Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting “System Beat Fear” Series: Episode 5

Published On: July 10, 2023

Categories: Podcast

Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting “System Beat Fear” Series: Episode 5
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 5, the final episode, John will discuss his unique approach to meetings and 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 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 5
– Make Meetings Matter

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 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 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, John deep dived into his systems for his office and sales. In episode four, John laid the groundwork out of the systems. He uses to ensure success in his operations management and out in the field. And in this episode, episode five, John will discuss his unique approach to meetings and how they have become the most productive part of his team’s week.

If you wanna ask John questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so on our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast forum 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 going on John uh Not much Brandon, what’s happening with you? Not much man. I’m excited for episode five. I know you have been eagerly awaiting this meetings episode. So I’m excited to hear what you got. You made a comment, you know, back in the previous one about meetings, you know, now they’re taboo and the world is getting away from them and things like that. And uh uh we feel here like that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. So you are very uh contra, I don’t know if it’s contra culture, but after what is mainstream, you’re kind of doing your own thing for sure. Yeah.

Um, and I think the thing will kind of, I’m sure walk through like what we do in our meetings, we have different meetings for different groups and I’ll kind of lay that out. Uh, but I think the one thing that we’ve talked about before too is that pay system where guys are produced on what they paint and not per hour is that time in the meeting room is actually costing them money, they’re making zero if that’s the way you wanna look at it to sit in that room.

So, um that might be part of the issue where this doesn’t work as well for somebody else in a traditional model or maybe knowing that you’re spending all this labor for people to sit around and talk or look at slide shows and things like that. Maybe your, your uh content isn’t up high enough quality to justify that firepower, you know, being in a, in an office and not on, on a job site. And that’s, that’s part of this too. So we gotta go through it. I mean, I guess it cuts both ways because, yeah, it seems great from the owner’s perspective if they’re not being compensated for being there.

But obviously, man, that, that content must be pretty compelling, but they must feel like they’re really getting something out of that for them to be ok. Uh Spending that time. Yeah. And I think, you know, at, at first, um, we have a series of meetings that we kind of onboard people with that. There’s about four segments generally and those, we’re gonna pay them to go through once. Um, you know, and those four topics I’ll rip them off through. I just started a series this morning actually at 7 a.m.

so we’re starting at 7 a.m. We’re starting a half an hour earlier than their day normally starts, you know. So they’re only missing a half an hour off of that job site time. And the first one is just client communication, crew communication, so especially new hires kind of outlining how we communicate, why, what’s important. Um The method of, you know, communication with some of the apps that we’ve talked about and things like that. Uh We’re not really training for use on the apps. This is more kind of soft skills, you know, reading a customer and expectations and some of these things that are on that checklist, you know, sounds great.

Customer walk through. What the heck does that mean? What do I talk to them about? So, client communications communications is one. then we get into our payroll system. Remember our staff is on, you know, kind of the traditional hourly pay model for about 60 days. Is this the second meeting? This is the second meeting now is gonna be kind of the pay system part of that is just showing the math, you know, and say this is how the breakdown gets done. But the majority of the meeting is me teaching them how to game my own system.

You know, uh, if we can get it ordered, get it ordered, don’t go to the store. I’m not gonna complain about a $40 delivery fee on something, um, from a big box, you know, home improvement store and just get it shipped. Um, and so some of those things that we look at from time, efficiencies, we’re not training them on how to be experts. We’re just getting their mindset, right? So that when they hear these things on job sites, it starts to make sense. And I think that’s part of this too.

So we’re not trying to take them from zero to expert in an hour. We’re giving them some concepts and some notes that they’re gonna then take to their day to day job and say, oh, now I know why someone was real upset to go to the paint store, you know, for an extra gallon of paint and what they meant by this isn’t worth my time. We should have just got an extra one, right? Um Then we get into pre job um preo policies and then that um how that looks.

So we’re looking at photos from the sales team notes from the sales team, how to read them. We’re talking about those things like that China cabinet that, you know, you and I have talked about um getting the job ready for our arrival and making sure that they understand and how the customer has been communicated with and what we expect to have done when, why and how and the benefits to the customer to be having those things done when we show up. And then the last one is job site closed down.

So that’s a little bit more, you know, just going through that team walk through um what to expect our responsibilities in terms of an organization, shop, organization clean up. And again, we’re not training them on every last thing. We’re just giving them the concepts. And, uh, right now I’m personally doing all these meetings with new hires, um, or people that haven’t been through it or haven’t been through it in over a year and I like it because it gives me time with some new faces that probably don’t have as much day to day contact with me.

And, and then it’s really helpful for my managers because they come out of here knowing that my expectations and criteria is, is very high level and, and kind of exact and they think really highly of their project managers because they’re a much nicer easier deal with version of myself. And so everyone comes out with kind of a win, you know, they, they’re happy, they don’t have to deal with me every day. And, uh they get a little kinder, gentler version, you know, with their direct supervisor, which is great.

I love it, man. That sounds like a great system. So you said you have it for new hires, but then you also have it for people who haven’t been through it in years. Does that mean you just continually have people redo this training? Yeah, I’ve ran, I’ve ran, uh, the module just back to back to back. We try to group people if we can to, more like their skill sets. So, if they’re brand new green hires, um, the three people that I had with me this morning were all green hires, you know, within the last 30 days or so.

Um, and if they have some crew experience or crew lead experience, we might kind of put them in that group and then we’ll have some people that either did, you know, do a really nice job with that preo process or maybe they need help with that preo process. We’ll have them come back in and either help me run it and fill in some blanks, provide some energy or, you know, maybe get reacted and tuned back up with whatever content that may be soft on. I love it.

So if you’re finding that they need work, you’ll kind of plug them into this where needed to this basically onboarding process that you have for your new hires, they can go participate in a, a certain segment of it. Absolutely. Yep. How often are you doing this? Is it like once a month or what’s it? Called. That’s a, that’s a meeting a week. I do every Tuesday mornings and this just keeps going. So, you’ll do 234 and then you’re back to one right back away. Interesting. And is that just because you guys are, are always hiring?

Well, we’re hiring especially. It’s been like that the last 453 months. Um, I, I probably will begin to start building in kind of a month off cycle. Um, I’ll certainly fill that probably with some other kind of, you know, more advanced training, small group session, right? They like three or four people in a meeting room. Um And just to get, can get more and, and really make more of an imprint on what I want culturally from my manager. So I’m probably gonna do kind of that, you know, next series will be for them.

Um But without their direct supervisor, my operations manager in the room, I think it’s also kind of important. This, my office is a safe space. If they have an issue, an issue came up today. Uh It’s an interpersonal thing. It’s uh one of our really great pro crew lead type of guys. Um But he’s a little soft on holding clients accountable and we’re showing up to homes with an awful lot of furniture and stuff in our way and our people are really nice and so they’ll assist folks with moving that.

But um that’s not how this is designed. And so we’re gonna have to help retrain that crew lead on that week before phone call to say, hey Brandon, I sent you this list. You got it emailed. I noticed this fish tank, I noticed this China cabinet. I really, we need you to have this stuff moved so we can come in and do our job. Um and, and really have the customer say. Oh, absolutely. I, I wasn’t aware and so we, we kind of discover some of these other areas that we might need some help where um if we don’t have that small meeting room setting, I feel like people just tolerate it until they get disenfranchised and they say I can’t work with.

So and so I gotta go to another team or I’m gonna go to another company. We never sort through that if we don’t have it expressed, right? So these are, these are kind of special meetings, right? That you’re talking about the group sessions? 3 to 4. How big are the other meetings? The four kind of on board ones, the onboard ones are, those are small too. I mean, those are 34 people as well. Yeah, the our biggest meetings would be our sales meeting now has six sales staff, a sales manager and our designer.

So there’s eight in that meeting room right now um often accompanied by a drop in from either myself or my business manager or my operations manager. Somebody that is gonna kind of present something with them or work through an issue. Um, you know, we had this at the beginning of the year we were scheduling so far into the summer. The second we got the weather up here in Michigan that, um, you know, our operations, uh, manager Garrett had to get in that room and get the sales guys calmed down and try to explain to them.

Hey, everyone in our area is backed up. You can’t get afraid when someone walks in a three monthly time. These are how we’re gonna handle that. This is how I’m trying to fix it on my end. And a lot of those type of things we do as a group, but the sales meeting happens once a week. Um And, and they sit in that room for sometimes two hours. Um You know, they go through numbers projection performance the last two weeks. Pay self directed leads, lead sources, vendor, uh relationships, updating our vendor list.

You know, we have a shared uh drive file vendor list that has the co profession, the company contact info and then some notes. Um So we may add another gutter company to have that we can provide some referrals to. And, and so they may say, hey, check the list, we added ABC Gutters. Um We really like them a lot. They service our western area. So you know where 123 gutters was kind of the, the eastern side and some things like that. Um So their meeting content has some of those value ads for our clients.

Like the referral partners are brought up. They often have the referral partners come in and actually present on, you know, who we are, what they’re doing, new products, you know, so that we really know who we’re dealing with out there. Yeah, I love it, man. So let, let’s kind of we got into the sales meeting a little bit here. I wanna get just an overview of basically all the meetings. So we talked about these four meetings there on a recurring cycle, you know, goes one, the client crew communication to pay system, three pre job policies and four job site closed down and then back to one client crew communication.

Just every, every week, there’s, you just keep going uh primarily for onboarding, but then you’ll sub experienced team members back into individual meetings as needed if you go and go deeper with those topics, you know, where now we’re really trying to change behaviors or explain, you know, some more finite skills with those things. Um If we have crew lead, you kind of go through a cycle and then the second or third time through, we’re, we’re really getting down to the nitty gritty on that. Got it. OK. So it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna be the same, it’ll be the topic matter, but it’ll be deeper now.

Yeah, I really don’t even use an outline for it. I mean, those topics is about our starting point every time and the meetings go where they’re gonna go because I think the, the culture in that room kind of dictates what they need. And I try, you, you might not believe it. I try really hard to shut my mouth and talk less. But, um, I just get so geeked up sometimes it doesn’t work. But this meeting today I got really good intel and, uh these folks in the room, they weren’t unhappy with what’s going on.

They just were listening to me and say, hey, it sounds like we’re not doing it the way you’re expecting because I’m a lot of furniture and the answer is no, I’m not expecting you guys to move furniture for hours a day. Let’s figure this out, right. So, uh that was great. Nice little discovery. It’s gonna save them a ton of time and make them more money starting today, you know. Yeah, that is great. And I think just AAA bigger point there and something we’ve seen in our business as well.

Sometimes it will be obvious to you or, or to the business owner to a manager. Of course, I didn’t want you moving furniture for that amount of time. But unless you, you’re super clear to your team, sometimes people think that that’s acceptable, you know, like that’s ok. We hammer home client satisfaction as number one. So if they lean on that too much, then, you know, that’s correct. But uh, employee success is number two and we’re, we’re missing us being successful because we’re moving furniture and, and that’s not what we’re here to do.

I mean, it’s inherently part of our job. Um, but it can’t be a large percentage of it or we’re missing the mark somewhere. Yeah. Got it needs to be kept minimal. Ok. So we have those four meetings. Now, your team is paid to be in those meetings, correct? The first time through. Yes, first time through. Ok. So if they come back in and get a refresh, they’re not paid, but it’s gonna enhance their ability to perform. Well, yeah, honestly, we have more of an issue of limiting people so that we don’t have too many returners to come back and fire up the troops.

Um, then we do try to talk people to coming back in. You know, it’s obvious it’s something we actually have to say. No, we’re, we’re full, we’ll catch you next round. You know, I know you’re probably, they want to come, they want to improve a skill set or they just want to revisit a topic or they, they have something, they think that they’ve stumbled on that they’re really good at, uh, that they’re capable of teaching and they want to be seen as a leader. So, you know, they wanna, they wanna be in front of people.

Got it. Ok. Awesome. All right. So those are the, those four meetings. Let’s just, I guess, start top down here and then we can kind of dive into each and then we got into the sales meeting. What are the primary other meetings you’re having? Whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, annually, what does this meeting schedule look like? So the other meeting we have weekly as the last one is gonna be with our actual project managers. So there’s five of them and they run all, all of our teams the day to day operations of our teams.

That meeting is led by our operations manager. Um They’re going through, you know, something as simple as needs for like bulk orders of spray tips, um, problems with paint products, equipment that we want to change out of or maybe entertain new stuff. Um But the main focus of that meeting is going through our actual production reports from the week before. Um So they’re pulling up every job that was completed in the company. We’re doing about 40 a week right now and they’re looking at the average hourly production on that job.

They’re looking at the notes from the crew in the field and the salespeople and determining is they’re a trend. Are we doing really well or, or not so well on particular jobs like we just um have been on a terror of small, like 1200 square foot ranches, brick ranches to do, you know, brick staining or painting and then paint the aluminum trim. Those jobs are highly profitable for us right now and everyone here needs to know that, um, so that we can get more of them, you know, they’re easy.

It’s lighter ladder work than we’re typically used to. And so that’s, although it seems like it’s kind of just a whatever very average job profitability is through the roof on them and we need more, you know, and so we’re gonna look at those and try to figure out why is our price may be too high on those? Um Is our price too low in an area. So we’re gonna go through those jobs reports and really deep dive into a couple ones and look at examples of why was this so great or not so great.

And that’s gonna happen on Friday mornings. So that, that’s your project management meeting, right? So, ok, so in your project management meeting, you’re reviewing these projects, you guys have stumbled across. All right, this one particular type we’re doing a lot of right now and wow, awesome. It’s super profitable more so than our other projects. So we’re going to try to get more of those. What does that next step look like? Because project management is not sales. So how does it go from? Hey, this is great. Let’s get more of them.

What happens then? Um Well, we need to, we need to trigger those jobs and if the crew can’t take great after pictures, we’re gonna send Elizabeth out to take after pictures, right? So, you know, and that may be in, in your world and your clientele that may be just the owner returning if they’re free from job sites sometimes and they’re not on everyone. And, you know, I did for years, I had to return to take those after photos if I wanted really appropriate ones. Um So we’re gonna talk about those things.

Why is it good? Is it product, is it process? Is our pricing a little heavy? They never think our pricing is heavy, right? Not the, not the operations guys, the pricing is always could be higher. But um we really look at those type of things and then um we do all of these meetings too. I should let you know that there’s a meeting recap that is done by whoever is hosting it and that’s shared with almost everyone in the company every time, you know, and they get read within minutes of being received from across the company wherever people are at.

So, um the sales guys will get those notes confirmed pricing is industry, correct. We’re not like gouging folks. Uh Our process is just really nice and clean with it. They’re geographically convenient with these other things. And then the sales guys are reading that without being prompted. They know that, you know, that’s what they’re looking for on our, our, our social media stuff. They may, they may see, I have a, you know, some of their neighborhood pages and things like that and, and they’re like, ok, wow, these are, um, the last couple have paid the guys about 30% more than what they make on normal exteriors.

And so for the sales staff, they’re getting a 30% raise for the same amount of work if we’re that efficient because we’re getting them done faster. So, um they see those notes and then everyone takes their angle on it, right. If it’s making sure we got photos, it probably makes the sales people take better before photos on those type of projects so we can match them up with afters. Um They may do a little bit better job of talking to people about our referral program and neighbors, our crews will put out lawn signs at those ones for sure.

Sometimes two lawn signs uh maybe be a little more attentive to people slow rolling down the neighborhood and kind of looking at us and wave a little extra or lean into the sidewalk a little bit to be friendly. Um And so when we kind of draw out what we like about something and that gets sent, it’s digested by every other person that may have any ability to get, you know, contribute to that and everyone goes to work to, to make that happen. Ok. So your project management meeting the and I know it, you know, I dive deep, John so sometimes it seems excessively deep, but the the motivation at least presumed motivation of the project managers to attend this meeting that they are, they are not being paid.

I mean, they’re kind of being paid to attend. Right. But they become more efficient. They make more money. It’s, it’s a pretty abstract concept. I would tell you that the first little while of these meetings in the pitch of them is that you’re not being paid, I’m gonna make it so valuable that you’re gonna make more money starting today that you’re not gonna talk to me about paying you for a half an hour, an hour to be in a meeting room, that’s you, you know, I’m not gonna talk to you.

You’re still on t-ball. So when you’re done playing t-ball and you wanna come to the major league, you’re not gonna sweat me for a half an hour, an hour of time because I’m, we’re gonna make $300 more just with the content of this meeting this week, you know? Right. And that’s how we pitch it. I see. So if they’re having to basically, you know, as opposed to maybe working eight hours that day, they work 303 or nine hours because of this meeting, they are, are not really pushing back on that because they are more than compensated for by what they’re learning.

Yeah, absolutely. The, the efficiencies and the, the, there’s some sharing right between them. They’re all five, fairly different, similar in some aspects but different personalities for sure. Um So if they have some tardiness issues or something like that, those may come up and say, hey, how would you guys handle this? Is this like a smack them down, write them up. Is this a pullman in my office and you know, just ask them what’s going on. Um You know, some of those things get worked through at those meetings kind of with the guys as a round table.

Um We have sales that jump into those whenever they want, they can come in. So we, we had a sales person there last week who, you know, was in agreement with the gripe from some of the the guys in the room about um some notes not being totally accurate and in the right spots and some things like that kind of honestly Nick knack stuff, but the other estimator said, no, it’s, you’re right. If we do our job better, you guys make great money per hour and so do we and so it the better off, we know where you guys want these things, the better off everyone’s gonna be and it’s really well received. Yeah.

Got it. OK. So that’s the project management meeting. We know why they’re motivated. The the recap, the meeting recaps are sent company wide for from essentially all the meetings, they are largely read by the whole company. We, we can see the motivation for people to read it is because they have the ability to make more money and the estimators, the sales staff reads this meeting and they can figure out how to generate more money, you know, get close more projects. Um That’s the project management meeting. What’s the next meeting you wanna cover?

Um We’ll get to the, you know, the more interesting ones for, for most of the offices can be like the quarterly, you know, projection sales, you know, where we’re planning. Um But our teams, those project managers do a meeting once a week, uh very quick, 15, 20 minutes, you know, with their in house exact staff and they’re going through their productions, wins, losses, time off requests. Um, you know, we grant time off request with notice almost to a fault, but it’s, it gets to the point where it’s like, hey, we have too many of these partial days, Johnny softball, dental appointment things.

This is a problem. Um Those guys are handling that in their own small office setting. Um, you know, they’re gonna talk about issues, um, with, uh, customer communication balls being dropped. This job was a callback why they’re gonna really try to nail that stuff down or we don’t wanna bog down a group of project managers going through those, um, you know, so they’re gonna go through that with their own team. They’re gonna kind of talk to them. How do we feel with our production? Do I need to let off the gas a little bit?

Can we throttle down. You know, here’s the next couple of few weeks. Are we all good at this pace? Um, you know, talk about hires and needs and things like that, but that meaning is gonna be, um, kind of that stuff and it varies a little bit, week to week and then, ok, questions about your jobs next week, Brandon. Are you clear on what you’re doing? Yeah, I looked at them, I saw these pictures. It looks like I might need a foldable little giant ladder for this one roof set.

Um Yes, I agree. I put a note in there on that. You have this, this and this um sounds good. Let’s go to work this week. And so again, a little bit of kind of open on the table discussion maybe asking the whole team, you know, how would you guys paint this? This looks like this might be a little difficult. Um Anyone got some tips on a setup to get this done safely and quickly. Um that stuff happens with their own project management, meetings of their team.

Yeah, I love it. So the sales meeting that you mentioned is that also weekly? Yeah. Ok. Let’s dive into that one again sales meeting. Um They’re going through closed volume, right? So for the week or for the pay period, so we’re paid biweekly. So every other sales meeting has a little different focus on the closed volume network at that week. They’re gonna go through um everyone’s numbers, it’s all black and white. You know, Brandon, you sold 200 John, you sold 100. Um your closing percentage is here. Uh We’re gonna, all that tracking is, is constantly being updated and accessible by them at any time, but we’re gonna throw it on the table in front of everybody uh every couple weeks.

Uh because, you know, we’re all dealing with the same type of clientele. I don’t have one person that just looks at commercial work or like low end repair, small jobs. So they’re kind of fishing out of the same pond here a bit and I think it’s acceptable to have that be so open. Um, we deal with very little people being offended or their feathers being ruffled by doing it that way. Um You know, we just had a guy who had a, 100 and $60,000 closed, uh in one pay period as a sales guy, I think we talked about that.

And so, uh, you know, celebrate those wins. How’d you do it? Well, we already knew how he did it. He stockpiled a ton of exteriors from last fall and, you know, talk people into being patient and waiting for us and waiting for him. And he owned, uh, you know, that first part of our exterior season, he owned a good percentage of it even just being one out of five estimators, you know, and so he had a ton of work there. He did a really nice job locking people down and following through and he deserved that. Right.

So we’re gonna give him some accolades in a group setting and, uh, yeah, relationship management there. Yeah. Ok. So you guys go through the numbers, the closed volume, discuss that. How long is this meeting? Typically, I’m not in this one a lot because I have a scheduling conflict that often has me tied up during it, but they’ve been in there for 2.5 hours at times. So what else are they? Is it beginning of week, end of week? Middle of the week? Um It was Wednesdays, so it was middle of the week.

Ok. And what are they usually, I mean, what are they covering aside from the closed volume? Um, they’re gonna go through updates and service offerings. So if we’re, you know, we’re busy now in the summer we’re not, we might eliminate some territories that are just a little too far for us to justify going to right now. Um So change in service offerings are area. Um, you know, again, the stuff with the vendor list, we added these couple of people, they really helped us out and solved the problem for this client.

Um And kind of explain that stuff for them. You know, we talked about this before too. We’re so heavy word of mouth marketing, you know, past customer guys that, um, we have a pretty good network of referral partners that we give a lot of business to. And so, you know, the problem with that is we may have two marketing pro guys and, and maybe one just works for painters and one works for roofers and general contractors. And we need to differentiate that so that vendor list kind of gets updated and reviewed from time to time at that meeting.

Um They’re gonna go through showroom sales trends, things like that. Um They’re gonna kind of start to dive into some of that same production report that we talked about with the operations staff because we actually resort that report by salesperson. So on the operations, it’s averaged out for everybody on Brandon’s team and John’s team and Mike’s team for operations and our project managers. Well, we’re gonna flip it and we’re gonna do it by estimator too. We want to see is there an estimator that’s continually a couple bucks higher or lower than what’s expected of the average because they may be overlooking something um or they may be too heavy handed or too light handed in pricing.

And oddly enough, we ran this for the first quarter and the difference between high and low from our estimators was a dollar and 10 cents an hour. Uh That was the range. So it was nice and tight, you know, then a dollar and 20233 an hour over thousands of hours is still actually a gap, but it was an acceptable range we’re happy with it. And then oddly enough, those two people kind of flipped the next quarter, so we knew it was just a little isolated. Um, but they’re gonna go through those things too.

You know, what are we actually? What does that look like for us in terms of what can we expect to get paid if we have 47 staff? You know, what does that look like? How much is there to feed us and what’s expected if we see a, a week that looks light to the sales staff? And they’re wondering why we’re not filling it up. You know, there might be some stuff we’re filling that in and saying, hey, in three weeks, just be aware, we got Fourth of July holiday.

We’re missing field staff on Monday and all day Tuesday and some people have vacation all week. So that number is gonna be less than impressive. Um But, you know, the goal is to, to, to end up at X and they’re gonna kind of fill in some of those blanks for them too. So they don’t start wondering, is there this black hole in the schedule or a gap that, you know, one’s been addressed yet? Sure. You know, it’s great. So this is illogical. Wouldn’t be logical for people to think this way it would also be toxic.

But I’m gonna ask it because people are illogical sometimes are very competitive. And do you ever find that some of the sales staff, maybe if, if they’re finding something that works really well or it’s like, wow, their clothes rates really great or, or they’re able to charge higher prices or whatever it is, they’re consistently coming in on top, but they might almost want to kind of guard their, their sort of trade seekers to themselves. Or do you find that they’re always super collaborative with everyone? Uh Neither.

So they’re not all, they hadn’t been super collaborative with each other until we added in another piece or two. When we were two and three sales staff, it was a little guarded. I mean, they wouldn’t do something to screw someone over, you know, let them, you know, fall down and make a serious mistake, but they weren’t as forthcoming with the data and, and I did this in the home and man this really like, resonated with people, I feel like it’s, you know, what I gotta do more of um because there are only so many painters and you’re competing with time on a schedule and, and that is the case, we spend a lot of time at that time having them shift their focus instead of being concerned with, you know, the allocated painters on the schedule.

And can I do a better job of my notes, pictures and things like that so that the painters can produce more per hour? I’m inherently getting more work done with less bodies. And so you’re building in a race that way. And when we really shifted the focus to preparing the painters to go out there and do a good job. We didn’t have to worry about the holding on to trade secrets from my, my coworkers as sales staff. Um, you know, we did a nice job. Our last few hires in the sales department have been dynamite.

Um, where, that’s probably the single biggest thing for me that I don’t have to police that there’s not infighting. They’re very open. You know, we have, uh, we have a guy in the seventies that’s insurance restoration specialist from years back. Um, former big box, you know, store manager, paint, store manager, um project manager, fields ops guy for 25 years. Uh We have a guy who owned his own company. We have a guy who was a food service salesperson and then another woman who just started a couple of weeks ago that was in sales previously.

And so we have this skill set that’s fairly varied that they’re very receptive to filling in each other’s weaknesses and, and are open about that. Hey, I know we talked about Jim at the uh home shows. Jim is the man at the home shows. I don’t think anyone can compete with them and Jim’s all about, hey, this is what I look at, this is what I read people and this will work in the home and, uh, and that’s been really no issues. But wait, probably 34 years since we’ve had any of that.

That’s phenomenal. Yeah, I think the varied background, the different skill sets probably helps a lot with that makes it a little bit less direct competition in a way. So, you guys have the, basically the 20 p.m. meetings that we talked about each week that are weekly, you either the one longer one and then a shorter one and then you guys have a weekly sales meeting. Are there other meetings that are either daily or weekly? Not that are scheduled that way? I mean, there’s all sorts of ad hoc stuff that comes up and gets dealt with but not, not, that’s a repeating appointment.

Ok. What would the next most frequent cadence be? Would it be monthly? We don’t do much monthly. We have so many weekly meetings that monthly doesn’t make sense. We kind of save that for a larger quarterly meeting. Ok. So it’s quarterly. Is that the next step up? Yeah. Yeah, it is. What does that look like? Um It, it’s expanded versions of all of those other meetings in terms of past performance, right? So we’re looking at trends in hours and those one off jobs reports. We’re not looking at them one week at a time.

We’ve compiled them for a quarter and sorted by estimator project managers. So we wanna see if there’s a trend that’s starting to develop within, you know, the overall production. Um I’m gonna present on your over numbers or two year over numbers or whatever, I’m looking at to kind of show or illustrate a point. We had a, a slower quarter, one than anybody in the world wanted for us here. We had expected great things and we were down 2100%. Uh we’re up 255% this quarter. So we fixed it. We’re up 250% total right in, in year over comparison.

And to me, like I wanna explain all three of those, you know, quarter one sucked. And we all felt like this was just not fun and we couldn’t really figure out why. And we were just about stalling. Quarter two has been awesome. And when we put those together, it feels like what we had expected year over growth. So, you know, the method that it, the madness worked. We did everything we could, we, we knew we gave it a valiant effort. Fixed quarter one part of it was just getting out of it and, and moving on and, and when, um you know, I do those for sales and I do those for project managers where I’m actually reviewing some of the bigger trends that they’re so busy, day to day and the week to week stuff that they did.

They couldn’t tell you offhand where we’re at. But I run that P and L probably every other day. OK. So you, these quarterly meetings, you guys are looking at similar issues, but you’re diving a whole lot deeper and looking at it more holistically, obviously over a longer period of time. Yeah, marketing spend right now. We pull back some marketing money this time in the middle of summer because I’m concerned for, for next winter a little bit and maybe I’m just not over the, uh, the last one, you know, so we’re really busy right now, which is great.

Blessed to be busy, but we’re gonna pull back some of that money. So that in September October, we can throw that out there um to fill in some of these potential holes if that happens. Uh You know, so, so things like that, some of those larger trends, um we’re so transparent with stuff. I mean, we’re going through vehicle budgets, material budgets. Um Our project managers, our field project managers actually have a component of their pay. Um They get a quarterly bonus based on their uh you know, cogs, their cost of goods sold uh that if they’re, if they’re smart with their paint purchases and high on their production, um they’re getting anywhere from 245 to 230 or $33 per quarter as a bonus for that.

And so we’re going through those numbers on what contributes to that, you know, how did we, how did we do? Well, maybe where did we miss the mark a little bit? Um It were week to week. That would be taxing, you know. So we, we look at that quarter over and and, and really dial in, like, why, why was this different? We’ve had a couple of really good ones in a row. Um, and the difference, a lot of it is the new shop, our new shop has cages by team, you know, with shelves and racking and storage and all these things that are highly convenient for them.

Um, but they’re utilizing them. So it’s one thing to have it, but they’re actually implementing them too, which is paying them more money, you know, who attends these quarterly meetings? Is this all hands on deck or there are certain people who don’t come, we do it in two parts. So we do all our sales staff does their own uh one that generally has our operations and Chris, the business manager myself in and then same thing for the, you know, the field staff. Um It’s gonna be the sales manager, Josh Chris, my business manager and myself, you know, so the department heads attend both sides, right, estimation and operations.

And are the meetings a full day or how do you guys? It’s, it’s not a full day again, we’ve, we’ve done so much of this day to day. Um You know, our, the goal planning and the goal setting aspect of it is, is kind of done a little bit ahead of time where people are actually reporting on what you’re planning on doing. Um Each estimator and the estimator, you know, sales manager will have um you know, our goal, Brandon average sale has been fantastic, but his closing percentage is a little low.

So we’re gonna hammer on, you know, that closing percentage and average sale without disrupting the other one a little bit. And we’re gonna spend maybe a little bit more time in the home, five minutes longer in the home, I think might do this. And so they’re kind of coming to the meeting with those things where the reporting and sharing of the information doesn’t take more than a couple hours. You know, it, it’s not a half day to do that. And, uh, you know, the goals, I’ve spent way more time preparing it than, you know, we’re gonna actually discuss it with what I think is possible.

You know, I, I really do think this year I’m hoping for a 23% growth year over even with a quarter one. That was terrible. Um, you know, what does that mean? It means I need to actually tell them, you know, can we do that at 230% this one and 21000% quarter three? And how do, how does that actually work? So that, um, when they run the PNL through Quickbooks, they know, are we on or off target without me telling them we’re on or off target? Um, we have a lot of staff with access to our Quickbooks and they’re viewing that stuff on a regular basis too. Yeah.

Yeah, I love it. I love that. Transparency. So those are your quarterly meetings. Do you have semi annual annual? What’s the next? Is there anything else? Not really? No, I mean, our, our end of the year start of the year, quarterly meeting is generally a bigger deal. Right. We’re kind of celebrating the year. So we’re going through a little bit more of where we’ve been. Um, the one thing I do at that, that is just a, almost a riot is to go back in all my meeting notes and pull out some that seem like just ancient history.

Um, we fix a lot here quite quickly and we do fall victim to not stopping and smelling the roses and, and then you’re like, oh my gosh, it was only 10 months ago that Brandon couldn’t manage a crew of two people. Like, do you remember that he’s running PTS now and destroying stuff, like, oh, it, it seems like a lifetime ago. Um, and that’s one thing we do at that, you know, we all kind of come with something that’s like, holy cow. Can you believe this was an issue?

Not that long ago? I mean, that’s awesome. That’s so good for morale. I think, I think all business owners, especially hard charging entrepreneurs. We really struggle with that. You know, it’s always what’s wrong. What’s the next step? Where are we going on? What can we do better? It’s very rarely you turn around and look. Oh, my goodness. I’m embarrassed by, by that a year ago. And now look at how far we, yeah. And I have some, some pictures actually at my office of like our old whiteboard at the old shop that was only four or five years ago where our week to week scheduling our clients were in our database and our, our CRM system.

But like our actual crew placement, day to day was dry erase marker and boxes on a whiteboard that was not that long, you know, we were a couple of million dollar company at that point and, and that’s how we did the crew placement. And it’s just laughable now because we expect the lowest unemployed to move themselves around on the CRM independent of us doing it. And I was standing at the board with the, the dry race marker doing it when Chris took a photo um just to capture whatever I was writing, you know, in case we needed the data.

Um But what we ended up was this funny picture. That’s not that damn old. That just is hilarious now. Yeah. And I’m glad you brought that up too because I think the one of the things I do sometimes worry about with this podcast is we have so many people on who are so dialed in with their business, right? And so people listening, there can be this um accidental I guess perception given to them that, that they’re so far behind, you know, like, oh my gosh, listen to John, talk about all these meetings and sops and how dialed in it is and, and his process before he starts the project after like, man, I’m never gonna get there.

So it’s really great when someone like you says, you know what? I was already several million a year and we were just kind of mapping it out on a whiteboard. It wasn’t dialed in really at all. At that point. It’s very manual. We think it’s laughable now, but it’s just, I think it helps. I think it’s important for our listeners to be able to relate to that and realize that it’s not you, you’re not like this un untouchable, not that you’re arrogant, but it’s not like you’re, you’re just so far beyond and they’ll never get there.

It’s a journey, it’s a process, it’s an iteration. You get there over time. You, you have to and I think that’s the problem with the internet and as great as podcasts and tiktok and all the stuff are, you see these, everyone’s smiling, right. So you start to kind of get this feeling of like second guessing yourself and things like that. The only one that things aren’t perfect for. Yeah. And there’s a lot of people that are full of it, you know, and that, that are composers and are not doing well and there’s really no, there’s no sizzle to their steak and, you know, it is what it is, but I’ve had, we kind of talked before this started.

I mean, I have stories of epic failures. I got in a giant blow with my brother who flipped over a desk and threw his credit card, my first office admin on his way out the building. Um, because I wanted her to make his estimate appointments. He wanted to have control to do the ones near his house at three or 4 p.m. So it didn’t make sense to go do anything else and he was home. I knew what he was doing. That was the question. That was a big epic blowout, right?

And at that time, I, you know, I like a lot of people, right? He wasn’t an owner of the company on paper, but he was, it was kind of a 60 40 split for sure. And you know, the guys in the back heard what happened and you know that next morning, um I went in the back said, listen, here’s the deal, Dave’s done. I’m covering this, I’m doing this. I moved my estimates to the evening so I can be on both job sites today. And uh this is gonna be inconvenient for me as everyone bought in.

Do you have questions? And they just look like they saw a ghost. They expected me to like, I’m not sure what we’re gonna do. And oh my God guys and my brother and I are in an argument. I wasn’t having that conversation then and that’s what I did. And those guys galvanized like, holy shit. Well, this is what John’s gonna do. Then I can’t be rattled by this. This is his brother and the desk is still broken. You know, it’s still pulled into the shop waiting for the trash day.

Like a and so part of that is those failures are gonna come, people are gonna leave you and start their own company and if they don’t, then you didn’t attract the right people to begin with because you can’t hold them all. Uh You know, we deal with that right now and that’s one of the few things that I still, you know, take some pride in is if people leave us because they just want to be their own entrepreneur, then that’s fantastic. But they left me a lot better than they started and even they would admit that.

Um and, and a lot of them I still have good contact with. Um And part of it too is the other ones that, you know, weren’t successful. They all call you back anyhow, the grass wasn’t greener and, and this is terrible. And so you have a little humility and you’re like, yeah, I know, man. I, I was there. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t want to start this over today, you know, without, without a good, you know, a guy like you to be my, my crew lead, my project manager, my build around, you know, rock guy and I think that that’s part of it too.

You expect to go from 0 to 100 instantly. And, and those are those companies, I kind of feel like that’s a little bit like bodybuilding with steroids. It’s kind of this false, like growing this old growth tree a little bit more dense and with a little bit better root system. And the right people makes this far more sustainable when you get an economic hiccup. Like we’re kind of in the middle of and maybe still going through a bit right at mild recession type. Um, you can weather those because it’s not just a flash in the pan.

And there you did this systematically, you started with these small meetings, you started documenting your processes and saying this is what I know we need to do when I’m not there. Instead of telling everyone or texting everyone, I’m just gonna make this curbside checklist so I can sleep at night about it. Right. And those little things just get woven in and then it, it just gains ground. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. There’s a lot of really good points there, you know, building the company as you grow it, um, building it the right way.

You know, I think there’s a big focus and unfortunately, I think I’ve, I’ve kind of partly contributed to that, you know, I grow really quickly right, by promoting these, these companies and owners who have grown really quickly. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you do want to make sure you’re growing the right way and that you’re not just selling and marketing, but the reality is your operations are so messed up or your people are so messed up that you’re, you’re just creating this huge reliability and house of cards for yourself.

You, you don’t want to do that. Yeah. And I, you know, it’s one of those things with me that I feel really strongly that the culture that we’ve created here that if I this thing blew up tomorrow, there’d be 303 companies in the area that would get quality people that would come in and be right hand people to every owner, right? Like immediately people in the middle of my company would be invaluable to guys that are currently our competition and, and that makes me feel good and if those people eventually decide, you know what, I, I gotta try to fly on my own, I’m gonna let this thing go.

Um That’s fine. My goal is to try to make this harder and harder to leave and more and more, you know, uh of a, a large family, right? Where it has these benefits that I, I couldn’t provide health insurance to my people until very recently. I didn’t have a 401k till very recently. Um Company vehicles are not an everyday thing. There’s a lot of 10, 99 staff, all this stuff doesn’t go from 0 to 100 you add in pieces when you can, you know, paid days off, we have paid days off for our field staff.

That’s not that typical in our industry. Uh, but we get to the point that we can offer them and then we offer them, you know, we and I don’t want to do anything that I ever had to take back either. So part of this, everyone bought in rowing in the same, you know, direction type of concept that we intervened with everything is that it allows us to be very certain that when we put out a new perk, it’s there forever. We’re not taking it back, you know. Yeah.

Yeah, I love it. Another thing I wanna comment on to what you said with the blot with your brother. What an epic failure that was, you’ve had quite a few epic failures, you said, uh and how you were decisive, right? Not rattled, kind of more um more composed than maybe your team expected you to be. Uh one of my, one of my mentors, uh business mentors really told me when you choose to start a business and grow a business, when you choose to be an entrepreneur, you’re stepping into a boxing ring, M ma cage, whatever you wanna call it, you’re in the ring and that means you’re gonna hit, but you’re gonna get hit, right?

And he, he would always tell me if you want to go work at Walmart and be a cashier, you wanna do something, you probably have an easier life. It’s gonna be capped. You’ll know what it is. It’s not, probably gonna be the most exciting thing, but you’re not gonna have to endure the stress and, and, and the stuff that you do. So for everyone listening, that’s, that’s what you chose. You know, when bad things happen when, when you’re, you’re painting, um, crew, crew team lead leaves your company when someone goes and sues you.

Uh, when a homeowner lights you up online because they’re mad about XYZ. Maybe, maybe you had a hacker, you know, take over your social media account, you know, that that’s happened to quite a few people. Whatever happens, it sucks, but it’s the life that we chose. So we just have to try to maintain that and be positive, build a gallon of primer in a driveway. This happened to us a couple of years ago, you know, a single gallon of oil based primer on a stamp concrete driveway.

That was a, a painful mistake that I got out there and fixed myself and the guys that did it felt terrible and it was costly and it was a total nightmare. Um, but that’s part of it. Like, you know, the risk reward is definitely there, you know, and so you’re gonna have those things and, and I think how you handle them, models the behavior and if you’re hysterical with customers or if you trash customers that are difficult and a pain and maybe even totally unreasonable to your staff.

Now you’re gonna train those guys that when they’re dealing with those same type of folks and they will, you’re gonna get 55 calls and text. There’s no independent thinking. You know, the thing about me is in us, right. That on our own business, there’s no next level of management. You can either solve it or you can get sued or you can get stiffed on a bill or you can get bad mouthed online, take your poison. And so if you get too hysterical with, oh my gosh, this customer’s nightmare, they’re gonna do this and this.

It’s, hey, they’re unhappy with this and they’re, they’re partially wrong and that’s fine. But the only choice I have is to solve it. Um, you start to get people that model that behavior a little bit and then it’s just kind of chest up and go to work and handle business and, you know, I have uh, I got a customer right now that would love to talk to me. I, I know that they would and, and my guys have told him, listen, I’m telling you, I’m more reasonable than what I’m gonna give you a better result here than what John’s going to because he’s gonna be so mad that you went around me and went to him and knows that I’m capable of solving this, that it’s just gonna be worse for everybody and they’ve kind of smacked him a little bit and they’re like, oh, well, I just thought I had to, to get anywhere and I’m like, no, I can do anything you need to walk away from your bill.

I can do an extra code. I can leave your job. I can, whatever you wanna do I can do and ended up being what was not even an issue. The woman who just was unhappy, her job was gonna take uh some additional water placement. Fine. Does that person cut that bill in half? She was ecstatic, but they wanted to contact me about that and it’s like I’ve already trained these guys on how to do that. You know that my, my list is pretty sure if there’s legal implications or training or something like that.

I want to be involved in other than that, everything is designed to make me just a, a commodity and a relevant piece that it’s fun to have around because I’m just so enjoyable, I guess, but I’m functionally not very necessary day to day and yeah, that’s awesome. That’s what, what, what a uh great way to empower your team too with that. Um All right, I wanna, I wanna cover. So we’ve been going for almost 50 minutes. You said you guys have ad hoc meetings, let’s quickly maybe touch on a couple of those types of meetings.

Yeah, so uh we got one, in fact, I just got a call saying you know, come down when you’re out of your uh zoom interview here. It’s, uh, I had one between my cabinet division manager, my sales manager and my operations manager that just happened because we had a couple jobs that are either getting kind of frowned upon by our field staff turned away, played hot potato with whatever you want. Um, that is making it uncomfortable for the sales manager because he’s getting pushback from the estimators.

You know, why are they, why are they balking at this project? It’s fine. What’s the deal? Um And so, you know, they knew that it was their job to go through and figure out is our service offerings unclear for our sales staff. And do we need to sit down and actually dial that in? So they spent probably the last 45 minutes um going through and saying, what is the issue with this, from your angle, your angle, my angle? Let’s, let’s just agree. Can we come to a conclusion?

And they had a few of these that they now need to go and regurgitate a, you know, kind of meeting recap to sales and operations saying, hey, we’ve met and I don’t care if you don’t like doing more than a half sheet of drywall repair, you’re gonna do them. If we quote them, it’s part of the job, we’re not gonna go back and, you know, say that this is not what we do right now or whatever else. And that’s what’s happening. So, you know, part of these things and I, I hope I didn’t give the air that this is all easy with how we do this because we do create some monsters with field staff that can become kind of Primadonna.

You know, they’re paid when everything’s gone. Well, well, drywall is not something that our guys are really fast at, with hanging board. Um, repair stuff is fantastic, but hanging board is a little different. So, um, that’s what they just did was dial in how much is acceptable we get on the same page. Shut up, type it up. Move on. Um, I don’t want to debate it in a month. I don’t wanna have the conversation about it again. So those things happen. Our office staff does that, you know, we have another location that’s about 30 miles, uh, north of us, um, with a woman that works up there and answers the phone for both, uh, this location and that and, and the office staff does at least once a quarter meeting, um, where they’re bringing everyone in the fold and just kind of, you know, really get an idea of what’s next.

Um, they do a wine Wednesday once a month meeting at, uh, at a local restaurant. None of us guys are ever invited to it. It’s kind of, kind of sexist. I thought it was 2023 but that’s ok. Um, we don’t get the invitation, uh, and so some of that stuff, you know, happens. Um, our teams do their own extracurricular stuff from time to time barbecues bonfires and, and some things like that. But, yeah, those ad hoc meetings just if a problem kind of comes up and it seems like there’s a trend, the people that need to solve the problem are gonna sit down and, and actually hammer that out.

Yeah, John, I’m, I’m loving the dogs. Man. How many dogs you got in the office? I have two here, German short hairs and one of them. Let’s see if I can get her on. She has a please. Yeah, so they’re, they’re playing now. They’ve been here every meeting, they just have been better behaved. Um Yeah, she tried to quit training for hunting and got some stitches the other day. So she’s wearing the cone of shame. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t wanna ripping that up. Ok. So when you guys do have conflict, you know, some of these ad hoc meetings are all right.

Let’s guys figure out what’s going on. No one wants a project, let’s resolve it. Do you have an sop for resolving? Like a value system you run it through or? Hey, let’s all just sit down as reasonable people and come up with a resolution right now. Yeah, there’s not really an sop on it. Um I mean, there’s, there’s definitely a list of hierarchy. Um You know, Garret and Josh, for example, would be Evans and, and I, I’m the tiebreaker. Right. If they have sales, feels like we really need to offer this in operation, we really can’t do this.

If there is an actual impasse, I’ll be the deciding factor. Um, but they know that I’m probably gonna come back with more attitude and flack than it’s worth and they better off just come to a reasonable solution themselves. So I haven’t had to be a tiebreaker in years. Um I haven’t come in to actually weigh in. They may ask my opinion, but it’s not to come to a resolution. It’s because they’re just not really sure where to go on something. Um But if it’s something that they’re in disagreement on, it gets close enough to being agreed upon that one of them concedes a little bit and says I can sell this to my people.

We’re good. Let’s move on. Yeah, I love it. Um OK. What advice would you give to people listening who may be either are opposed to meetings or they just don’t have a, a super great meeting structure. They’re not really sure how to get the team bought in on meetings. How should they start this process or should they? Maybe maybe meetings aren’t right for everybody. I, yeah, they couldn’t, they, they might not be right for everybody. Um You know, for me, I think you’re still doing the same, you’re putting in the same amount of effort without these briefings or these meetings you’re just doing it from a decentralized position.

And so I think if you had this stuff in a manual that you normally would cover in the meeting, do people read it and digest it? The same? My opinion is, no, I don’t think they do. Um, you know, if you’re in the room with somebody, do you have a different conversation than you do via email? Yeah, I think you do. Um, you know, so you can send kind of a crappy text to a coworker and say this was missing on an estimate, but you probably did it with a little bit more bravado than you would if we’re sitting right next to it each other.

And so I think it kind of levels that out a little bit too to do it in the room together. Don’t be a keyboard warrior and send me some crappy email, bitching about something that’s not that big of a deal come and let’s just talk about it real quick, right? Um We’ve not had fist fights here, so there’s a method of matters. Um And I think for me it was important to take some pressure off and some anxiety off to have these where I was doing this because before I had them where it was focused and scheduled, I was, I was putting in the same amount of effort, but I was doing it very haphazardly and via text, phone calls, you know, notes on job folders and all this stuff back in the day um where it was still taking me the same amount of time and then the crew, the painters were digesting the information for one second.

Like it was very task orientated and then moving on where I don’t feel like it ever set in the same because it was just notes on a, on a, a manila folder for a job. It wasn’t part of an sop yet. And so when we go through some of these meetings in these times, we’re reviewing and improving on any of these adding ones that maybe we feel like we’re missing, we’re, we’re, we’re getting rid of stuff that is antiquated. It doesn’t need to be talked about anymore.

And, and so for me, I think that’s the biggest part of it is I think it’s probably less time for the owner to actually sit down and have these meetings and pull the band aid than it is to just do this all day via text. Right? Did you remember to mask off that countertop there? Brand new? Did you remember to put on a lawn sign? Did you clean up the van on your way home? Do you know the van needs an oil change? Like uh that’s a lot of time.

I think it, I think people might be false in actually the time savings by condensing it and making it really focused. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. I think being, being uh recognizing that those resources are already being utilized somewhere and you might pride yourself on no meetings, but you’re still doing the same amount of work and it just might be less effective or maybe not. Right. It depends on how you run your, your company. I have, oh, go ahead, John. I think you can, I think you can hire great people and whatever else.

But I think like these ones with two or three staff in my office, right with the dogs, wrestling in the background, they get the door shut. I’m here, I’m here for them. My phone’s off. I never answer a phone call during a meeting. I don’t care what’s going on, um, to get me one on one really early in their employment and we’re a big enough company that’s not that typical. And by design, I wanted to do this training. I have a ton of people that could and should do this training.

But I love talking about this stuff with new people and again I get this contact with them that would take me a couple months to get, there’s only two or three people in a room and it’s, it’s six hours total right over four weeks. Um, it’s hard to have that kind of contact in the hallway or on job sites or whatever with people that you’re not working that close with. And so they really get to understand what I’m about. And then, like I said earlier, it’s great because then their project manager is a super easy going to work with guy and he’s not making me drive myself to the job site on my own gas because I was five minutes late.

And would I do that either? No. But if it was a habitual problem, I would. And that’s what we talked about today, you know, that the culture and their teams can vary from team to team. Um, but I want them to hear it from me first so that they know that the that the culture seems different, it’s probably a direct benefit to them. It’s a softer version and it’s more of an appropriate version for their makeup or person. Now then you know, just me stamping this thing out.

So sure. So John, as we wrap up this episode and actually this entire series, thank you. System be Fear has been a phenomenal series. Do you have anything else that you wanna add? We will be doing a live Q and A. So people will have the opportunity to ask you questions in the Facebook group. Is there anything else you wanna add? Uh Right before we wrap this up? Uh God, I don’t know. No, I mean once the same nice thing, I, I don’t think so. I think this has been fun for me.

I, I talked a lot. I, I hope that people found some value in it. Um I, I think your point of you don’t look at this and then assume that this just happened or that there wasn’t long days and nights and after hours work and stuff to make this happen. Um, because that’s a fallacy there is, you know, I have a ton of anecdotal, very funny stories about getting here at 3 30 or four o’clock in the morning to do a half day’s work before staff showed up. Um, before I started to standardize this stuff. right?

Because I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about something and I, my thing was I would drive in here and I would actually start to write those sops at that time. I’m not losing sleep again over this. So I’m solving this. It’s four in the morning, I’m at the office, send it, let’s just do this and, and I think people got to be realistic and you gotta celebrate your wins and I do a really crappy job of that. I don’t stop and smell the roses. I, I got good staff that makes me do that from time to time.

And I think you gotta go back and look, you know, look at pictures of your vans and, and your people and your jobs from just a couple of years ago and be like, well, I remember we had that Beater. You’re gonna start with the, I spent $1000 on my first man and it was a big deal, right? Um And I, and I, those things, I think you got to go back and celebrate and you see where some of these other companies and things are at, but they had years and years and years to get there generally.

And so if you feel behind it you’re, you’re, you’re really not, there’s no way you are. Yeah, I love that. And I, I really like the fact too, you know, as entrepreneurs oftentimes we’re have trouble sleeping or, or stress, you know, anxiety goes through our minds or we’re dealing with whatever and your approach to it, which has helped you so much was ok. I woke up because of this thing that I was worried about. So rather than solving that one thing for that day and then you’re gonna wake up again next week because you’re worried about the same thing.

You’re just gonna go probably, you know, try to put the, the issue to bed permanently because you’re just gonna go create the sop sort of solve whatever situation you are currently stressed out about, but it will also solve it when it reoccurs in the future. This stuff always, always recurs in business, but you got new staff, right? So you solve it with Johnny and then a year and a half later, you got a guy named Dave or Suzie that has similar problems with clients and walkthrough or whatever.

If you don’t write it down, you’re just reinventing the wheel. You know, it’s nice. And part of this too is the thing that we deal with, with our labor force is it’s transient by nature. The trades all are and painters. I hate to break to everybody. We’re kind of in the middle of the barrel at best, if not the bottom of the barrel and the type of labor that we’re generally perceived in getting. And so if you want to attract people who are at the top of that, you have to have more things to offer.

There’s not a lot of painting companies. I think, I think every area is this way, there’s some really large roofing siding, window companies, multi-million dollar companies, they’re far less multimillion dollar painting companies. There’s some bigger plumbing outfits, right. So we’re kind of the smaller fact and if you want to have good people and keep them, retain them, attract new ones, you have to behave more like these companies are at least have the perception that if you stick around for a couple years, you’ll have some paid days off, you’ll have a company vehicle, you can work your way out of the job site and into sales or whatever.

Um, and in order to do that, I think you have to have some of these sops and, and visions and, and meetings and, and numbers and, and things like that so that you can play with the big guys and not lose people to those other trades because they’re generally more organized than us. Yeah, I love it. And I think, looking outside of just painting, I think is, is really, really valuable. Looking at plumbing, looking at roofing both in terms of how they run their businesses, their marketing and sales processes are, are typically more dialed in and also the attraction for labor and how they treat uh employees, contractors.

What kinds of resources and avenues for their life and growth and you know, what’s the opportunity there versus what’s the opportunity at your company and trying to, to present you have to sell team members. You do, you have to sell them just like you have to sell homeowners or commercial building owners. So what, how are you selling them? And will I pay them every week or every two week? That’s not a strong enough sale? Yeah. And I think that’s what you’ve had really good people on that are trying to like press the industry forward, legitimize it, right?

Make it more respectable and then not be this, you know, one guy in a van type of perception because it it doesn’t have to be that way. It just has been that way for no real good reason that I’ve ever been able to come up with. We’re changing it now, John, there you go, John. I appreciate you brother. This was phenomenal. You make my life very, very easy. I’ve told you that after basically every recording. So I’ve just got to say it publicly here. Thank you for making my life easy for these five episodes.

I appreciate you, man. Thank you. My pleasure, Brandon.

If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training, as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that URL is

Hey there, painting company owners. If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also, if you’re interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at Painter Marketing Pros dot com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time.

Keep growing

Brandon Pierpont

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