Guest Interview: Brad Ellison of Somerset Painting & Home Improvement

Published On: October 20, 2021

Categories: Podcast

Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast
Brad Ellison

In this episode, Brad Ellison, the co-owner of Somerset Painting and Home Improvements, discusses how he took a painting business that had been around for 33 years and helped it absolutely explode in growth!  He discusses the importance of finding an operating partner with complementary skill sets, and how effective sales and marketing can transform even a seasoned painting business.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

  • Why finding a sales and marketing partner can help propel the growth of your painting company
  • Understanding the importance of experimentation in painter marketing
  • Some strategies to combat the dreaded winter slow season for painters
  • How to command a premium for your painting services
  • Effective ways to generate 5-star reviews for your painting business, consistently

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 in annual revenue. I’m your host, Brandon Pierpont, founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular PCA 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 brad Ellison, co owner of Somerset painting and home improvements. Located in Detroit michigan brad has a bachelor in Business administration from Oakland University, he specializes in all things sales and marketing. And since joining Somerset painting growth at the company has exploded to doing well north of one million in annual revenue, Somerset painting and home improvement is michigan’s highest rated painting company. They focus on residential repaint but also do epoxy floors, gutter installation and some remodeling projects so brad, thank you for joining us on that painter Marketing mastermind podcast. Brandon, thank you for having me, Happy to be here. Yeah, you are a guest number one man. Guess number one we’re number one, we’re number one there is the attitude. All right, that’s what we’re looking for. Um Yeah, I appreciate you coming on I guess. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Sure. So my background is in sales and management. I actually have a bachelor’s in business management. Um I started in my sales career. Well I started my my entrepreneurial career when I was 19, I started a pretty successful window washing company in the area. It was just me and my buddy that washed windows um after college I started my sales career in the insurance industry. I actually sold life insurance and health insurance for many, many years before I transitioned out into a uh I managed a marketing agency for a few years, so probably similar to what you’re doing now. Yeah, so I speak the language did that for a few years. Um and then when when my wife and I got married we decided we were kind of tired of making other people money, we wanted to make our own money and create our own thing. So we actually quit our jobs, we started our own health insurance agency together and then very quickly thereafter, within about three or four months I got hooked up with Somerset painting and started working for my partner rick. So that was about six years ago, I’ve been with Somerset for six years now, I am 5050 partners with the founder and uh in about a year he’ll be retiring and Somerset will be 100% wow, that’s great man, that’s uh how does painting compare you know selling painting services compared to selling life insurance? Yes. Uh I think that selling life insurance and health insurance is something that people need but they never want to pay for. So it’s, I think it’s the harder sell. Uh when someone’s painting their house, you can actually build excitement about it. You’re going to change their home, you’re gonna change their curb appeal. I think people, while it’s obviously no one likes to spend the amount of money that we asked them to spend on a painting job, it’s still a project that at the end they’re going to see and they’re going to be proud of. So I like having a physical product to physical service that we can actually sell and see the end result in. Yeah, that’s a good point man. We uh we talk a lot of pain, the marketing for us about being a painting, being a want not a need. And I think this idea of the customer being excited about it and something that they can tangibly see like well now I feel a little better if a bus hits me, you know, it’s a little bit more of an exciting proposition, right? 100%. Uh great man. Well, can you tell us a little bit about Somerset painting and home improvements kind of where you’re based what you offer the kind of target customers you serve, etcetera. So As I mentioned, I found my partner founded Somerset painting, he founded it back in 1984. So we’re coming up on 40 years in the market. Um, he was a former pastor. And when he was transitioning out of his pastor ship, he was looking for some way to feed his family and he had painted in college, so he started a painting company and for many, many years he was physically painting himself, he had crews that worked for him um, and then he transitioned out of that into more of a, you know, ownership, sales rolling and not painting. So over the years he’s been, he’s been blessed to have guys like me to come on board and help him run his business and I would say that he’s been most blessed by me and him connecting six years ago because now we have a bridge to the future. So Somerset has a reputation in michigan of being really the highest quality painters and if you go on Angie’s list or home Advisor or google, we are literally the highest rated painters in michigan, which were very, very proud of its second place is not even really close. So we, we focus on um, obviously higher end income people. Um, Metro Detroit has a reputation of being kind of lower income, but the reality is, it’s not true where we operate, it’s in Oakland County, so it’s just north of the city and for for years and years and years we’ve been in the top 10 or top 20 and wealthiest counties in the, in the country, there’s a lot of work and even within Oakland County, we really focus on the upper echelon of those cities. That’s where we kind of found our niche. Uh, yes, we we do mostly residential re paints, we do a little bit of commercial work when we stumble upon it. We don’t seek it out. We do interior and exterior painting of course. And then a few things that go around that we do gutter installation, we can do uh, entry, entry door, installation, siding, installation, and repair. Um, and we do a little bit of epoxy floors in basements and garages, but that’s kind of painting of course, is just our bread and butter. Got it. And do you guys do any kind of kitchen cabinet repaint or anything like that? Yeah, yeah, I would consider that part of interior painting. Obviously it’s much, much more specialized, but yeah, we, we do a lot of cabinet re finishing. Okay, that’s great, man, I appreciate all that. That actually gave me quite a few follow up questions. So I know one of the issues that we see with a lot of the painting companies, we’ll first do you mind sharing generally roughly where you guys are at in terms of revenue, whatever you’re comfortable sharing? Yeah, sure. We’re, this year, we’re on track to do about $3 million dollars in revenue. Okay, Thanks. Yeah, that gives our listeners kind of some perspective on how big you guys are, where you at relative to maybe where they want to be. Um, one of the points that you made that I thought was really good is this idea that okay, he started his painting company because he had painted right and that’s a pretty common theme in our industry and then that he was blessed because he came across you and people similar to you who kind of were able to help him input kind of the business acumen and kind of probably processes and right into the business to kind of get out of out of kind of painting and thinking like a painter to thinking like a business owner. How when did he sort of step out of that role of painter and kind of focus more on working on rather than in the business. And what was that transition like? It was quite a few years into his career owning Somerset painting um I would say so if we’ve been around for 37, years, next will be 38. He uh he was really working in the business for 25 years or so, Think about 12 years or so 12 years ago, he met someone that really helped him take Somerset from here and then really established who we are in Michigan now um and that person had a business background and leadership background and while my partner rick is man, he is so affable, he’s so kind, he loves people so well, he’s like the world’s greatest sales guy, I just really didn’t have that business mind and so um and I’m on the other side where I would say I’m affable and good, but but as far as painting, like Brandon literally, I’ve never painted a house and if customers ask, ask me, are you, how long have you been painting? And I’m not a painter, I’m a business owner and just believe in me. Yeah, right. Um but I like I I quickly learned the language, I understand how our processes work. Um but I’m very fortunate that I don’t need to be in the field actually producing work. I can focus 100% on running the business, but it took rick a lot of years to do it. And we’ve been successful successfully out of the production field for years now. Yeah, that’s amazing man, what advice would you have for painting? Company owners who Or maybe 500,000 and below or maybe there are even higher than that, but they’re still finding themselves stuck in a lot of the day to day. Maybe it’s not necessarily painting, but maybe it’s operations or you know, things that maybe they should kind of be trying to get beyond what advice would you have for them, how to get out of that day to day grind and focus on their business. Well the at that income or at the revenue level, things get, things can get pretty dicey. There’s not, there may not be a lot of margin, a lot of extra money, but they’re for relatively low cost, you can find people that are going to take things off your plate. So for example we full time we employ someone that the only job is to handle all of our incoming leads and schedule all of our estimates now with the amount of estimates that we do that is certainly a full time job. Right? But her job and she works remotely were located in metro Detroit. She works out of florida actually and she handles all of our incoming leads to Home Advisor, whatever they’re called. Now I know they just changed their name right but I’m forever going to call them Home Advisor. Home Advisor Advisor. Yeah, Angie’s list all the leads that come through our website, incoming phone calls, she schedules all the estimates send out the confirmation emails, puts all the information into our system so that the uh when we just need to show up and do the estimates. So that’s the front end. I mean just just offloading that, not having to answer your phone when you’re out at a house painting that’s that’s big. And also it’s you have the ability then to respond immediately to lead requests. I guarantee you know when I when I get a lead from Home Advisor Angie’s list I’m not the only company that’s getting that lead but I’m gonna be the first company to reach out because I have someone that’s their only job is to respond as quickly as possible so that’s one On the back end operations. So after after I make a sale, I have a production manager who her only job is to take this huge list of jobs that we have sold. And right now I think we have about a million dollars worth of exterior jobs and $250,000 worth of interior jobs ready to go. Her job is to manage our schedule. So what jobs are next in the pipeline? Which crews are they going to be assigned to communicating with the customers and then getting the jobs out? Uh and then once the jobs are done, guess what? I don’t have to send invoices. I don’t have to collect money because my production manager and my bookkeeper take care of all of that. So now That’s at $3 million dollars in revenue. It makes sense for us to spend that money by hiring one person to take care of a lot of that stuff. If you don’t have the volume of incoming leads that we deal with. If you’re not sending out the number of estimates that we’re sending out, then one person could realistically handle all that for you and it’s just not that expensive. Now I’m speaking relative from a maybe a point of a position of privilege because we have the money to do it, but it’s worth paying someone $40 or $50,000 to manage your business because how many more jobs are going to be able to complete, how many more jobs can you sell, if you’re earning back your time, you can make up that money and then some by leaps and bounds by focusing on your business. Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. You know, I think for the painting company owners who are more for thinking who are, who do have big ambitions, I think that that will resonate with them, you know that that’s going to resonate with everyone. But I think for the right mindset, that growth oriented mindset that will resonate and and some things you know that we’ve noticed is a lot of painting. Company owners aren’t really familiar with the concept of via a virtual assistance. So you can actually hire some people in the Philippines whose english, I mean they sound as good as you or me, right. If there are possibilities to actually not even have it be 50 grand, have it be more like 20 grand and actually get a lot of this stuff taking off your plate. I think it’s a great point have it kind of systematized and having the right people in the right seats doing the right jobs right? For sure. And one more thing I would add to this conversation is um you know, as well as I do Brandon that, that some painters are just never going to be a businessman, they’re always going to be painters and certainly there is nothing wrong with that. But what that means is if that if that painter has aspirations to grow their business, they’re not going to be able to do it without finding someone like me to partner with their business. And you know, the idea of partnerships can be pretty scary. A lot of people would advise against ever entering into a partnership. But if you don’t have the sales skills, if you don’t have the customer sales skills, that’s really going to help your company get to the next level, then you just need to be comfortable with being a painter and you can make good money as a painter, but you’re not going to see the type of growth that a lot of, uh, me and my cohorts cohorts have seen by finding the right people to do the jobs, can you imagine if I had to rely on myself to paint, we’d be garbage, we begin this painting company together. But no, I’m really good at what I do and I find the best painters in michigan, I pay them well to work for me and, and that’s how we’ve had success. Yeah, yeah. I think that idea of paying the best painter as well, you know, this idea of a, of a labor shortage and I know that you guys are not immune to that. Um, but but when you kind of position yourself, like you’re saying you’re number one through home advisor and yelp and number two is not even really close. It allows you to target these very high end homeowners who are willing to pay more for the quality that they know you’re going to provide and that gives you the margin to then be able to hire these best painters right? And kind of, it kind of insulate you to some extent against this scramble for labor are just really poor labor that a lot of companies are struggling with. Yes, I would say yeah, you’re right, it insulates us to some extent, right? So at this point with such a labor shortage, if guys are looking to go work for someone else, we usually get a call from them when we have an opportunity to learn them to win them. However, I’ve said it countless times over the past two months, I have about 40 painters that are doing Somerset work right now, I could, I could bring on another 40 and keep them busy nonstop through the summer. I just can’t find them, you know? Um it’s been, it’s been really difficult. We are super blessed to have the painters that we have, we are continuing to seek out other laborers that can do Somerset quality work but um yes, in in some, to some degree we’re insulated but we’re certainly not immune. Okay, so right now your, your biggest cap you would say is still labor, your capture your growth Brandon. We, we were selling at such a high cliff this year and at a higher price than we’ve ever been able to get. Ah that we had to stop selling at the end of june. We didn’t realize how how back backed up we were with our with our lineup. So this summer has been for me relatively so slow because my primary responsibilities with Somerset are to sell paint jobs and manage my cruise. Well half of that job is not really that being done. We, me and my partner between the two of us, we would give out and carrying busy season. Uh 60 60 estimates a week or so, 60-80 estimates a week. Yeah. We can talk about why we do that as a strategy because we know we can scale back. But um but right now, you know, I have three estimates to do after we hang out today. I did two estimates yesterday. It’s like Easy Breezy. Now that gives me time to focus on other aspects of the business. It also gives me time to spend with my family during the summer, which is pretty unusual. Yeah, that’s great. So this uh yeah, I mean if you could kind of talk to that strategy 60°, obviously pretty high number. What is the strategy? Our strategy? So with our reputation and you you hit on it, we can we can sell our services probably for more people are willing to pay more to hire Somerset than anyone else. Right? Um We do a very good job of never taking advantage of that, never gouging our customers our prices we think are fair. And the people that hire us would agree they’re fair, but we can command a higher price than other other companies. So our strategy is we’re not afraid of spending money on marketing because of the number of reviews we have on Angie’s list and Home Advisor when people call us, they’re really looking for a reason not to hire us. Right? So we’re going to do as many estimates as we can and really cherry pick the ones that we want. We uh we also set it up where we’re not doing hard selling. You know when I was selling on health insurance and life insurance, I’d be sitting with my knees under someone’s kitchen table and I would not leave their house until I had a yes and a check for their first month’s premium. I gotta overcome objections. I don’t do any of that. We go out we we I talked to a homeowner for five or 10 minutes to hear the scope of the project. I do a really good inspection of the home. Take you know 25-30 pictures that I’m gonna included their estimate. Take a bunch of notes and then I leave. I don’t email them the estimate by the end of the day. I’m not sitting at their table, presenting them the 30 page estimate and reading through every detail. I’m not overcoming objections. I email it out, wait to hear from him. I have automated emails that go out after I sent up the estimate to do some soft closes but I’m not begging anyone to work for Somerset to work with Somerset rather and that’s and sorry and even with that that process We close 40% of our estimates. Yeah, I love it. I love this idea of, you know, pre sale right? Like pre selling the customer. It’s something we really focus a lot on what advice, you know, you guys are coming in so highly positioned, right? You have so many reviews. Your presence online is so great that it’s largely done for you. I think the fact that you’re employing automation is certainly helping your clothes right, you know, you don’t have to try to keep track of 60 or 80 prospects, you know, it’s done for you and they’re still feeling cared for, right and followed up on what advice do you have for companies that maybe don’t have so many, you know, don’t have over 100 and five star views and hope advise or something like that. What can they do to kind of try to pre sell themselves or differentiate themselves? Well, for the long term, start getting reviews. These reviews on Google and Home Advisor Angie’s list are invaluable and people, I don’t think other companies really understand how valuable they are, but when they look at my estimate for 10,000 and they look at your estimate for 8000. But they see that you’ve got two reviews on Google and I got 300. I think they feel more comfortable spending more money because they think they’re going to get a way better value for us. So Step one is think think for the long term and actually pursue those reviews. Understanding that that’s going to take a while to get to our level. Uh the easiest and most immediate thing they can do is simply start acting like a professional business Brandon. If you work with marketing companies every day like I know you do you understand that the bar is set disappointingly low within the painting industry? All I have to do is when we when we schedule an estimate, we send them out a confirmation email with our liability insurance certificate, our workers comp certificate and our builders life, they already have that. They’re never going to have to ask for it. Step two show up on time. It’s unbelievable. People are surprised. Not only do I show up on time, but I show up at all for these estimates Show up for the estimate. Do the estimate. Step three don’t look like a painter if you show up with your with your painter whites and they’re splattered with paint and you know you got a cigarette hanging out of your mouth and you look like a slob, you’re competing against guys like me who are going to show up and look professional and have a uh an educated and informative conversation with the homeowner. Just look professional. Act professional when you’re out there. Um and then besides that, I would say look at how you’re presenting your estimate. Now, I have conversations with guys within our industry about whether my estimates are too detailed. Um I would say they’re not obviously with our closing right in the amount that we we close our jobs for, it works for us, but I’m competing against guys who will do a, you know, a piece of paper, handwritten piece of paper Paint exterior, $6,000 includes paint. And that’s all they get versus when we email them an estimate, it’s going to have um about two pages of just our prep work, 44 points of detail about our power washing, how we raise your scrape, how we talk and what cock we use. When are we going to prime and why do we do that? Uh and then it’s going to have uh as I mentioned 25 to 30 pictures that I took from their site, things that the crews and the crew leaders need to be aware of and be looking for when they’re outside, anyone can send out a detailed estimate. You don’t have to be Somerset painting to do it. You I think any painting company, if they do those four steps, which they could, which they could implement this week. They could close at a much higher closing rate and probably charge 25% more than they’re charging right now. That’s free money man. But but no one, no one does it. And part of me is like I don’t want to tell all these painting companies how to do their job because then it’s the competition’s a little more fierce, but I’m a firm believer that rising tides rise all ships, right? So I’m happy to have more competition. If there were, if there were four more Somerset painting companies in uh in Oakland County, we could all just charge more money. I’ll be making more money and do a better job, we’re competing with each other, we’re making making the industry better. So those are some immediate things that people can do right away and it blows my mind that they don’t even consider doing it too much work, whatever. That’s great man. Yeah, it’s a very growth oriented mindset, you know, not the scarcity mindset and I think that’s important. So one of the things I know a lot of people want to hear about, especially with you being a more northern northern based company. What’s your plan for slow season? How do you guys deal with that? Well, to be honest with you? Brandon, we, I feel like we don’t deal with it as well as we could. Um my partner’s mindset for a long time was winters in michigan, there’s not enough work to go around painters know that they’re not going to get a lot of hours. It just is what it is. And until I was officially a partner that was I went along with that because it’s his company and I’m just here for the ride. We are, that’s that’s enough that we haven’t cracked, but we’re working on it right now. I’ve been talking to other industry leaders around the country like nick Slavic up in Minnesota who seems to do a great job at keeping his guys working year round and not slowing down at all during the winter. So we were happy to increase our marketing spend through our lead providers, we shift all of our marketing messages starting in September two interior painting only we’ve done off season discounts in the past, which seems to help. We, as I mentioned, we charge more for than other companies in our area. So that off season discount helps to level the playing field a little bit more and makes more people more comfortable in hiring us this year. We’re going to try actually a direct mailing approach. This is something that Nick said he’s used to great effect and um having run a marketing agency myself even, you know, that was six or seven years ago that I stepped away. Mhm. At that point, direct mail was a dinosaur. It was, it was dead at least that was the perception. But because so few companies now are actually doing direct mail, you send a direct mail piece out now you’re the only painting company doing it, you have an opportunity to catch some eyes. So we’re happy to do it. I’m happy to spend as much money as I need. I think we have about a million dollars worth of revenue that we have been leaving on the table every winter and that million dollars of revenue um you know, it’s not always going to put money in my pocket, but it’s going to keep my painters working through the winter and they’ll be able to make more money than they’ve ever made in the past. So that’s, that’s our plan for this year is I’m working on it right now in every door direct mail campaign, we’re going to target the highest income areas in our area. We’re going to try to target whole home interior. So instead of these, you know, one or $2000. 01 off jobs, I’m looking for those $15-$20,000 big jobs and we can keep our guys working for weeks at a time. And how are you going to try to target those jobs? You’re gonna include incentives or how do you, how do you kind of gear customers away from contacting for the one or 2000 and more to the 15-20? Uh It will be in the marketing messaging, which we haven’t finalized yet. Um which don’t get me wrong, we’re happy to take the smaller jobs and we will take those as we have them really anything to keep my guys working in the winter. It will be a win in my book. Um but the messing will be around, you know, when was the last time you fully repainted your interior? A little bit of education on why that’s important, a little bit information about what are the current trends to get some some gears rolling, you know there’s people out there that have already been thinking about and those people were trying to catch those uh kind of now buyers as we call them in the marketing world, right? Yeah that makes sense. And then uh yeah I love the fact that you’re focused on direct mail. You know people overlook it and I get triple eight sends me life insurance stuff all the time and it’s the funniest thing. They’re very creative. I don’t know if you’ve got triple A life insurance offers but they make them look super official. Uh get this huge packet and another time I get this letter, I almost think it’s from the I. R. S. I mean every time it’s different but it looked kind of scares me slash gets me excited. I’m like what is this like some huge rebate check or is this in my getting sued or they have a very creative strategy but the point is they stand out and then now I believe it’s Geico is sending me something and and on their envelopes they have a little tab. It looks like a sticky note as part of the envelope that kind of sticks out on the side. So it just already sticks out like someone to attach a sticky note to my mail. And I’m like, you got, you got me to look at it, you got me to pull it out, look at it. But you know, if you see these bigger companies doing things like that, it means it works right using the mail and then set set the male kind of apart. One thing, one strategy we’ve employed for clients that worked pretty well, is actually having a having brightly colored envelopes Because business mail always comes in these white kind of plain envelopes, you have sort of a pink one and not not every company is on board for doing something like this, but you have kind of a pink angle, people open it, you know, hand, hand address, it’s not tight. Um but I love the fact that you’re willing to experiment, you’re willing to, you know, before thinking and try different things out a little outside the box and you’re thinking like a business owner, you know, I think I was very lucky um for this partnership, I guess in terms of the painting industry and painting companies in the future, do you see any emerging trends or sort of any shifts that painting company owners can maybe try to try to kind of be on the forefront of? How do you see the industry evolving, you know, that that’s the way I would answer, this is probably different than I would have answered a year and a half ago before Covid came around. I think that there was a trend to bigger companies and the smaller companies were kind of going to the wayside. Uh smaller company owners would probably seem to be getting sick of chasing down work and we’re more apt to go work for someone else that had a plentiful work with Covid and particularly this year with the demand and labor. I think it’s gone the other direction. I think anyone can start a painting company right now and find work to do it, which I think has made the labor shortage even harder for companies like mine. So like, I don’t know, is that, is that going to stay or is it this one year thing because all the people that wanted to have their house painted last year put it off because of Covid now, all those people want their house painted this year plus the people who are already planted. I’m painting this year, Is there just double demand this year? And will that go away next year? I don’t know. Um, I mean, either way we’ll be able to pivot and and take advantage of of where the demand is and what the market looks like. I mean if the demand for painting services stays high, that’s fine, our prices are going to stay high. If the demand for painting services wayne, well, we’ll still be positioned as the number one painting company in michigan and these guys that started their company last year that won’t be able to generate the amount of revenue they need, they’ll come to us and be wanting to work with us. So I don’t, I don’t really know how to answer that question because there’s so many unknowns over the past year and a half. Yeah. Is technology going to be playing more of a part in uh painting? You know, we’ve, we’ve joked on the facebook painting contractors group about robots that, that may be a real thing and it may not be that far off now the Roomba of painting right now. What I feel comfortable transitioning to, uh, an automated painting, uh, labor supply. I don’t know, I mean, people, people like working with people, but there may be some opportunities for robotics to come into play. If, if I was an engineer, I may have some ideas on what that would look like and try to be able to make a ton of money off an invention. I don’t know. I don’t know. But technology is definitely gonna make a play. Um, I mean we’ve transitioned even as I mentioned to email the estimates is a big thing that couldn’t have been a thing in the past carrying an ipad and taking countless pictures of each job site. Um, taking pictures during the course of the project and send him to homeowners. So they have regular updates on what’s going on at their house. If they’re not there, that’s, I see that as a current trend that’s going to be expanding further in the future. It makes sense. Yeah. I think a lot of what I’m hearing from you is your, your kind of conveying expectations. You’re, you’re committing trust because they’re seeing the reviews. You’re giving them a very detailed estimate. You know, you’re kind of, you’re 40, points that you’re going through. It’s not just exterior $6,000 includes paint. You know, you’re kind of updating them throughout the process there never worried. They’re never wondering if you’re going to screw them over. They know you’re not because you’re talking to me to be clear. They’re always worried, well, there’s always some, I mean, like you said, it’s a big expense, right? They’re paying $10,000 that very few people have just laying around, but you’re targeting the kinds of quality customers that do have disposable income that are willing to pay for as as close as they can get, I guess to guarantee equality, 100%. And we, you know, we used to, we used to market like our hassle free guarantee. No project is going to be hassle free. But we don’t take a deposit. We don’t take any money till the job’s completely done. And that has built a lot of trust with our customers when they call me, you know, worry in the middle of a project. Hey, something happened. A window broke. Um, you know, one of the ladders squish, one of my favorite bush is in the, in the garden. Okay. Well listen, rest assured we haven’t taken any money from, you know, we’ll make sure that everything is up to snuff and totally taken care of before we expect anything from me and then just go, that’s huge. Big breath of fresh air. Don’t worry about it. We’re not going to send you a final invoice until we have your sign off that you are satisfied and everything is done. So there’s, there’s, there’s literally zero financial risk on their end. I’m paying for the paint up front. I’m paying for the labor. I’m paying for everything with the expectation that we’re going to do the job well and then get paid when it’s done. Yeah, I love that. Um, well, I, I don’t wanna take up your whole day. I know you do have some estimates. Do you have any other advice for painting companies? Anything we haven’t touched on? Um, yeah, I would say two things. The first thing is, um, take some risks as we mentioned earlier, You know, incurring the expense of bringing someone on to offload some of your administrative work is a risk, you might hire the wrong person, it’s going to cost you money. But in the long run taking, if you don’t take risks, you’re not going to get the rewards that some of us are enjoying at this point. Um, but the number number two, and this is, may be counterintuitive is don’t focus so much on your business, man. Listen, I, I never thought I would own a painting company and I’m not particularly passionate about painting last week. I’m passionate about two things when it comes to business. I’m passionate about making things better, having high integrity and then ultimately being the best I want summer set to be the best painting company, not only in michigan in the country and I wanted to be so stupid, like we’re so much better than everyone else. It’s like hands down now, that’s my goal. Well, we ever reached that point, I don’t know, but the fact that that’s my goal will help us to continually get better and aim for more. Um, but outside of business, what I’m really, really passionate about is my family, I don’t want to work 70 hours a week. And so I don’t, I, I work as much as I need to, to, to create the opportunities for my team for them to make the amount of money they want to make. Um, and so that the business can continue to grow outside of that, I’m not working And I’ve got, I’m very blessed to get to the point where I work on average 25 hours a week. Um I make more money than I than I need um which I which I don’t feel guilty about because I’m also paying my guys really well, everyone that’s working for me is making good money and that allows me the freedom to, you know, go to the pool after work with my family, get off work at two o’clock, go to the pool of my family or um you know, take three hours off in the middle of the afternoon and go to the gym and hang out my friends and lift some weights. It it allows me the freedom to enjoy my life uh and and really focus on the things that are the most important if Somerset painting collapsed and burned within the next two years and I had to do something completely different, I would be okay with that, I would grieve that loss. Um and it would, it would certainly be hard, especially as a man with a help will say a healthy ego, but as long as I have my wife and as long as I have my two kids I couldn’t care less, I’ve started over in the past Brandon and I can start over again. I think when some people are so focused on their business and the only thing they care about is their company, they lose their wife and they lose their kids, they lose their house and eventually they lose everything. So while it’s, it’s valuable to focus on your business and try to be successful professionally. Make sure that’s not your your primary goal, focus on your family, focused on your health and if you do those two things, well, guess what I found that your business also flourishes? I love it. Yeah. You think big guy, you prioritize and in a way that probably allows you to take more risk and experiment more because not your whole ego, your whole life is not your business. You will, you know that you’ll walk away and you’ll make something else work if something goes terribly wrong, which is a competitive advantage. And I’m in a very fortunate position because my wife is my business partner, she actually owns 51% of all of our business endeavors. So she’s on board. She gets honest, she trusts me now. She she spends most of her time, you know, taking care of our family, our kids in her house. Um but she is my number one um sounding board. So for example, I had an email from an upset customer last night. I shared it with her and I asked her her opinion on how I should respond, but having her on board trusting me and being willing to take the risks that allows us to really go for it. I love that. Well, breath, thank you so much for your time. This was invaluable. I think this is going to be a difficult episode two. Top. So I think we’re starting out pretty pretty strong here you set the bar very high. But really appreciate time man, appreciate you being on the show. This is fun man. Happy to do it anytime. I appreciate what you’re doing for us to. Yeah. Thanks man. Yeah, good talking with you. You do. Uh huh. 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 PainterMarketingPros.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. Mhm. Yeah mm

Brandon Pierpont

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