Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting “System Beat Fear” Series: Episode 3

Published On: June 26, 2023

Categories: Podcast

Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting “System Beat Fear” Series: Episode 3
John MacFarland

In this series titled “Systems Beat Fear”, John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting will be discussing how to overcome what can be scary chasms in your company’s growth journey through the implementation of effective systems. It is a 5-part series.

In episode 3, John will deep dive into his systems for his office and sales.

If you want to ask John 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 There you can ask John 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 3
– Sales and Office System

Audio Transcript


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 Systems Beat Fear John mcfarland of mcfarland painting will be discussing how to overcome what can be scary chasms in your company’s growth journey through the implementation of effective systems.
It is a five part series. In episode one, John discussed team pay philosophy and how it sets the stage for accountability in his company. In episode two, John covered growth sticking points he has experienced while scaling mcfarland painting company. In episode three. This episode, John will deep dive into his systems for his office and sales. In episode four, John will lay out the systems he uses to ensure success in his operations management and out in the field. And in episode five, the final episode, John will discuss his unique approach to meetings on how they have become the most productive part of his team’s week.
If you want to ask John questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so on our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook. Just search for painter, marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind. Again that URL is facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter marketing mastermind. There you can ask John questions directly by tagging him with your question. So you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.
What’s up John? I know much what’s going on Brandon. We’re back, brother. We’re back systems. I feel like we’re getting into the meat and meat and potatoes of this thing. Systems, systems beat fear. We’ve kind of done the the lay up, you know, we we we started with uh the chasms and, and the fear and the pay and the mindset that that’s created and now we’re getting into systems. Um I guess the next episode will be systems as well. Yeah, I’ll let you kick it off, man.
Yeah, we’ve kind of talked about breaking this up and I think, you know, systems from an office and sales standpoint are closely related. And then a lot of companies growing, you know, maybe more one person doing office and sales at one time and then the field management is kind of separate. So it’s kind of hard to you and I have to talk about maybe breaking this up. But, you know, for me, some of those scary things that we’re, we’re going through is we’re removing ourselves from the day to day job sites and things like that.
Um, you know, you start to do some of these sales and office functions yourself. I feel like it’s probably more terrifying to give these up because it’s, it, it generally, in my experience was something that I didn’t spend that much time in. It wasn’t my background, my background was painting and so I could, I, I thought I could teach and train and outline that better. I felt like, you know, I took over the office and sales stuff, hard core and then I was farming that out pretty quickly.
And so that transition period is for me was pretty narrow, that window. Um, before this stuff got hired out too. And I think that’s, uh, that’s terrifying for most of us. So you think, feeling like you knew it, like you didn’t know it as well. Kind of ironically made it more difficult for you to have someone else do it because you felt like you couldn’t really monitor them or make sure that it was being done. Right. Yeah. And it’s, I mean, what metrics do you measure? You know, I mean, rings to a phone call getting answered is not something that gets measured, but production rates you can track in painting, right.
Um, you know, gallons used or, or hundreds of job of dollars and jobs done. You can track those things pretty simply hours worked. How do you justify someone working in the office with this kind of gray area job that um honestly, most of us do a really bad job defining when we hire that first person and say, you know, I’m not sure what you’re here to do, but I need help. I, I know somebody is supposed to be here doing something and I don’t think it’s gonna be me anymore.
So I hope, you know, because I wasn’t great at it. So I hope you, have you ever sat in an office and done something before? All right, sweet. You’re hired. Sounds good. Let’s do it. Cool, man. So how did you, uh I guess how did you go about looking for that first person? The first person was just like anything. I think we got her um through. Indeed, honestly. Um You know, so it just an online job platform. Um I’d have to try to track down my job description but it was, you know, kind of smaller construction painting company looking for office admin, you know, the daily jobs include scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, um responding to emails, answering questions from clients and all those things that are, uh really most people can do as fast or faster than, than the best project manager, painter, business owner guy.
And, and so for me, um it was a little bit more of just kind of AAA task type of orientated thing. It really wasn’t a dynamic job function with my first uh office admin. Now was your first admin? Is this is the person that we talked about last episode, right? The one that didn’t really work out great. Yeah, uh necessary for my growth. I think it kind of um she did what needed to be done then, but didn’t have the abilities to carry us to the next step.
Certainly, I don’t think would have had the abilities to uh train our other office staff like my current business manager now, Chris, you know, her replacement, she came and replaced the first woman. Um she’s trained and manages all of these other office staff and, and I think that’s, that’s a, a difficult job sometimes, maybe somebody’s really good at doing the admin work. Um I really lucked out and she really likes managing leading training um people to take parts of her job too and she’s damn good at it.
So, yeah, it can be a real tricky thing, man. Someone who’s a good practitioner of the role versus someone who can actually manage other people in the role or teach it or, you know, on board, that’s not always the same person and just a quick recap. So, for anyone listening, who maybe didn’t listen to the last episode or it’s been some time, um, and John correct me if I’m, if I’m off on any of this. But for my recollection, your, excuse me, your first hire was essentially someone that you didn’t really have all the KPIS the Sops didn’t really know what you were doing.
Uh, so you plug someone in that person came in and kind of exposed the holes in your system where you really needed to create the Sops and essentially led the way for you then to, to be able to hire essentially a rock star who came in. Who if you, if she had walked through the door initially, she would have just probably turned around and walked out because it wouldn’t have been to the caliber of a position she would have taken. Is that more or less? Correct? 100% I needed.
I needed a first, you know, and, and she was a first and to your point. Um, I wish I had a little bit better forethought to actually kind of treat that person as straight overhead. And that’s what they are. You know, the painters in the field are income generators. The sales team is income generators. Um, that, that, that straight overhead. I think I really needed to do a better job of actually figuring out like, ok, what can they do that frees me up to be an income generator.
A big idea to grow in the company person and things like that. Um And if I had that framework at the time, I think it would have been easier for me um to actually figure out like, ok, what can I do that does directly increase efficiencies or generate income that I can have this other person do as good or better than I did to free me up, you know, kind of getting that freedom from them. And that’s huge man, that ho honestly, what you just said there, there’s a mindset that, that I think could easily be overlooked so straight overhead, right?
So we’re all thinking, I’m thinking, ok, this is just a, a cost, you know, sure it’s an investment, whatever. But at the end of the day, it’s gonna hurt your profit margin. They’re not generating anything. But then you said, how can it free me up to be an income generator and grow this business? And that, that little kind of tweak and thinking I think is where a lot of people fall short, they think, well, I hire them. Ok, gives me some time, you know, provides me a luxury, makes my life less difficult, but they’re not then transitioning into, well, actually that loss in revenue and profitability through that person can be more than compensated for because it now puts my unique skill set back out on the, on the streets or whatever.
I’m doing visionary of the business, which is gonna more than compensate for that person 33%. And the analogy that I used with a gentleman, we just ended up hiring a couple weeks back who ran his own painting company. Uh, he talked about, you had these income thoughts and these goals. And I said, yeah, but when you go do quotes, you’re gambling on potentially making income, but you are making no income, you’re leaving a productive job site that he’s really good at. He said by his self declaration is just very average at selling work.
He’s not super comfortable at it. It’s not his thing. I said, so you’re stopping generating income to then gamble to try to make income down the road and you, you have this idea of efficiencies, but I don’t think you’re really doing what you’re capable of doing because you’re stopping what you’re really good at which is stain work and restoration work. And these other great things that pay really top dollar because it’s a necessary thing for you to go and generate work. And if you flip that over for me, I could go and do what I was really good at which was attract people, train, train teams, get teams more efficient, be on job sites and work with them hands on.
Um on top of getting some leads and, and going to some networking groups and getting in, you know, those referrals that I was doing cheaper than what it would have cost me to get them through marketing companies and, and even, you know, Google, ad words wasn’t really as popular back then. Um, but I was really good at word of mouth, face to face networking and, and that’s how I built that business. It freed me up from answering the phone and I could go and do that stuff. Yeah.
Yeah, I love it, man. You could put in the hustle. So you’re, you’ve only had two people then for this position, the the office admin. Uh Yeah, I mean, because Chris’s role has gone from the office admin, but now the designer and the marketing and our business manager and our business manager, um Chris handles our office manager to other location now. So she’s morphed into this much larger role, but really, yes, two people kind of started that. So, yeah, I know she’s, she answers the phone as the owner sometimes now.
So she’s really growing all the time, all the time. I mean, that’s not even a, it’s not even a question around here. That’s amazing. So, does she have people working under her? Yeah. So she, you know, directly reporting to her would be uh the office manager that runs our Highland Michigan branch about 30 miles from where we’re at with our main um my, my day to day kind of customer service manager, Danielle reports. To her marketing manager, uh Elizabeth reports to her, our designer reports to because a lot of the designer job um is kind of this split.
It’s not really outside sales. So it’s ordering of some custom finishes and some materials like cabinet, poles and hardware and things like that. And then she’s kind of a backup office person answers phones when everyone else is tied up or whatever. And all those, all those women report to Chris directly love it. So let’s get into these systems. Did Chris build these, did you build some of them? Was, was it kind of, are they still being built? Where are we at? They’re definitely still being built. Um A lot of them I would say was pretty much a 50 50 split and Chris and I, once we got the framework a little bit more appropriately laid out of what does the job look like.
Um So how do we take a call from a client calling in or emailing us saying they need a quote um that script and stuff she really went through and, and tuned that up. Um It matches our CRM, right? So it has referral source. How did you hear about us? That’s one of the first questions we ask people, we really care about that. We wanna know what’s working. Um If it’s a, if it’s a word of mouth networking group we’re in, we want to know um you know, there’s different times that somebody may be paid for those referrals.
So it’s critically important and there’s others that we may be getting rid of some spending or increased spending and stuff that is working or not working. So, um she really drew that stuff out with defining how do you hear about us, you know, name, phone number, email address and make sure they’re correct. Uh I will tell you the first person had uh typos in those appointments and, and we’d be going to a job and this address doesn’t exist because the two numbers are inverted and we’re calling back to the office and calling the client.
So Chris made that much more streamlined and easy so that, that information is accurate, you know, um trying to ask what people want done. Yeah, they want a painting estimate but a two bedroom, you know, 200 square feet bedrooms are a lot different than a 7, 8000 square foot mansion inside and out with cabinet painting. So she gets those details about, you know, what are you looking for? Um, a little bit of the why in the timeline, you know, when do you want this done? Uh we’re, we’re in a climate that we really only paint outside about six months a year.
Um You know, maybe a little bit more than that if it’s the right spring and fall. But so if someone needs something done in two weeks, we can’t do that now. And so she’s a good pre qualifier and that system is of just eliminating people that are just not the right fit. Um, you know, and so getting some of that information to set up the sales people with the right, you know, walk in the door. Ok, I know how you heard about us. So I work for Brandon.
Brandon is a great, great guy. Did you notice his living room and you know, really like what we did there, you know, you can be interested in doing something similar um or whatever the case is. And so those basic things I think seem like, ok, this is a no brainer, but when I was taking those appointments myself, I didn’t ask those questions, you know, I didn’t really ask timeline and things like that the business was smaller and I generally assume people knew where we were at and where we were booking and how long it would take.
Um But as you get bigger and you have less control over those things, uh we really don’t want to send guys for, for poor appointments. So that’s critical. That’s such a good point man because that stuff, it does seem kind of self explanatory, it seems minor, you know, why? Like what do you mean? Why? Right? You just want your house painted but but the why just collecting these little details can be so impactful, not only for the customer experience when you actually land the project, but actually for the sales process, how you actually deliver the project, right?
And how you present things and the the address to confirm me of these things. So it sounds to me like this was largely a OK? This is causing us issues. And so we’re gonna go back and we’re gonna basically refine the process, ok? We drove to the wrong house because the address was put in. This is now the second time this has happened, we’re gonna go ahead and make sure this doesn’t happen a third time. Is that basically how this was built? Yeah, because when you’re out there trying to get to an appointment on time and that number is wrong.
Um It’s stressful. I mean, we said this, I think the last episode we do hard appointments. So we say noon, our guys probably like slow rolling down your street at five minutes too. Um I don’t like moving up. I mean, we all hate being late so the time is at the time and having things laid out well, is the only way that other people are gonna be able to do that sales process efficiently and on time. Um And if we don’t know that you have a 7000 square foot house and we think this is a 15 minute estimate.
Um There’s a problem with that trying to get to your next appointment because you got four or five that day that are all exact times and your days laid out before you got out of bed. So there’s not, there’s not room to move it, you know. And so those parameters of the why those are important, try to get us a feel for um people start talking then and they may say this is the first time I’ve hired this out. OK. The estimator wants to know that. So they’re going to back up a little bit and give them the elementary version of we include materials with ours.
Be careful if you’re getting a quote, if it doesn’t have all the materials and all the prep done and this is what we need you to do or if it’s a previous customer, we know we’re just going in, we’re gonna catch up with them. We’re giving them a price for the next project and we’ll spend more time talking about something that’s not project related. But those first time people for us or first time they’ve contracted services like ours, they need a little different level of hand holding through it. Yeah. Yeah.
So educating, taking the time to educate the new customers more. And I think that in and of itself is a valuable point. You know, I think a lot of painting companies don’t do that enough. And the difference between Chris and her predecessor is Chris would explain stuff like cabinets. It’s a five day process. This is how this looks and really put it on a platter so that when the sales people go in there. They’re like, yeah, I already have those questions answered. That’s great. Let’s get down to brass tacks and do this thing.
Um, and, and that’s nice too. And it’s really nice that the people that are not the doers in the field know the exact language and order of operations and things like that. There’s a consistency. They can’t say. He said, she said, because we all say the same thing. And so making those things, you know, that that person has to be really aware of how long is a $3000 project gonna take you, you staff that with one people, two people, three people. And, and so all those things bring that person in the fold I think is critical and it starts at the, at the first phone call. Yeah. Yeah.
So Pain American pros, obviously, we’re, we’re familiar with companies growing, right? Painting companies growing. Um It’s what we do and we have a close relationship with our partners. So one of the things that we’ve noticed operationally that companies will run into problems they’ll run into is they’ll start to hire additional people, say, estimators, project managers, you know, additional crews and the feedback loop is not always there, right? So if you’re driving and you know, obviously you went to the wrong house, I mean, if you’re, if you guys are doing a hard time, obviously you’re probably gonna be late and then there’s gonna be a question about why you’re late.
So that feedback mechanism is probably gonna be built in there. But for some of the more subtle things like answering questions proactively or when you got there, there was a slight confusion about this. It’s hard to always catch those things as you scale up your company and maybe you took them for granted when you were the one out there doing it. So I’m wondering how did you guys implement a feedback loop that would then give you the information you needed when you or maybe um Chris were not actually physically the ones doing it. Yeah.
And I think you do, you can lose that touch, right? That personal touch. So in our crm, it has spots for notes and then that estimate appointment, it has notes has a newborn baby, you know, unsure of how that’s gonna work for them because people will say that when they call, I have a six month old, I want my house painted but I, how the hell does this work with the baby? You know, you guys have done this before. Tell me it’s sleep. Yeah. When you walk in and you say, hey, I’m just gonna, I’m gonna quote it this way actually in your, in your nursery, the ceiling and trim is fine.
So we can get in and out really quick and just do walls. You that might be the right fit for this room. Don’t worry about the ceiling. Um You know, don’t worry about upgrading paint to the hilt because, you know, Johnny’s not gonna want the Superman red for very long. He’s gonna, he’s gonna grow up and want it. So we may downgrade your paint and increase the machine to save you a couple of bucks in those spaces. They’re gonna be high turnover. Um And, and so if we know those talking points or those hot buttons, they’re in the, they’re in the estimate notes and then our estimators do the same thing, you know, client very concerned with her dog.
Um, as the crew good with dogs, you know, um has an, an elderly parent that lives in, in this room of the house and are we gonna disturb them and some things like that? And so some of those human elements are rolled right into those notes and there’s not like it’s a novel. So our, then we get to our paint crews fast forward our paint crews now. Oh, he gets a nap. Um You know, the elderly mother is not in the best of health and she’s in the swing of the house.
So we want to be quiet when we’re going through that area, maybe we’ll go around to her back door to avoid that area. Um We’re gonna make sure that we’re not leaving windows open and getting the house too cold or we may open windows to, you know, alleviate some fumes or whatever the case may be. Um It’s all customizable if you just think about it a little bit. Yeah, John, I’m gonna give you a hard time for a second on something you said previously, but I think you’ll appreciate it.
So you, you had said that you are a painting company, right? And some people talk about their sales, sales and marketing company or, or some other kind of right? Management or people company. But you’re a painting company, you’re not sales and marketing, right? But I, I do think you’ve acknowledged that you are customer experience company, right as well because you’re providing that experience, I’m gonna push back on you a little bit. But in, in a way that, you know, is, is uh flattering to you and that these questions that you’re asking, you know, when you come in and, and you’re talking about, for example, the fish tank and it’s right and, and talk about, oh, if you, if you cover the fish or is that gonna be problematic for them cause them stress, right?
The nursery like, ok, don’t worry, we can do X larges even if you’re maybe reducing your ticket value a little bit because you’re not gonna hit the ceiling, gonna reduce the paint and things like that. For me. When you’re doing that proactively, you’re selling the heck out of your business. You’re, you’re going in and, and you compare that to somebody who was like, oh, ok, here’s the measurements. So maybe got a laser pointer right on that All right, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna, you know, hit the trim, hit this, hit that and then here’s your price, right?
So you’re, you’re already just in such a different league. It’s not a hard sale. I know you guys, you guys do a soft sale, really consultative. Um Not, not sitting there, corner them into backing them into a corner in their house, making them sign something. But to me, just for everyone listening, that is a heck of a sales pitch because you’re already showing them how well they are going to be taken care of if they move forward with you because you’re already taking care of them and they haven’t paid you anything yet. Yeah.
Well, the thing is, think about even the most affluent clients that move a lot and have a large house with, you know, redecorating every few years. How many, how many painters do they hire in their lifetime? How many jobs? It’s still small. It’s less than what most companies do in a week. Um, it’s less than what my company paints in the morning, you know, over their whole lifetime. Um, with 53 guys in the field by lunch, we’ve painted more than anyone’s gonna contract out. So there’s some value in that experience, just divulge it.
I know how this is gonna work best, top to bottom inside out, dirty, to clean. We’re gonna start in these rooms, work our way down. I don’t want to roll out your foyer and then move ladders down your foyer and out your door. We’re gonna do that last, you know, we’re gonna put our staging area here because we notice you have kids and dogs and this office has these two French doors that close and we can leave our drop glass in our shop area in that out of the way.
Um So we don’t have to move it around your house, but I can’t leave it in your living room because Johnny’s gonna, you know, walk through the paint and it’s gonna be a mess. You have all this wealth of knowledge, even if you’ve not been doing it that long, that you have to just figure out how that’s relevant to almost every customer. And I think with us, I’ve done a pretty good job of training my people to think that way. We just had a commercial project. I knew nothing about it.
I didn’t do the quote. I didn’t get consulted on how to do the breakdown. Um The project manager that was assigned the job took a Google Earth image. It’s a large building. It’s about 100 and 50,000 square feet as an exterior and actually made color coded for what days people could not park in a certain area of that parking lot, send it over to this on his own because he’s seen this done by others and by me on his own so that they know where to tell their staff via their own internal email.
Hey, don’t park here. What happens if someone gets there before eight o’clock and we show up to work and there’s cars parked and we got lifts and equipment and paint deliveries and there’s vehicles that are parked. I don’t wanna ask those people to move. That’s annoying. I don’t want to wrap them up in plastic. That’s annoying. You know, I just want to have everyone know where they got to park for that day. So we start and finish the segment and then they know Tuesday is blue, that’s gonna be this side, we got to park and this lot.
Um And so I think if you show the importance of all of those things from a cerebral standpoint, the crews notice and the customers really notice. They’re like, oh my gosh, well, we’ve had stuff, you know, they show up and they say we’re here to do our job. Get out of our way. Why are there cars here? You know, they’re causing a problem. Should we just leave? And like, um that’s why my crews love the commercial aspect because the bar is so low from a stand point that if you do a little bit of prep like that, they’re happy.
I did a job all the time. You know, he owned a building that this is estimate systems that he owned a building that um Chrysler actually occupied at the time, right? It’s their National technical training center and where they did all the reprogramming and troubleshooting at codes. And I, I was kind of the number two guy, they had a painter. I was like the price check guy and I knew it. And the first thing I said is, do you have a fire your plan? He’s like, yeah, so can I get one said?
Ok, the rooms were all weird numbers and it didn’t make sense. They weren’t in order. And I said, we’re gonna go through room by room because we weren’t paying the whole thing. I said, I’m gonna highlight the rooms and walls that we’re painting and that have been a pretty good size project, but it was kind of helter skelter piece meal. When I submitted my quote with that diagram with the highlighted walls, I got the job that was $5000 less than the other guy that they had been using forever.
And it was a home run job for us. It was really high, high volume and, and the difference for them was I had actually gone through and did that. The other gentleman’s quote said, you know, paint walls based on walkthrough with Chrysler staff, not even the guy’s name that walked through the building. What does that mean? And it wasn’t huge color changes. It was just kind of repaint, touch up work, you know. So who knows if we talked about this wall or that wall? And so to me, our our sales guys, when they go into a commercial space, they ask for a fire plant.
Do you have a building layout? Not everyone has a blueprint unless you recently renovated it. Most have a fire plan. And then you can say, ok, cool. You know what is Brandon’s office? Well, I don’t know. And your name plaque is probably taken off your wall when my guys show up to paint. But when it’s listed on an actual document, we know, you know, I don’t know who Brandon and Suzie are when I’m going to paint, but I know which office is labeled in this color or this code.
And that’s just, it’s kind of a really easy cheat and the customers are blown away when we do those things because other guys come in with a scratch pad of paper and they kind of take notes. They don’t really measure. Sometimes they count ceiling tiles. You know, we’re super big on laser measuring tapes. So that’s another system for estimators. I don’t know anybody. Um, that runs hard tapes and is very successful at it anymore. Those lasers are 40 bucks, they’re accurate down to an eighth of an inch.
Um And we’re still surprised that customers think it’s like sorcery when we really, I’m really impressed by that. Um It’s like, what is everyone doing? Why is this mind boggling to people? It’s seconds. We have a flooring woman who I respect the heck out of. She’s great. But she still tapes, she’s still running a tape measure and I’m like, ah, Gemma, there’s no way you can’t, you can’t do that anymore. This is, this is the same price and it’s highly accurate, you know. So, uh, some things like that, I think just show you as being an expert.
You, you’ve been there, we’ve done this. I know what issues you’re gonna have as a homeowner or a commercial property or an office complex or retail with stores and going in and out there’s nothing worse than painting those areas without a good plan because they’re gonna slow you down and, and it’s just because they don’t know what an, what an amazing hack. I love hacks. That’s a heck of a hack right here. It’s a nice cheek. Yeah. Again, the Google Earth is awesome for the exterior stuff, which we’re fragmenting off a building and walls and on the inside we like the fire plan.
Uh, and I, I honestly don’t think anyone told me about that. I’m, I may be getting a little older, but I’m pretty sure that that was a unique idea to myself. Not that no one’s ever come up with it, but for me, uh, you know, I saw that on the wall and said, hell, that’d be pretty easy to have. So, yeah, man, I love that. Ok. So let’s, let’s go through, I guess you tell me what, what you think the best way to approach this is, I wanna make sure we had all the main SOPS for office and sales.
We can go through uh the customer journey or maybe starting it at marketing or, or we can go through it sequentially either by day or kind of when you implemented them. How do you want to run through these? I, I think it’s probably easiest for me to stay on track if we just kind of go, you know, sequence, you know, sequence sequentially here. And, you know, for me, um I kind of started with some of those from the time that, you know, we get that first phone call, the information that we find uh the office staff is booking a hard appointment with a particular estimator and giving a name and I don’t care if you got 100 people or one person to give them the name, people wanna do business with people, not companies.
Yeah, they don’t care about me. I learned that a few years ago. No one craps about John mcfarland and that’s totally fine by me. Um So we give him a name, you know, Brad will be there at two. They even say Brad drives a, you know, dark colored escape. It has company logos on it. We talk about vans a meeting or two ago. Everything should be labeled, it should have your stuff all over it. Um There’s enough weird stories about people catching things on ring cameras and things like that.
No, one answers phone calls from unknown numbers. Um So one of the few things the office does is they say, please save this number into your phone people at this point because when we call you, you’re not gonna answer it. But if it says McFarlane pay, you’ll say, oh crap, I gotta take this. But if it just says 5646664, that’s a telemarketer nor whatever. And then it’s like, oh no, I actually need to talk to the painting contractor. What did I do? Robo, caller Robo, callers positive impact on the world right there.
Yeah, thank you. So we tell people to save it, make sure you save this number, you know. Um then ding ding, ding, it’s easy to share, right? When their friends and family say who did you use? They just share a contact card. They don’t have to say, oh google it or search this or whatever. It’s super simple, you know. So we, we, we haven’t been put the number to their phone. Um We, we talked about the process when the estimator gets out, they’re gonna be in a collard shirt like your beautiful painting marketing prose logo right there.
Left chest, big rock. Um You know, we’re the same way everything even my stuff is branded here today. You know, I don’t worry, both got our branded shirts on man. Yours is fancier than mine. It, it, it makes you feel approachable, you know, to some of those people that maybe don’t know or don’t remember. We talked about this the other day too. With business cards. Everyone in my company. Once you’ve been here 60 or 90 days or so, you have business cards. Um, because you’re important enough to have them.
You know, you’re our representative out there. If I can’t afford 623 99 and business cards for you, then we’re probably doing something else. Big, big problems. Yeah. So um estimator pulls up to the house on time. You know, again, I talked to, I have one guy who’s constantly early and that’s my biggest issue with him is he’s, he’s overly prompt. But we, we show up at new appointments at noon. We’re gonna knock on the door and the process. Now we, we kind of danced around this too. I really like talk to the customer address, the hot buttons.
Get a rough idea of the scope and then it sounds terrible, but get rid of them for a few minutes. I think you gotta give them something to do. Uh, if it’s a picture book or it’s a tablet that you can cough up and it has a slide show or something. Um, or you just tell him, hey, I need 10, 15 minutes to do my measurements in recon. Uh You’re gonna be in the kitchen, I’ll come back and find you. Some people want to follow you around the house.
You know, they might be a little bit nervous. Maybe they haven’t done this. And so sometimes you say, hey, you’re more than welcome to follow me around the house. But I really have to focus on the data right now. I don’t want to seem rude to you, but go ahead and come on and you can watch me measure if you care to. And then they say, oh no, I, I just thought you might need me. And it’s like, no, I already got what I needed from you at this point.
Then we go and we laser tape rooms. If we’re doing an interior, we’re counting doors, windows. Um Does it have crown molding and, and chair rail built out? Wanes cutting? What is the scope gonna be? Um, and when the homeowner says I just want to paint my walls. We don’t, we’re not a big Upsell guy either. We’re kind of terrible at it, but we’re gonna look for nail pops in the ceiling. You know, we’re gonna look for scuffs in the trim and say I know you didn’t wanna do trim in that room, but gosh, it’s gonna look really bad with, there are nice new walls on it or the kids room.
You know what I think you can slide by. Yeah, there’s one little scuff in the ceiling, but I don’t think you care that much. Let’s get you back in that room quicker. Um, we do our recon, we take pictures of a lot of stuff. And so our sales staff is taking pictures in the home. Um They’re just taking the photos and they may type in a brief note, but then when they get back, they’re actually gonna input some text on those with arrows saying, you know, this is the crack I was talking about that needs to be actually replaced with drywall or this needs just fiber tape or this needs screws or, you know, this is the one by six on left elevation window I was referring to because our crew is going through those pictures the week before and now they know exactly what they need and they’re, they’re not worried about trying to hunt and peck for stuff because when they pull up to the job site, they say, hey, I’m really aware of all these other things you talked about with, with our sales guy and I’m on the same page, just wanna confirm them and we’re off to the races.
So the pictures are important too. We take a lot of photos. Yeah, we took a lot of photos. I love that man. You know, and then, um, we wrap up the estimate appointment like most people do. Thank them for their time. Tell them how their quote is gonna be sent. I’m gonna email you in the order of the rooms is the order that we would prefer to do it. If you want to move something around, we can do that. But in our opinion this flow is gonna work best for you.
Um You know, we’re not gonna have you empty every bedroom at one time and not be able to put things somewhere. So we’re gonna provide some advice on that. Um We’re gonna talk about products obviously, you know, we spec high quality products, we don’t use midrange stuff. Um That’s a big sales point. Our quotes all include materials and labor. Uh Anyone that doesn’t include materials. I, I’m seeing more and more of that in our market, which just seems kind of odd. Um, people have no idea what to buy, where to buy it, how much to buy and, and their pricing is not ours anyhow.
So it doesn’t make any sense to do that. Um You know, we have people that ask, well, can I provide the materials and we say no, not really. To be honest with you, you can’t take your brake pads in and have a shot, put them on. There’s no warranty. They don’t like dealing with the headaches. They can’t control the product the same way. So we’re similar to that way where we’re probably a little rigid if you want us to warranty it. We’re, we’re buying the product too.
Um, go through all those things. We talk about how far we’re booked out in terms of scheduling. We talk about the type of team we generally would staff this. Um, some of our sales guys get really deep into the two guys, two days. This is how this looks and others are, you know, I believe this to be a two day project. But operations will tell you exactly when they call you to set it up. Um, all of our quotes are emailed to somebody within 210 hours. You know, something that I did and didn’t even realize I was doing it.
Um, I generally did my quotes in the morning and ended my day at the office when I was still doing kind of the flex job. Um, I like to send quotes as close to people getting off work and being at the dinner table as possible. Um, I didn’t send anything after hours because I don’t want to start those conversations. If I send someone a quote at 210 p.m. now they think it’s acceptable to reply to that. Then I’m not gonna do that. So I send it during business hours, but I love that 210 to 25 o’clock window.
Um, I’m gonna be the topic of dinner when they, they say, hey, did the painting company come out and say, oh, my gosh. Yeah, they emailed me the estimate really quick. I got it the same day. I really liked them. They went through all this stuff. Um, I wanna be that guy, that conversation. So we don’t send them on weekends. We don’t send them on evenings and then, um, our CRM has a two day email follow up or text, follow up. It’s pretty simple. We just want to confirm that you got it.
Um We know if they’ve opened it or not because we have an alert that shows us that but we play dumb and say we’re able to open it. Does it make sense to you? Um You know, some of our, our best sales techniques are kind of like a brand and I know we talked about this, you got that wedding coming up. I’m just, I told you we really need to approve this pretty quick or we’re not gonna get it done by July like you need. Um I was surprised you didn’t click, approve.
Can I help you with that? That’s about as pushy as we are. Um because our close rates are fairly high industry. And so, um you know, and then from there, we get a lot of change requests or questions via the client through email or the, the link that their quote came on. And if we have good notes from the sales guy in the house, our expectation is the office is answering probably 23% of those, you know, can I remove this room? Yes, no problem. Office will go ahead and take that room off.
If it doesn’t, you know, minimize the integrity of the entire quote, the office will take off some spaces or things like that. Um You know, hey, I had a thought after they were here, I want to add the ceiling um in this great room, you know, they said I didn’t need to do it, but I saw my friends and she painted a really, you know, light creamy yellow and that’s what I want to do. Our square footages are all in there already determined if we’re not painting the ceiling.
And so we can calculate that in the office and say you got 25 square foot ceiling. It’s this integer, adding your ceiling will cost you X. Um and they’re doing that to keep the estimators estimated and not doing the office stuff, you know, and then from then the client can generally they just approve it. It’s got a green button click, approve and make a deposit. We take a one third deposit. Um I’ve been a big proponent of that forever. If someone, if someone doesn’t take deposits, that’s certainly their own accord.
But I like the, the two way buy in. Um Yeah, I tried like hell three years ago to have a asphalt resealing company take a deposit from me in the fall to be the one of the first ones in the spring. And this solution was no, we don’t do that. Call me back in the spring and I was like, I got money here. I just, I just wanna have a spot on your list. I, I’m in a similar enough business that I get it. I want you to remember me and you know, a few 3.53 bucks for you to remember me, I’m good with.
So, um you know, we do a deposit, they get a paid receipt at that time. Um part of the other communications, we do a lead behind folder. So this is another, I guess it’s a system, we kind of take it for granted. Um It has exactly what to expect from us and what their responsibilities are moving and prepping and we talk about the fish tank or the China cabinet. Um, those things are in there. Uh, we talk about when their colors are due. We take colors two weeks before a project and we have a couple of homeowners that say, oh my gosh, why do you need that?
The number one stressor for people doing what we do is color selection. I don’t want their color the night before the job they’re not brought in. They’re gonna second guess it, it’s gonna be miserable two weeks. Not that we wouldn’t concede and take it a week out. But we’re ordering that pain a week in advance and having it delivered to the shop. So I like two weeks because it does give them a couple days of if they really have a problem with something they said, and they want to change their mind and we can still do that without wasting a bunch of money and material.
Um, so that’s gone through, you know, two weeks out. And what that, yeah, what do you do if they’ve selected the color and then they rethink it and then a week or, you know, four days out they say, oh, you know, hey John, I, we actually we’re talking and we want to make changes what happens. Yeah. So if, if the paint’s been ordered and it can’t be re tinted, we’re gonna charge them our cost of that product. Ok. So we’re not gonna mark that up and kill them.
Um, we’re not big on paint markups really? I kind of like a, a black and white scenario, um, especially with some of these paint stores doing the 23.5% off at Labor Day and fourth of July sales, they’ve taken away that, you know, cost differential from what contractors buy and what the homeowner can buy for. Um, thank you, Sherman Williams. Appreciate that. Um, I did lunch with some guys from Cleveland and that was one of my biggest gripes with them and it’s just that, I don’t know why you guys do that.
It’s just too much money to give a homeowner, but I digress. So, um, if we can’t rein it, you know, uh, we just put in a tin machine in our warehouse back here. Um, we’re not very good at messing with that, but we’re getting better at trying to save those. You know what I mean? If they just want to go a little darker, we can do that, got it. So then one of the things that I really like that you just talked about is you will email them the quote and you will do it in the order in which you plan to complete the project and you plan to complete the project in that order based on your experience.
And you can essentially explain why this makes the most sense given, I guess completing the task in tandem with their life, whether they have kids or whatever their unique scenario happens to be. And I think that is, that’s really powerful, you know, because other people, I, I’ve never really heard of that actually from anyone. So other people are just gonna send all the different things that they’re gonna do. But you’re basically sending them an action plan like a detailed action plan. And people, why do people not buy from contractors?
They, because they think they’re gonna get screwed because they don’t trust them because there’s, you know, an unsavory bunch. Right. But that’s kind of the, the, um, you know, sort of the elephant in the room for a lot of contractors walking in there. You have to overcome any negative experiences that they’ve had in the past and I think when you can set those expectations and you can lay out, hey, here’s exactly what’s going to happen and how it’s gonna happen. I think the trust factor goes through the roof.
Well, they don’t have time to move and hardly anyone we work for has the ability to take all the contents and breakables from an entire project and store them out of our way. So they’re gonna do this in phases mostly and they need to know because no one wants to be surprised. Uh, not that I’ve had guys, I’ve had guys screw this up. It’s one of our only repeating customer complaints. I didn’t know they were gonna be in this space or they got ahead of schedule and then they told me at 2100 230 by 8 a.m.
the next day I have to have my kids bedroom empty and I got baseball. How do I do that? Right. That’s just frustrating. Is it, is it egregious offense? No, but it’s something we can prevent because we’ve been here before. So we tell them, you know, we have a, an elderly widow, we’re gonna send a smaller staff for more days and they’re gonna kind of dink and dunk and poke their way through that because she can’t turn her life upside down. The busy mom of three or four kids.
She wants this like a band aid. I’m gonna get this ready for you. Block it off two days and then get the hell out of my house. Appreciate it. But I will see you again. What do you do when there is a gripe, you know, for something that was a, maybe a minor, maybe a major inconvenience, but really not that big of a deal. Got a little bit ahead of schedule. Do you, how do you handle that as a company when a customer complains about something like that.
Yeah, I mean, first and foremost is apologize, even if it’s, you know, we’re just ahead of schedule and, and just be very definitive on why you apologize. Hey, I’m sorry, we didn’t clearly communicate this. I know that it’s frustrating. We try to make this super easy for you and I don’t think we did that even if it’s the first morning of the project, you know, I thought you guys are gonna be here at 8 30. It’s 8 45. I gotta go take a kid to school. Hey, I’m sorry, you know, that’s not, that’s not our intent.
You know, we operate at a pretty high functioning level and we’re not doing that yet, but we will by the end, um just acknowledging it and owning it. Um I’m not a big fan of it. Excuses are there was traffic on the way to get here. You’re late. Um You know, we had instruction all around us right now here in Metro Detroit. It’s crazy. So everyone knows that I don’t care, leave earlier. Um You have GPS now, so there’s no excuse for it. You know, traffic patterns don’t, I don’t like the excuses.
Um So accept it, own it, explain why your error has caused them even some minor frustration that you get it. You know, I’m in your home. I know you’re stressed out, you gotta get your kid to school. I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to be thinking about two things at once. You know, we sell this. Um, I use the analogy like going to a restaurant, you can go grocery shopping, you can cook, you can clean and you can do all those things. That’s fine. Most of the world can.
But it’s sometimes really nice to go out to a restaurant and have everything done for you. The waiter still may say, hey, this is how we cook another porterhouse steak and this is what we recommend pairing with in these things. And you’re receptive to that because they’ve been there before and they know, but I don’t wanna have to go and worry about, you know, did the cook do this, right? And my reservation, I think so I just kind of want this done for you and I want it done easy and I want you to take the stress out.
I want to and have a cocktail and listen to, you know, why you’re recommending what you’re recommending and, and then make up my choice. And so I think what we try to do is similar to a restaurant. Yeah, love it, man. So with the, with the homeowners asking certain questions, are you basically saying you try to, to lift some of this off your, your sales staff? So for example, when they say, OK, I, I saw, you know, Jane and she had the, the nice ceiling and so I, I actually changed my mind and, and I wanna have the ceiling.
Can we add it or hey, I want to remove this bedroom or whatever it is. Obviously, there are all kinds of other questions, scheduling and other things you guys have basically sop for that, you have almost like a Q and a SOP for, hey, you’ve been operating so long and have done so many projects, you start to see the same questions, concerns objections over and over and over again or is it just the office staff is familiar with them? So it’s not really necessarily documented sop but they just know how to handle it.
There’s not really a document for the office. They’re so good at what they do that they, they haven’t functionally needed one. Our, our sales team does, I mean they have a list of questions that they’re not doing a checklist in the home, but that process is kind of written out, you know, confirming. Um The one that we dealt with quite a bit when, when you say trim, the homeowner thinks everything that’s semi gloss, white enamel in their house. When, when trim doesn’t mean anything to our guys, we literally speck out casing baseboard chair rail, crown molding.
I mean, it’s window aprons like it’s to the t um So somebody thinks, I thought that this giant built in by my fireplace was gonna be painted. It’s like the level of detail in our line item quotes tells me that that’s not really a likely scenario. Maybe you talk, maybe that was a conversation with ABC painting before we got there. Uh But we have good photos so we can add it without going back out. But we write our quotes very detailed and again, still apologize. Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask about that.
I should have asked in particular about that. That’s my fault. But if you want to add it, absolutely. It’s, you know, that’s way different than we never talked about that. What do you mean Matt? So it’s not on my quote. Um Hey, sorry, I should have professionally said this is something you should consider. We’re already coming this far. Is there a reason you’re not doing these built ins or something like that? Right. Yeah, I like it man. Or even if, you know, I guess even if someone maybe had asked about it, but homeowners forget or like you said, they have multiple people come out and they don’t, can’t really remember who did what uh you could say, hey, I’m sorry, there was confusion in your estimate.
You know, we can go ahead and clear this up or, or it’s part of the notes in the photos. So we’re taking photos in that order of operations too. So if there’s a room that they said, well, you didn’t quote the bedroom, if there’s not a picture of it, then we didn’t go into the bedroom and you could say gosh, I don’t have that photo, you know, I’ll come back out and measure it and we’ll, we’ll handle it or? Oh my gosh, I do have that photo.
I don’t know how I left that off there. Um We still may make a price concession, just give him $100 off that room because we messed up and we wanna keep them happy and not have him begin to think, you know, that perceived indifference, like are these people so careless? They forgot about my third bedroom. Um We’re like, yeah, no, we’re just gonna do that at a discount, right? You know, that’s on us. Um And the sales staff really right now they handle all that stuff on their own.
They’re not asking me, hey, should I, should I throttle this down or I, I missed this. Um Those mechanisms are already kind of in place, you know, with our, and this is a gigantic meeting, but we have an Arizona missions process that if our operations manager sees something that’s missed on a quote. Um We just had one of the commercial building where the casings weren’t listed to be cock filled and primed and painted. It was just door slabs and, and that was a pretty good error at the size of this job that gets a whole like on site visit by the sales manager and operations manager, which for a smaller company may just be the owner and we’re gonna go back and say, hey, we missed this, um, on that.
We’re taking half the commission from the sales guys for those when they’re egregious. Because functionally with our arrangement, I’m paying the crew on the value of the work that they did. And I may not want to go back to that, you know, building owner, homeowner and say, hey, we screwed up and missed these casings. I may eat that and we, the company still loses on those. Um, but I don’t want the crew to lose on that. So some of those, you know, especially when you’re turning over estimates that quality control.
I think you have to have crews that are savvy enough to know at least some rough ideas of the price and integers to be a counterbalance to that if you’re turning over those things because you don’t want somebody cutting down margins to get a sale. Uh, and then if you’re paying your crews conventionally, they don’t know the difference. And then you’re the one that’s just holding the bag at the end of the day. Um, our pricing model again, I think kind of fixes that where everyone wants it to be fair and accurate for the customer and the sales and the operations and everybody because we’re all trying to do the same thing. Yeah. Yeah.
So the, you mentioned something interesting there, which was ok if, if you guys didn’t quote a bedroom, right? Didn’t include the estimate, maybe you missed it. So you’ll offer $1003 off or sometimes you’ll kind of do stuff like that since we’re talking about systems. Does your office staff, do they have a set amount of a budget that they can play with, so to speak, to make people happy? Like, like I know um what is it regency or, or one of these big, big groups has certain amounts that each employee can actually use to the lowest level of employees to actually comp different, different guests, different people who are interacting with their business um every day and they have kind of these.
But do you have anything like that? We do? I mean, we have, we have some promotions that we stick with from sales but if it’s something like that, we, we’ll go up to a 10% off of a job um that the, the crew on the job site can, can do without getting any approval from anyone else. Uh Remember they’re giving up 10% of their income too um in real time. So it’s used sparingly and they become much better problem solvers when it’s not just John’s money, they’re giving up, they’re giving up 10% of their own money.
Um They handle this more like business owners that really can’t afford to lose the money. I never had to do that back in the day. Um I probably have the means to do so I didn’t, you know, I, I would work through it come hell or high water. Even if it was really uncomfortable, I’d get it done and collected and, and have everyone be happy. Um, I do see that we went through that where you have guys in the middle as you’re growing that if it doesn’t directly affect them, what do they care if it makes your life easier to give, shooting 10% off and get the heck out of there in one piece, then that’s what they’re gonna do.
Um, where in our system they can, but they’re taking 10% as an income hit. And so is the sales guy and, and that sales guy may, you know, have a problem with them giving up too fast or maybe it was something they should have tapped sales to help out with. Um, if it was this missed room or missed expectations or miss scope. Um, our field guys will call the sales guy and say, hey, I’m, this is where I’m at. Your notes aren’t super clear. Um, and the sales guy like, all right, cool.
I’ll be there between this and this appointment and, um, you know, she can, then that customer can’t say I talked with your sales guy about this. It’s everyone’s in one spot. Um, miraculously, we don’t have those issues. They just get sorted out much faster because of the skin in the game is, is equally sure. Is it, I guess the only, it sounds like it’s not an issue. The only thing I would wonder is if, then they would become too hesitant, you know, where our customers is potentially gonna leave a negative review if this doesn’t get mitigated, but they don’t wanna lose their, their cut and that negative review doesn’t really necessarily, is not maybe gonna harm them financially as directly as losing 10% of this project would, um, it’s functionally not that big of a problem.
And I think because culturally, we have so many other things that we just do day to day that, that fix that, you know, our, our handbook starts off with customer satisfaction, employee success. Those are the two principles we’re founded on. So customers box gets checks first that the employee loses or the operations loses or I lose, we can live with that. We can’t do anything if that customer box isn’t checked. Uh, and so that will be something that, you know, they could have, uh, longstanding pay repercussions if they really behave poorly and really created a problem that now we got to go back out and deal with the customer that’s really hot about something, um, that they’re gonna get written up.
It’s a rarity but they would get written up and we can reduce that percentage for them for a week or two. to, to prove that point, we don’t have to do that though. But the, the threat is there, I guess in theory. But, um, I think culturally we have it set so much that, um, they really want to own it that they don’t want anyone coming onto their job sites. They’re quite territorial with that. You know, if I, if I do a site visit, the first thing I get is what do you need?
Why are you here? It’s not all great. My boss gets to see my good work. It’s what’s up, you know. Yeah. So you like sending the quotes during business hours, but kind of near the end of the day, ideally same day because then you are showing a fast turnaround time, taking care of them, making their life easy and you’re still fresh in their mind when they’re reviewing it and can talk about it at dinner. Have you ever done research like an A B test of sorts? Hey, when I send these estimates between four and 5 p.m.
this is my close rate versus when I send them at other times. We did a couple of years ago. We did and it proved that we also figured out that phone calls on Thursdays from 3 to 5 was kind of our number one window. So we do our, we do our scheduling phone calls. Um, when someone approves a job, they don’t get a call to schedule until Thursday, you know. So we bought those up for a week so that we can fit the schedule together. Um Thursday afternoon, people are kind of thinking about the weekend mode.
They’re a little looser at work. Um, Friday is hard because if you miss them and you get a voicemail, you may not get back with them Friday during business. Um, so I like Thursday afternoons. You can look at, um, your website and Facebook and social traffic and see those times that people are on their phones. That’s where you’re sending their quote nowadays. Uh, and so I think you could follow those, you know, for maybe a follow up. Um uh Unfortunately, our CRM doesn’t let us adjust the date of that automated follow up.
It’s, it’s X amount of days after the quote was sent because I’d love to send that follow up on Sundays. Um You know, and, and just say, hey, we’re out of the office. I wanted to check in with you or something to that effect because our, our algorithms show that people are quite active on our social media on, on Sunday afternoons when they’re kind of lounging around. So, uh but yeah, we did. I and I love Thursday and I got a lot of great from people when we started to say, you know, thank you for your deposit.
We’ll call you on Thursday to schedule. Um The rebuttal to that is that allows us to put projects together so that everything fits, you know, you have a unique job number. We don’t go out of sequence, but um I can make sure everything is much more organized if we do it if we just book everything in real time as they come in. You know, today I’m looking right now. Um, from, from literally Monday to today, we have 62 jobs that have been approved and, and whatever this is 3.5 more days.
I don’t know how you get those to go together. Right. If you’re just dropping them in, in real time, I think you end up with scheduling gaps, you know. So for us that objection of why am I waiting to hear from this? The answer is just, it’s, believe me, it’s much more efficient and we just kind of explain why, um, you know, we can, we can hold our dates, you know, we schedule people for week up on exteriors. Here’s another little system, we don’t give them exact dates.
We work in Michigan. Um, it, last summer we had to move two jobs out of, I don’t know how many 100 off of their week of scheduling. So we schedule exteriors out with enough wiggle room, we can deal with the day and a half of rain on average. Um, we can move those pieces around and make it work and, you know, trying to get that. So that, that fits together because people will accept week of scheduling, they won’t accept the hard date even if it’s quite, you know, soon and then moving that back, you know, so we kind of, you know, under promise and over deliver with most things we do.
But the scheduling is one of them. We, we, we don’t like pushing people down the line. You know, we don’t have a list of customers. We paint an exterior, we cross it off, we call the next people. Um, you know, we have jobs scheduled in September right now. We’re pretty much booked through July in mid August for some teams and those people have their dates and they’re not gonna hear from us until the week before. Like we said it, they’ll get a phone call saying hi, I’m John, I’m your project manager.
Um, and you’ll, you know, you’re familiar with our week of scheduling. Um, looks like Monday, Tuesday are rainy. I’m gonna set it for Wednesday. This is the plan and we do all that stuff, you know, as that gets closer, but we don’t bump them up that week hardly ever. How do you guys schedule your interiors, uh, interiors during the exterior season? Those get hard dates almost certainly. Um, you know, we tag, um, we tag jobs either as rain work um, in our job title. If it’s something that’s vacant or people are flexible past clients, they can get moved up and, you know, we’re gonna call them on Monday at noon and say, hey, Tuesday weather looks real bad.
Can you, can you pretty, please have us in there to do your project? Uh We don’t even, you know, we don’t ever really run through those. We always get enough for whatever reason it seems like that. But I think our sales guys kind of build in that. Hey, if you’re going to be a little bit flexible, I think I can get you done sooner if you want a hard date. Not a problem, but it’s gonna be more towards the end of our schedule where there’s openings. Um, I know I can get you done sooner but the, the tradeoff is a little bit of flux.
You know, you may not, you may have no more than a day or two notice on your project. And so some people that’s fine, they don’t care that that’s good if it’s a pain in the interior of their garage and they have to spend all weekend emptying it. No, they need a hard date, you know. Yeah. Awesome, man. Well, we’re coming up on our, our hour here for this third episode in your series. Do you have anything else you wanna add regarding sops for office and sales?
Uh, you know, me, I can, I can, um, you know, I think, I think the biggest part we kind of talked about was when you have something that you’re giving up control on, you actually need to think about how much more you did with it. It’s not quite as simple as you may think. Like God, you know, you just show up and you quote the house, but if you turn the customer onto something so you can focus or if you drag them through whichever you one you think works for you.
I think that’s how you write it. So you have faith in the systems you’re putting in place and then people can improve on it. And if their numbers are better than yours and, you know, they say no, no, no, I hold the homeowner’s hand for 30 minutes and we point and touch everything. Ok. You know, numbers, numbers prove me wrong. You’re good. Um, but I think trying to evaluate what you do and, and I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t short change and I think a lot of what painting contractors do, they just do because it’s how they do it.
Um, I think they’d be amazed if they actually started to peel back those little subtleties that they just kind of take for granted on. You know, for us, it was the order of operations, unquote. It’s good example. Um, I did it that way. I had a guy estimate for two years where he did it, whatever you order the, the homeowner wanted. And then we had to go back and resort this and it was just laborious and didn’t make any sense and I hadn’t been in the home.
So even with photos, I couldn’t always put it together for the crew. And then how do you tell people what stuff they need to move when, you know, we use a mathematical equation for production. So we can tell someone, you know, your first three line items are day one, the next two are day two, the last three are gonna be day three. And so you’re prepping your own home on Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, if you can’t do it all at once. Um And again, I think for the owner operator that does their quotes and then shows up as a project manager, you do those things and you don’t even know it. Yeah. Yeah.
So it it’s so easy to overlook all little details because oh, that’s just how you do it. You know, you think everyone, everyone will just do it. But then you have someone else plug in and you realize a lot of that stuff wasn’t so obvious. Yeah. All right, John, I appreciate you, man. You are a wealth of wisdom. Thank you so much for this third episode. We have operations systems next. So super excited for that. And uh thank you brother. Appreciate you, man. Thank you.

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Brandon Pierpont

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