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Guest Interview: Aaron Vytlacil of AV Painting

Aaron Vytlacil, founder and owner of AV Painting, shares how he has grown from $800k in 2020 to doing over $2 million/year in annual revenue. He also discusses enlightening conversations he has had recently with thought leaders in the painting industry, and how these conversations have shifted his entire mindset to thinking much bigger. Aaron discusses the power of thinking big, and how painting company owners can learn a tremendous amount from surveying other industries, both in and out of home services.

Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • Importance of thinking big, and why our industry isn't doing it enough
  • What's your long-term “why,” and how Aaron recently discovered his
  • Where are the biggest mistakes likely to be made with aggressive growth
  • How to learn who you need to become in order to get where you want to be
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 on this episode of the Painter Marketing Mastermind podcast. We host Guest Aaron but Lacko Aaron is the founder and owner of AV painting, a residential painting company based in Seattle that currently does over $2 million dollars in annual revenue. Aaron has seen rapid growth over the last two years, but some recent conversations have shifted his mindset into thinking much bigger than he had previously believed possible. Aaron discusses why thinking bigger is key to maximizing your impact as a business owner and how painting contractors can learn from other industries, both in and out of home services. 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. Erin thank you for coming on the painter marketing mastermind podcast. Thank you sir. Good to be here. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about a V painting. Where are you guys based on what do you do, what's going on? Maybe painting a space in Seattle? I started in college works painting in 2006 as a freshman. I'm on to Whitman College and then uh started 2007 Just Painting on My Own. And So it's been like 15 years in the business and it was very slow steady growth The 1st 10 years or so. I don't know if you've ever seen one of those charts where it's like the hockey stick after 10 years. Yeah, I have hockey stick growth. Yeah. Well yeah, it took me it took me a while to see what's possible in this business. So yeah, So I guess how long did it take you to? Well let's back up. So how much revenue did you do in 2021? We produced 1. 6 million. Okay, 1. 6, nice man. And you guys are strictly residential repaint in Seattle, That's right, 70% exterior, 30% interior. Excellent. And then what do you foresee for 2022 revenue and the, I'm thinking two million. Um I decided not to hire another sales rep this year. I was considering going for like 2. 5 and and 2. 5 or three. but I decided to focus more on the production side and getting really good systems in on, on that. I have my sales and marketing pretty well running, but I felt like last year we didn't quite deliver the highest level of service that that was really possible. So I feel like I'm just gonna kinda take the organic growth and kind of run my same sales and marketing, I mean if you, if we grow 10% or 15% um these days it's like not even real growth, it's just inflation growth. Yeah, so let me, let me ask you this then, how long did it take you to get your first million in annual revenue? Last year was our, was our first year because 2020 we did like around 800. Okay, wow. So you doubled 801 6. Congratulations. So yeah, hockey stick growth you had. So you, when did you start this company? I know you've been in the business for 15 years. Um Well, I mean Basically it started in 2007, even though you can't really count that as a VPN if I just like painted a my neighbor's house. But um that was the seed that that's basically where I started. Yeah. Okay, so the seeds of a be painting a v painting were established in 2007. 2020. Right? 800,000 just growing organically 21, was was a pretty good year, exceptional for you, you doubled 1. 6 and now you're on track to do over to this year and you think you could, um, probably even reached three if you had had decided to do that, but you really want to focus on systematized and, and yeah, I mean it's not, it's not fun just to run a business at two or three million if the systems aren't in place, you know, it's just like, you don't like fires, it's like too much of a ship show. Yeah. Yeah. You, yeah, it's, it's interesting. You know, it's kind of, what is your, what is your tolerance for, for paying almost in the way of putting out client fires or customer fires? Um, well I saw what was possible when I systematized the sales side. So I just need to do that on the production side in like, you know, higher project managers and get them into a flow. I've been working in the last few days on, on charting out like a flow chart of like what happens through every step. Like, like the other day we were working on what happens when a, after a job is sold, what are like getting super granular on, like what emails and texts need to be sent in the color consultations and then, um, you know, wrap it in a lot of ideas of the stuff I've learned from people at expo and other events like Jason phillips idea of the weekly hugs, we're going to implement that where someone books a job and then we reach out every week, just say, hey, we're thinking about you were coming up on your job, nothing's changed. But so yeah, if I can get a really good process on that, on that side, after the job is sold and that's going to make my life way better. Yeah, that's great man. Um yeah, the expo is definitely has has a lot of um ideas and and a whole lot, you know, to come back with, I think sometimes it can be a little bit overload, but you and I had a really great conversation but before we go into that, because I know once we do, it's really gonna take off, I want to talk about when you doubled your business, you know, 20, 20-20, 21 What happened? How did you go from 800 to 1. 6 in one year? Well, shout out to Garrett martell because it helped me a lot. Um we'll tie into our other conversation once we get off on that. But how it really happened is uh make a decision to to higher sales rep and and it with with a full time sales rep, I think the big hurdle was like, let me make sure I have enough leads for this guy. I was kind of afraid that. You know, if I didn't have the leads, then it wasn't going to work. And um, so we end up Garrett helped me do a postcard campaign. um that was the big difference because if we were selling 800, like just based on you know, mostly organic, maybe a little bit of google ads actually in Covid, I paused my google ads because everything got crazy and then I didn't even really need it, so I sold 800 almost like organically, so I guess I added 800 just on postcards and a little bit of and some google ads as well and then hiring the sales rep, training the sales rep, making sure he knows the process for estimating. That took a lot of it takes like about a month, took me about a month to get him and surprisingly like I took a guy that sold me my truck, he worked at ford kevin shout out to kevin vargas um but I was recruiting, trying to like higher off indeed wasn't really getting great candidates and then as um you know, have you ever heard of that book? The a method for hiring? I have, yep, I was following that system and what's funny about that book is that they don't even have a section for how to hire on job from job postings because their interests are just like, it's like networking, Headhunter firms, like there's other ways to get people. Um Anyways, I I onboard him, trained him for a month and surprisingly like it seems kind of scary to just like throw your whole estimating sector on to someone that's never done painting before. But there are surprisingly few jobs that we're terribly underbid or something, you know it worked so with with Garrett where you were you using his service trades fixed? Yeah. Okay, awesome. So little plug for Garrett trades fixed dot com. Garrett martel is the man with direct mail marketing plug him again. Um Yeah, actually met him in person for the first time at the expo so that was a lot of fun. Yeah, I want to you and I, we were thinking it was one of the evening events, we were grabbing a drink and and talking and I think you had just gotten done talking with Garrett and you had some really interesting thoughts about mindset, about how a lot of painting, company owners think about things and where you see room for improvement. Let's let's dive in man go. Well, I'll tell you about about what's been true for me. Um So in 2019 and well I guess I can back up a little further, I'd say like 2017, I started thinking like about getting more into the business and I felt like for the 1st 10 years, I was I hated being a painting contractor and didn't want to do it. That's a lot of time, man, you have a high tolerance for pain I guess. Well it's not that bad when you're only doing it for six months out of the year and then the other six months ago gallivanting around the globe and skiing or I spent like four years in whistler skiing full time and spent like 44 years in Mexico kite surfing. Another few years traveling around europe and new Zealand or whatever. So that was kind of like my, my thing where I would just like paint six months, make make enough money to get me through the next six months and then come back and I'm like damn it now I have to start working again. Yeah, but so I started to Around 2018, I started thinking more about like no growing the business and I started reaching out to some local guys in my area and one of them was like, I'm not really the guy you want to talk to about this, but you should join this, this group, the business brush. So I joined this facebook group and then um I started reading some stuff on there and then Garrett posted something like, hey something, anyone, I want to go to pc a commercial forum in Sedona and I didn't really care about the forum or the event but I just want to go to Sedona. So I was like, yeah sure I'll go and we had a fun time like hike around Grand Canyon and then I got to know Garrett because we do, we have all these awesome rocks and stuff around there and it was really fun. We want to take a few days early and then that's when I started to see, oh I didn't know you could run. I didn't know you could do this like $5 million company. 20% net make a million dollars a year. Didn't seem like he was working that much harder than I was like, why wouldn't I just want to do that? So that was like my first inspiration of like what was possible. Also, it was important for me that Garrett was like close to my age, this is actually a few years younger, um the same business model, same type of business mind. Whereas like I had, I had an idea of like a painter contractor is like, It's like, you know, 45, 50 year old dude, that's like loves the craft and just has like 30 painters and it sounds like something I never wanted to do, but Garrett put the example of like the business person with a sub model that can make a lot of money. So um after that I was like, okay, I can do that, that sounds doable. Um And then as, so that was like my impetus to grow from like 800-1.6. And but I felt that I was kind of uh there was something a little bit missing in my energy because even though I had been inspired to grow my company, I had this idea of like, OK, let's get to five million If I'm making $1 million dollars a year, I don't need any more money than that. Um then I'll just go do something else. I don't really know what that something else would be anyway. So I don't have a clear vision of like, what, what my awesome life is going to be, I just wanted to not do what I'm doing. So that's like the, the energy behind that is like, I don't want to do this, I still don't want to be doing what I'm doing, you know, it's funny man, but not a lot of people come on this and say I don't want to be doing this, but I appreciate the candor. Um So, I mean that's that's that that's holding me back, right? Like if you when you're not doing something that you want to be doing, like it's very hard to to just like sit down and like grind through it. Like, all the big visionary people that have done amazing things. The reason they've done it is because when it gets hard, they love what they're doing, they're inspired that they have enough energy to like take them through. So when I'm yeah, the passion will carry you through the tough times, right? So if I don't have the if I don't have like that passion, it's not enough just to be like, oh, I want the million dollars, it's like, that's not enough. I don't think anyone, anyone in the world has ever been, man, it'd be cool to be super rich, like making millions of dollars. I don't think that thought never really crossed anyone's mind. I think, I think, I think for some people that probably would be enough, but I'm just speaking for me personally like it's a, I'm like, yeah, I mean especially if, if on 1. 6 million, I'm still making like a few $100,000. Like I don't need like the money after several $100,000 a year is like not making a huge difference to the point where I'm just like, yes, I have to have it. So my, my breakthrough moment was when I started, I went to some other events for home improvement contractors and started meeting some other people Running like $100M companies. Um I went to the top 500 remodelers in New Orleans last fall and like there's a like There's dudes running roofing companies, $300 million. Home improvement companies that like 700 million. And so I started getting me thinking a little bit, I want to accelerate live in Fort Lauderdale a few weeks before the Orlando conference, which is another home improvement, uh, not painting specific, but home improvement specific. Met, met some good guys there and you know, there's other, there's, there's exciting things happening in this industry, like there's roll ups happening where like companies are getting conglomerated and bought and um there's like arbitrage happening where you can take, you can buy up a few companies that are worth like you know a million dollars here, like this company is worth a million. This company is worth a million, you can get like five companies together and suddenly instead of like a three X. Multiple now that's worth six X. Multiple because it's valued more, the bigger the company. So um and just like realizing the opportunity and home improvement. Like I remember back in the day, I was like man, I don't want to be doing this painting thing, this this sucks, I wanna do something exciting. So I went to the Seattle startup week and all these like startup companies, you know like this will be exciting. None of them make any money. That's what's that's the deal with startups and tech entrepreneur, you're gonna be the next unicorn. Yeah, you have like the one in a million shot. Yeah. And I was like man this this isn't too bad, I guess it's home improvement thing. So um so then I started thinking like what what would be like really inspiring? And so I started thinking bigger, like I think part of the a common thing that I see like at the expo and stuff, it's like okay, how much money do you need to live your life, right? And I feel like that's a limiting factor because like I said the money once you to a certain point you have enough money. So I started thinking about like What would it be like to run a $5 million $25 million $50 million dollar company, $400 million 700 something million would like if you're gonna beat certa pro that's like a billion dollar company. So what what who who is the man that I would have to become to run $100 million dollar company for a billion dollar company. It's it's too big to like comprehend the difference right now. But like just thinking thinking that scale. Yeah like who do I have to become? And that's like what the real growth is. It's like the the personal development of of what's what's going to be asked of me. And then and then the other aspect that motivates me is like the talent development aspect of it because what I've heard from all these big organizations That are like $100 million dollar plus it becomes a talent development people funnel like these these companies in Brandon von talked about this at at his thing at the expo where focusing on the people and treating your talent cool and you're recruiting as marketing. So like a lot of people focus on the market and they track their ri but are you tracking your like where you're posting ads or where you're getting referrals and how are you getting people? So these huge firms, they're just like they're focused on like how do you funnel people into your organization? How do you get top level talent? Another thing that was a light bulb for me was I read a couple of things um from like billionaire type people that said it's not any easier to run a small business than it is a big business. It's actually harder to run a small business Because you can't attract level 10 talent If I have a $2 million dollar company, I don't have enough space in the company to attract. Like, I mean maybe I can develop someone into it, but like if I have $100 million company, the the quality of people that I can hire is I have more leeway, I can have more capital can hire like super high level people and that's like what great companies are and that's what I want to do is like beer surrounded by great people and develop people take people with opportunity. Like say people that are gradually graduating college or in the mid twenties, they're like, they don't have anything. There's a kind of searching for something like, hey, here's an organization that's going to like develop you into your potential and then what, what would happen From there? Like now let's say I retire from this $100 million dollar company at some point, What are all my connections going to be like, I'm going to have this huge pool of people that are going to be like moving through my organization, starting their own businesses. Like the opportunities are going to be vast. So that's what I mean by money not being the deciding factor, it's like what's the, what's the life that is possible at a bigger scale. So you basically, well let me ask you this, have you decided what you want? I mean are you aiming for a billion dollar revenue company? What's your goal? I mean I feel like that's kind of uh erin this is this is going to be listened to I think by you know, well over 1000 potentially thousands of people. This is your opportunity. We're recording this on March 10th 2022. This is your opportunity to put a stake in the ground. Yeah. Thanks Brandon, I appreciate this. No worries. I didn't want to put you on the spot, you know, nothing like that. I wanted to keep it casual. Um I can't say billion at this point, but I could say 100 million. Okay, it's a pretty big steak. I like that. So you're you're committed At this point. You decided that you're going to build a company to over 100 million. Yeah, I love it man, are you gonna stick just a painting or are you thinking about expanding into other home improvement services? I don't know. There's a few models for that kind of growth. Like um Like one thing that opened my mind at the expo was hearing Brandon. I saw his map to a million thing and where he created his um epoxy or the garage door floor, garage Floor coating company. And he's already, he's already franchised into like seven locations. So there's a franchise model that you could do um sort of pros doing a franchise model. That's, that's one way you could, you could scale rapidly, you know, I could uh growth through acquisition. Um you know, acquiring different companies. I could expand services in the more regional way. I could, I could find like a champion for roofing division and then get into that. Um I, you could potentially even do licensing. I don't know if anyone has done that in the industry, but you can create like a kind of a model for how the businesses, how you run a residential painting company and then license your systems to people. Um There's different ways of doing it. So, um, I don't have a I don't have a plan yet. I think the first, um I don't, I think the plan to grow to five million is still the plan. It's just that now. I have more energy behind it because that's not where I'm going to stop and go try and find some other things to do that. I don't even know what I would be doing. Um So, mm hmm. I mean, I still, I can't think too far ahead. Um like gran you early. Um, but it's it's it's good to have like the idea of like, you know, putting the feelers out. Like I had a meeting with another contractor locally yesterday who is also an extra college works guy. You know, getting, getting him thinking big and just like um, keeping in touch with my talent network. You know? So as my company grows then if I have opportunities, I can, I can wrap people in. Yeah. Yeah, I love that man. It's always refer to it as a b b hag, you know, big hairy, audacious goal. Um, I think it's great to common, common term people use. But the so we work with paris painting and mr marketing process and I was visiting Jason, um, Jason's headquarters. So they have Holdings company Holdings and he does something kind of similar to what you were explaining with the licensing. And it's kind of interesting the way that he's decided Obviously he's built a successful painting business. They're on track to do over 11 million this year and targeting Um, over 30 within five years. And what he's doing is basically taking a minority stake in promising painting companies and using a capital infusion. In addition to a knowledge infusion with that company to ultimately basically I own a minority stake in a hole in in many painting companies across the country. So I think it sounds kind of similar to what you were saying with the licensing, you know, selling, selling them your system um I guess has involved some capital which yours may or may not, but essentially it's a holdings company that now owns, you know, a lot of pairs painting, but now it's also owning other painting companies, so it's another sort of roundabout I guess way of achieving the same thing, not having to build it all, but it's kind of about to the franchise model. Yeah, I've talked to Jason actually went out there in november and stretched out his place. Um What do you guys do together? So we're doing all their digital marketing, so we're building building a revised site for them uh took over their PPC and our they've they've gotten largely to where they're at, through a door hangers and through a lot of other marketing techniques. Um the online has not been a huge driver for them so to get over 30, they're going to need to accelerate the online portion. That's that's cool, that's good partnership. Um Yeah, so the acquisition model that I would consider that more of like an acquisition because they're buying a minority stake in a company and maybe eventually they'll buy the full steak, like that's part of the value proposition of of their holdings model is Mhm. Well by a minority stake, you will, you'll get our systems and then, you know, if you ever want to exit, we could potentially buy the rest of it. Um licensing is, is like if I had a a system, a company in a box and someone just like bought it and I didn't do anything Franchising is like they pay me a fee and If you pay $50,000, you get all the systems, we help you with your marketing, that kind of stuff. So there's like, but it's all kind of the same, same vein. Yeah, yeah, it makes sense, man. So then you, your driver of, you know, when, when you're saying you're not going to stop at five and now you have more motivation because you have a bigger goal in front of you, your driver seems to really be the people because it doesn't seem that you're money driven, You said after a couple 100 grand, it doesn't really make a difference. So what's, what is it? Can you elaborate on that? What's driving you? That's a good question. Um Yeah, people are very interesting. Like the human, the human journey is like the most interesting thing for me, I think there's two types of people, there's like people that are interested in things and there's people that are interested in people and like people are interested in things like Elon musk, that's like the, like the pinnacle example of someone that's interested in things, he's like a brilliant engineer and he's like, how do I build rockets to go to mars and then people interested in people, It's more like a richard Branson type of person was like there, they're focused more on the people. And for me, like the human experience is just like a fascinating thing. And Um like seeing my own journey from, you know, how much I've changed in my life and who I've become up until this point and who I might become in another 10 or 20 years. It's fun to be able to connect with other people. And I love just like the, how expand how much expansion I get personally working with other smart people. Like I was on a, I was on a call the other day, like I get, I get so much energy from people and like my worst, my worst situation is like to be in my office alone, like working on stuff they don't want to work on. And then just like, it's so bad. But if I have like someone on a zoom call, like um I have admin person anna, she's on the East Coast, she's helping me, she's like this project coordination and we're writing out all of our workflows and just like having her on zoom and I'm just like typing through my stuff, kind of just like talking out loud. I could see someone, maybe me in the past or someone might think like, oh, this is a waste of her time because she's just watching me work, but actually it's like I can't distract myself because someone's like watching me and as I'm talking through everything she says, oh why not? Why don't we put that step earlier? Or why don't we put this extra question on the form when people actually sign up instead of like doing this later, I'm like, oh that's brilliant. And then there's like something else that I and like, I don't even know how to use our own software that I've been using for like six years, and she's like, oh did you know you could do this and like, oh I like how did I not know that? So like there and then like many people like at the expo like Brandon like oh I didn't know I could, I didn't know it was possible to start a company and then Franchising to seven locations in a year. Like I didn't know that was a thing, so I'm just like constantly being expanded and like, even someone that's like you think might be like a lower level employee that you that you hire, It's like, oh I didn't think about that, so, but also like higher level, just like the the human journey, like what happens when I take uh someone and give them an opportunity and like we grow together, we learn from each other and then suddenly now they're off like doing their own company and like there like a huge part of their growth has been passing through the culture we've created and it's like to create a company culture, We talk a lot about culture, but it's kind of like a buzzword, you know, it's like, what, what really is culture? Culture is like ah like it's the people, the people hold the culture. So like if you can, if you can collect together the right people and like kind of just have an overarching intention of like, hey, we wanna, we want to be the best people we can be, we want to develop our talent and create more opportunity or whatever our intention maybe for the company and then then you have a core of people and those people attract more like people, you've just created your own little world within the world. Yeah, yeah, I love that man. And, and the, this idea that people who come through your company create their own company and you kind of have your offspring companies got baby company, maybe they, maybe they need a minority partner, maybe they do. Yeah, I feel like we need to get you like a nanny cam and like set up there and you don't know, you know, it's the livestream you don't know whether somebody's watching or not. So you just have to kind of keep working and accountability, nanny cam. I think about the unicorns man, this is an opportunity right here. I guess if there was like enough, if there was like actually people on there where I was like, there might, there's like, there's a chance someone is actually watching that might work. Hmm, this could be, this could be a service. We could create like a lot like a livestream. Like if people are interested like say people watch this, they're like, oh damn. This guy is interesting. I just want to like watch him work at his computer. It's going to be super interesting. Then I'll just be on there and just like talking through my ship, you know, live stream. It's just Content, right? You can, I could become a select like a YouTube celebrity just by live streaming doing your job. Yeah. It's gonna work from 9-6. I just, I really want to see him work from 9-6. Yeah. And then you could like chunk it up into like five minute videos and you have so much content of media working. You would. Yes. The crazy thing is, some people would probably watch that. Yeah. Yeah. There's something, there is something there. So, what, what are I guess some of the mistakes you've made as you've grown your business to this point. Mm hmm. Like I haven't made any huge mistakes yet. Perfect perfection. But I'll take it, uh that's probably because I haven't, I haven't like been boldly growing until now. So I would expect some mistakes will be on the horizon. If you're not, if you're, if you're not making mistakes, that means you're probably just like how big a mistake can I make just like going from like 80 K, 220 K to 200 K. Or revenue. Like what are the big mistakes that I'm going to make Their like I underbid the job. Like the big mistakes come when you like make a wrong higher and like something, something, you know, you made a huge tactical air because you're trying to do big things right? So I feel like I haven't really done and I haven't really like broken enough things, you know, like facebook's mottoes like move fast and break things. They're making a lot of mistakes because they're, they're moving fast and they're like trying to scale rapidly. So I might have some good mistakes for you next time we talk. I love it. So then let me ask you this, you've talked with obviously a lot of the heavy hitters in the space and you've got a lot of good advice. What things do you think you might break moving forward? What are, what are potential things you think could go wrong as you now start to scale more aggressively? The good thing about this business is like, it's so forgiving. Like are the cash flow model of a, of especially like a sub model Like compared to a business like manufacturing or or like a tech company where like you have to, you have to keep raising capital to like keep your runway going like that's so stressful and like any mistake like you can sink your company if you're if you're in a manufacturing company and like you make them and like something happens with like your distributor and like some relationship goes wrong and then like now you're you have like a huge shipment of stuff that's not usable. Like in the home improvement industry. Like that's a good question. Like what are some of the big mistakes that could happen? It's like I feel like hiring the wrong people is probably probably the biggest mistake that that could happen because everything else is like It's almost as full proof of as a cash machine as you can get. Like we're getting we're getting 30% of our money up front. Like worst case scenario like our risk is just distributed over hundreds of jobs as a residential painting contractor. You know, someone in a commercial commercial type job, maybe they have like a job that they're doing that's like, you know, 800 K. Million dollar job. Maybe they're like a $5 million company. Like if one of those jobs starts to go sideways, that could be a big mistake. But in my model, the risk is so distributed that that they're I think they're really the main risk is the people. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a great point. It is an attractive business model. I think Jason, Jason paris and nick Slavic talked quite a bit about that at the expo about how attractive this is a model and kind of overlooked and they mentioned some, some of what you said about the rolling up of companies, you know, I think the, the, as Jason said, the renaissance of painting industries has not yet occurred and I think that there's a tech revolution that hasn't for some reason reached painting, but I think it is reaching it. Um, you know, I like to think we're contributing a little bit for that, but I think that the companies that embrace that are ultimately going to be these companies that accelerate, you know, these, these forward thinking like you're saying as opposed to Yeah, just just a $500,000 million dollar company. Just kind of hang out there, I've seen a little bit of that with like a paint then is a good example. You know them paint zen? Yeah, I don't, I don't know them though. They developed this like you can go on the website and you can basically book your job through there, like online estimating. So it's like how big is your room do you want the walls painted, are they, are they dark walls? Like do you want the windows painted? Like, so it's like basically taking you through the estimate process digitally and then it's like, yeah, sign up, book your job now, you never have to speak to anyone and then they subbed out and then someone will come out of your house and do the job And I think they sold the PPG for like 60 something million. Um, so that was kind of like the first tech play that we saw. Nice. That's great man. Um, what in your company right now is going the best, What do you feel like you're just absolutely knocking it out of the park on? Mm hmm. I don't know if I'm knocking it out of the park or anything but my best would be sales marketing because that's the first thing I systematized and I don't really have to do much with that. I think it could be improved to get it to knock out of the park level. I think I'm still a little bit um, constrained because you know, I have so many other things to develop in the business where like if I had the production side systematized, I'd have more bandwidth to like really optimize sales and marketing even more. But I think that's my strong suit right now is sales and marketing. And then, and then personally, like my strong suit is, um, production, like big picture production management. Like I feel like I'm have a natural talent for attracting and retaining and managing subcontractor crews. Like I, I think because I speak spanish that's like a huge advantage And I feel like I relate well and I'm able to work well with those, those crews and they keep them engaged and you know, keep them happy, negotiate with them. All right. And then, um, I guess what, you know, kind of moving forward, We've talked a bit about the painting industry and, and obviously some of the developments that are happening, some development that we think are still gonna happen. Do you, how do you see it? And you have touched on this something? But in the next five years, 10 years, 15 years, what do you see happening? What are the biggest changes you see likely coming? Um, and that maybe other painting contractors or company owners, if they haven't really thought about it, maybe we might want to start thinking about this. One thing other people probably might be thinking of already is like the economy is going to be a huge factor. Obviously we can't can't really predict what's going to happen, but it's been good for a long time. And one thing I have thought of is like, what is like if we do have ah A pullback in the economy, like, let's say like a 2008 style thing or it could be even like more impactful than that, depending on if we're on like a ten-year cycle or are we on like 100 year cycle? Um What, what, what kind of business model are we running? Like, are we going to be able to, to absorb that and like scale back? Like how much overhead do we have, how nimble would we be? Because if that happened, I think I would probably come out on the other side of it with the way more market share because I'm, my overhead is low and I'm like positioned, I'm not overextended so that if there was a market pullback, I would be able to expand and like maybe other marketing channels would like say google ads and postcards and stuff that goes down. People aren't buying, say I expand like doing door to door knocking. Like we hired one guy to start doing that the other day. Um um So like there's, there's ways to expand in a, in a down economy. That's, that's 11 tactical thing I would consider. Um But other than that, yeah, like, like we've, we've touched on like that, but people have come in with some tech plays in the industry. Roll ups are happening. Um there's definitely a huge opportunity for companies and like private equity is becoming more interested in in the industry. They're seeing like how much cash flow, how great of like a, a model it is. So what's going to happen with that? Like I would say, um for me, I'm definitely interested in the roll up thing. Like if I can scale myself to, to a point where let's say I'm doing like five million, seven million in my region just in Seattle. Um And then I, and then I can start expanding. Maybe maybe I can leverage other people's capital, like maybe someone's like, hey, I'll front up, so I'll put up some money and then I can acquire some other companies and then start conglomerate ng and expanding and then if I go from five million, if I buy another company that's worth five million and then I suddenly have a collection of companies that's worth 30 million. Now I could now, private equity is going to give me like a good multiple on it and then I could potentially exit maybe like by more companies like the, once you start working at scale like that with like other people's money particularly and like leveraging and like doing that, like there's, I think there's an opportunity there. Yeah, I'm a, I'm a big proponent of robert, Kiyosaki philosophies and I brought up a couple of them on the podcast, but other people's time, other people's money, you know, it's ultimately how you accelerate your growth. Yeah. Other people's time being like employees, right, employees subcontractors, uh kind of, you know, kind of whoever whoever you need, it's ultimately about leveraging the resources and assets available to you, not doing everything yourself, not paying for everything yourself. Yeah, and that's like, I'm in some entrepreneurs groups as well and it's interesting to challenge yourself about those things like other like what are things that you're doing that actually could be outsourced and challenging, like there's, there's stuff that you might not think there it is possible to outsource that is like, can you, can you hire a personal assistant to like return amazon packages and like pick up your dry cleaning or like call, call the bank and wait on hold and like there's like I've picked up some interesting things from other entrepreneurs like huh? I guess maybe maybe you could leverage your time even more, yep. Yeah I have a love hate relationship. Well he doesn't have any relationship with me but I have a love hate relationship with tim Ferriss and I have tried to read his book for our work week literally five times I've tried and I just can't. I and I like to read books, I finished every book I started except his I've made it halfway through and I just get to pistol like this guy is too full of S. H. I. T. Um at some point in here but a lot of his concepts and I think he really kind of started this much of this revolution about trying to think more systematically about your entire life, like you said the dry cleaning or some can someone conduct these errands or these calls for you. Um you know my my wife and I started thinking about our life the same way we think about our business, right? Like we hired a nanny, we hired someone who goes and does errands because if if it if I wouldn't do that level of work with painted marketing pros then why would I go do that level of work or that that kind of love, you know not not high value work outside of painter, it's it's exact same thing, you can start to think about your whole life and your business as one unit, not separate. Yeah, it's important. That's a really the entrepreneur's mindset, right? Yeah. And you you have to kind of and I think it's one of the biggest struggles in this industry, I think it's a natural struggle anyways. But especially like you you mentioned kind of coming up in painting but you don't really necessarily like painting and the difference between painting and the business owners mindset if you come up in that practitioner mindset of you're a practitioner of painting, you're a painter and and that is a I think it makes that that mental transition more more difficult, you know, I'm really not a painter. Like we I I ran an interview a podcast live podcast with Jason phillips at the expo And he talked about the three stages of of contractor prison And stage one, you're the contractor, stage two, you're a sales and marketing company that provides the contracting service and then stage three, like you said, you're a people development company. So I think it's interesting to see those themes. Yeah. Yeah, it's definitely way harder for someone that's that actually was a trades person because they have they have like that that connection to the trade where it's like someone like me, I was just, I I didn't start, I did paint but like, my first opportunity was like, higher the painters. That's like the college works in college Pro model? Right? It's interesting, it's interesting to see how many people from college pro are, like in the expo like in high level positions, like, like yeah, they're breeding them man, they're like racehorses over here or something, they're coming out and doing well. Yeah, I wonder if it makes you think, like, is there an opportunity? I always had a conversation with some of those guys at the expo like why, why did that business shut down? Why did all the college painting companies deteriorate and like, so kids don't want to do it anymore, like what's what's the next play for giving people that entrepreneurship opportunity in the home improvement space? Because that was really their whole gig was like, take, take young talent and be like, hey, learn how to be an entrepreneur and do this internship thing, but but now some, for some reason it was, it got too hard to, to market that students. So that's something I also think about like, what, how could you market that to kids and get them excited about it and in in some other way, and I feel like you have a lot on the horizon man, you have a lot that you're going to accomplish and I'm excited to see it. You definitely are well versed in a lot of entrepreneurial themes and follow a lot of people and and know a lot about a lot of different industries, so this has been interesting. Do you have anything else that you want to share uh with, with any other owners or painting companies or anyone else who may be listening? Well just based on what I've learned about myself recently, like always be thinking like what do I really, what do I really want and like challenge yourself, I think think big, but that's kind of cliche and it's sometimes it's impossible. So what really, what really like helps is to put like put yourself out there in situations, networking is everything mentorship is everything All it takes is like one hello can mean the difference between like a huge shift in your life if you meet just one person, if you reach out to just one person and say, hey, like do you want to get together for coffee? I love to learn more, whatever you wanna say something someone you're interested in. I feel like, I feel like people are the key and like it's amazing how how willing high performers are too, like mentor and like share with other people, you know, like the highest performing people are the most available because there they have to be on top of their ship. Like the friend that you text that never gets back to you, it's not because they're busy, it's just because they're lame, but like the person that's like super busy has running like a multimillion dollar firm will text you right back. Yeah. Yeah, I've found that as well, like people are way more accessible and way more willing to help people who are hungry to grow than than is widely recognized to reach out, ask to go to the PC expo, you know, network with anyone in the pc a figure out who those heavy hitters are and try to get on their calendar, try to have a call with them never locally like network, network chamber of commerce, entrepreneurial groups. Yeah. And then you'll then what I find is that I meet those people and they just expand my my mind more and more and then it helps me think bigger imagine. Yeah. And I think the points to that you made about home services, but then you brought in a lot of other stuff about other industries. You don't have to just talk with painters, you don't have to just think about painting and you can go learn from other industries, home services and elsewhere and you can come back and you can incorporate that into your painting company. That's actually a great point because even home services, I would think they're like the same theme and that's that's actually when I go to those home services things, it's like they're actually at a way higher level than the painting places like the pc expo versus like a remodeling conference. The remodeling conferences like for some reason like the roofing and the siding guys that do like there's like so much more professionalization in those industries already which means there's a lot more, there's a lot more opportunity for us, right? But you made you made a good but you made a good point for other industries. Like I think the fact that I have like a I'm a member of E. O. The entrepreneurs organization and what's a worldwide organization and being able to connect with people that run big law firms or software companies. It really expands my thinking more than just being in this. What do you call it? Like the where the echo chamber of like the painting contractor world, like you can get a lot out of it. But what happens when you get people from different fields, giving you ideas? Yeah, I love it man. Well erin thank you for taking the time you definitely gave us a lot to think about and I'm excited to see your 100 million. Hopefully potentially $1 billion dollar company moving forward. Thanks very much 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 they're 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 dot com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon@PainterMarketingPros.com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time. Keep growing.