doesn't matter like it's mostly been real world and hands on teaching, but that internship and it talked so much, I owe so much of that company in my mentor charlie, like harry back in the day and just, you know, understanding business, right?
 
Like you can't get much more hands on with an internship than when you're actually out running up any company, you know? Um and so I actually, I worked with student painters, I stayed with them for the additional two years after that while I was in college, um graduated, took on a full time job with them, I was the general manager of southern Illinois ST louis, um, all the way out to Kansas, all the way over to evansville indiana and kind of oversaw that whole region, ran our internship program here locally, You know, recruiting college students training them, mentoring them, um, and all that stuff.
 
And so I spent seven years of student painters, had a great experience and had so many cool relationships, got to see so many great things with, you know, students that came into the program, right? We would take 203 year old college students and teach them, you know, how to run $100,000 or business in the summertime. Right? So like that's what's crazy, if you think about that, it's literally over the three months of their summer break, they would produce $100,000 or more in paint jobs. Um, you know, in, in three months.
 
And so it's cool seeing a lot of kids that maybe never had a job in high school, they were two or three sport athlete, right? Just good students that just came into our program and, and just like tore it up. Right? So, um, so I've been doing that for about seven years, A lot of us kind of started getting burned out a little bit, you know, for all the great kids that we got the coach and mentor, there was like five fires that we always had to put out right?
 
As you can imagine 18 year olds painting houses. Um, and so, you know, it was kind of time to move. Yeah, exactly, right. Like I'm actually surprised that company had survived and all of them have right for the most part. So um But no it's always just kind of time to move on and and I knew what I wanted to do again with the coaching and the mentoring. I coached high school hockey from my local high school where I went to um it's always had a passion for like coaching and mentoring and helping people like reach their potential right?
 
And I knew what I'm doing now is what I was what I wanted to do, but at a age I guess 25 26 I wasn't ready to make that leap yet right? Like it was kind of a quick decision, we were all like hey before we start recruiting too much this year, like I think it's time for us to like call it quits. Uh and I'll never forget like you know my wife gets home from work we've been married for I think like a year right around eight years though and she gets home from work and I was like hey we need to talk and she was like yeah what's up?
 
And I was like I have a job anymore like we all just kind of quit and she was like oh you know and we have been talking about it so it wasn't totally out of left field but she's like what are you gonna do? And I'm like well Christina, I was like I I know how to run a painting business, right? Like I always ran like a small business every year in addition to mentor and all the college students and stuff, so I was like, I'm just gonna go do that for now, right?
 
So I started to leave painting, Ran that for four years uh and started to leave business advisors in March of 2018 and ran that alongside my painting company for two years as I could start building this, right? Because I knew that I knew how to coach and mentor people, right? But I didn't know how to systematize it, I didn't know how to structure it, I didn't know how to monetize it, right, there was so much I had to learn. Uh and so I'm super glad that I had that two year gap even though life was freaking nuts trying to run two businesses at one time.
 
Um So yeah, so anyways, long story short, beginning of 2020 made the full time switch to elite business advisors. Um and I pick up a paintbrush maybe twice a year at this point for friends or family to do a fun little project and um that's that's about my involvement on the paint side of it, as much as the business side. So Yeah, 43 seconds, that was probably like 182, you know, 300 seconds, but that's all right, I'm going to get a good understanding. It definitely does. Yeah, there's no no time limit on that intro.
 
So you I mean dang man, so that's what over a decade now that you've been doing systems. Yeah, yeah, so I mean and that was the cool thing, right, is I mean you know being a 19 year old college student, it's like you know, we got ingrained in system right away, you know and understanding like you know there's systems in place for a reason um and I think especially when you look at like a company like student painters, right? I mean every year we would have some students like myself that would stay with us and kind of grow in the company, but I mean every year you're looking for a fresh, I mean here in Missouri we look for a fresh 50 to 60 college students to go run a business, right?
 
So you have to have the systems in place to coach them and train them and mentor them um in order to go run a successful business, right? If every year we were trying to train people from fresh how to do an estimate on a paint job that has no clue how to paint, had no clue about anything and we didn't have a system in place for that, the company would have been out of business way before I even got into it, Right? So um so really seeing the systems and that and obviously now we've kind of taken a lot of that and kind of, you know, how can we help our clients through that by putting the right systems in place for their business?
 
Yes. So when you say you you brought in 50 to 60 college students each summer and taught them how to run a painting business. What what was the role, what were they doing? Exactly, yeah, so they were they were called branch managers. Um and honestly their their role was to do everything a painting business owner does, right? So we we had an office that took care of all the legal stuff running payroll, you know, depositing the checks like that type of stuff, they would put the profit and loss statement together for each branch manager.
 
So we had an office that was kind of a central hub that would be kind of a call center, you know, would provide some some administrative help I guess. But when it came down to the couch Tuesday, I mean they would go out, they would, you know market their business right? They had flyers, they had business cards, they would go out and market their business, they would sell the paint jobs, do the estimate, um schedule everything for the summer time, They were recruiting their employees, their painters, um they were, you know, overseeing production of the projects, making sure they were financially, you know, viable.
 
Um So I mean it was everything a business owner does outside of some of the like legal administrative stuff that obviously we didn't want their hands to the end. But um yeah it was it was everything, it was everything start to finish, it's like any painting contractor listen to this is going out doing for their business. Yeah I mean you're kind of opening fresh wounds for some people and kinda you know rubbing salt in but I definitely understand that pain because you just need three or four different totally different positions really an established company that that the small owners doing all of them, yep.
 
Exactly, exactly and that's what most of our, most of our brains managers you know would run a crew of about 3 to 4 people but again the ones that were doing 63,000 plus um I mean they had 8 to 10 painters right? Um You know one of our, one of my good friends Silva's Day jo shu it he was one of our top guys here in Missouri over those few years. Um I think they did I think he did about 100 and 10,000 his second year with us and he had eight painters, he had two crews of four just going nonstop, you know?
 
And so and I know some guys had 15 employees right? So it was a cool internship because you've got the you know what you got out of it was what you put into it right? Um If you wanted to go and say hey I want to make, you know 50 grand this summer, which happened like somehow it would do 200 grand and work and make 53 to 50 grand, I mean we had the internship set up to where, I mean it was like it was a prophet, like they got the profit on their jobs after, you know, the administrative costs and everything, like It was crazy man.
 
It was crazy to see, I don't know what the records currently at, it was around 180,880, I think the last year I was with him was where the record stood, but I think it's in the low 200's now at this point. So yeah, I just Because this sounds kind of crazy to me, so I want to make you understand cause obviously, you know, we work with companies across the country, I'm talking to painting company owners constantly and you're telling me that that you have people come in work for three months, so just this summer and they are, they're basically doing 100 grand, which if you run right that out, so if you multiply by four, that's 400 grand for just just brand new.
 
Brand new, right? So they're literally in the first three months, which technically at summer fine, but technically really would be your slowest because you don't really have any traction whatsoever, they're able to ramp up to almost half a million dollar company immediately, yep, yep. Exactly. And so it just to clarify too, like we would always start marketing in about february to March. So they would have like a three month runway during the springtime while they were still. But I mean, again, they're in college, right? Some kids are, you know, only going home on the weekends, right?
 
Like they might be at, you would buy, you know, university of Illinois for school and they might be living here in ST louis in the summertime. So they'd be driving back home every weekend to start building their business. You know, some students lived in the territory, but I mean they're still in college full time students in the springtime. So we would start doing the marketing and sales portion. We didn't start actually any of the production until summertime, But still, I mean, the fact that they were able to do that, like you said literally from scratch.
 
And then again, not every student did $100,000, right? There was plenty that would do 20 or 63,000 in a year, still get a great experience out of it, still make, you know, some decent amount of money. Um, and stuff. So it wasn't like every student that came in did 100,000, right? There was definitely the outliers, the 80, 20 roll. But yeah, you're exactly right, literally from nothing, just go out and do this. Yeah, So I wanna do a little plug marketing is a leading indicator of success. Anyone who's listening is a leading indicator because they didn't start marketing the day they needed the jobs started marketing beforehand.
 
Right, That's how marketing works. Um So I want I want to also comment on that, you know, I think it's pretty clear, but just to make it super crystal clear the way that you find that level of success, the way that someone can come in, whether an outlier or not or the way that pretty much everyone can do at least reasonably well is you have systems they don't come in and just flounder, which is what a lot of painting company owners are struggling with this kind of flounder.
 
And so I wanna, I wanna eventually we are going to dive into your program right, what you are, but I'm gonna put you on the back burner chris because we're gonna, you're in the vendors, you know, you're in the industry partner series. So people know people know that they're going to learn about what you do, but I want to focus on the industry and your knowledge first? 100%. So you're working with all of these, you know, these college students and just being being in the systems and processes for painting the painting industry for over a decade.
 
What are some of the two part question, number one, what are some of the most important systems and processes that you that you see right to put in place first and number two? What are some of the biggest mistakes that you constantly see? Yeah, that's good man. That's good. Alright, so I'm gonna go off the number one and you're gonna have to remind me what the second part of this was. So write write it down if you haven't. So number one, the systems that you need in place man.
 
So the one area we always focus on with our clients um even you know, now to this day we don't just work with our students anymore. But you know from back then and even today is you got to be financially stable, right? Nothing matters if you're running at a loss. Um So having the job costing having the financial systems in place um if anybody listen to our podcast or seen as a Pc X or anything, you know that you already know the two things I'm gonna tell you.
 
You need to put money aside for taxes to pay your taxes right? 5 to 10% of your revenue needs to go in a separate account. Don't touch it unless you make an estimated tax payment to your urine urine tax bill. Uh And then the other one with that is deposit right every time you get a deposit for a job, put it aside in an account until that job starts like, so those are just like the three basic financial systems we want people to have in place this job costing out your project.
 
So you get that real time data, understand what your monthly cash flow is. Uh and then having the attacks and the deposit, you know, systems like, so financial systems is number one, like because again, like I said, if you if you're struggling, if you're five years behind in your tax bill to the I. R. S like it's gonna be really hard for you to get ahead. Um And I hope I didn't just put salt in a couple more wins there in that. But it's true right? Like you got to get all those things cleaned up and taken care of because again, if if you grow your business to a million dollars, but it's it's not profitable, it's just gonna crumble that much harder. Right?
 
That's what we always tell people, that's why we start with the financial because it's a fundamental foundational principle. Um The other one I think is is a big one is is you're estimating system, right? Like I mentioned earlier with student painters, we couldn't teach college students that have never even held a paintbrush how to go do an estimate on a paint job without a system in place. And I think it's still true to this day, right? I think that's the number one place where a lot of business owners, a lot of painting contractors doubt themselves, they come up with a price And then I'll see them not like $400 off because they just feel like it's too high.
 
And I'm like, why? You know, if you have concrete data and you have a number system in place to say, Hey, a bedroom, we budget this many hours for two coats on the walls, this many hours for the ceiling, whatever the price is the price then right? Like you shouldn't be playing the guessing game. Well, I feel like that's too high or you know, whatever. So, um, so estimating system, you know, I think it's a great idea. I would say the other two big pieces off the top of my head here is um, to have a recruiting system in place, right?
 
Labor is such a hot topic still to this day in the industry, it's gonna be for a while. Let's just get used to that. Um, is, you know, having a good system in place. The companies that I see, they don't complain about recruiting because they don't have massive issues with recruiting are the ones that have a system in place, right? They have a system to market for employee. I'm gonna let that sink in for a second. People actually market for employees, right? Recruiting is not a reactive game.
 
It's a proactive game. So they have a good, you know, marketing system for generating interest. They have a good interview process. They have a good system in place, uh, to filter through the candidates and then hire the right people. Uh, and then on the flip side of that they have the right sister in place to onboard that person and train them right? A lot of people bring in employees that maybe don't have painting experience. So they have this system in place to be able to train them from no painting skill to being a crew leader, production manager estimator down the road.
 
Um And having that and then the last one I would say and you're gonna love this one. I saved it for last for a reason, a marketing system, right? Having a freaking marketing system, having a plan, having systems in place, right? Having, you know, automated things to get google reviews, like all the things that go into marketing, right? Social media posting, blog postings, anything and everything you can think of having that system in place. You know a system. So people understand this, right? A system is just something you have in place to make your business run automatically like clockwork again, every time you deposit a check you just transfer 93% over to this other account, some banks, you can automate it.
 
Sometimes you still have to manually do it. But the system is, every time this happens, this happens right. Every time X. Happens you do. Why? And so so I don't want people to get like crazy about it like, oh what's a marketing system? No, it's just a system is making sure that you're executing on the game plan. But you know you need to do, even in times about Yeah, yeah. The way I kind of explain it to people as a system is if you have repeatable tasks, if things need to happen then you shouldn't be winging it, you shouldn't be redoing it if there's a software that that you can use, even if you can set up systems, I mean something in like google sheets, right?
 
Or excel, just something you can hire an admin person to run through it, Whatever is a repeatable task, Go ahead and make it easily repeatable, don't keep doing it yourself. Things like Xavier, Xavier, I never know how to say that one, but you know, I mean just things that you can automate processes to, you know, there's a lot of good tools out there. Um So yeah, I mean a lot of people are like the word system, I think it's almost scary to some people um and it's really not, it just, I mean there's, I have a system down every night before I go to bed, I make sure the coffee pots got water in it, everything is ready to go, dog goes outside, like that's a system to me, right?
 
Some people are like, wow, chris you're crazy, it's like, no, I just have a system that I know I do this and then I do this and I do this and then we go to bed, so I never have to worry about that get done right, so it just gets those routine, different things, doing personal life business and everything else, you don't don't recreate the wheel with every, yep, 100%. 100%. All right. So you just a recap. So your most important systems. Number one, you have financial systems, putting that in place, making sure your job costing.
 
So you're actually profitable, Making sure that you have money set aside 5 to 10% for your taxes and then making sure you are. What was the last part you're putting aside your deposit deposit right? Number two is you're estimating system. Don't go by feeling, you know, kind of ties in with your job costing the price is the price. I have a system. There's no feel about it, right? It's data. Um, number three is a recruiting system. So be actively recruiting, recruiting. This has been a theme over and over from a lot of guests is have a pipeline of potential employees or subcontractors, right?
 
Have that pipeline. Um, and then you said, I also have a system to onboard them, Right? So have a pipeline to hire them and a system to onboard them. And that way you're not left scrambling because what's gonna happen is your number one gonna hire the wrong person because you need someone immediately. Again, marketing, whether it's for projects or for employees is a leading indicator of success when you're marketing already, you can choose the right person and the number two, if you don't onboard them correctly, even if you have the right person, you're setting them up for failure.
 
And that's, I think one of the biggest things I see is most people, they, they have a recruiting system to hire the right people, but then they have no process to train them, right? So it doesn't matter how good an employee is, they're only going to be as good as the expectation that what they're moving forward. Right? So yeah, 100%. 2 parts exactly there too. It's a two part system in my opinion. Yeah. And I mean I kind of like to use the example of Mcdonald's Jason phillips uses the easy oven example.
 
Five year old can make something, I mean it's, it's, if you can, if your systems are that good, you can generally plug people, yep. And then four is a marketing system. So my favorite, but the same as a marketing system for employees. You know, you need to have a long term marketing system. We work with our partners on a long term brand equity basis. So the leads are coming to them. So they're not in this rat race that everyone, generally everyone else's in painting. Ok, So that's super helpful chris, I appreciate that.
 
And I'm moving on to the second part of the question, which is pretty closely related that first one, those are the top systems that you prioritize, What are the biggest mistakes that you've seen repeatedly in the industry? Yeah. So it's funny as we just talked about this kind of echo some of the things we just went through. Um, you know, one is people don't job cost, right? You know, I have people reach out and they go, hey, I've been listening to your podcast per year. I know I need to be doing this and I'm still not doing it.
 
I'm like, hey, that's fine, right? Like the best time to plant a tree with 20 years ago, the second best time is today, Right? So You know, so I'm like, it's okay. But it's, I love, we did an episode with earlier this year and anything like that. Yeah, I think he does when he feels like, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly, feelings, all feelings. Yeah, I love that. But no, I mean he said he goes job costing leads you down a path that 15 more questions for your business.
 
And I love that because it's so true, right? You're gonna job cause and if something's gonna be offered when you know what you're looking for, when you know that your margin should be, you know 40% for labor, including employer taxes, no more than 43%. When you know your material margin should be 8 to 12% no more than 15. Like you can start to identify the problems when you look at these things, right? When you know, your revenue per hour should be, you know, 55 to 65 or north, right? Depending on your business and some stuff like when you know what you're looking for, job costing starts, you start asking yourself questions, right?
 
What happened? Right. The first one is was this a production issue or was this an estimating issue? Right, because you're gonna look at this and you're gonna say, and you're not just looking at the numbers, you're looking at the hours, right? So you know, estimating and say, hey, we think this job's gonna take 80 hours and then the production hours come back in at 100. Right? So was that a production issue? Or did you not estimate it properly? Did you run into like some random unforeseen thing with out of your control that obviously happens out there in the world.
 
Okay, then that's just an outlier. You move on from it. If it's like, man, now that was an easy project, they didn't run into any big issues, wow, okay, well that's definitely a production issue. Right? So you start analyzing these things and asking yourself and, and so, you know, a lot of people come in, they're like, hey, I really need to create a good estimating system. Right? The other thing we talked about and I'm like, okay, great, do your job costs and they're like, no, I'm like, okay, well we gotta start there to understand where you're estimating, Is that right?
 
And so I think that's a big one is just the job costing and it ties into so much of your business. Um You know, so I think that's one another one of the financial topic I mentioned earlier about taxes and deposits. I think those are two things that are huge for people is just being proactive. Uh you know, I see a lot of people unfortunately spend the deposits just in with the cash flow of the business to keep going and it becomes a vicious cycle, right? Because really, what a thing is your cash flow isn't good.
 
So you're masking the problem by taking deposits for future jobs and just shoving into there to solve it, right? And at some point, if you ever check your company down the last 10 jobs, you collect your only collecting 50% you don't have the extra coming in and like you're really kind of in a tight spot. So it takes time. Um you know, usually most clients pending on the size of the company within a year, they can get to a spot where they have all their deposits set aside for future projects.
 
Um They can kind of get caught up, you know, if they can be smart about things, so a year, sometimes it takes, but again, start the process today on that slowly but surely what you can afford. Um I think the other one, you know that I'll piggyback on that, I see a lot of which ties into the capital thing I just mentioned is not understanding like the monthly cash flow of the business, right? And I'm not talking about the Quickbooks report that you can pull um if you use Quickbooks or anything like that, I'm talking like, okay, how much did you guys produce work wise?
 
Right. What was your production numbers? You know, your job cost it out and then taken out your overhead, you know, for your business? Right? All your monthly expenses that's not tied to labor materials. How much money did you take out of the business as an owner? Right. I see a lot of people sometimes will over pay themselves because they don't job costs, They don't know how much money they're making and they just take money out and all of a sudden they can't figure out where the money is going, right?
 
Um, so I think, you know, that's one thing we try to go through their clients is understanding like, what is that monthly cash flow number of the business? Um, and is it growing over time? Right? Is it consistent over time. Um, and just understanding that because again, when you factor in the overhead, you factor in the meals at Panera, the coffee at Starbucks, all the little things, your insurance, your workers copy everything else. How much money did your company make that month. Right. Um, so I think those are like some of the biggest financial mistakes.
 
Um, and then like I said on the recruiting side, you know just the recruiting and having a training system. Um You know, especially if you're looking for new painters, I think that's a big stumbling block. Um That I see a lot of people have not having S. O. P. S. I think that ties into it, right? Standard operating procedures which is a system that that you know, we can talk about on the production side of things when you have the S. O. P. S. It makes the training and the on boarding easier. Right?
 
So I always tell people start number one with the S. O. P. S. Get your S. O. Ps down and then build a training program around those S. O. P. S. Um to really set people up for success. Yeah. I think one of the things, one of the things I want to dive into this S. O. P. S in a second, One of the things you said that was really interesting was if you have a job that runs over budget, right? And you didn't get the profit margin wanted out of it.
 
I think it's so easy to just immediately blame production. Right? And you they didn't do it right. And I think this what how you approach this right? Like, okay, was it an estimating thing or was it because it very well may have been a production fall number one. If you're kind of just starting this process then then you're gonna have to kind of look at the project compared to past projects um and what does that look like if you're seeing this is a common theme then you have a fundamental business issue here either on the estimates of the production side and then number two this approach that you're taking, this really analytical approach that doesn't just assume things, then that needs to be applied to everything in your business if you hire someone and whether it's for an estimated role, project manager role, administrative assistant, whatever whatever that person is, if you're a painter, if you hire them and you feel like they are not performing, is it because of who they are, because they're just not the right person?
 
Or is it because of who your business is? Because you didn't create an opportunity that's a theme. Are you just bad at finding good people or maybe you don't actually have an on boarding system? So looking at everything, analyzing everything, don't just don't just immediately assume you know the answer. Yeah I got to share this story with you. So we've got a client here and he made a comment one time and I can be he's a very direct person right? Like I know with our clients we have to like you know sugar code the ones that just need to like hear it right?
 
And and he called me, he's like, man, I can't figure out why my employees like don't take their job seriously. And I was like, I kinda for a second, I kind of prayed, I'm like, okay, how should I answer this? Right? And I was like, here's the reason I said it because you don't take your own business seriously. I won't say his name because I don't want to call him out on here. But I said it because you don't take your own business seriously. And he hung up on me and then he called me back 63 minutes later and he's like, you're right man.
 
I needed to hear that. And it was exactly that right. He didn't have the recruiting system. He didn't have an expectation. He didn't have a training program. His training program was, hey, show up on monday and kind of work alongside me and I'll just show you stuff right. That was the training program. And he couldn't figure out why people weren't taking it seriously. He didn't set goals with them. Um, and so we worked through a lot of that stuff, right? And, and so, you know, sometimes you got to hear those hard things, right?
 
I, I'm delicate with when we coach people, I won't be direct with everybody unless I know you need it. Um, but it's, it's one of those things, you know, there, if you don't think your business seriously. If you don't set the expectations right? I always say think back to every job you have, if you, if they set good expectations with you, you probably performed much better at that job than if they were just like, hey, um I was related. I worked at Red Robin when I was in college before I started with student painters in the server.
 
They told us every single thing, hey, within two minutes of the guests sitting down, you should greet them and get their drinks right within 60 seconds and the last guest taking the first bite of the meal. You should go check in on like they told us every single thing to a T. So it was really easy for me to just know, hey, this is what I need to go do, right? If they were just like, hey, go serve tables, I probably would have never made any money because it would have been a terrible server and got to, I noticed, right?
 
So I think it's the same thing with the painting industry and I'm like set the expectations of people, let them know that, Hey, it's okay if you're, you know, taking six hours to paint a bedroom right now. But I want you to get that down to four hours within 60-90 days. Just set the expectation with them. Right? So they have something to shoot for and the good employees will gravitate towards that. The bad ones will eventually lead themselves out because they never progress. Um, but I think, yeah, just having that expectation and that process in place with people.
 
I see a lot of people get tripped up on that, right. It's, hey, great. You can fog a mere show up on the job site monday. Um, and billy over there is gonna teach you how to paint, right? Well Billy is probably not a good painter and you have a painter named Billy. I'm not calling him out, but you know, random person may not be the way you want them to understand how to paint, right? How you want to do a job site. It's kind of the telephone game.
 
If the seven painter down the line is teaching the new guy how to paint, it's probably very much off of your process. If you don't have a system in place just because billy campaign doesn't mean he can teach how to paint very well. Right? So I want to call it one quick thing there, you, which I think is important, right? You, you, that was a hard decision that you made in that story that you just shared where you're, you know, you're not a mean guy. You're a mean guy would be friends.
 
But you said something pretty direct, pretty blunt and got hung up on by one of your clients, you could have lost that client, right? Because you were too mean. But you realized how he, um, you know, his personality and kind of what resonates with him and you decided to take that risk to help him and you know, 24 minutes, you didn't know whether you still had him as a client. So I think that speaks volumes to, to kind of how you operate and like that. You're not, not like that necessary with everyone, but you're willing to do what it takes to help your clients succeed.
 
So I think that that's a really important point. Yeah, I appreciate that. And you know, whenever I started this company, it's, you know, one of my big kind of core values was, you know, we're always going to do what's in the best interest of the clients, right? Whether they like it or not, whether we have to, you know, be direct with them. I don't love being direct, right? Like I don't love having to be that because they can come off being a jerk at times and thankfully, you know, we try to build Exactly, yeah, exactly, exactly.
 
I'm glad this works out. Yeah, but no, it is true. I mean, you know, again, those aren't the fun conversations to have, but you know, the clients that really just need to hear some of those things, right? And you know, even on our podcast I'll say things and I'm like, I probably just stepped on somebody's toes, but like if you're offended, it's probably because you needed to hear it right? Like I'm not trying to be a jerk about it. I'm just here to help you write like, again, that's my goal.
 
I want to see everybody reach their full potential. That's why I told you, I loved coaching high school hockey. I loved what I did with student painters. Like I I see so many people in this line in for example, and he has so much potential if we can get him off the job site and continue treating his business more like a business, right? Like he's such a craft person, he's so good at fine finishes. He's got so many like passions and ambitions when it comes to the quality of the product they do, it's just, we're trying to work through them on the business side of it, right?
 
So it's, yeah, when you see people potential, then you want to see them succeed, you almost take it personally if they don't, I think that's one of the most frustrating things sometimes I want it. I want their success more for them than they do, right? And you're right. Exactly. And I'm not even talking from a financial component. I just, I see you and I see what you're capable of and I just want you to live up to it, right? Um, so yeah, it's a tough thing to navigate sometimes and a lot of times I'll what really helped in my perspective.
 
And so if anybody else happened in this ballpark, um, when they give me permission and they say, I want you to be direct and blunt with me because it's what I need, That for me allows me to have those tough conversations and risk getting hung up on and risk losing a client when I know that's what they really want from me. It makes it a lot easier to do that because they don't feel like I'm being a jerk. I feel like I'm doing exactly what they're wanting me to do in that situation, right?
 
So anybody else out there that um, that's a coach or anything, I think that's a you know, important point to have. Yeah, 26% man. And another another comment you made again, which could be easily overlooked is to have patience, right? So don't expect people to come in and don't expect them to be exactly where you need them to be. That needs to be part of your onboarding process the 25 days. Hey, if you come in and it takes you six hours, I'm a big believer in hiring for the person at the skill set.
 
So if you come in and you haven't painted for a decade, but you're the right person, you're hungry to learn your ethical. You know, you match up with our core values then if it takes you six hours 26% longer to paint the bedroom fine because I hired you because you're a fast learner. You're hungry. You want to grow, You know, in 29, 24 days, you need to be here. Yeah, 123% right. And set that expectation with them is the key to that whole process. So I want to I want to touch base on the S. O. P. So if someone someone listening to this and they're like you know standard operating procedure but I don't even know where to start with that.
 
Where do I start somewhere anywhere? Right. Best advice. Exactly. We just we just filmed the segment with something for P. T. A. Coming out later early next year about business plans, right? It's the same thing. I might just start somewhere right? Because business plans and S. O. P. S. Are the two things that just say like they paralyze people because of what the stereotype of them are like oh I got to create the whole 212 step thing of S. O. P. S. Like you just need to start somewhere right?
 
And so for me and S. O. P. Should include everything from the moment you're painters show up um in a job right? They put a lawn sign out in front of the yard, they greet the customer, they get their 218 minutes earlier they greet the customer. Really, it should include even those things, right? And then as you're wrapping the job up, what is the close out process, right? An hour before you're done, grab the customers start doing the walk through. Um make sure they have an invoice whether from your office or you know whatever.
 
And so it just needs to include everything right? Then obviously there's the painting process which is kind of the most important, but don't forget about the other things before and after, um, you know, but just start documenting things, right? And if you really don't know, Go to a bedroom by yourself and when you go there and you see how you start doing things, just start making notes, right? And all it really needs to be is a one page ish document in step one through 230 or whatever, right?
 
You should have one for walls, ones for walls and ceilings, ones for wall ceiling and trim. Um, you know that obviously all the exterior stuff too. So I mean there's gonna be a handful of different SNPs, there's one S. O. P. Right? Because the order you might do a bedroom is gonna depend on if you're doing the walls, the walls and the ceilings because the dry time and putting it against different colors. So, but just start somewhere, that's the best advice I can give you, get that, get that ball rolling.
 
And now I wanna, I wanna touch base with you on, you know, throughout throughout the last year, obviously it's been a crazy few years. What trends are you seeing? You know, we've talked about the industry on some other podcasts, professionalizing young talent coming in, Jason paris is big on that. Um and what trends are you seeing with your clients and and how campaigning company owners prepare for potentially extended economic downturn moving forward here. Yeah. And I think that's good. I'm gonna give two quick thoughts on that.
 
I think one, I think knowing that a lot of people are working on professionalizing their business should scare the ones that are, um, and I don't want to use a scare tactic or anything crazy, but I think it's true. I'm seeing a lot of, you know, there's, there's the generation of people that are retiring from there that are kind of the old school way. Um, there's a middle gap that is adapting to technology and systems and scaling and looking for people like you and ourselves to help them.
 
Uh, and then there's a lot of young people coming in that, that have that business mind that will, I don't want to take over the industry, but that's gonna be your competition, right? Um, and so there's a lot of very sharp younger people getting into the industry. Um, and so that's one trend I see is is that's a big one. Um, I think another thing, you know, you mentioned the potential economic recession and I think it's safe to say nobody knows that we in it yet. How bad is it?
 
How long it's gonna last? We're not gonna know probably until we're on the other side of it, but I will say this. Um, one now is not a great time to take on massive risk, right? Um, you know, to, to go and take out a huge loan for a building you don't really need yet and, and do all these things. Um, just to, to hope that you're going to grow your business. Um, I think now is the time to be realistic. Um, and to focus on being a little bit on the lean side in case things do slow down.
 
Um, really most of our clients, uh, and I can't speak for the industry as a whole, but most of our clients really haven't seen any impact on this yet. Right. People are still out of restaurants, People are still buying stuff. Um, it's nothing's really changing yet. Um, now I think at some point, some things will change and I don't know what it is and again, to what extent and what industries are gonna be most impacted by it, But I think we just need to be prepared that things could slow down but also operate as if they're not right.
 
You know, b b don't live in fear I guess is what I want to say, what they don't live in fear, but be realistic. The situation to be a little more on the lean side. Uh, and maybe don't take on a huge risk with anything right now. Yeah, no, I think that makes sense. Um, don't live in fear, right abundance mindset, but accepting the reality that we do live in uncertainty and no one, no one can predict the future talking, don't know if they say if they say, hey, the world is crumbling, you know, Chicken Little um, doesn't mean that they're right. Right.
 
Exactly, right. It's all an opinion. So yeah, I mean, don't, don't live in fear on it, but at the same time, you know, now's not the time to go, you know, quadruple your office size and quadruple your, your monthly thing. Um, if, if you're not in a spot where you can really afford that. So yeah, and you know, office office size, things like that are, are overhead expenses, right? So things things that are more, you can kind of vary up and down. I mean, I, I never, never a proponent of cutting on marketing and one of the things uh, Jason paris has told me recently in a kind of funny kind of kind of direct way, which is that, that we finally are relevant now because people don't need us for the past 10 years.
 
But when you move into an economic downturn, like you're saying, if you don't professionals, you will be left behind if you don't market that kind of receiving work is not going to go to you. Exactly, right. Exactly. Cause then you're, you know, I always say the worst business decisions get made out of time of the desperation and I think that it's, it's typically when you're within two weeks of running out of work or a week of running out of work and you're just trying to get jobs to stay busy and you're cutting costs.
 
Um you're doing different things, You know, like it that's when you're making bad business decisions because then you lower your prices 20% just to get a job on the schedule if you do that one time because you had a random cancelation, cool. If that's like your new norm because you don't have enough leads coming in to sell with the quality and the level you want, right? Like that's typically when I see people reducing prices because they don't have enough leads coming in to have that abundance mentality. They're just happy to get three phone calls a week and they're trying to sell all three of them at whatever price they can to stay moving right.
 
Um and so yeah, I agree, I think, I mean marketing is a huge piece of that if we're moving forward with some of this, um it's making sure you've got a steady flow of lead, right? You know, we when I mentioned earlier about, you know, kind of our hearts, energies and working together, you know, we preach a lot about the organic marketing, the relationship marketing, What are the things you do internally with your previous happy satisfied client garner more referrals, repeat business, that sort of stuff, right?
 
Um and so I love that, you know, that only will propel you so far in your business and then you need a professional like yourself to really contain, I need to run the ball forward, but the whole goal of what we do with that and the whole goal of what you do with them is we want to build a steady pipeline of lead, right? You know, I didn't market it all the last two years, I had a lead painting because we had enough organic stuff coming in that we'd have 15 to 20 leads coming in every month and we were selling enough work to, you know, get through at the time and stuff.
 
So, um, it really is about building that pipeline of leads and having that system in place, whether it's, you know, with what you guys do on the online presence, whether it's, you know, relationship marketing, I think a good hybrid of having both is important, right? You don't want to go all one or all of the other. Um, I think, you know, having the stuff in place with what you can do to help people and in the systems in place internally to garner those referrals from repeat customers.
 
Um, I think that's, that's a happy balance. That will really get people pretty far, especially if things do slow down in the economy. Yeah, and I think it's important to note, so referrals repeat business, right? You have these past customers and reach out to them to either repeat or referral. Those are your best, your best leads ever. Those are the leads closing. You know, assuming you run a good company, you should be closing for high profit margins, you should be closing consistently. You should never stop doing that where we really specialize Is when when if you want to grow, if you don't want to take 20 years to get to the size of some of these painting cos then you have to get what's called a cold audience.
 
You have to get people that are not a direct referral or have not already worked with you. You need to get them to know I can trust you and book with you um for high profit margins. So that's kind of the two different types of marketing. But you should you should always be doing both. I wanna dive chris kind of into what you do. So you obviously have incredible industry expertise, you have a lot of experience and you've thrown out some some impressive statistics of what these college kids with no experience.
 
We're able to do you know what the right systems. So how did you roll that into elite business advisors? What do you guys offer for? Yeah. No, absolutely. So are our main target audience is, you know, we really focus on helping people that are less than like 1.5 um get up to, you know, get an annual revenue. Yeah. So that's that's like that's our specialty, right? And so we're kind of building out um, you know, we've been building out our team of advisors here in the last six months, we're putting people in place to kind of help take beyond that in the, in the near future, But right now, I mean if you're, you know, solo operator, 183 employees, you know, 7 to 10 employees, right?
 
It's it's getting over that hump of a million, right? And getting beyond that to start treating your business like a business, right? So whether you're brand new to the industry or very small, we're here to help you um you know, all the way up to somebody who's been in business for 20 years and has 4 to 6 employees, it's just ready for, you know, again that change right to treat their business really like a business more than just a job. So, I mean that's kind of the the target people are looking for.
 
Um Again, not to say we can't work with larger companies, we don't have, we have people in place that can do that, right. One of our advisors, they built a $5 million penny company up in the Northeast, right? So they've got some proof of concept on how to take a business to that next step. So we're kind of building out the next phase. Um but yeah, I mean, you know, we really took kind of the, the system thinking behind what we did with with student painters and kind of were able to put that in place with our, with our clients, right?
 
So we've got a program called the Elite Business Academy Um That is kind of the jumpstart program that people go through here with our business, right? Um and something we just recently revamped and relaunched. Uh and so you know with that you get all the resources. We have um google sheets, all the documents you really need to run your business right templates for job descriptions. Um The apprenticeship path you can lay out again for that onboarding process and the training systems like all the resources come with it.
 
We have a whole checklist of things that we go through to make sure that you kind of have your business professionalized if you will. Right? So we've got a whole section on business planning. Like what is your three year plan? What's your one year plan? Um Do you have core values? Do you have a mission statement? Right all the way through the financial, making sure your job costing, making sure you're looking at your monthly cash flow. Um You know, if you have debt how can we kind of get that paid off over time and systems in place.
 
So we have a whole checklist in every area of your business, right, recruiting marketing. S. O. P. S. Production. You know, we have a whole checklist that we want our clients to run through over those at least First. It's kind of set up to be a 6 to 9 month program. Some people may take a year to do it. Some people may not get out in 4 to 6 months, but we kind of want to run through that whole checklist? And that's really when people kind of go through that, we call them, you know, graduates of the elite Business Academy.
 
Uh and and really just that shows that they've got all the pieces in place that they're treating their business like a professional company, right? We continue to advise with them afterwards. All of our clients, we do, you know, typically twice a month meetings with us, they also get access to a once a month mastermind group with other business owners, similar size and mindset. Um so that's all part of the package with them. Um and so yeah, I mean that's again, we do the one on one advising, we've got the peer to peer group facilitation that we do with them a lot of resources and just kind of, you know, redone our system structure to make sure that we're helping them right.
 
And so once we get through that initial, you know, kind of launchpad phase and then we kind of continue working with them on a monthly basis just to take it to the next step, right, there's always things to change and improve on. So yeah, so you guys, it's almost like this accelerator program, we're gonna get everything dialed in and then as they, as they kind of graduate out of that, which typically will take between six and nine months, you're gonna, you're gonna work one on one with them to make sure everything's crafted personally for their business.
 
Is there a minimum revenue threshold they should be at before? No, not really. We have a couple of clients that are, you know, brand new or, you know, solo operator kind of restarting their business over to start growing with employees. They just want to do. It is, they've said in their words the right way this time. I know I'm like, hey, they've said, I don't feel bad saying that again, I'm not, not using names, but um, so no, I mean we have people that, you know, all the way down there. Right?
 
And again, we try to cut some other planes, We have a pretty said structure for the academy and everything that we run our clients through, but we try to work with them, right? I mean, some, we do have a couple of clients to just meet with them once a month. Um, you know, so then obviously they pay half the cost of what, twice a month, you know, main plan is just because they might be smaller. And so for them it might actually take them 12 to 18 months to get there. Right?
 
But just, you know, so we try to work with their budget as much as we can because again, I guess that earlier at the end of the day we just, we want to be able to help people, right? So anyway that we can make sure that we can add value to people and try to work with them, right? We don't negotiate their prices and necessarily but we'll kind of negotiate how we can structure some of the things. That's the biggest thing. Um you know and we're continuing to add our services here over time as we grow.
 
Like I said, we have other advisors that work with some of our clients. It's not just myself, we've got a great team of advisors. Everybody has painting industry knowledge. Um So either they ran a painting company actually all of them have random painting business at this point that our advisers with them uh they have the industry specific knowledge. We have a bookkeeper and payroll person on staff or any of our clients that need those services. Right. Different things. So we're kind of growing our resources out there.
 
We're never going to get into what you do. I want to make that very clear because that's not our area of focus but we have people in place that can kind of help facilitate people in other areas aside from just the day to day advising. Yeah, well I appreciate that full explanation, chris and I want to remind all of our listeners that this is a pre approved Painting Industry Partners series. So I do not take on just anyone. Um The you know, we only take on the best of the best here.
 
So chris being here means that I personally vetted him, paint american prose is bedded in. We account for him and uh we recommend him without reservation. Yeah. Absolutely man. Is there anything else appreciate you sharing all your expertise, what you're seeing work and how how painting companies can prepare or anything else you want to share before we wrap this up? No man. I think we really covered a lot of different stuff today. Um I just that I appreciate you guys having us. Obviously people have questions like you said get connected with us on the painter Marketing Mastermind forum on facebook.
 
Um You can reach out to us to our websites www dot elite business advising dot com. Um or shoot an email chris at elite business advising dot com. Um Happy to help. We do free business analysis meetings with all of our clients. Right? So if something we said In this episode especially these last few minutes hits home and you just want to chat with us. Hey what does it look like to work with? You guys have a little bit more of a personalized conversation. We do free 30 minutes you know analysis meetings just to kind of get to know you get to know what your goals are, where you're at now.
 
Um and see if it might be a good fit for both of us and unless you make that decision. So um so no I like I said I really appreciate you having me on, always happy to get on and chair again. I love love working with you. You love working alongside you with the P. C. A. And everything. I think at the end of the day it's it's pretty cool. I've talked about this before. Like we all have the same mission right? We wanna help painting contractors grow their business and and be as successful as possible.
 
And so it's really cool to kind of be you know, in that same mentality with you and you know, we do different things for them. But at the end of the day that's our goal, right? So I I really do appreciate people like yourself and others in the industry that are that are on that same mission. I appreciate that chris you have reached out to him. Worst case scenario you learn more about your business and kind of what direction you need to go and I can tell you there's not gonna be a hard sell um his team.
 
So don't don't sit there and you can always tag him in the in the facebook group as well and whole answer in there. All right, chris appreciate your time brother. Thank you for this. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it And look forward to having you on our podcast. I'm excited brother. Thanks man. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training, as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company.
 
Again that you are L is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast. Hey there, painting company owners. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also, if you're interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at Painter Marketing Pros.com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon at painter marketing pros dot com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time. Keep growing.

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