Guest Interview: Dave Scaturro “Big Commercial Growth” Series: Episode 1 – Unique Commercial Marketing

Published On: November 27, 2023

Categories: Podcast

In this series titled “Big Commercial Growth”, Dave Scaturro of Alpine Painting and Sandblasting Contractors will be sharing how he has grown his commercial painting company to becoming one of the largest contractors on the East Coast, and the advice he has for companies looking for ambitious growth in the commercial painting space.

In this episode, episode 1, Dave will discuss how to conduct effective commercial painting marketing, including some unique strategies and tactics that Alpine Painting utilizes.

In episode 2, Dave is going to outline how you can set up your company structure for big-time growth.

And in the final episode, episode 3, Dave will deep dive into finding, training, and mentoring new leaders within your organization.

If you want to ask Dave questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum on facebook. Just search for “Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum” on facebook and request to join the group, or type in the URL facebook.com/groups/paintermarketingmastermind. Again that URL is facebook.com/groups/paintermarketingmastermind. There you can ask Dave questions directly by tagging him with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

Episode 1

– Unique Commercial Marketing

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 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.

In this series titled Big Commercial Growth, Dave Scaturro of Alpine painting and sandblasting contractors will be sharing how he has grown his commercial painting company to becoming one of the largest contractors on the east coast. And the advice he asked for companies looking for ambitious growth in the commercial painting space. In this episode, episode one, Dave will discuss how to conduct effective commercial painting company marketing including some unique strategies and tactics that alpine painting utilizes. In episode two, Dave is going to outline how you can set up your company structure for big time growth and in the final episode, episode three, Dave will deep dive into finding training and mentoring new leaders within your organization.

If you want to ask Dave questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast forum on Facebook. Just search for painter, marketing mastermind podcast forum on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook. com/groups/paint market mastermind. Again that URL is facebook. com/groups/paint Marketing mastermind. There you can ask Dave questions directly by tagging him with your question. So you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

What’s going on, Dave doing well, Brandon, I’ll tell, listen, you are looking good. I don’t know if it’s that hot or you’re just in a good mood. Look good. Feel good. Huh? Look good. Feel good. Yeah, Dave and I recently hung out at the PC, a commercial painting conference. He was nice enough to leave me a hat. So I am wearing the alpine painting hat. Yeah. Brandon told me, I think it was at the bar. You’re like, if there’s no hat at the front desk, we’re not doing this podcast.

It’s all podcast. That’s basically strong arm tactic. I admire that. Yep. I, I got what I came for. I went to that, that conference for the hat. Yeah, I’m excited for this man. Yeah, you and I, you and I did have some, a good time at the bar. We’ll we’ll leave it at that. But we had a fun time, but now we’re back to business, um effective commercial painting company. Marketing, man. I’m, I’m excited to hear, hear what you guys do. Episode one, marketing. It’s a, it’s a passion for me.

I mean, I, I went to school for marketing and came back into a painting business and was like 20 years ago, dad, great news. We’re gonna create a website and he’s like, what’s a website that’s kind of how it started. And now here we are with a pretty ambitious website, like 3000 pages attached to it. And uh and, and marketing for days I, you know, I was sharing with you before we hit start. Uh that marketing is probably one of my favorite things to talk about. And I mean, it, I mean, it’s a, it’s a passion of mine.

It’s something that I take very seriously. I have a team that helps me with our marketing campaigns. And uh and I feel lucky that had a little background in schooling to try and help me out, stay ahead of the game because that’s, that’s what it’s about. It’s, it’s staying ahead of everybody else being one step ahead so that you can, you can get the first eyes on you when, when it’s go time. Yeah, I love it, man. So before we dive into all the marketing, can you just give us a quick rundown of alpine painting your company.

How long you’ve been around? What you do? All that stuff. Yeah, I’m lucky to be a second generation painting contractor. We’re based in New Jersey. We work up and down the east coast. My father and uncle started the business back in 1975 and today 48 years later I own and manage the company with the help of my two brothers, my business partners and an amazing team. Um, we, uh we focus in the commercial space. That’s the division that I run. But we have four other divisions in the company.

So we also have an industrial division. We have a flooring division, we have a welding division and then we have an in house shop, blasting and painting facility here and we brand almost every one of those divisions separately. Um But yeah, uh I’ve been doing this my whole life work with dad as a kid, summer breaks, winter breaks through college. And Prereq was, hey, you had to go to school, you had to go to college and bring something to the table. Can’t just come to the business unless you’re providing value.

And I’m feel fortunate that that was kind of a barrier for entry for me to join the company because it’s exactly what we did. I went to school had a background in business with a minor in marketing and my two brothers focused their energy into other areas and we brought that into the business and we’ve quadrupled the size of our company, if not more in the time that we’ve been here. So, you and your two brothers all went to school and intentionally majored in different things so you could bring unique skill sets to the company.

Yeah, I mean, it was a conversation but it was pretty much aligned with what our interests were. Right. So, my younger brother is, uh, he’s a numbers guy. He went, got his degree in economics. My older brother is really technical mindset as his degree in civil engineering. And I’m kind of a people person and love that entrepreneurial spirit. So mine is in business. That is interesting. I have never heard of something like that. That is cool. So you went, you started marketing, you came back and you said that we’re getting a website, there’s things we can improve upon.

Was it the website or, or were you just, hey, we’re going to start from scratch here. How we do this? Yeah, I mean, I just, I wanted to hit it across the board. I had a lot of ideas. I wanted to get out of the field. So this is an opportunity for me to do that. I want to get my painters whites and throw them away and come into the office at a nice desk and try and great opportunity. You know, that was, and that was kind of the theme.

It was find your sweet spot and create opportunity and value to the company and I thought I could do that in marketing wasn’t just the website, it was everything, it was rebranding. Our company pretty much from start to finish. We had and, and look, my, my father and uncle already had a pretty successful company at that time, but um we were small. It was, the company was pretty much solely based around the two of them. And if we were gonna expand and grow, we had to do things different and we had to uh we had to incorporate new marketing initiatives.

So that’s what we did, you know. So, uh you know, when I looked at the business, I said, you know, we not only need a website but we need a website that speaks to what we do. We’re, we were pretty diverse company at the time. And most painters all said like the same thing, it was like license bonded insured, you know, 24 hour service. You know, how can we be different? How can we stand out from the pack and still to this day? That that holds true. It’s like if you’re the same as everybody else, you’re gonna be valued this just like everybody else, it’s gonna come down to your commodity and they’re gonna price is gonna be the determining factor.

But if you can express through marketing, why you’re different, how you’re different, what your process is and get somebody’s appeal, then it’s not about the money or just about the money anyway. You know, when, when, when people actually get me on the phone and say I have a project most of the time they’ve studied our company and they, they, they wanna work with alpine. It’s not like they need a painter. It’s like, oh, I wanna work, I wanna work with you. That’s a blessing because then we don’t have to just, just hammer it on price.

It’s not, it’s, it’s about OK, you trust me as a value partner. Now, now let’s talk about the project, talk about your paying your needs. Let me see if I can help them. I wanna be that trusted advisor. I wanna be that partner in this game. I don’t want to be just like, hey, you’re a painter. I can get 10 of you and it’s just your diamond doesn’t. No, it’s not how we operate. Yeah. So let’s talk about a couple of those value propositions then. So the, the licensed bonded insured uh you know, that’s standard across the board doesn’t make you stand out.

It’s kind of the price of entry if you don’t have it. There’s a sort of a problem. Yeah. What do you do that? That makes you stand out. We, we highlight our core values. Our core values are pretty simple but it, it, I mean, that’s a base a basis. That’s a, that’s where everything is kind of generated from. So, quality safety and culture are the three core values that our company follows and we promote those at every level and that includes marketing. So we talk about safety in our marketing materials, whether that’s print, whether that’s a video, whether that’s an email that goes out to our customer, whether that’s interviewing our safety manager or creating a specialized video segment that’s, you know, you know, catching you acting safe on the job.

We, we want, we want to highlight that quality is no different, you know, OK, we can paint, everybody says they do a quality job. What does that mean? How do you, how do you track your quality? You know, we have a quality manager here, Q A QC quality programs that are proving our quality standards, proving the quality that you can expect on the job. And then culture is everything, the feeling you get. When you walk through the door, it’s the feeling you have when you talk to your best friend at a barbecue about your job, do you hate it?

Do you love it? Um And we try and really push the fact that we want you to feel good about what you do. We want you to enjoy what you do because if, if you enjoy what you do, you’re gonna be better at it. So we, we try and promote that and we talk about a fun working environment. Look, we work hard. It’s competitive. Yes, you have to have a good skill set to keep your place at the table. But we want you to have fun while you’re doing it as to uh you know, you’re spending half your waking hours with us.

Let’s make it count. Let’s, let’s make it fun. Let’s make this uh create a camaraderie and a team kind of generating around our goals. Yeah, I love it. So I do have some questions here, but I wanna get a little bit clearer on just who alpine painting is in general. So you, you have these five different divisions. Sounds like commercial painting is the primary one. What percentage roughly of revenue is commercial painting about 1003 to 40% of our total revenue, commercial thing, 35 to 40%. And then who are your customers?

Obviously, you’re gonna have kind of a diverse set. Are you, are you mainly working with bigger companies or smaller? What does that look like? Good question. And that is very important when it comes to marketing, we are laser focused on who’s our target markets and there are many, but we market specific to those targets. So for example, if places of worship are a target market for us, the priest at the local church, you’re painting doesn’t care that you paint water towers and bridges and offshore oil rigs.

He cares that you have experience painting the interior of sanctuaries and he wants to know who you painted for before. How did it go? The fact that you understand the sensitive needs of painting those types of structures. So you have to mark it, you have to, you have to tell the story, you have to have case studies that show. OK. Here’s how we painted it. Here’s the challenges that we overcame for those projects. Here’s a list of, of customers that we work for in your area that you can call on to get some feedback about us.

Here’s, here’s a portfolio of 250 pictures of church sanctuaries. You know. So if, if you could dial that in and have a, a process where they go on Google and they put in a couple keywords and then boom, your landing page for churches comes up and there’s a video about how you paint churches and there’s all these pictures and all his testimonials is like, oh, I found the right guy. You know, I don’t want chuck in the truck showing up to paint my church because if he messes up, I look bad to all my parishioners.

I let them down. Yeah. So we target our markets, right. So laser like focus on who you’re working for in our world. It’s warehouse and distribution facilities. I deal with big reeds across the uh across the area. So the bigger the warehouse, the better um we work for private aviation. So private airports again, it’s, it’s a kind of a niche market. It’s very specific. Most people are like airports, you know, let alone private airports when we know the customers within those markets on who we’re going after.

Um We do a lot of pharmaceutical work and we do a lot of manufacturing work. We try and really push for repeat business in those sectors. So maintenance contracts are ideal. So to create some re reoccurring revenue streams year over year. Yeah, man, I love this. I, I love the idea that you have multiple target markets. Quite a few target markets it sounds like and yet you’re, you’re custom tailoring your marketing and your approach to each specific target market. There’s so many companies. Number one, they don’t even really know what the target market is.

Target market is any house, any build, any, any whatever, right? Number two, if they actually can kind of identify a sub segment of the market as their target market, they usually don’t do a phenomenal job of actually figuring out what they need to do to, to convince that buyer that they’re the right service provider. And number three, very few companies really do this well on, on in mass basically. So targeting these silos independently, so props to you um I want to dive into so the quality safety culture your three values, right?

The I kind of like to think about it, like what’s in it for me when we, when we’re marketing, you know, like these painting companies, a lot of them sort of market thinking about their company, you know, think about what they care about, but they’re not always thinking about what the homeowner or the commercial property owner cares about. So with the quality safety and culture, can we get into how, how that matters or why it matters to some of your, your target market? I mean, if you don’t have any of those factors, if you don’t have one of those factors, we’re not in alignment.

Like how would culture, for example, like how it’s the experience. I, I tell my team all the time. Painting is the easy part, guys, we provide a service. We’re in the people business. You have to be nice. You have to make them. Yeah, you, you, you, you have to want them to only want to deal with you. We’re creating raving fans, right? So the pain, the painting job is par for the course. Like yes, you have to cut a clean line. You have to make sure you don’t spill paint on the, on the floor.

But what we want is them to have such a good experience. Feel so good about it. They don’t want to call anyone else there when that paint job is up in 260 to 285 years. Well, alpine is gonna be my first call. I oh my painter is alpine paint. Yeah. And the only way you do that is to make sure that they feel valued, that they feel heard that you’re meeting their needs, that you’re asking the right questions that you’re doing. What you say you’re working with integrity and that’s all part of the experience and that has everything to do with culture, communicating the outcome, communicating the feeling. Yeah.

How do you, so, so let’s kind of go into because culture is such a, it’s, it can seem like a soft word. And before, you know, before I had made substantial headway and entrepreneurship, I felt like it was a fluffy word, you know, like something people like to talk about doesn’t really matter when you actually build, you know, start building companies of, of some scale. And to the point where you have a sizable team, you figure out that culture is actually pretty darn important and it’s not an imaginary or pretend word that people say to feel good about themselves.

But when you’re marketing to these potential customers and you’re talking about your culture, are you, are you sort of actively showing them why that matters or is that just sort of, is that gonna be uh I implied understood without you needing to say, hey, our team is happy and what here’s what this means for you? Yeah. No, I think, I think you show them, you show them, they hear it and they feel it in your words and your actions. You know, any, any heard a statement that’s um sh show me what was it?

I’m trying to make sure I get it right. It’s like um let, let me, let me see it. So your words don’t matter, something like that. It, it was, it was, it was the sense of, you know, don’t, don’t say it do it right. Um And, and, and for me that’s, that’s really what it comes down to. It’s every interaction counts. Um It’s your process. It’s how that person feels like they’re being understood, like they’re, you’re meeting or exceeding their expectations. You know, those are all things that go hand in hand when it comes to culture, you know, having the right standard operating procedure and everything that you do matters.

You know, you’re not just winging it, you’re not just going in like, hey, I’ve done it a million times. You didn’t. No, no, it’s very intentional. Um Yeah. So yeah, let, let your actions speak so loud that your words don’t matter that that’s, that’s, that’s what I was getting at earlier. But yeah, I don’t, I don’t think if you have to talk about it too much if you really have to just stand there and just scream from the rooftops. Uh How amazing this experience is gonna be.

It’s like uh you’re missing the point. Listen, listen more than you speak and, and try and understand what their needs are and, and to be honest, look, the process is pretty similar but every customer has different needs. You have to make sure that you’re listening. Yeah. Yeah. Don’t go and just shove your process down their throat, do consultative, you know, e empathetic selling relationship building. So the, you have, you have a lot of markets. Did you have this many markets when you came back from school or is this something you guys have built out over time?

I think we’ve specialized in our markets more over time. I think if you look at the earlier marketing that might my family put out it was, it was like 2000 different markets that were all bullet pointed across the list and they’re all on, you know, a trifle and that’s not necessarily what we want to do now, right? Um I may have seen one or 260 or two companies do something like that. Yeah, so, so we’ve gotten, we’ve gotten specialized now, granted, we’re still a large company. We have over 260 and 0003 craft workers in the field.

So yeah, we, we are handling a diverse group of markets. Um But yeah, they’ve changed over the years. In fact, I I can recall like 2000 years ago, like housing authorities in the public sectors, it’s a big market for us for a number of years. And then when you start doing job costing and analyzing your return, that was, that was a race to the bottom. Our margins were so low on those jobs that we made the conscious decision to pull out of that market that they don’t value us.

That’s a low bid market and we don’t want to compete in the low bid world. So I think that’s important year over year is to not only analyze your total gross profit as a company, but in what markets do you have a better gross margin than others? So that you can focus on that? Because from my experience margin is important, not important just in the sense that oh, it brings in more profit and you should chase the profit. But where I can get more margin is where my customers find more value in me.

It is a sweet spot. It’s an intersection where you wanna be. And if you can kind of stop doing work in certain markets to focus more of your strengths in others, you’re sharpening the sword in a very specific arena that you’re a specialist in. Now that you can provide more and more and more value, you’re doing the same task, the same type of job over and over. You understand the challenges and, and complications that are gonna come up in the future and you can hit them head on, you can anticipate them. Yeah.

What an interesting way that you frame that because so often we’re looking at profit margin and trying to figure out how to get more of it. But we’re not really looking at it in the opposite way. Which is that if you, if you have a really healthy profit margin and your customers are happy, then it means you have found a product market fit whereby you are truly valued by those you serve that’s really interesting. Um for people who are listening and are, you know, maybe not as big or developed at this point and they’re contemplating the kinds of target markets that they might like to focus on for commercial painting.

Do you have specific? Hey, this is a good market or like public housing? Hey, maybe this is not a very good market. Do you have any guidelines or anything? It depends on your company, you know, it depends on your values. Depends on your workforce. Depends on, you know, your area of the country. Like everybody’s got a sweet spot even in our area. I’ve got some guys that they are doing, you know, new construction, mid and high rises and they’re working for these developers and G CS and they’re doing these track homes and they’re doing them over and over and over again and they’re really good at them and then get down to a really low price point and that’s what they focus primarily on where I wouldn’t touch a track home with a 232 ft pole because my guys, that’s not what they do all day, every day.

They don’t touch new sheet rock ever. We focus in the repaint market. I don’t work for GC si have other, you know, competitors. I wouldn’t even call them. I have other, there’s other painting contractors in our area that love working for G CS. You’ve got to find out what’s a right fit for you. Um, if you’re a resident. So I’ve heard a lot of guys have success. If you’re a residential painting contractor, doing single family homes, a natural progression is to get into condos and townhouses. Right.

So, rather than ok, I’ve had success painting one home now. I can paint 2200 homes. I, I know, I know what it feels like to paint a house. Now, instead of just one, we’re painting 20 at a time. That’s a natural progression. Makes sense. Um It’s not the right fit for everybody because the price could be considerably lower when you’re doing volume work in that fashion. So you gotta make sure you’re pricing correctly, but I don’t think there’s any one Fit Brandon. I think it’s up to the individual and the circumstances. Yeah.

Do you think for the fit, does that come from the owner? Is that where that comes from? Absolutely. Vision should come from the owner. The vision and strategy of the company should be from the leadership team and typically in a smaller company, you’re gonna have one owner, maybe, maybe two or three like us. But yeah, you’re the visionary, you’re setting the directions for the company you’re getting buy in cascading that leadership down through the ranks. We’ll talk more about that next segment though. Yep. Yeah. So let’s talk about your lead flow.

So you, it sounds like you have a massive website. You’re doing a whole host of other things. How are you generating the majority of these or what does that breakdown roughly look like across your channels? Yeah. So look, I don’t want to sit here and say that I do everything great. Um You do everything great. I’ll say it that way. You don’t have to. Um I, I would say the one thing I don’t do a great job of Brandon is, is really having the metrics dialed in where I know my Roy for every initiative.

And I know this is bringing me X amount of leads every month and this isn’t. Now you turn me into a liar. That’s what and that’s, but that’s an area that I can definitely improve on what I will tell you is that um we get a lot of opportunities from our website. So our contact us form comes in hot with like five new opportunities every day pretty much. Um And you know, that’s because we did such a good job and we do such a good job with Seo if you’re putting in a keyword search in our general markets in the tri state area and you put in anything to do with commercial painters.

There’s a good chance I’m coming up on the first page, 12 and maybe even three. And that’s uh a lot to do with our ongoing campaigns. We have, we have a blog that goes out four times a month with very specific keywords dialed into our markets and services that is written by professionals that understand our industry and are providing value and is constantly adding unique contact to content to our website. So that Google finds us to be a, a valued expert in that field and we’re more likely to come up.

We also put tags on our photos that go into our portfolios. So that’s keyword heavy too, these meta tags. Um We’re constantly adding new videos to our website in our social media platforms. There’s a back back links that are coming two and four different platforms. We are aligned with the other largest um online marketing initiatives, which in our area, that’s blue book. So we’re number one in blue book, we’re heavy in blue book and that’s, you know, helped us with SEO as well. And um I think we just do a really good job from an seo perspective.

What we don’t do a lot of is sem we’re not, we’re not doing a lot of paper click ads, whether that’s Facebook or Instagram or Google, that is not something that we focus on. If there is like a, a little bit of a new market that we recognize we want to get into more. So we might do a blast campaign for a certain period of time until we can kind of build up our credibility and create more landing pages around it on our website. But for the most part, it’s all organic, right?

So I’m not, I don’t have a big ad spend every month like a lot of painters do where they’re just like, oh yeah, you know, I gotta put three grand back into that kitty every month to get X amount of leads. That’s not how we look at it. We want organic growth. Yeah, man. How refreshing that is to me to hear, hear one of the guests go on and on about something I’m super passionate about. Thank you. Uh So the, let’s, let’s talk about the difference just because you brought it up the difference between the organic and the paid ads.

You know, you go into a new market, you don’t really have a presence organically. So you blast with paid ads until they can build up that organic presence. Do you find a noticeable difference or maybe you don’t in the close rate or the lead quality between organic versus paid ads? Yeah, I think you probably have a more educated buyer if it’s organic, you know, somebody has probably done their homework. I think most of the people kind of understand that if you’re in the sponsored link at the top, it’s paper click ads.

Some don’t, some, some educate uneducated buyers that have never really used it for their business or have, know how they don’t, you know, so they’re just clicking on it. Um And you know, you’re at the top. So yeah, and, and you’re more likely to be a commodity in that sense, you know, you, but if, if you get if you get the educated buyer that clicks on you and has probably looked at a few other company websites and recognizes that your website is different and they’re calling you up then with kind of like they want you to do business with them and, and, and it’s funny, we have almost like the hard to get approach.

Like we try and be the hot girl. It’s the hot, it’s a hot girl method. Brandon. It’s, you know, hey, let’s just figure out if we’re fit. I I don’t, I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to come out and take a look at your building. Tell me, tell me more about it. Why, why do you need a painting contractor? What’s the challenges you’re facing? I’m not just like, yeah. Yeah. Can I come today? You know, are you available tomorrow? No, now I’m qualifying really hard over the phone and that’s the process that we have to make sure that this customer wants to work with you.

Otherwise you could just be spinning your wheels wasting your time. We want a high close rate. So we’re gonna work hard to do that and we’ve created this marketing campaign that we can, we can afford to do that. We have a lot of opportunities coming in so we can be selective on who we work for. Yeah, I love it. Yeah. So you, you made a couple of really good points that I want to highlight just to make sure everyone fully understands it. So you said you have the volume of leads coming in which allows you the um benefit of being able to prequalify pretty hard, not harshly at, at a high level, right?

You can prequalify at a pretty high level because the worst thing that can really happen to a painting company in terms of lead flow is that you get a lead, you go out and it’s an qualified lead and you essentially waste your time. You don’t close it because that was worse than ever getting lead because you spent a bunch of time and money going out and doing that. So you, you don’t really essentially have to go through that. But you’ve gotten to that point because you’ve, you’ve so mastered the marketing that you’re getting five plus leads every single day.

So you don’t have to go waste your time or spin your wheels, right? Is that built in? So, so you guys, do you answer your calls in house? Do you use any kind of answering service? How does that work? No, we, we, you can get me, you can, you can call my main number on our website and you can push to for the commercial division. Chances are me or one of my sales people are going to pick up. Um, told me that you’re never going to be able to work now. Yeah.

Call me up everybody I’m available. No. Um but yeah, we I mean, you have to go through. There’s a, there’s a portal that you go through for, you know, industrial pain and click one commercial, click two, et cetera, et cetera. There’s a name directory. Um, but yeah, you can, you can absolutely get one of my sales people. But, um, chances are my, my office coordinator is gonna pick up first. It rings on her phone and she’s doing a lot of the heavy qualifying before it gets to one of the salesmen.

Um But it really depends on how busy everyone is. It’s, we want every, every call to be answered by a live person that’s important to us. We don’t want it to go to voicemail. So somebody from our company is picking up, you guys have a script or hey, these are the pre qualifications that need to be met prior to going out there. Yeah. Um It really depends on the division but yeah, we have, we talk about that in our sales meetings and, and we discuss, you know, what is a, a good prospect?

What is a good, um What is a good customer? What is it? What is it? What is a red flag? Right? Um Somebody calls up and say, hey, I, I got this commercial building and when you go look at my warehouse, um you know, I, I can’t meet you out there, but it’s pretty much just like every other one. Just go out there and take a look at it and throw me a number. Not going out, not going out. You’re just a number. That’s all you are not, you’re not willing to take the time to meet me on the job.

So we could have a conversation. I’m not coming to your building. That’s a red flag. Right. Yeah, it’s a problem. Yeah, we’re, we’re a, we’re a nonunion company. We’re merit shop. So, if it’s a union project, then no, we’re not a good fit. We say no. So that’s an, that’s another one because we’re in the New York area. And there are, there’s a small percentage of projects that go union in our area. So that’s another one. But there’s, there’s a whole series of questions, you know, if they’re like, hey, yeah, I just had four other guys come out and really look for a good price.

Can you, can you meet me and take a look at my job? The answer is no um is price the motivating factor for choosing a contractor, Brandon is if it is, I’m let you know up front, we’re typically, you know, on the higher side, you know. Um I just want to make sure that you’re comfortable with that. I’m usually not crazy high. I’m in the middle of the road to the higher side. But yeah, price is the most important factor for you for choosing your painter. You know, I don’t want to waste your time.

I would like you not to waste mine either. So we talk about price. Yeah, I like it. So then a couple other things that you had said, I just wanna make sure super clear for people. She said the volume of leads that come in is high, which gives you the luxury of being able to prequalify high rate. And then you also, when, when I asked, hey, paid leads, you know, paid ads versus organic, which do you find typically better? You talked about how organic are usually a little bit better because when paid ads, they see the little thing that says sponsor next to it, most people have been using Google, especially in a business owner capacity like you said, uh understand that that’s a paid ads and they’re therefore going to treat you a little bit more like a commodity.

Whereas when they see you on the top of Google, not only do they see and then they click into your site and because you’re optimizing very specifically for target markets, let’s say it’s a church, say church, you know, repaint my church. How’s church painter? Something like that? It’s gonna go on to a landing page on your website. That’s gonna be all about churches. It’s gonna have a video, it’s gonna have a portfolio of churches. So you’re, you’re the guy that paints churches versus someone else that maybe goes on in churches, we paint churches, office building, warehouse this, that whatever.

Whereas you have a page all about churches, nailed it. I love it, man. What is, uh, do you mind sharing roughly what your, what your close rates are and kind of, kind of how you think they might vary from the competition. Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s funny because you hear some people in like the res repay markets and their close rates are really high. 50 to 60%. Ours are not that high, ours are not that high where, and it depends on the market. It would be odd if yours were that high, right?

Um But you know, for example, in certain markets, I’m higher than that, like warehouses, I’m higher than that. I have a select group of customers and clients that own a tremendous amount of real estate in the tri state area. And we’re their go to painter and it’s not so much about price. It’s, can you paint 100 warehouses for me this year? And it’s like, yep. And we work on a volume discount that works for them. And I mean, if you really want to calculate my close right there, it’s probably close to 80% you know, but I’m not dealing with 323 clients, I’m dealing with 10. Right.

So job to job, you know, a very high close rate, but I don’t even track it in that fashion. Whereas I would say my average clo close rate if you would, you know, put it across all markets were probably in like the 35 to 40% close rate that’s comfortable for us. Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. Um, but yeah, if your close rate is absurdly high, then you’re probably not charging enough, probably not charging enough unless it makes sense from a volume standpoint like it does with us. And it’s like you can cut a deal if they’re gonna provide you with multimillion dollars in business every year to keep your guys busy and you look at your profit margins on those jobs and they make sense and you can secure it up.

It’s like, yeah, we can work on volume discounts. We want repeat business. That’s the hardest thing to come by in our world. You know, we’re not that landscaper that comes every week. We’re not that alarm company that just sends you the bill to secure your home. We gotta earn it. The average painting contractor earns it year in year out every job. So we talk about in our sales meetings and our strategy meetings about reoccurring revenue streams. How do you create them? How do you create, you know, these loyal customers that wanna work with you and only you year after year?

Yeah. And we find those types of projects. Yeah, I love it. So let’s talk about that. So there were the because you had mentioned something earlier. Alpine painting is my painting company, right? That’s what you want them to, to think, to decide. They they are, they are our painters and now we’re talking about the same thing which is repeat business, right? And then referral would play into that. Do you have any active marketing techniques, whether it’s communications every so often or whatever that looks like to try to generate repeated referral business?

Yeah. Yeah. It’s the R word. It’s the most important word that exists in our business. It’s relationships. These, these are my friends, these people are my friends and that’s how you have to look at it. We service the hell out of them. And there are so many different methods for how we do that. So many touch points. It’s the simplest that you gotta get face time with these people. Most people don’t think about that. You know, I wanna take my friends out to lunch. I wanna call my friends on the phone.

I wanna send text messages to them. I wanna, you know, I wanna, when they call, I jump, I answer every phone call, Brandon. That’s important. Don’t make them wait, you know, service is everything in this business and we teach that to our team, whether it’s a project manager, it’s a crew lead, it’s a salesman. Everybody, you know, services and creates relationships with our customers. Some of the methods we do that. Um We send out personalized, you know, thank you cards. You know, you’re gonna get a thank you card for me.

You know, appreciate the business. Goes a long way to write a couple lines. Um, around the holidays, you’re gonna get a holiday card for me. Um You’re gonna get, uh, at, at Thanksgiving, you’re gonna get a, a personalized little food basket and shows up your office with a picture of my team and this card that says, you know, you, you could choose, choose any painter out there, but you choose us year after year and we really appreciate the business. We hope we could work with you for many years to come.

I love it. Um You know, for our top top customers, we send personalized gifts around the holidays too. You know, so we, you listen, you know, somebody that, I don’t know, they, they, their favorite slippers are Uggs and now all of a sudden a pair of Uggs show up at their house with a little thank you note, it says, you know, you know, just trying to make you comfortable, you know, it’d be different, right? Yeah. So, so those little things go a long way. Um I think, I think as many touch points as you can do, you know, the fact that I follow them on linkedin and I comment when they post something.

It’s not many people doing that. I’m gonna be in their profile and have my team helping me do that. They’re the top customers, stay on them, support them. Um Any, any point of contact is a good point of contact. Uh You know, that II I always remember this, I don’t know if this still stands. True. But unless you touch your customer seven times a year you don’t exist. That’s a bare minimum, in my opinion. Like, every other month you’ve got to have something in front of their face or you disappear. Yep. Yeah.

It’s so interesting because that’s a psychological concept that I think afflicts us all afflicts humanity where we think other people think about us or care more about us or whatever than they do. You know, it’s why people are so self conscious. They, they walk in, they think everyone’s looking at me. Well, no, probably no one cares. Actually, I don’t know. And so the, the idea like you go and you do this paint project and you, maybe you do do an exceptional job, maybe the customers. Wow. Best, best experience I’ve ever had with a contractor.

And then you think, man, I’ve just made an indelible mark on their, on their brain. They were thinking about me all day, every day, the rest of their life, right? And then like six months later, they don’t remember the name of your company. Yeah. So we, we have this, we have this sense of permanence in our minds that, that we just sort of belong in our customers minds, but we don’t, they have so many more important things. So if you’re not having some active repeat referral touch points that, that are built into your business, whether it’s commercial or residential, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Yeah.

So the, so marketing, it sounds like your, your main thing that’s really driving the business growth that’s working really, really well is your organic seo So through your website with the landing pages that are built specifically for the different industry verticals, the different target markets that you, that you work with. That’s the main thing that gets them in the door. What keeps them in the door is the relationships is the sales efforts and techniques that we employ to be top of mind and the service that we provide on the job, the quality that they’re getting from us and the experience that they’re having that they don’t wanna go with anyone else.

You know, the way I look at it, Brandon is a lot of painters became business owners, but they started out painting, right? You had a disgruntled painter that didn’t like their boss. And it’s like I can do a better job than he can. The barrier friendship for starting a painting business is low and they’re like, I’m going on my own, start my own company. These aren’t business people, these are painters, they’re craft workers, people that can probably do a good job, but don’t know how to keep a good relationship with their clients.

Maybe, maybe that’s not their strong suit. We do the business piece really well, don’t get me wrong. We provide a really good paint job. But the business piece is where I think we’re different than most. And we’re lucky because you compare us across the board. Like there’s no comparison that, you know, the chuck and the, if you, if you compare on price, yeah, you got me, you got me. You know, you’re gonna find somebody out there. You keep searching, you’re gonna find somebody that could do it cheaper.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m big enough that if I want the job, I’ll get it. You’ll never undercut me. I’ll, I’ll do it for less than my cost just to get you out of the picture. Don’t, you know, um I, I can, I can push out the little guys too, but that’s not our model. I gotta, I, I want the customer to wanna go after me, you know, I might, I might do that to get my foot in the door if it’s a big industrial complex and the owner owns, you know, 50 buildings in there and he’s been dealing with, you know, John, his painter forever and I, I just wanna try and get in somehow I’ll cut the margins back real heavy just so that you can have a taste of what it’s like to work with me.

And once he does, he’s gonna be like, all right, uh This is different. I, I wanna, I wanna continue to work with you. How do we figure it out? But for the, for the most part um yeah, we run our business like a business and that’s all the difference. For longevity, there are systems at every level, you know, I have an ORG chart and we’re gonna talk about this in the next segment that is projected out years from now. Three years out. I know what my company is gonna look like.

I know what revenue we’re doing. I know who are the people that we’re adding on to the company. The vision and strategy is set by the owners and leaders of this company and we cascade that leadership down through the ranks. Yeah. Yeah. The um treat your business like like a business and the concept of longevity. You know, people generally do not understand how long they need to do something to see results. So if they’re trying to sell in a relationship, you’d be like, well, I, you know, I wanted to get in with this property manager.

I took him to a coffee. I said I’ve been, I’ve been kind of keeping in touch with him for three months. I haven’t made any progress. I’ll try, try three years, right? Or a year like this kind of stuff. It’s this long tail, follow up his long tail game and you do it across, you know, a lot of fishing lines or with a lot of people, a lot of different ways and then the returns are exponential over time, but it’s not a flip the switch, you take out a coffee and all of a sudden magically you have a, a massive commercial painting company.

That’s right. Long game, long game business. I mean, life’s the long game. You know, we all want the, the instant instant gratification, but that’s not, that’s not how you win in business. It can be ambitious, but you have to play a long game. Um Is there any, so, so quality quality is one of your core values. You said every, everyone kind of says, oh, we do a quality paint job. What does that mean? Right. How do you and then you talked about some specific processes that you guys have?

But how do you convey to a potential client that you’re not just using the word quality that there’s actually something behind that? Yeah, you know, qua quality to us is, is setting clear expectations and then following the process to meet it because look, my uncle, my uncle, tell me again, one of the founders of the company, he was a very savvy businessman. He taught me a lot about business as a whole. He said, not everybody wants the a job, Dave. OK. Um That’s really important because I would come in young and hungry and I would sell the top top of what we can offer, right?

The best possible service. I would just, and I would end up I would end up over communicating what we could do. I would build their expectations up and not be able to deliver on them and it would just end in disaster. Um And that’s, you know, that’s not fair to the customer or to us uh to my team. So, what, what I started to do over time and started to listen a little bit more. I started to have a conversation about their expectations, what they want out of the paint job, not projecting what I think they should have.

And then we talk about money because the money correlates directly to the quality. It’s like, yeah, I can say I want the best job out there. But when we talk about money, they can’t afford the best job. Ok. So let’s talk about what you can afford because from what I’m hearing you, I gave you a range of 60 to 85,000 and you’re like 60 is my top. Ok? So for 60 you don’t get the A plus ch you get the B minus job. Let me explain what the B minus job is.

Maybe you’re OK with that and if they are awesome, ok, we gotta fit, we’re gonna follow the process, we’re gonna document, we’re gonna follow the process. Here we go. Um But in many years past I would, I would just sell the a job and wonder why I didn’t get it right and be like, dang, I didn’t get it. That’s unfortunate. Um And, and, and I think that’s an important piece that’s missed a lot of time people feel uncomfortable talking about money and uh and aligning that to quality.

Yeah, I, I think that’s great man and that shows transparency on your part. You know, you’re not trying to put one up, you know, pull one over on them or anything like that saying. OK, great. Here’s generally the range. OK? This is where you’re at. Let me tell you what we can do for that, you know, if this is where you’re at because now it’s consultative selling, it’s setting realistic expectations and already by doing it, even if it, it might be slightly, you know, discouraging or, or perceived as slightly negative, what do you mean?

I can’t get the A plus paint job for the B minus price. You’ve your trust factors already gone up considerably because the next guy, Young Dave who walks in is gonna try to promise the A plus paint job for the B minus price and that’s gonna create uh what’s known as cognitive dissonance or it’s gonna create a skepticism on the part of the customer and now they don’t trust that company anymore. So the trust factor will go up. That’s cool, man. So you like marketing, you studied marketing, you came back, you, you put marketing to work.

Is there, are there any marketing channels that you’ve tried that didn’t work? You’re like, I’m just done with these. When I came into the business, Yellow Pages was huge. We were spending $100,000 a month in Yellow Pages. Ads where in every book in the state of New Jersey and some in New York. And it just, it was a dying form of advertising that I can see. But it was what worked for my family for so long and, and, and I’d have like a sit down with my father, like dad, we have to pull out of this.

This is not where it’s at and, and that happens over time. There, there are, there are different forms of media that are on a high and then they die down, you know, you see a blip, you know, and then it’s like we’re not getting the same return that we used to. I think you just have to be aware of those trends and be aware of what you’re putting your money into and analyze the RO I year over year to make sure that it’s in the right bucket because there are so many different buckets you can put it into um for us now it’s we are a people business and we’re trying to market our people.

So we’re trying to create these video segments. I think video has the most bang for its buck. I think that’s what’s people like seeing that 32nd to a minute video clip. You know, that’s why tiktok is so popular and Instagram is so popular, they want to see the, the cool action like photo or they wanna see that quick video post that kind of stands out. So we’re trying to create these video segments um that highlight our people, you know. So, you know, we have little video segments like where in the world has been.

You know, that’s one of the more popular ones. Ben’s my brother, he’s one of the owners. He’s always looked at these really interesting industrial projects. He’s inside a, a uh a turbine a mile underground in a hydroelectric facility and he’s videotaping his experience or he’s up on a water tower 200 ft in the air that most people don’t get a chance to be up on and he’s videotaping his experience and it’s just, you know, him being him, it’s his personality that really shines. And it’s interesting, they’re interesting places if you can do that with each one of your people, you know, caught being safe by our safety manager mel, you know, and just film him.

Hey, usually the safety manager is like a safety cop. He shows up to the job center and they’re like, oh God, here comes the safety guy. Everybody get in line. No, no, no, no, no. We want to highlight our guys. We’re catching you being safe. We’re highlighting the good things and we wanna promote that. Um I think that’s a refreshing take on things. Be different. Different is, is it is fun. Different is, is something that catches people’s attention. Don’t do that. If some, if two of your other competitors are doing it, don’t, don’t just don’t do it go a different direction, you know, Blue Ocean.

What, what is, what is way different than everybody else? How do we, how do we take a different spin on this thing? So we highlight our, our new hires, we highlight our people, we highlight the divisions. Um We do project updates, um even video testimonials from our customers. So it’s not just us talking, you hear it from them, all those things, if you can capture on video, I think that’s gonna go a lot further. But like any good marketing strategy, you have to be consistent, they have to get that material constantly being pumped, it has to keep showing up in their feed every day.

Um Or else you disappear. Yeah. See, see point. The point we just made about longevity and things take a while. If you start doing this, you listen. Oh my gosh, that’s genius. I’m gonna start doing this, these videos. You’re probably not gonna see results for a little while. That’s OK. Keep doing it. Um uh My benchmark is always a year. It’s kind of a long time. But if you’re doing something and you want to know whether it’s work and do it for a year and you should see some, some at least considerable uptick during that time. Yep.

Um Cool. So co copy it safe. I really like that. People like doing business with people, people don’t like doing business with companies. So you’re humanizing your company by by taking, you know, highlighting your staff copying safe. You know, people like to see that too because people, people often know the boss is the bad guy, right? Or, or the teams in trouble. But if you’re spotlighting your team for doing what would be considered ordinary things, you know, just being safe on a job site, which technically they should always be doing.

But you spotlight a copy and safe. That shows man, you probably do have a pretty happy team and happy employees make for happy customers because they take really good care of those customers. So super good. Um We’re, we’re coming up near on time. I want, I wanna get through one or two more questions here. So organic on your site is your number one driver. What would maybe be one or two other other marketing methods that you would highly recommend couple big ones that kind of worked really well for us are getting involved in different trade associations being in the places where your customers hang out.

I mean, that’s what you do, right? Brandon, I’m sure that’s helped work for you. You join the PC A, you’re not a painting contractor, you’re marketing company, but you surround yourself with your clients. I do the same thing but we do it in different areas, you know, Boma uh uh building and Manager association, if a International Facility Manager Association, um if you’re into condos and townhouses, mid rise and high rise ca I community associations institute. All these are trade associations where my customers hang out and I show up and join the committee and get to know them or have my team do it right.

If you’re a salesman with our company, you need to be there. If you’re business development, you need to go to all of them. They need to see you um over and over and over again. Every month, you have to be a staple. People buy from people they like and trust and you have to be one of those people. So keep showing up, get involved, get active. I think that’s a big piece that I think uh people don’t do. Right. So there’s not many painters out there again.

I’m the only one. It’s like, oh yeah, this, he’s a painter. Yeah. Work with Dave. He’s a good guy. Work with Dave. Um Another one I think we should highlight that a lot of people don’t do. It’s a different take on. It is customer appreciation events. We do one big customer appreciation event every year. We have rented out Stumpy’s hatchet house and thrown hatchets. We’ve gone to uh to go kart racing. We’ve done one of the most successful ones we did last year virtual reality event called Sandbox VR. Oh, what a great turnout.

What a everyone raved about the experience. There are venues where you can network, you can play the game for a half hour, hour and then come back and network again. You do it around lunchtime, you feed everybody, you have drinks, right? So it’s more of a social setting. You do it during a work day. So they’re not being pulled away from their families. Um, yeah, it’s a four hour event. Come for an hour, come for all four. Just come. You give them your swag when you’re there and you push every one of your teammates to bond and rapport with every customer.

You make them feel like a million bucks, make everybody feel like the most important person at the party. And that’s how you can create the relationship. So those are a couple more things that work well. And then one more thing, I think it’s important to add again, more of a, a larger company method that we’ve evolved into. And it’s still real new for us is having a business development person on staff. You know, it started out when we were early on in our stage of business where the owner pretty much does everything.

You know, you are the marketing guy. You’re the payroll gal, you’re the, you know, you’re the visionary, you’re the painter half the time, right? But as you expand and your arc chart grows and you bring more people on, you kind of take off a hat and give it to somebody else. Well, our salesmen at one time were our estimators were our project managers. They were everything. Now, we’ve carved off that piece so that we have dedicated project managers. We have dedicated sales and estimators. And now the new piece is we have a business development person.

So the salesman to some degree does business development, they’re creating relationships. But now we have a business development person that is just solely targeted on our ideal customer. And they’re like, ok, if we identify this ideal customer and this is one. Now, how do we get four more like it in the right area with the right services and they are just knocking on doors, making cold calls getting in, in the face of the right clients because we recognize there’s a huge return if you can get at that table, if you can get on their bidders list, and then our salesmen show up and talk about all the technical pain points from a job perspective.

Then we’re golden. They just need that first person to open up the door and that’s what our business development person does. I love it. So, yeah, a lot of this stuff seems very relationship driven, very person to person, uh business development going out and proactively reaching through a variety of means. And I, I do want to touch on, yeah, you call me out like I do the same thing that you do. Um So I’ve been in the past six weeks, six weeks, maybe something like that. Uh Pina Pagan also the Hispanic, the PC A Hispanic event.

Uh contractor Freedom Summit with Jason Phillips, the commercial painting conference and the women in paint. So they’re kind of together. I’m going to contractor reboot in two days in Seattle. And then, uh I think I have a couple more, couple plan things, planned events planned for early next year. I’m on the PC A marketing committee. PC A education committee. I go to the board of directors meetings. It’s where you and I started our hangout at the commercial painting conference. I’m pretty involved, right? And, and what in it to win?

What I don’t do is I don’t sell people, right? I don’t sell people. I create relationships. I educate and then eventually if people want to grow their business, they move forward and we, we see if we’re a right fit. But when you go to these things, when you go to these events, when you’re networking, don’t sell people don’t push people do like Dave said, make them feel great. If you have value. If you can help them, help them for free, don’t expect something back. But ultimately, again, it’s a long tail game.

Be around long enough, provide enough value long enough people get to know I can trust you. They’ll figure out what you’re about and that’s how you can grow your business for long haul. This is not stuff for the fly by night contractor. This is stuff Dave’s been doing this for a whole lot of years. So this is stuff for building a sustainable long term business. Um Dave, do you have anything else you wanna say before we wrap up this market marketing segment here? No, I think we, we covered most of the main points.

I mean, I could probably keep talking for another hour. Um, but I think, I think we, we talked about a lot of initiatives that are different than what most people think of when they think of marketing. Right? Maybe, maybe you’re doing a lot of the things that we discussed too, but you’re not doing it in a way that’s different from everybody else in your market. I think the one thing I can say is be different, have a different take on things. Don’t be the same as everybody else stand out from the pack and then service your customers, make, make your customers, your friends, you have to have that mentality.

They are your, your employees are the most important, but your customers are number two. And if you can have that mindset where you’re gonna drop everything to take care of them, they’re gonna feel that and they’re gonna want to come back to you getting that repeat business, that customer once they’re in it costs you so much less to keep a customer than it does to get a customer. So, don’t forget that. Yeah, I love it. Dave, this was less rowdy than the last time we hung out.

But I enjoyed it just as much appreciate you man. Looking forward to appreciate you. Thank you for having me on. It’s great.

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 URL is paintermarketingpros.com/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 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.

Brandon Pierpont

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