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Guest Interview: Eric Regan of Mission Painting

Eric Regan, founder and owner of Mission Painting, discusses his “why” for starting and growing his business, and how that impacts every decision he makes. He shares why he does not use commissions to motivate his employees, but instead pays them far above market rates, and the benefits he has seen in Mission Painting's culture and service as a result of doing so. Eric discusses the mindset he embraces when faced with disappointment, and how that mindset has been a huge catalyst for his growth and success.

Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • A Players hire A Players. B Players hire C Players.
  • The right behaviors create the right actions
  • How to view mistakes as positive learning opportunities, and the massive benefits of doing so
  • Eric's mission, and how that has driven his success
Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast, the show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I'm your host, Brandon Pierpont, founder of painter marketing pros and creator of the popular pc, a educational series, learn do grow marketing for painters in each episode I'll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences on this episode of the painter marketing Mastermind podcast. We host guests eric Reagan Eric is the founder and owner of mission painting, a residential painting company based in Kansas City Kansas that does over $2. 5 million dollars in annual revenue. In this episode, eric discusses his why for starting and growing mission painting and how that impacts every decision he makes, he shares why he does not use commissions to motivate his employees but instead pays them far above market rates and the benefits he has seen emission paintings, culture and service as a result of doing so. Eric discusses the mindset he embraces when faced with disappointment and how that mindset has been a huge catalyst for his growth and success. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company again that you are l is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast. Eric, thank you for coming on the painter market Mastermind podcast man, Thanks for having me man, it's good to be here. Yeah, so talk to us a little bit about mission painting and home improvements. Uh let's see, brief, brief history. Um we Started in Kansas City in 2017. Before that I mentored under another painting business out of Detroit michigan, technically bloomfield hills michigan I suppose called Somerset painting. We've had, we've had brad on from summer, interesting, so brad is who bought the business from Rick whom I helped start the business with. So he started that this company's been around 29 years, is that right? At this point in one form or another? Yeah, so Rick had started the business in 80 somewhat in the mid eighties and used it to pay his way through bible college like seminary. Right, so Rick, Rick was a full time pastor and I think that really kind of um was the ethos of what's trickled down to a couple, a couple of other painting businesses. We've mentioned nash painting in Nashville also kind of came from that pipeline, but at the end of the day it was kind of faith and and mission first in a sense, and he x execute that by just providing great work, whatever, whatever, whatever line of work you're in, you know, and so for us it just happened to be painting. So um when I joined rick, rick was just rick and then we built a business model using things like rockets and whatnot and implemented a lot of strategies when I left brad kind of came in and picked up that ball and ran with it has done a great job up there and has really kind of taken what we've built and and taking it to the next level. So it's been, it's been fun to watch from afar. You know, we're going to uh our first angieslist conference when rick and I were both on the advisory board before Angie's list got bought by home advisor Rick and I were on the advisory board for Angie's list, remember taking brad to his first conference and uh kind of introducing him to uh Angie and the former ceo of Angie's list and and it was, it's just it's just fun, it's fun to see people that are doing things I think innocent the right way um flourish. Yeah. So um we left my wife and I left Michigan in 2016, moved to Kansas, bought a house ah Started her medical practice, had a baby, got my pilot's license and started this painting business all within about 30 days. So if I'm going to give advice, Well well well profit. This if I'm going to give advice to anybody if you don't do it that way, not not the 30 days of hell like put everything in there, you know what? It was one of those things where sometimes I think when things get so incredibly hectic. you have to distill things down to the basics just to tread water, you know, and all the fluff and all the nonsense kind of gets pushed aside and you focus on the important stuff. So it was actually really good and fun time. But in hindsight, like man, that was, that was a lot going on, right? It was, but we actually hit the ground running with um mission in 20 17 in February of 2017. So 2017 was our first Full year in business, even though it's only like a 10 month um deal. But I basically took the experience I had working with uh and four and being a part of Somerset in michigan and said, okay, I want to start something here. And in michigan we did fighting occasional roofing edition, things like that. So it was much more than just a painting business. Although painting was the, the majority of the revenue and um when you're starting fresh, you say, how do I just narrow the focus? Right? How do I, how do I do just this? So it's scalable and replicable because our goal has always been just that scalability and replica bility. Right? So I said let's just focus on painting, how do we do this? Um in michigan, we had grown and hired staff to do bookkeeping and secretarial skills. And when you started a new location, you don't have all that cash flow at your disposal to be able afford that. So I kind of devised a system where everything was automated in a sense. So you go to our website to schedule an estimate that's automated. It pushes to our crm software. We like estimate rocket. Um and everything talks to one another without having to have a secretary answered the phone so that at that time I could be free to do the estimating and the project management because you know when you first start, you're you're a one man band. And so just freed up time. And then as we've grown we've tweaked our process tweak our system now we have a full time office staff. Um, so that certainly helps. Sure. So do you guys use subcontractors then as the painters? 100%. Yeah. Um my experience and and there I go to the national conferences and I argue every year that one is neither one is neither right nor wrong. Right? The employee based model works for some the subcontractor model works for for others. Um, I think either model in order to be successful, needs processes and procedures and oversight in order to be successful. Right? Like you can have a bunch of employees and if the inmates are running the asylum, you know like what does it matter? And so when I started here in Kansas, I was kind of Idealistic thinking, this will be a big kumbaya experience, will have all employees. It'll be W2 and I didn't have the bandwidth to provide the oversight needed. And it turned into kind of like that, the, we had the cat by the tail and things that required a lot of oversight, like a new construction job, right? Um, that I would want to be out giving bids or managing, you know, someone else over here was not going according to margins that any owner would like to have, you know, and um, when people are working by the hour, I have found what's more important to them is getting their hours, not making sure that a job is profitable for the ownership no matter what sort of profit sharing there is or anything like that. Um, you know, bonus ng structure you can get as creative as you want. But at the end of the day, I think there's still a stark contrast between paying someone to fix them out for something and then the motivation is on them. Right? So in our case we pay, you know, uh, subcontractor, a fixed amount to do this job. They know that's their budget, they work within the confines of this budget. And typically our model is smaller subcontractors. So it'll be a, A sub, that is its own business entity of 3-4 painters. Where the owner operator is a working painter, not someone trying to Run three crews or to cruise or whatever themselves because that's that's our job. You know, you don't want another almost another middleman in there. Another it's just it's just another hand in the pot and you know there's only so much that can go around. So what we do our business model then to answer that question you might have been asking is we have sales and project managers are employed by mission painting. Right? So a salesperson will sell the job but they're not your project in our model, the sales guys or gals um their job is to go sell and just to do that. Right? So it's actually pretty great job. Your only job is just to go meet with people and be affable. Yeah, it's fantastic. If I had a time machine I would just go back and hire myself for that role and crush all day, just crush the project manager role is um the higher paying job in our company. But it's also the harder job because their job is to be their role and responsibility is to be on every job site every day. Um We use another software called builder trend which a lot of general contractors use to communicate with both internal users and external users. What I mean is they are on site every day entering a daily log and that daily log is either shareable with external users, the homeowners sports subcontractors or internal other project managers or sales people. we all get notifications. So we can see, hey this is where this job is, this is where this job. So every day emails are just flooded with job updates, so everybody knows what's going on at all times, Right? And we also get, it's also an app um so you get the little notification on your phone so you can just glance to go, okay cool, that's where mrs jones is. Alright, that's what this is. Yeah. Right. So it makes things nice from a managerial perspective because you can just glance and see where things are and there's a dashboard and all that like any of these online programs um but it's it's pretty user friendly. So in short our business model is sales and office and um quality control, right? Because that harkens back to what I was saying before is now the cat, we don't have the cat by the tail, but rather we are driving quality and inspecting. There's a, if you're a baseball fan, you would know the name. Ewing Kaufman because Kaufman stadium is where the Kansas City Royals play. Um um Kaufman was a big pharmaceutical uh person here in Kansas city has long since passed away but he had a saying that we have kind of incorporated into our DNA and that is, people don't do what you expect, people do what you inspect and that is the bones of our business is daily inspections because without that, you know, you hate to be overly negative or talking poorly about people and it's not from that context, it's just a different mindset when your job is to always be looking at quality control versus your job as the one be the one doing the work. You know even even on the line of the best restaurants in the world you have the chef or someone who is functioning as an expediter. That's the one who's looking at the plate that the person in the kitchen maid and they might be the best you know, french food saute person in the world and they're pleading something and it still goes to the expediter, they look at it run their you know wet napkin across the plate do a quick check on it before it goes out. So that's kind of what our PM's job. Is. That? Communication and also coaching counseling of the of the cruise because our project managers tend to have 20 plus years experience in a variety of painting industry roles, whether it's commercial industry foreman or project managers or whatnot. But they there they are. What makes this business run? So how do you set up? You know it's interesting you're paying the project manager, they're ultimately making more money than the sales staff. So how do you how do you compensate those roles and then how do you work out your arrangements for the subcontractors. That's great, great question. Um So I'll answer the first question. Um how do we compensate we compensate on a base salary without much bonus or commission. Um, I am part of a a ceo and pure advisory group called C. 12 C. The letter C. Officials for Christian 12 12 people in our advisory group. And the idea is that we're meeting once a month for one full day turning electronic devices off and opening our books to one another. And I'm the little guy in the room at, we do between two and three million a year. Um, and there are a couple of C. E. O. S in the room that have $7 million annual revenues. Right? Um, Yeah. Right. Big big hitters here in Kansas city, but we all have one focus and that's running our businesses for for a better purpose. So, um, that purpose in an hour mindset is that this is not my mission planning is not my business. It's the father's business and it's just my job to run it in a way that's honoring to my dad. Right. So, um, We had a discussion in AC. 12 meeting a while back about sales compensation plans and individual quotas and things like that. And you know, the the common thought is quotas drive sales and and bonuses drive behavior and if you know all this kind of stuff and individuals and and you want to hire, you know, Stone cold killers are assassins to go out and just sell sell sell, right? Yeah. Right. Stone cold killers and and part of me loves that because I'm competitive by nature. I was an athlete and you put a goal in front of me and I'm going to crush it. Just get out of the way. Right? I'm coming. Don't, don't try and sell a job next to me, trying to sell a job. You're not gonna win. Okay. But that's also not necessarily healthy, right? It's also not necessarily what's best for the client or the customer or or your teammates or whatever. So there's a saying all boats rise with the tide, right? So we had a long discussion and one of the guys in our room who's a third generation business owner, multinational business, they have 80% of the market share in their business segment globally. Right? So yeah, So he speaks with a place of authority on what he's talking about and he said no, we did away with all sales quotas. Everybody is working towards a common goal and we have goals, but we don't have individual or company sales quotas, we have behaviors that we monitor because we know if we monitor the behaviors and outcomes are byproducts of behavior and everybody works as a team. So if sales is out, um, doing something just to benefit their sales quota, it may not benefit the production team, they might put the production team in a bad bind or whatever. And so it opened up this unforeseen like three or four hour dialogue that we just went down this rabbit hole talking and I walked away from that thinking, you know what? I think there's a lot of point and merit to that. And um, I think we've all seen a salesperson that can be stressed out or whatnot because it's the end of the month and they're trying to meet their quota or they, it's obvious that they're gunning for the sale and not the relationship. So I really didn't want that for our business, right. If you build a business that says, hey, I'm supposed to honor something that was given to me and you know, created a generational legacy with it. That's probably not the best way to go about it. So we basically paid, we pay all of us production managers and salespeople, um, a little bit more than what would be the going rate in the industry for doing a great job with bonus and that just becomes their new base. And then we create an environment here where everybody is on the bus, everybody's on the team, everybody has the same vision and goals for what our businesses which all ties into our mission. And um, we have seen that the fruit pays off from that because it's not about the individual, it's about, it's about the business in general. It it does and you're finding, so you're basically paying them as though they've already succeeded in meeting other objects? you know, the way that other companies tend to structure it. Are you finding that that's working? Have you run into any, maybe it wasn't working tremendously, it's working. Um Everyone, you know, you know, we've got a dashboard estimate, Rocket provides a really easy to use dashboard for metrics, right? So a salesperson can see their close ratio, they can see what they sold last month, last year, last quarter, whatever, and not just a salesperson, like the project manager can see it and we have weekly meetings and talk about where we are. And I think when you hire a player's right, a players hire a players, B players hire c players, right? So when a a players hire a players, they also attract other a players and those are the people that don't need to be told what to do, they know what to do. Um And so if you're already paying someone at that level, you're attracting the best talent. If you're attracting the best talent and you try and grow and um mature that talent and give them a reputation to live up to, as dale Carnegie would say. Um I think it's one of those situations where you kind of can not necessarily sit back and watch, but at the same time, you can you can maybe take a step back and watch your team, just go out and execute what's in front of them, but at the end of the day, I think that's all revolved around hiring the right people. You know, you can't, you can't bring a CD player on and expect them to, you know, meet those same uh, metrics or whatever. Sure. But the dovetail dovetail into that. Um, how do we bring our people? I think was the question you're gonna have where you find him? How do you eat them? Sure? Sure. Not to be overly. Oh kumbaya ish. But I sincerely pray. Um, I, when it's time to hire someone, I pray that someone would be introduced to us. Um, and I am batting 1000 on that. Um, and it sounds like, well that can't be that simple and actually it really is. Um, and it's one of those things where you know, it may not be, we, we have had instances, this is the same true for, for subcontracts about, I'll show you a neat story. So we were a little bit low on, um, subcontractors And so I was a little stressed out about it. Project matter of time brought it to me and said, Hey, I'm really nervous. You know, we don't, we don't have enough people to do the work that we need to get done. And I said, okay, well let's just pray right here by the truck, heavenly father. Uh, this is your business. We trust this is your business. We need workers. So if you really want us to execute what's given before us, then we need you to provide the workers for this type of deal, right? No different than if if your dad is in the room next door, Hey dad, you give us all this work, but I need help getting people to do this. So that was a one or 2 p.m. on whatever day it was The next morning I woke up at around 6:30 or seven. and I had a white male From six a.m. Hand to God had a voicemail from six a.m. From uh, this painter who spoke with hispanic accent. They basically, hello, my name is so, and so I own Heaven's Glory painting. I'm a pastor and I have painters that work for me as my side business. I was wondering if you needed workers. I felt like I needed to call you, have you ever, have you ever gotten a phone call from God? You can say yes I have. I was like, and so I'll call my project at the time. I was like, hey, there's a guy I need you to interview. He was like serious. And I was like, yeah, yeah, it's just so it's kind of one of those things and I am, I am far from being a model of um Gosh, certainly not religion or um, you know, even if that somebody would look at me and be like, oh, you know you did this wrong that wrong because it's wrong. And I'm like, yes, he had on the regular a huge work in progress. But what I do try and say is hey, but I do recognize that this is something bigger. What what we're doing here, our businesses something bigger. And trying to honor that in all the decisions we make regarding this both personally and professionally. So another side benefit of paying the project managers kind of what they would be if they were um executing X. Amount of work and hitting X. Amount of margins is they are no longer stressed out about the individual job. So if we have A job where we make 10% right, which caresses is horrible If we make 10% profit. Ah And that's just on the job that's after labor material and a specific job and it's not over overhead. Um If they if that was tied to their bonus, then that just creates a unnecessary stressful environment. Especially when your head down, focused on just what's in front of you of the next few jobs are in front of you right? Like a like a batter worried about his batting average. You know, it just doesn't make any sense. Don't worry, don't worry about that. You know, you execute these fundamentals when you're in the batter's box and the by product at the end of the season is you're gonna have a, you know, 300 batting average for you know, if you execute these things then our P. And L. Is going to look like this regardless of the one off here and there same thing, right? Like you shouldn't be strutting like a peacock. Yes. Um you crush it on a job And have a 65% profit margin. Right? Well maybe the salesperson just got a lot of money for that and it didn't take us near as much as, you know, let's say we thought the wallpaper was going to be $10,000 and it all came off like Scotch tape off of off of a coke can. Cool. Right? So I guess what I'm getting at is I try to pay people what they're worth plus and lean into what their most capable of and push them to do that. How do you how do you compensate your subcontractors? Great question. So it is not uncommon for us to hear that we are, It's not it's not uncommon for us to hear that we are 20% higher than than our competition. And the feedback we get is hey um you know, response from a person who wants to go with us. Hey we we know that you're 20% higher but we really feel that our house is gonna be in good hands with you, we'd like to hire you to work awesome. Thank you Mr mrs. So and so um the that allows us to pay our subcontractors more, right? Like cool now you got more margin, right? So that more marginal job, you can share that margin. Typically we know what are going rate is for labor to get work done in this town and we pay a little bit of a premium on that in the same way that we um I would like to pay all of our staff well, we believe in paying our subcontractor as well. And sometimes our subconscious will say um hey, we need more money in this job. Then the question is, why Are you asking retroactively because you didn't manage your labor very well, you know, and and then that's probably a no, right, it's not our job to pay you because you didn't manage your labor very well if if we agreed that this is how much, you know, this room, if my office should take $200 in labor to paint. But somebody sent, You know, an amateur painter out here to do it and they had 20 hours painting this off. So I said, well that's not my problem, that's that's your problem to own that. Conversely, sometimes estimators or are and we and we own that. And so I think just by virtue of our Oh, 80, 90 years of experience in the painting business across all people, right, You can look at something objectively and say now this is this is really a fair price for this. So, and and that's how we dictate our pricing for what a house is going to paint? You know, our average job is Hovers around $10,000, do you have a particular gross profit margin you're aiming for? On your jobs? We do. So just on the job not the business we're aiming for 40%. Okay, um and how do you know um pushing you eric that just just keep diving in? No, no, no, no, that's a good question. So it's not quite the Magic eight ball of how we came up with that, but I think it's one of those kind of time in the business of seeing, hey, this is what's realistic expect that you can make on a job if you are this type of business that can sell quality over over price, right? If we sell value over price, then we know that we can sell a job for X premium over. Now, you have to deliver on that of course, right? You can't just the sizzle can't be better than the spice, as they say. So if then you can deliver on that and get X. Amount of price, knowing what labor should be to get that done. It's kind of like a mass equation that solves itself, You know, so to ask the question, how do you say 40% will you say? Well that's just kind of what it ends up being um and at that point we can have a viable business model right? At that point I can pay a salesperson, I can pay a project manager if we do X. Amount of jobs per year. Right? And so basically my my thought processes. One salesperson can sell a million and a half to $2. 5 million a year. And that should be able to employ 1 to 2 project managers were on the upper end of that. So right now we're looking at our next um salesperson higher. We had someone identified but as things go, sometimes they don't always work, right? So um if anyone in the Kansas city area is listening, we are in the market for another salesperson. Yeah, shameless plug right? And and you pay well. You pay above market significantly. But yeah, so I wanna, I wanna dive in. You're obviously a man of faith and and you've placed this business larger in God's hands. And and that's been comeback and benefited you. Um I want to talk about the reason behind your name and why you exist. Oh thanks for asking. So um mission painting. I'm a former marine. And so a lot of people might think that mission painting is like mission barbecue or mission this or whatever. And you know you have the the american flag colors and that's not it. There's also Mission Kansas which is a nice town um in the kids are getting metro. And so they think that we're based out of mission Kansas and that's also not it. But those are just assumptions that you're from around here, mission painting exist because our mission is to help widows and orphans. The bible says true religion is if to help widows and orphans and those in need. Right? So um, it just kind of seemed real logical to me to say, hey, this isn't my business, this is the father's business. Our mission is to make an impact. So our mission statement is very simple. It's to love love others and serve our neighbors, love others by providing a great paint job so that we can serve our neighborhood by helping widows and orphans, right? Love others serving neighbors real simple. And so every every team meeting we have is looked at through that lens. All of our objectives. All of our KPI s are key performance indicators, the, the lessons we learn right? I've got to, I call this the bob behind me. That's the every business should have a giant dry erase board. I don't care if you're a car wash or google, you should have a giant dry erase board to brainstorm on. So we call it the bob for the big a whiteboard B. A W. B. Um, but I don't know if you can read anything on that, but we were discussing a job that went sideways about a week ago and I love opportunities like that, right? Because they tend to be really inexpensive lessons because if you go back and own it and always do it right. Um, and you're operating from that. Do what's right from the get go. Usually it shouldn't be that painful of the lesson, but I'll be candid and share with you what it was. We had a customer who had us paint their full interior a year ago and called us and wanted us to do touch ups. They banged up some of the baseboards and whatnot. The salesperson goes out and says, Okay, well minimum is $500. She says, yeah, that's fine. And then says to the project manager, hey, we need you to touch ups. Project manager says, oh, that's on the far side of town. It's just touch ups. We've done work for them before. I'm not going to go walking with the customer beforehand and shows up the next day, customers already out of town. That just keys. Right. We have customer poor. We've done a full interior for them. Um, you know, we're like, like a trusted, like a trusted relative at this year. Well we spent three days there with three people doing touch ups. Whoa, what happened? That's exactly right. What happened? That's what I was looking at. As I'm, as I'm looking at the daily logs, I was like, wow, that's out of touch ups And so I'm already kind of on this, but I didn't see any change orders, go to the client and uh, I'm thinking, I don't know that this is gonna go great. Maybe he's talked to her, he project manager has talked to her client and told her what's going on. And uh Anyway, at the end of the long weekend, on Monday of last week we sent the bill for $43.00. I was like, I don't know that that's going to go super well sure enough sure enough. And I scratched out the project and I was like, hey, did you give them daily updates of of what labor looked like every day? No. Okay. So we know how this is going to go. Everybody already knows how this story ends. So the customer sends back an email uh just beside herself. Like how could we go from here to here? What would happen furthermore? Not everything that I was wanting to be done was done. And um what I'm getting at is we did an after action basically what we ended up doing was going back to the customer said, you know what? You're so right. This is totally our fault. We didn't communicate what we were doing and align that with what you wanted done. Tell you what, Just pay us the $500 minimum. Don't worry about anything else. We value your trust in your relationship more than any marginal jobs. So that cost us $1,500. I think on the jobs I had maybe three or $400 in material and probably, I don't know, $14 $1,500 or something like that in labor. Yeah. Okay. So Is that right? I basically just, I would have been better off walking up to this lady and writing her a check for $1,500 handing it to her just walking away. How was her? The lesson learned was fantastic. The first thing we talked about in this lesson was did we love her? Right in what we did and in our context? Right. Love is a verb, right? Did we honor her? Do we respect her? Do we show kindness to her? Did we understand where her needs were and execute those? Did we treat her checkbook as if they were our checkbook? And we didn't we didn't do any of those things. And so we came up with using our bob here a um a line item for labor that says these are the dues and donuts basically when we come work for you by the hour and our our lens of that was again through our mission right of love. How do we set ourselves up for success and the next time. And basically it's we will have a not to exceed line item. We will communicate every day with the hours worked and have a full scope of work before we start. The project manager must do a walkthrough to make sure we're on the same page. Since that's hourly work. We want to honor your time and your payroll. Since that's how it's transpiring so that I think is is the explanation of the reason behind the name and then how it applies through the daily right of uh not it just being lip service. I also took two people from our team to Uganda For 10 days in February because we worked out a deal with two of our paint vendor Sherwin Williams and Spectrum paint company who is our Benjamin Ward rep here. And those are the two primary products we use in this region is Benjamin moore and Sherwin Williams. Pittsburgh, uh not a big deal um can't get farrow and ball around here and the West coast paints aren't really in our market. I know there's a couple of west coast vendors and they're just not here. So um, here's the deal, we worked out, we get a rebate back from everything we purchased from Sherwin and Spectrum of 10%. Ah yeah, big number um and We take that 10% and we get that back basically in Q1 from the previous year. So we just got our checks back this year. So we had almost $50,000 this year that we can give to an organization that we have aligned with called Forgotten Children Worldwide. Actually, the brother of Rick Hartzell who founded Somerset painting in michigan, So forgotten Children worldwide has like a 90 plus percent pass through are the monies you give them and uh they their mission. Uh lots of ours, it's widows, Widows and orphans right. Um so we went to Uganda to go take a look at a school that were helping to build that will train girls in a marketable skill such as being a seamstress For a year actively have aged out of their regular school. They're typically 16-19 years old so that they don't have to go into prostitution in order to buy feminine hygiene products for example. And that's a real story. A real example of the challenge is beefing the abject poverty in Uganda. We also support the orphanage in Nepal. Um, and all of that is because of um, all of that specific is because of the rebate package that we worked out with Sherwin and in spectrum. So we love our vendors. They're they're partners with us and especially everything. So loving our neighbor to us isn't just our customer, right? If anybody that would be the neighbor context, which is my physical neighbor, the customer, our subcontractors, we treat them with the same level of dignity and respect that we would each other our vendors. Um, it's, it's absolutely intolerable for us. Anybody on the team too abuse any of our vendor relationships and some, some painters can be kind of rough on there on their reps and that's just not, that's not our, it's not our DNA. That's amazing, man. Thank you for for that impact that you're making. That's absolutely incredible. It's a lot of fun. We also stole the paint it forward branding. Um, yeah, from josh. Yes. It's out of California. I'm drawing a blank on the all right, thank you. Um so they, those guys are fantastic, they're fantastic inspiration. And how great is it that they let everyone use the paint it forward uh name. Right? So we put our colors on that and and and we use them, but we also try to give them as much credit when I don't forget. Alright to name. Yeah, exactly, with it now Sherwin Williams when you get those rebates back, is that just, do they know what you use it for? Is that part of how you've been able to negotiate such a high rebate? Okay, It is, yep. I also um don't beat them up on pricing, right? Like, like I understand that that money has to come from somewhere, you know, so you could technically say, well, you know that that money you're just paying, you're just, you're just paying more for the paint and so it's just a deferred savings account for you, kind of, they give us good pricing. So I think they give us more competitive pricing than Let's say just a 10% markup over someone else. And we typically use the premium products. So, you know, our standard exterior paints would be Emerald rain refreshed from Sherwin or Benjamin moore aura from Benjamin moore, Those are our go 2s, not to say that we don't use other other lines, but when you look at things by a pie chart does take up the most. Sure, yeah, that makes sense, man. So what are you, what are you most excited about I guess. Um but the future of your business, I'm excited about this year, we had a conversation with a team that this year was going to be a test year of testing if I cannot be involved operationally. Um, I am supervisory in a sense, but huh? Horst Schultz, he was the founder of Ritz Carlton um and he, when we were in Covid, I guess technically we're still in COVID, but when we were early on in COVID in 2020, yeah, yeah. Early on in 2020 when we were um doing shelter in place and things like that, right? Like nobody was working that that wasn't essential and although we technically could have been essential, um we had the margin and the ability at that time to just kind of shut it down everybody for a month, spit it out and let's try and let this Passover. Obviously that wasn't effective for a number of reasons, but that's another podcast, Right? So that's a whole other whole other ball of nick. So, um, what we did is we met on zoom most days for a couple hours a day to do team training, right? And not painting training, but like character training and mission statement training and things like that. Ah we did a master's class, I signed up for the Master's class, which side note Aaron franklin's barbecue master class is the best barbecue course you could ever take. But the master class that we really enjoyed was led by Horse Schulte, founder of with Carlton and talking about excellence in service, right, Ritz Carlton mantra was ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen cool. Right, so you're elevating yourself to the same level as the people, you're taking care of treating them with dignity, respect and carrying yourself with dignity and respect etcetera. One of the things that horse did is he empowered everybody, everybody at the hotel, from the housekeeper to the bus boy up to a certain dollar amount to take care of someone if they were upset about something and it was something outrageous um something like 1000 or $2000 or something like that is that they could do, can you imagine your bus boys like sure, let me go get you a bottle of Cristal to make up for your eggs that were overcooked, you know, like, like it, it was, it was an absurd amount. However, it was also the onus was on that person, be able to explain why they did what they did, you know, and everybody looked at the bottom line as as like this is a team effort etcetera. So going through that. Um, and a number of other training academies we did some Patrick lengthy, only stuff. Um we implemented traction by Gino Wickman which is an entrepreneur operating system. E os sidebar for any small business owner who wants to grow. Look into the Os and traction by Gino Wickman, it is the fundamentals for how to set up your business for growth down the road, yep, we implemented a number of processes and it's kind of now, two years later coming to a, a point where I pulled a team, I'm no longer involved, you can make whatever cities you need to make, there is no dollar amount that you can't do to make something right. For example, that in study we just talked about where round numbers, $4500 was the bill, $500 is what we collected, it was a $4,000 comp yep, that project manager and sales person made the decision on their own to do what's right under the idea of how do we, how do we love this person, what's the best thing to do in this scenario and they did it, they did the right decision and, and, and, and it's fantastic. So what I'm excited about is seeing this next stage of growth in the team, I'm excited about taking a step back and kind of watching it and, and being almost like a, oh, like a silent partner in a sense vs um, if anybody's familiar with Amy, a gram of personality test, I'm an eight on the Angiogram, which means I'm really good at imposing my will on others that makes for a great quality in a failed person, but it can also lead to micromanaging if you're a project manager or a business owner if you're not careful. So this year I told the team is a test year, a test of me not being involved. Can this run um, and run as if I were here, can you make the decisions as if you were the owner of the business running it along this vision? The shared vision and next year is a tweak year learned from our ups and downs And 2024 is an expansion year. Nice. We'll see the, the, the goal, like I said in the beginning, uh, we try to be very speed and cubby uh, seven habits of highly effective people beginning with the end in mind. Um, where I would like to see a growth model for this business where we have um, several locations that are all operating the same, you know, as we grow, we can scale, we can have some shared costs and I think that's fairly usable, but there's a couple of a couple little tweaks that we need to make first. I think we'll be good to go Sure, go ahead. I'm not a huge fan of the franchise model. Um, I don't oppose it and I don't think just because you're a franchisor bad or just because you're not a franchise, you're good. That's kind of like the subcontractor employee model, you know, I think it depends on how you run either one, but we're looking forward to how to solve that next problem, How do we grow and do we use someone else's capital, like a franchise and then, and then franchise, it kind of like a chick fil a does where there's ultimate um consistency across locations, you know, or I think there are examples of franchises in our industry without naming names that don't do that very well that just collect a franchise fee and offer training or offer resources, but don't enforce the culture of excellence. Yeah, it kind of makes it hit or miss for those. Exactly makes it the best it becomes reliant on whether or not the franchisee wants it or wants to be at worth buying in versus I think driving that ball to the end zone and the end zone is, is, you know, an excellent product, excellent reputation. Yeah, so eric it seems like one of the things that you're really good at as a business owner and entrepreneur is taking situations that are less than ideal will say like covid or this situation with this customer that you ended up taking a pretty big cash it on and turning them into a positive and I find that I find that's a consistent trait among successful entrepreneurs, I just want to identify because you said situations like these are great, how many people would say, oh, this job went sideways, That's great. You know, that that optimism is great because it's because you're looking at it from an R. O. I perspective you're saying, okay, I'm gonna pay $1500 and what I'm gonna get back is the opportunity to better improve my quality for all the other projects and avoid other issues down the line. Right, dang. It, it happened. I think that that's a huge point. O Covid happened, we had to shut down. Okay, great. Because now we can do these character training, going to all these master classes and up level our, our entire, our entire company. Um, that's just an awesome mindset, man. Thank you. It's um, I think it's integral to leadership that you have to have that mindset of positivity, right? Because that's contagious. I mean, I mean leadership personality traits are contagious, right? Whether good or bad, right? If you're a bad leader, that can be very contagious to your team. If your, excuse me, a good leader. Um, and you know, I mean, I hate to, I hate to sound like, you know, a Dudley do right? Or that ned flanders or whatever and keep circling this back, right? Because, because frankly a baseline, I'm more of a giggity giggity guy. Yeah, but um, if we say that this is the father's business and the father is in control, right? And if you're doing things in a righteous manner, right, righteous meaning, like doing what you're supposed to be doing, how you're supposed to be doing it as if your father is watching you, right? And it's not like you have to be christian to ascribe to this, right, This is just common sense and a business right? Doing things, doing things right for people doing things right, you know, But in the christian context, if I say this is the father's business and the father is in control, I then have to trust that when things go sideways, that's an opportunity presented to us to maximize now. So that down the road you don't have that times 10 or times 100 or whatever, right? So I mean, if you fast forward with B hag ideals and the big hairy audacious goal ideals, if somebody didn't pick up on that Hey, in 20 years I want 50 locations. Okay, well if you have 50 locations and then I'll make that $1,500 mistake, that's $75,000 in 20 years that you just saved yourself with a $1,500 check. Cool, I'll write that check every day, man, what a powerful point. Yeah, what a, what a powerful point. That that point right there. So, so if you have an abundance mindset and if you are, if you have aggressive goals, then no matter what happens, I mean the logical conclusion here, no matter what happens and no matter when it happens, thank God because in the future because you're growing so thank God it happened now. If it happens in three years from now, it's not 1500 it's 20,000. Well thank God thank God it didn't happen six years from now because you're, the longer it takes for you to make a mistake, the more magnitude that mistake is going to cost you. That's very well put and and 100% on point on on brand for us as well. Yeah. Yeah. That's a superabundance, growth oriented mindset. Welcome challenges because they're going to just make you better in the long term and they're gonna cost you less today than they will tomorrow. Sure. And I think that the, the probably doesn't have to be said, but it should be said on that is don't make the same mistake twice right? Like learn, learn from those and learn it. Yeah. You keep saying the same stupid tax. So it becomes a really stupid tax. Yeah, exactly right. Like and, and, and so lean into the opportunities to, to grow to learn and to make corrections from and have the courage to always, always, always do what's right and uh, and and own it and grow from it and that's kind of thing. Right? Like you said man, this business where we are, I don't know if it's true in florida as much, but it's so seasonal where we have winters, you know, and so every winter cash flow gets tight every winter. Um, there's, there's less work than there is in the summertime and we try to stabilize that to a number of different things. So I would say we are less seasonal than almost everybody in town. Right? But we're still seasonal right? Like right now I'd like to be outside painting, you can't see out my window, but it's almost snowing. Come on. You know, baseball season starts in two days. It's not supposed to snow in baseball season. But you do what's right? And you trust and you know that the father says for I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper you and to give you a future. Okay, Well I lean into that and sometimes that's hard but it doesn't make it not doable. Yeah. What changes? Or do you see changes happening in the painting industry and say the next 10 years man, I wish I knew the answer to that. I think in a lot of industries there's automation and whatnot. I don't know that. I really see that in our industry. Um, I don't know that there's um there's an app for several apps. There's one I'm trying to blank on for roofers or fighters where they can take some pictures of the house and sending off somebody and x amount of time, whether it's a day or an hour or whatever. They get back the number of squares that are on that roof. Right? What's the square footage, the roof with the squares of fighting. How much linear feet of term do you have that makes their estimating job very easy. I don't think we have that luxury where it's something that just, you know, you just put some numbers and it popped up and here's your answer because it's so high touch point. You know, it's almost like saying, you know, what's the future of fine dining? Yeah, it's the same. It's execute, right? Um, I think what is interesting is what's the future of labor in our industry? Every painter that works for us is 1099. And also, I think without exception at this time is a first generation worker here. Mm, Right. Um, and I don't see that trend changing in, in this country, right? I might raise some eyebrows when I say this, but in this country, If you are a 35 year old or 40 year old Painter, right? Meaning not a business owner, right? You have a paint brush and a roller and a ladder and you've been painting for 25 years or whatever. And you come to me to say I'd like to work for you as a painter. And I said, okay, What do you want to make? And I say, I want to make $30 an hour. I want to make $35 an hour. They might be very good. Right? But that goes back to our original conversation, most important to them is getting their hours and they might be able to work unsupervised, nothing against that or whatever. But in our experience, those guys typically have something in their story that has prevented them from being a manager or a salesperson or owning their own business or what have you. There's exceptions. There are certainly exceptions, but if we're looking at averages something is in their story. Whereas a first generation coming here did not have those same opportunities to go to college or to become a business owner or whatever And they are out here working like a devil, 12 hour days, 6. 5 days a week, smiling, happy to have the words, excited to learn new things, to put another feather in their cap of a skill set, etcetera. Um, and have worked very well for us in our co branding, most of our subcontractors profess a spanish version of our same faith right there. Either devout Catholics or are, you know, evangelical christian from Honduras or, or what, what have you. Um, and so I think there's a lot of alignment there with that. I can't doubt that there's probably some answered prayers with that. Um, but What I'm circling back to is in the future in 10 years, you know, immigration has been crazy and it's a hot topic of discussion and I don't have a particular opinion of immigration other than to love my neighbor, you know, um, and, you know, we pay everyone by the books, right? We pay business to business. They have to have a tax id, they have to have, um, for their workers top and insurance and all and all these things. Right? So everything is, is all above board when I want to talk about this first generation of people coming here and sometimes that's hard to find. But you don't know what the accessibility to a labor pool is going to look like. And so if accessibility to the labor pool is very hard, That means the pricing is going to be much higher and I don't know what the market will be able to take as far as I know, no one's gonna paint or pay $2500 to have their bedroom painted. If it's just a standard, you know, 12 by 12 bedroom, right? It just doesn't make any sense. Um Well in today's dollars, right? Let's use to live here from now. Let's, let's $2500 is not a trivial amount in 10 years. Let's hope it's not, we're not going to McDonald's in the year and paying that. Yeah, that's right. That's right. No. Zimbabwe inflation. So um the future I think relies on us, it's incumbent on us imperative for us to treat those that work with us and for us and have shared visions and dreams like you could lose them tomorrow and to do whatever it takes to keep those people close, right? Not there are people that view subcontractors as you know, just a turnstile, right? Like, okay, there's like as if there's infinite workers out there and and there's not, you know, it's just not. So I think that's probably my biggest ah foresight or whatever looking forward. Yeah, I appreciate you sharing. I don't because I don't think products are gonna change that much, you know, it's like, you know, invented a better mousetrap. I mean it's it's paint, you know the rain X. Rain X was a cool thing. Uh not rain X. Rain refreshed uh in emerald paint. Do you guys use that down there? Yeah, yeah. We use it here. We get a lot of hurricanes and summer, there's a whole lot of rain and storms. Sure. So you know that that's a neat product where it creates some self wash ability um on the exterior of the home. But again, And if I had the answer to that, you know, maybe we'd be in a different industry. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. There's your $800 million that's right. Um do you have any other advice? Eric this has been incredibly insightful, really appreciate your time. Do you have any other advice that you would like to pass on to other owners? Um you know, you had a couple of questions or talking points that we um you know, mr marketing questions and things like that. Um Yeah, it depends on who's listening, right? Um who is your average listener? Is that somebody that's just starting out that's trying to it's kind of the way we have a lot, a lot in the let's say 2 50 to 7 50 then then we have some listeners that are really more in that 234 million. So I think the majority of them are probably under a million, the majority of our listeners. Fair enough. And I think that um an interesting kind of tipping point, right, that our first year we did Just under 500 when it was just me next year, we did right out of million when it was mostly just me, but I had no life, you know. Um so I think it's some pitfalls to watch out for, right, if you're married and you have a family, make sure they come first. Sometimes you have to sacrifice that first nous in a sense, for the short term, so that the long term you can say so you can, but but that needs to be clear dialogue at home and say, hey, family, um this isn't forever, right? These are the these are the goal posts that I need to get to and then I'm gonna be home more. Um rick Hartzell in michigan taught me a great lesson. You solve a problem with a person, right? So you have a problem, hire someone to address that if you have the bandwidth to do it, there are things that I hate doing, I hate doing um data entry and admin and things like that. I just I put it off and I put it off and then it becomes this giant stack on my desk but then I have to get through and then I avoid it. You know what I mean? So what did I do? I hired an office person to do that. So now it's just done every day. Same thing with taxes or whatever, solve a problem with the person. Mm hmm. Don't be focused on growth as the immediate like obsession. Whatever growth is a byproduct of behavioral patterns, right? Do what you're supposed to do. Make wise decisions and growth will be a byproduct if you just started in business ah in year one and you did 2 50. Cool. Now you have a baseline of where you should probably be able to grow from but it is Um inherent and it's built in organically that you will grow if you do a great job on that 215 sales Now you have 200 and let's say it's At an average of 5000. That's 50 jobs you did That we're all happy. That's 50 people talking about the work you did. That will lead to more work. So if you just just a baseline, if you do the same marketing Then you're going to grow by X%. 10 or 20%. As long as the outside market factors aren't changing things too much like a pandemic year or recession or whatever you're going to grow. So I think it's just kind of like to be patient and be trusting in in the brand that you're building and always go back to your brand, do everything through that filter whatever your brand is. If your brand is is um price then do that right and do that and do it well and do it through price and deliver anybody beat on price. If your brand is valued, do it on value if your brand is you know whatever, do it through that lens, treat everybody that works for you like you want them to be around for the long term, whether that's in pay or in respect or in ensuring that you are um leading by example by work life balance and that your team is also having the same work life balance. That's a problem with our team sometimes is guys are so dedicated to their job. They're sacrificing some family time and it's incumbent on me to say, hey look to turn off your phone at a certain time, don't send work emails, don't respond to work emails and ah make sure that your family is giving the attention because if we don't have it at home, it really makes it hard to have it at work. I think those are some, those are some things that I would, I would try to stress on, don't get caught up in um have a, have a good sniffer, right? Try to sniff out the Bs when someone's trying to tell you something about the latest greatest marketing technique or strategy or or the snake oil. That can be uh search engine optimization and all that, right? Like first focus on your brand and your reputation. Because if you have a perfect google google rating that will help your S. C. O. More than you know, somebody saying they can put you at the top of google because that's just not going to happen. Um you're never gonna be at the top of the rule. If you have a 4. 2 rating, right? Just forget about it. Mhm. So I think those are, those are things that I would that I would harp on well eric um really appreciate your time. This was this was incredible man. Thanks for coming on, definitely a a unique, unique perspective and I haven't talked with many people, potentially any people who have gotten a call from God. So that was pretty cool man. That's a cool story. It was a pastor, but I think he was probably answering the same phone call. I was, yeah, amazing. Amazing. Cool. Thanks so much for your time. Hey, I appreciate your time. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit. Painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company again that you are L is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast. Hey, they're painting company owners. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also, if you're interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at PainterMarketingPros.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