Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting “Systems Beat Fear” Series: Live Q & A

Published On: August 21, 2023

Categories: Podcast

John MacFarland

Join us for a Live Happy Hour Q&A with John MacFarland to discuss our podcast series “Systems Beat Fear”!

In this podcast series, we discussed:
– Team pay philosophy and John’s unique pay system
– Growth sticking points and how to overcome them
– Efficient systems for office and sales
– Operations processes that work
– Meetings – how to make them massively productive

This Live Q&A is your chance to ask John and Brandon questions directly, to see how anything discussed in this series can be applied to your painting company. So grab a beverage, and join us as we celebrate the end of the week with an incredible learning opportunity!

If you want to ask John questions related to anything in this live session, 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.

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

In this podcast series, we discussed:
– Team pay philosophy and John’s unique pay system
– Growth sticking points and how to overcome them
– Efficient systems for office and sales
– Operations processes that work
– Meetings – how to make them massively productive

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.

All right, what’s going on everybody? We have John mcfarland here of mcfarland painting. We are going to be doing a quick recap of our series. Together. Systems Beat fear uh as well as doing a Q and A for all of you who have questions about this series. Anything? Maybe we didn’t cover you, wish we had covered more. Uh And how maybe it applies to your uh specific painting company or specific situation, John, what’s up, man? Oh, not much. Just loving life over here, Brandon. How are you?

Heck yeah. Uh Same brother, same. I’m actually traveling right now. So my, my uh video is a little grainy. That’s ok. We’ll get it done. So John, if we could, if we could kind of do a quick recap to start of this series, you know, some people tune in in will have watched it. Uh Maybe some people tuning in won’t, won’t have watched it in which case they’ll go back, but I’ll kind of quickly just run through the series. Um, just to get everyone caught up five episode series.

Uh in episode one, John talked about team pay philosophy. So John, you, you approach that pretty differently. So I do want to touch on that some live because I think people are gonna have questions about that. Uh and how it sets the stage for accountability. Episode two, you cover the gross sticking points that you experienced um along the journey of mcfarlane painting uh which is important because a lot of times those aren’t obvious where, where they’re going to occur for people. Uh episode three deep dived into systems.

So office and sale systems. Episode four, we discuss the systems you use in your operations management uh out in the field and how those work. And then final, final episode uh meetings is the one you were dying to get to the whole time. Make them productive. People hate meetings, man. They do, they do, they hate bad meetings. They don’t know what they’re missing. Yeah. So let’s start, man. What, what do you uh, I, I’d love to start with the pay but if you have something else you want to start with, I, I think pay is it because I think, you know, we’re all in this for income, whether you own it or you’re a staff member or potential hire.

You know, that’s, that’s a big reason why we get up and go to work. Right. Is the money, you gotta like it, but you wanna get paid well too. And for us, you know, the main thing about us that’s different than a lot of other painting companies is we pay a percentage, a lump sum system is kind of what we call it, um, or a pay period bonus system, but we’re paying a percentage of that total job value to our crew. Um That’s the super brief version and, and what that does is it sets the tempo for eliminating waste.

Um, has our painters and field apps, guys and girls, um, behaving as if they’re a business owner. They have to be responsible for their own time. They wanna come prepared. They want to have the right stuff in the ban the right materials in the, in the vans that downtime in a conventional, you know, pay relationship where somebody is being paid hourly just kills the owner. Um, and the, the staff doesn’t care if they’re sitting in the parking lot of a big box store or the paint store.

It doesn’t matter to them. They’re on the clock um in our system, that time really hurts, it hurts their take home pay it, it kind of brings them back down to reality um from a pay structure for maybe what our competitors in our market might pay them. And so, you know, it kind of, I think sets the tempo for every decision they make being much more like an entrepreneurial mindset, you know, increasing efficiencies, making sure we’re doing stuff in the right order and being prepared and it makes a lot of what we teach and train here.

I think a lot easier because they have a direct benefit in real time when they do a pretty good job of most of those things. Yeah. So it’s interesting because you do have a strictly W-2 model. You don’t use subcontractors at all, but you sort of incentivize and compensate them. What I would say is kind of more similar to the subcontracting model. Yeah. So a lot of that’s the reason why some subs like remaining subs and, and things like that. Um I think what we do kind of checks boxes for both sides, some pros and cons from each angle of it.

Um If you’re a general employee and you’re getting paid hourly, it’s kind of limiting, right? What are you gonna do? You get to overtime, you get time and a half and that’s kind of is what it is and then you start squabbling over. Can I get a dollar raise. I’ve been here six months or 143 months or whatever that case may be. And, and in our system, when crews or teams or individuals get more proficient, they’re building in that race in real time. If someone gets better on a brush, better on a roller, better on a sprayer.

Um, their production goes up immediately. So does their pay. And so I don’t have to have difficult conversations or really go back into my books and figure out what is that bottom line margin and, and do I have the ability to pay Brandon another dollar an hour even though I love him. But man, the money is just not there. Um The money is there in this system because they’ve generated it and got more proficient. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So what let, let’s kind of touch base on because because you are paying more like a subcontractor.

Why wouldn’t you just want to use subcontractors? I really like the benefits that we can provide to our staff. Um We have a 401k with a match. We have health insurance, we have short term, long term disability. My staff has used all of those. Um So to me, if they’re using it and they, it attracts people, then it’s a desirable thing. Um I think it, for us, I think it eliminates a little bit of the transient nature of painters a bit. Um I know there’s lots of great guys that, that use subs and, and it works well for me.

Um, I feel much more confident in our system. Um, we see our people in the morning, we see them at the end of every day, they arrive at the same time in a fully lettered vehicle, fully uniformed out, the clients know who’s pulling up in their driveway. Um, and for me at first, that was probably more of a control thing than it was a, a function or a benefit to the clients or my staff. And as we’ve grown, it’s really clear that yes, I, I can still have control of the, the product or the application when we show up at eight o’clock instead of, you know, 7 45 and 8 15 and 8 20.

And things like that, that are a little bit harder to do when they’re not your staff. Um You know, by law, they’re allowed to start and finish the project whenever they want. So, um you know, for me, that was, that was a win. Um And I think the reason we’ve kept it is our, our staff really likes the benefits we’re retaining really high quality people. Um We just figured this out actually, we’ve had 12 babies born in our company within two years. Um And, and I’m proud of that, that we’re providing a living that people are starting families, buying homes and doing things in life that are important and meaningful.

Um that it’s not saying you can’t do that at another employer. But I’m, I think that’s a pretty good success rate in two years. It’s been kind of, uh, crazy over here with, with babies, but a lot of babies, man. Yeah. You know, I, I didn’t know what maternity and paternity leave it was and how it handled that, you know, just, just a handful of years ago and now it’s every day, you know, I feel like what, what is your policy with that? With maternity and paternity for our, um, for our female, for our moms that are having babies, you know, we’re, we’re paying them that 12 weeks.

Um, which, which is a chunk of change. Um, that’s great. Yeah, I think in order to get them back into, you know, reward them for their, their, you know, step into motherhood and, and their new battle and challenge, um, that’s how we handle that. And then for, for our, you know, field staff that’s predominantly male. Um, those guys can take as much time as they, they frankly need. Generally, it’s been one week. Don’t call me, don’t text me emails the second week, we start to see them around a little bit.

Uh, maybe it’s partial days or things like that and by the third week they’re back working and, you know, maybe limiting, um, how late they’re working and getting home if they need to do something in the middle of day or end of day to, you know, support that family. But, um, that’s a little bit looser because our, I think our guys, they generally make the right decisions and we’re gonna support whatever is right for them. Um, you know, if it’s a first kid or a second kid, we got a lot of 103nd and 3rd kids being born right now.

Um, so they’re kind of veterans in that week off. They got their own systems at home and, you know, they’re ready to get back to work and, and get after it. So yeah, I love it. So guys, everyone listening um appreciate you guys saying hello, if you have any specific questions. So if you’re thinking about doing this or, or you’re kind of wondering about um your own pace system or, or potentially transitioning or maybe some difficulties that John might have had during it, always feel free to, to comment.

We’re gonna answer those questions live and then uh our team put up here something. If you go to that stream yard a link that we have, then you can actually make your comments and questions visible and we can actually know who you are um when you actually ask this stuff. So that would be great, John, let’s cover some of the challenges that arose. Obviously, it’s a non-traditional, it’s a bit of a nontraditional paced system and it’s not what you started with. So let’s talk about the challenges of that transition.

So the first challenges are, are very different than our challenges currently. We have, we have challenges currently with us. Um I’ll get to those, but let’s, let’s do it chronological to keep everybody on on board. Um Our first challenges were proving to the team that this is a worthwhile thing. And so when we unrolled this, we did it with one team and we were gonna do it for a few months, 34 months, see what happens. Um It was about two weeks in and the rest of the team started to get very jealous.

Um, they started to do the math and very quickly it was, we went into this. Um, and so that was first because it was immediately successful. Then you go through some growing curves and pains of, ok, well, what happens when it, you do get a bad job? The customer is not ready, they’re overly particular, you get rained out, you have this or this happen, these things happen that make this nice little package, not quite so nice. And so then we had to start to figure out, ok, how are we gonna address those when things happen that are beyond the control of the group and put in some measures in place to protect them so that this is not, uh, you know, a life or death situation.

And, and we started to do that probably within the 2nd and 3rd month of the system. Um, we always have a little bit of struggle when we try to explain this to people. Um That’s a continual thing for newer hires, especially trying to show them the value of it. And we use actual numbers real live reporting when I do an interview or Garrett does an interview, we generally actually pull up last week or the last month’s report and show them what the take home average production for the painting team was.

Um And those numbers are impressive. They’re in the thirties, average, take home for every staff member. So, um, that kind of sells itself. Then we start dealing with training. Um, I just, I call it cheating the system, right? But it’s not really cheating. But, you know, when is your lunch? When are your breaks? Well, it might make sense at noon but it might make sense when ceilings are painted and you make that call, you know, are we really that hungry or can we push till 1 p.m.

and, you know, get ceilings done or walls first coded or all the repairs done or whatever the case may be? And so we start training on those things. Yeah. So the, I am curious about, about the rain and stuff. So things that are outside the, the, the, I guess their ability, um, to control. How do you factor for that? So early on, um, I would make up some time, I’d make up some hours, uh, and things like that if we, if we guessed wrong, you know, we’re in Michigan.

Just outside Detroit and the weather can be unpredictable. Um, I will tell you now, we really don’t have that because our, our project managers, um, are behaving with the, the, the best plan in place and we deal with almost zero surprise rain problems. A job was prepped ready for spray and then rain pops up. Um, those guys have their own rain work backup plans, interiors to move people to, and there’s sometimes that we make a call and pull off a job or don’t go there that day because it’s supposed to rain and it doesn’t.

Um, so the system has kind of created independent thinkers that, you know, use their own judgment and experience and decide, you know, are we gonna go to that project or not? Um, that’s kind of fixed itself. But before we got to that point of independent thinking, there was times where I did make up some hours if we had to go and, you know, re mask off some windows or some, some things like that where I had to throw some money back into the labor pot. Um, if it was a, you know, a mistake or something outside of their control. Yeah.

So you talked about some of the issues that you have when you first went into it. What, what are some of the issues that you still have with this system? The issue we have now in this, we talk about it almost every week. Um, we’ve kind of created monsters a little bit with our field staff, they’re very analytical over sales numbers. Um They, they’re not above uh measuring a room or calling a salesperson and saying, hey, I think you took out way too much for this opening.

It should have counted it as wall space. Um I, I would say most of our mid-level field staff would be pretty well trained estimators for most painting companies because they’re working this backwards. Their pay is based on a quote being fair and accurate. And so if it says 32 door sides and there’s 36 to paint, they’re gonna call time out and say, hey, where are these four at? And how did they get messed? So I feel at times we get a little hyper analytical with that stuff. Um, they get a little too in the weeds, um, which is a great problem to have, but we continually train on how much time is worth solving this.

And, you know, should we just paint the door sides that the client thought were gonna be done? Is this a hill we wanna die on? Um, and I think we’ve made some pretty good headway in the past 12 months where now those issues are not coming up as if there’s some substantial, you know, shortage. It’s, this job is 10,123 or 12,000 just just do it. You know, you can tell the homeowner you did them for free and you’re a great guy and, uh, your walkthrough is easier and that may be better off than the few bucks we’re gonna charge them for those doors sides.

Yeah, that’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that it might almost make them a little too intense in different personalities. We have some folks that, you know, they show up, they paint the job, they do their best, they don’t think about any of the finances. They don’t kind of pre try to figure out their pay. They’re not calculating this by the a minute. We have other project managers that in their job and their job pack that customer file. They’re actually writing down. If this takes 60 hours, it pays this.

If it takes 65 it pays this 70 it takes this. Um, and just sometimes a crew needs a little bit of help and guidance in some parameters. Um, and then if we have people that get in the weeds, we tell them, listen, stop thinking, you know what you’re doing, paint it the best you can and you’re gonna be successful, don’t worry about it. Um, and then that changes, right? People get tired and burn out or a little bit of fatigue and, um, they start thinking about, man, maybe this is, this is a problem.

Um, we really preach you have to control what you can control and if the client satisfaction box gets checked and you do the right stuff, um, and the employees, success is a problem. There’s a problem with pay oftentimes I will tell guys don’t talk to that person about that, you know, primer coat that we didn’t know it needed. Do it come back? You want to build me a couple of hours, I’ll throw it on, on the additions. Um It’s not the end of the world and then there’s a probably more often than not, that’s our solution.

You know, keep it as quoted to the customer if there was a misstep from a sales perspective or process, um You know, we’ll eat that on the back end and be better for it next time. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So Sean Chrome says, sounds like you’re paving the way for an effective piece rate for painters that nice comment from Sean. So the uh so you, you guys have that system pretty well set up can be a little bit too intense um with the measurement, but it sounds like you guys overall have it, have it pretty under control.

Do you guys ever run discounts promotions? That is your team sort of against that now because of this. How does that work? So they have been historically? Yeah, they would be against it. And then we dealt with this battle. Well, do you pay them retail or do you pay them sale? You know, are we, are, is the eating that discount or not? Um And the answer is both, it depends on the time of year. Um We really only discount stuff in, in our off season in the winter.

And so generally when we run a promotion, we have buy in from the team that they’re good doing it for that discount. Um So that, because otherwise my margins actually get flipped quite quickly because we’re paying the same labor rate for a chunk less. Um And that can throw the books out of whack a little bit. So, um, I will tell you, our project managers actually come up with almost all of our promotions by themselves and what they think is gonna resonate, um, what they think they can, you know, withstand financially and still be fined a 10% discount to keep everybody working in the winter, uh, is not a big deal at all, you know, for anybody here.

Ok. So I wanna, I wanna go out a little outside the, uh, the chronological order of our episodes and go directly to meetings because I know that’s something you’re really passionate about and it, it does factor into this pay system because you don’t pay people for meetings. Let’s, let’s talk about your meeting structure. Yeah. So it’s not like they’re on the clock for their meetings except for new hires, right? The series of new hire meetings on boarding stuff that’s paid time. Um, but our staff that’s been here.

Um, I think that’s what makes our meetings good is technically you better walk out of that. If it’s a half an hour, an hour, you better have learned or, or done something or help people that’s gonna save 234 times that, or there’s no point in sitting down together. And so that starts kind of that model of meetings. Um We want everybody to come in thinking, ok, if we don’t need to be here for an hour, unless we’re just telling jokes and goofing off, let’s make this as quick as we can and get out of here.

Um But I think it increases the, the level of content when you know, you can pay me to sit here just like I was sitting at the store. I don’t care. It’s just part of my job, I guess. Or are you really learning and doing things that are gonna make you more money in real time, make you a better person and more efficient or whatever the case may be? Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So the, the meetings, you’re not the only one who’s worried about the productivity of the meetings wasting time.

Everyone at that point, he’s worried about it. I think I’m more worried about than they are honestly, I think, you know, they like being together and, and they like the team dynamic even if it’s, you know, two project managers that are kind of next to each other. Um They have really good camaraderie and they’re sharing, hey, my guys experienced this with this product. Anyone seen this. This seemed a little weird. This was our solution. What would you do in this circumstance? And so there’s some of that peer review that happens real time that I think rounds out their skill set where they don’t mind.

I mean, we had one this morning with the project managers and I left after an hour, they were in there for another hour. I don’t know what they were talking about but it was actual work stuff. It wasn’t like they were goofing around and um for them, I think that proves the importance of them because that’s taken away from their time to schedule their projects, call customers order material. So, you know, they really go after like, can we help each other solve some problems? Maybe shave off some learning curve?

A guy that maybe has some more experience with something. Um We just dealt with this. We had a kind of a hot stretch here. So, you know, adding in flow tral to exterior paint and how much and when and why and you know, some of the problems that could create, they self policed and did that round table and then send a follow up with kind of here’s an update to the process on flow. That’s great. So, yeah, one of the things you mentioned that I think is really interesting is you hadn’t planned for things like rain, things that sort of fall outside their control any time you make at least in my experience, any time you really make a change in your business, you tend to suffer or, or have to deal with maybe unexpected ramifications or sort of try to figure things out.

So this obviously this pay, this compensation switch was a pretty big one. You got your team on board, there was a, a little bit of a transition there. How has it impacted your hiring process? How, how has it impacted your retention? Um How has it impacted the way you actually gain new employees? So, for us, it’d be hard because I’m not measuring against the retention but the control, right? So, um I do think it helps us retain people. Um I know that it helps us attract the right people.

Um Because when we bring this up in the interview, we give them an overview of the system and kind of how it works because it’s critical. Um people that lean into that eyes a little light up, they get a little excited. I’m familiar with that. That sounds right up my alley. Culturally, they’re gonna fit in guys that say, hey, I just kind of like to clock in and clock out and I like to know what I’m getting paid and things like that might be fantastic people. But culturally, they could get eaten alive in the, in our, in our facility here because we’re looking for teammates and do this as a group and everybody carry their weight and and that can be perceived as just kind of a clock puncher in our world.

And so those are people, we’ve had some great ones that we may do a trial and say, hey, I think you’re good. I just don’t know that this is right. You know, it’s not for everybody. Um, when we do an on-site trial day with a new hire, we tell them there’s no harm in you saying, you know what I like you guys. You sound great. But, you know, culturally, I just don’t think this is my home. Um, I’d rather know that at day one than, you know, day 45.

So for new hires especially, we see, we see a real and I almost wish we could videotape it. Um, the people that have been here for a while and I wish I had their interview on, on tape because I know I remember that they leaned in and said, oh, explain to me. How does this work? Can you show me? You know, and, and that stuff and it’s like, got it. They’re gonna understand this. Yeah, I feel like you need to, you need to like, I have like a lie detector kind of thing, like measuring all their vitals.

It’s really popped up. It’s like, ok, they’re gonna be great. If they’re kind of shying away or the, the fear centers activated, then maybe they’re not there that just, we’re gonna ask them, it’s gonna stress them out, it’s nothing against them. But, I mean, if we start to say, hey, that going to the store cost you $30 out of your pocket. If you take an hour to do it, that’s stressful. If you’re not organized and, and that’s fine. You know, there’s, there’s other places that’ll be glad to have those people, you know, and they, they should be there. Sure. Yeah.

More, maybe more of a steady kind of a steady Eddie approach. Do you, do you hire people who either run their own business and they’re part time or maybe historically, they had run it because that, to me seems like the kind of person who might be attracted to this pace. We have a lot of those, um, we have a lot of those, my operations manager owned his own business. Um, I have two sales people that own their own businesses. Um, and, and I think the appeal to here now being over 123 staff is we take a lot of those pain points away of growth and, you know, do you have the stomach and the fortitude to grow through that, you know, getting yourself off job sites, like a lot of the people you talk with day to day, you know, hiring that active staff, hiring that sales person, like, is that really what’s important to you or what do you like about this?

If you like selling and just you own your own business, maybe you could do that here. Um And, and what we’ve provided for those people that have kind of folded up shop or come on board is uh a much more better work life, family balance. You know, our business cards don’t have anyone’s cell phone number on them, not one, you know, five o’clock, the phones in the office go dead, they go right to voicemail. Um Sometimes sales guys and people will return an email after hours, but it’s not my expectation that that’s almost unheard of in our business, especially in peak season.

If you’re uh you know, one or two or three person show, you know, you’re working painting and then going, doing quotes in the evening, I did it, we all did it. It’s not fun. Um And, and there’s a better way to do it. I think you’re kind of hopping on a, that’s a little bit more set up where we can put people in specialized roles and have them do what they do really well and, and be happier for it. Uh And frankly, because I’ve seen it make more take home money, you know, than, than they did when they were an entrepreneur that was smaller.

Um And you can build it and do it, but that’s why I started with your heart really has to be in it. That what is your end game? And then I think you build the model around what gets you there. Yeah. Yeah. The, the entrepreneurial route at least early on is not the most lucrative of routes. Sometimes you’re actually losing money paying for the ability to work all the time. And I’ve, I’ve had a couple of guys that were great guys that left me and wanted to start their own thing and I, I know where they’re at, 234 years later and, and they’re generally happy, or at least that’s what they tell me.

Um, but financially I don’t think it was a wise choice. I think they’re taking home less money than they would be making here. Almost certainly. Sure. And they’re working a lot more hours to do it. You know, I, I did an interview with a guy who was, um, kind of ran through his days. He’s working 12 hours a day for six days a week. He actually gotten a hold of me through, through you. Um, he’s out of home. Um, he’s working a ton and, and, um, you know, then I kind of said, what is your goal for take home pay?

And he told me and I broke out my calculator and it was about $16 an hour when you factor in overtime. And, um, I don’t have a new hire painter in the building that’s only making 16. So, um, if that’s his goal and he’s working towards an end game, then I did it too. You build that foundation, you sweat it out, you make it work. But if that’s really not the most important piece to use is to be an entrepreneur or have your name on the trucks. Um Teaming up with somebody may be a better way to accelerate that.

Yeah, man, that’s exciting. If you’re hiring him, you gotta send me the uh the, the commission. You know, I had another guy in on Tuesday with a paint rep who’s in Roseville, not that far from us who heard the podcast came in with his rep. He was here for 2.5 hours. We had a great time, man. That’s awesome. Yeah, I told you your, uh, your, I think it was your second podcast episode last year. I believe it was like the top 31 of the top three or five or something on the PC, a overdrive for the entire year.

It was a popular one, man, people like what you have to say, uh let’s get into growth sticking point. So, so first off, let’s kind of back up where let’s cover where you’re at today. So you said 60 employees is obviously a pretty big company. Let’s talk about kind of revenue, um where you’re focused on if you have a plan, maybe like a five year plan. Uh And then I’m gonna back up and we’re gonna go into your growth sticking points. Yeah. So, um I think we’re 64 today. 64.

So, um, we’re, we’re growing still. Um It’s been a weird summer for us hiring was difficult in the middle of summer. It always is. Um, towards the end of the summer here, we’re seeing more interest that maybe people are ready to make a change. We’ve gotten a couple of really good people in the past couple of weeks. Um, you know, now that now we’re tasked with making sure they stay busy. We don’t lay anyone off. Never have, never will in the middle of the winter. So it’s my job in our marketing and our sales job to keep all of those people together.

So it’s a field staff of close to 0003 right now is what the field staff is. Um And, and our lion has been forever. If you’re good enough to sweat with us in July, we’re gonna take care of you in January, you know, and, and so that’s, that’s my biggest thing I’m working on right now. We’re making sure that we’re hedging our bets for December, January, February. Um I’m not blessed with that for Florida winter like you have. So we gotta go inside and you lose all that exterior work.

Um And, and for us, you know, I, to be honest with you, I’m, I’m in the process of kind of looking at a two and five year plan. Um The last two years, three years we’ve grown at, at such an accelerated rate. The things I had in place have been kind of blown out of the water. Um So it doesn’t work anymore. Um The biggest thing for us is starting another location. We have a satellite location that’s about 40 minutes north of us services a different market. Um We’re gonna do the same thing out towards Ann Arbor.

You know, again, that’s only 30 minutes. But if we go the west side of that, um, provide, you know what we do here um, in a market that’s very localized and very, um, Ann Arbor first, they’re very loyal to their own and, and so even being close enough to drive there, we’re not, we’re not a viable option for some kind of, they want people in the neighborhood, so to speak. So, um, you know, that’s the next step. That’s probably a year or two out is, is to open that up.

Um I would expect in five years, we have six or seven of those satellite places. Um Again, the people that we attract, it’s, it’s nothing against them being here. But I think if we can put them in those positions or hire some people that own their own companies, I think we can give them more, a little bit of additional ownership to be under the, you know, under the umbrella, but outside of it a little bit and, and a little further away. Um, so that’s kind of my, you know, 345 year plan is to have several of those, you know, almost like franchises, but still still our company, you know, that are are you saying they’ll, they’ll actually potentially own a piece of it?

No, I, I think we’ve, we’ve thrown out that idea. I do think there’s, there has to be a, a very heavy performance metric and performance bonus based on that, you know, ownership of it is something I’m trying to figure out how to do cleanly. Sure it would be fair for all, all people involved. And we’re so performance based, I think I can be far more aggressive and pay on performance rather than some stagnant, you know, relationship a little bit. Well, we’re, we’re sorting through that right now.

Yeah, I love it, man. Ok, so you have a lot, a lot in the making. Let’s talk about your growth, sticking points. There’s lots right? When, how do I get off the sprayer, get behind, you know, off the paintbrush, um balancing. I think the first one is trying to balance, you know, the, the estimating when you’re also the project manager. That’s generally the first one. The phone calls don’t come in so fast and furious. Nor does the accounting in our business in a certain way that you need an office admin first.

So you have to figure out is it sales or do I hire an operations, project management, field management person? And my recommendation is whichever you’re not that great at, you know, and for me, I was better at operations field management. So I hired outside sales before I, I gave up that part of it. Um, it just made sense to me. I think that different, the decision is very personal, whatever you feel like you’re just not as strong on, you fill that gap with somebody else. Interesting. Yeah.

11 thing I’d always kind of wondered about, I’d love to get your perspective because I, I think most painting company owners as they’re growing, I think they usually are going to outsource the project management or sort of the operations first and they’re gonna continue to conduct the sales because I think most people are, are usually somewhat comfortable with the sales, which is how they sort of get to the point that they can actually afford someone. Um, and one of the things that I had always assumed would be that it would be better to, to outsource the operations because the sales gets you in front of the prospective customers.

So you have that, that sort of, uh, you know, line of sight contact where you’re actually knowing how they’re thinking what they want, what’s important to them and you can continue to work to position your company to meet those needs, but you did it the opposite. So I, what was your experience different from how I’m, I’m assuming this would be, or what are your thoughts on that? I felt like my mindset was, I had the best plan on the job site and how to, how to paint that project, how to manipulate crews and teams and pair people up so that it was super efficient, um, where I felt like the sales is certainly there’s an art to it.

Um, but if the presentation is correct and you’re on time and things like that, I think there’s less that can go wrong at a sales appointment than doing the actual paint job. And so for me, it was easier to give that up and, you know, draft the price list and, and do some of those checks and balances that made that transferable. Um where I felt like, gosh, there’s just a lot more moving parts with, you know, people in vans and, and stuff like that. And so that was my thought. Yeah.

No, that makes sense, man. If you start sounding like an animal and, and you have the wrong person doing the, the ops management, you’re gonna create a real problem for yourself and you’re gonna do so much of both. If you maintain to be the sales, my, my thought would be that you’re gonna compartmentalize and, and direct your field staff to the point of, hey, on this project, make sure we bring this and I notice this and I noticed that um we’ve seen that our sales team is now six and our process has gotten better and better with each person that’s been added because we don’t have the practical knowledge base that you had as a business owner when you were the guy that painted for a few years before you, you know, started to transition just to sales.

So we have to teach these to, to our estimators or have them estimate stuff, maybe a little more focused. We have someone that just estimates cabinet refinishing right now. Um, and she’s just killing it. Uh, she’s, she’s an animal at it, but that’s good. Years ago, that person had to estimate a commercial exterior at 10 o’clock cabinets with a, with a, you know, single mom of five at, at 11. And then uh you know, maybe residential interior at 12 and, and you’re just changing gears so much that uh for me scripting that from the, the estimate was probably a little bit easier to do than trying to run that diverse type of projects.

Um That was just my thought. It’s interesting. Yeah, sales being maybe a little easier to compartmentalize and kind of pass off. And I think we all did what we do the worst is the office admin job because that’s just generally not the entrepreneur we did this and so we put it off. And I mean, I, my, my current business manager, Chris has been with me for about eight years when, when I hired her, I had a stack of papers 2 ft high. That was a very good question, you know, does this scare you?

She said no, but how much time do I get to go through it? And I’m like, well, I don’t know, you tell me and she said two weeks, no problem. And it was literally 2 ft high. Um, because I didn’t have anybody. It was in between, you know, I had my first office admin who was a great starter and then I was making this big change, but there were several months where we were just getting checks in the bank. Accounting. No way, not gonna do it. We got stuff to do.

And, uh, you know, for me that was where my weakest standpoint was, was, was the office stuff. I just wasn’t that organized at it. I didn’t enjoy it. So I put it off and I was terrible. Yeah. Ok. So Sean asks, are you doing commercial work too or just residential? Yeah. So our business split. Great question. We’re probably 143% commercial and 75% residential repaint. We really don’t do any new construction. Um, and as much as we’d like to grow the commercial more, our profit margin is better on commercial for us in our area.

Um, it’s a little transactional. You paint a building. That person doesn’t refer you at the same rate that in the neighborhood, if you did a nice job they would, you know, people in the residential home are far more apt to tell their friends, family neighbor about you and really advocate for you where if you paint a commercial space, thank you for the business. Here’s your check. We’ll call you in six years, you know, appreciate it. Um So for us, that’s our split. We, we’ve been trying like heck the last several years to maybe make commercial more like 30 35 40.

Um, that the residential just continually, the pace just grows with it and it’s, it’s hard for us to catch up. It’s a good problem to have, man. So someone, someone else asks, do you only hire experienced field staff or do you train any inexperienced apprentices? No. And we actually have a higher success rate with untrained people with the right attitude than experienced folks. Um I love young people with the right attitude who have kind of come to the realization that, you know, the uh the Mike mentality and that the trades are going to be highly valued and our billable hourly rates are about the same as my attorneys right now.

And uh you know, there’s gonna be demand for this that just can’t be outsourced and it’s not a, it’s not a second prize. It’s not Plan B. This is a viable, you know, um career for people and, and I think those people get in and, and accelerate faster than somebody with a few years experience. Yeah, I love it. So, do you, you have a set program for basically training them up? It it depends, we do. It’s, it’s very customizable based on the team that they’re on. Um our cabinet division has much more regimented because what they do is more cookie cutter day to day.

Um, so that’s, you start here. You do this for 34 months and then you’re gonna start to get some time, you know, spraying primer instead of just prepping and, and on box work. And then we’ll move you to the HB LP top codes. It’s probably six months for people. Um, we like them to be utilitarian and be able to do a whole project. But functionally that cabinet division um does get a little specialized where people just continually do. We have a couple of people that are so fast at taking doors off boxes and moving hardware and getting them back to the shop that it doesn’t make sense to have other people do it.

They’re just like ninjas with our, our general field staff. Yes, it’s pretty regimented. Um Do I think we do the best job of it? No way. Uh It’s definitely an area we’re gonna improve this year. Um But we have benchmarks and, and some performance reviews. Um, that is gonna coincide with some more specific training on where people are at to get them, you know, a little, a little bit more regiment and on what does it look like to grow? The problem is we find people that love heights don’t like heights.

They, a sprayer makes sense to them. Um They like the artsy side of it. So a brush feels good. Um You know, they’re, they’re younger, stronger and crossfit, hitting the gym and they love rolling 18 ft rollers on ceilings because it’s, it’s their warm up for that, that workout. And so it’s not a one size fits all type of program. Yeah. So let’s, let’s kind of go a little bit down farther down the path in terms of growth, sticking points. So you started it, you hired an estimator, you were managing uh, the operations, then you hire your second admin employee.

She ended up being phenomenal second fit and a long term fit for you. Did you encounter any more growth? Sticking points after that? Oh, about every six months, I feel there’s something, you know, um And at that point, so once you have your first office person or sales or operations, you, you, you didn’t do it before and now you’ve figured out I actually need some performance metrics to measure these people by and some better plan for growth. And so that’s when you start to think about either, is this person working well or not working or am I gonna hire a second one of them or am I gonna hire if I have the estimator and I have the office staff, am I hiring this field ops person?

And it’s about at that section of growth where you start to, I think, see your first little glimmer of independence and, and then it becomes really scary because now I have to have this written down and present it in a way that these people can function day to day and know what their job role is. Um, and holy crap. I don’t have any of that. So that, that’s when you start to really write that down, uh, everything that you did and told people every morning or afternoon or all throughout the day, that’s when that you actually have to start having some written down systems and processes to, to make this so that it’s a predictable product. Yeah.

So I think that’s a really nice segue. So with the systems and processes, would you recommend that you essentially write them all? So as you know, obviously, as a business owner, you’re doing much of this yourself in the very beginning and so you sit down and write them all or do you hire people who are really good and then you ask them to write the sop in the process. I, I think you do it either way from my mind and my abilities, writing that stuff comes kind of natural so that I did it.

I, if it didn’t or that stressed someone out, then yes, I would lean on part of my field staff to say, ok, help me write this. Um, you know, we call a curbside report and it’s a very simple one, page parking vehicles, loading stuff up, one sign in place, walk through with homeowner checklist. Um, that I didn’t actually write most of it. My first estimator did because uh in a previous career. He was a, a plumbing contractor that did their own sales, right? Those, those individuals go in, they quote for a water heater replacement and they have to do this and he worked for a pretty big outfit.

And so he said, hey, I think we need this, this would help standardize that process. Um, he kind of, you know, gave us the idea and said, we, we did this at the plumbing company. We had to fill it out every day. It was a big problem and then I filled it in, but actually kind of the idea to have it or mandating. That was, wasn’t mine. Um, filling in was something I did good, um, changing because I never had a need for it before was something I probably resisted to on, you know, and, and held on to, I like to tell people that we do this and what, remember this and, um, so standardizing that and that, that’s what I talked with about, uh, with Antonio on Tuesday when he was here.

That’s the first thing I would do. And your first one is gonna suck. Everyone knows it. Save a copy. It’ll be great to look on two years later and laugh at and like, can you believe this is what we used to do, um, write what you think is important or what you feel like you’re texting or calling your people about? That’s a line item. If you got to tell them or text them or write it down somewhere. Boom, it goes on there, then you start to build out.

Well, what is properly parked van, you know, Antonio said he doesn’t like his guys parking any vehicles in the driveway. Fine. I understand that. I love our vehicles being parked in the driveway. The hiccup with that is before you park in someone’s driveway, you need to confirm they’re not getting a car out of the garage. Well, that’s done in our phone call before we, you know, got this set up. We already went through, we’re parking the vehicle is that it gonna be an issue with you? We’d like to back it in.

We need a staging area on the inside of your home. We’ve already gone through these where the first thing, yeah, that’s irritating as a client when you go out your door and the painters have you parked in. So that’s the next layer of when you start to say we park in the street. Why is that? Well, if it’s because you don’t want to park people in, do you want your crew moving everything further than it needs to be? Is the street really the best look. Does your van look good enough that the whole neighborhood can go by and see the doors open and, and take a look at what you have.

Um, is that a great look, in my opinion? Not, you know, I think it’s better backed up closer to the garage, ready to go to work door shut lawn sign in place. And so that’s where we build out those processes. Interesting. So that’s you, you prefer it that way because the interior of the van might not portray the image that you want to be portrayed. And as people are driving by, with those doors open, you’d rather be, be backed into the driveway. Yeah, because even a well organized band with what we do doesn’t look super clean and, and they generally have to move stuff to get stuff out.

So there’s a been a drop cost that’s now on the ground right behind the van so they can get other things out. And for me doing that where we’re kind of confining that visually was important. Um You know, and, and i it’s one of our biggest sales features when we go through, you know, the customer responsibilities, we tell them, hey, I seen your pictures, we know the order, the quote is gonna get done and we, this is your responsibilities is to make this super smooth, you know, part of that is, can we park in your driver?

We have some people that have said no, no big deal, but we’re gonna ask you. Um and they say, yeah, absolutely. We say, ok, we’re arriving at eight. So if you’re not moved by eight when the crew knocks on your door, the first thing you’re gonna say, if you need to move a vehicle out. Can we do that pretty soon? So we can offload our stuff, painting exteriors. That’s generally our staging areas in front of that garage door. That’s where we put drops and sprayers and, you know, boxes of tape and all that stuff.

Um, it’s less hard on the cement than it is on the grass. And so that’s our home base and if we set that up and they have to pull the car of the driveway to pick Johnny up from soccer. That’s a problem. And it’s mildly irritating to every client if we didn’t. You know, I think we talked about this right now. We’re doing 44 45 jobs a week. We have a wealth of knowledge that I, it’s our responsibility to tell clients this is how this is gonna go best.

This is what I need you to do to make this seamless for you in low stress. And, um, that’s our responsibility because even the most affluent homeowners they don’t paint but once every several years. Yeah. But they’ve forgotten and it’s different. It’s our job to let them know how this is gonna go super smooth. I think that’s probably what we do best. Yeah. And that’s such a good point and, and it’s really, it would be really easy to miss what you just said and the importance of what you just said.

So it’s your responsibility to let them know how it’s going to go best. I think, I think any business owner in this instance, we’re talking about painting company owners. We get into this routine. Right. We do it day in, day out. So we just assume, well, obviously it’s obvious it’s not obvious to the homeowner and because they’re paying for you and part of what they’re paying for is the experience, the customer experience that you’re providing, it is incumbent upon you to educate them and let them know and really be the guide.

Almost a coach of, hey, here’s the process, here’s what we do. And let me tell you how this is gonna go best and how you’re gonna get the best experience here as opposed to what they said I could back in. I backed in and then, you know, oh, this, this customer was mad. That’s ridiculous. That customer is ridiculous. It’s on you to set the expectations and pave the way for the project. That’s why ours says properly parked vehicles and then commercial, that’s different than residential. We may need to be in the park right next to the front door or near handicap parking on a commercial building that’s in service.

We dump that stuff off and we lock our happy butts from the other side of the parking lot so that their staff and customers can access the building proper is different in every application, right? So I, I think that’s huge and when you start to think about those things, I think customers really like that because it’s a level of professionalism and just predictability. That unknown is very stressful even for the smartest people. Right? Not knowing. Um So our sales people talk about it. Our office staff uses the same language when customers call with questions, they get it in an email, they get it in a week before a phone call from the actual crew that’s gonna be in their home.

I saw pictures and I know you’ve probably been talked about this beautiful giant that fish tank or the fish out of the tank is the tank been drained? You know, can we paint that wall behind it? And people are like, yeah. Nope, I did my homework. We’re good. Um You show up and the fish tank is there, we talk, you and I talked about China cabinets for like an hour one time. It’s the same thing, you know. Now that’s irritating the homeowner. I didn’t think about this.

You’re the painter, dude. Why me house is poor cat. I never had my house painted. I didn’t think about it, you know. So that’s, that’s huge. No, it is. And, and obviously China cabinet or, or a fish tank is a bigger thing. But I think even, yeah, where’s the, where is the van gonna be parked? Things like that? Just it, it’s a trust factor, right? People struggle to trust contractors in their mind that the painter is a contractor just like a plumber or an electrician or roof, they’ve had a bad experience of some kind.

So the more you can, uh, lay out the process for them, the more you can let them know exactly what’s going to happen, the higher their trust in you goes and ultimately the better their experience then when it comes time to, hey, can, you know, can I get that five star review from you or? Hey, do you, do you know, do you know anyone else who would need work? Well, they’ve had such a pleasant experience. It wasn’t, they’re kind of holding their breath. They’re like, ok. All right.

The paint project seems like it went well as long as it doesn’t, you know, as long as they didn’t use shoddy paint, it doesn’t just fall apart in a year. I think we’re, I think we’re good, you know, but instead they felt good the whole time, you know, that’s important. Um So you mentioned, you know, the, this, uh, this plumbing contractor who works with you who brought in some ideas from the plumbing industry, which I find really interesting because plumbing HVAC roofing, all those industries are, are pretty dialed in actually with a lot of things.

Do you purposely or, or have you ever tried to bring in people from other trades or have you experienced that benefit even accidentally, uh, outside of just that plumbing contractor? So, for our second salesman, it was very intentional. Um, we were growing, there was a question of my ability to oversee estimates and, and confirm accuracy. And we really leaned into uh Larry who’s, who’s just our, our last bald dude here at the office, but Larry has an insurance background and everything he did was exact to me and it was black and white and it was to the T and so he thought it was fantastic to dumb this down because he was used to counting footage of stool molding and, and all these different things and like, no, we have baseboard and casing is one a crown.

Is this, it’s very simple. Um But it was, he was a great addition because he had to be so hyper specific specific in his quotes for 35 years before that, he brought a wealth of knowledge and accountability that did transfer and it was helpful and his quotes are very accurate, which is, which is nice for everybody. Um But that was intentional, you know, did I say insurance adjuster insurance estimators apply here? No, but when he came in and I heard him talk, I’m like, oh, this is the answer because the first guy was super pleasant, very personable, fantastic with clients almost to a fault of coming off as inaccurate like he was just trying to be your buddy.

Um And so balancing that out a little bit made everyone stronger. Um And at that time, we had some people that we sent Larry to, we had some people we sent Marshall to, um, depending on what the job was, you know, commercial contracts where they don’t care who you are or what you do. They need a price and need you either. Boom, Larry. Great. It’s gonna be highly accurate. He doesn’t want to talk to you all day. Um, you know, family of six, Marshall was gonna sit there and talk to you about soccer practice and this and that, and it’s gonna make you feel really, really comfortable with them.

Um Experience is totally different and at that time, we were customizing who went to what be based on fit. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So the let let’s get into systems and processes now in a little bit more detail. So you have a big team, right? And 1003 people, obviously, most of the people who listen to this are present right now do not have 64 full time employees. What for a company of your size? What are the most important systems? What, what would you say? You know, OK, if we didn’t have this, it would all fall apart, right?

What are a couple of those? Um Our crm. So we, we use for that. Our, our sales people take a ton of really good photos. Um I think it’s critical for everybody but in our pay system, it allows our painters to be much more efficient and better prepared. So the estimators are building in more income because we’re getting things done faster. And so that was a little bit of a challenge, you know, hey, I know you took four pictures, but we need an up close of this and we really need to know this and this.

So get eight pictures that are of high quality. Um That’s probably the single biggest thing are those photos and notes, you know, um if we do an estimate and you know, Mrs Pierpont says, hey, I have a two-year-old, they take naps at noon. That’s a note in there. And then we’re rock stars when we show up and say, hey, I know we got a nap time at noon. How are we gonna bridge this? Can we move a crib and move this out and do these things? And they’re like, holy cow.

How did you know that? What was important, Larry put it in your notes. So we know that’s gonna be your hot, but I’m a father. So we get it, you know, let’s, let’s figure this out. Um They may roll right into, you know, lower zero VO CS and, and how we’re gonna do this or it’s the winter and there’s gonna be some paint over. So we’re gonna turn your furnace um on fan only just to circulate and turn this air over so that we’re dispersing that quickly.

It’s not gonna be concentrated in the areas we’re servicing and it will dry faster for you without making your house 80 degrees and hot boxing it, um, people are attracted to that. Like, holy cow. I never thought of that. I know you did. You don’t paint? We do. So that’s there you go now, you know. Um, I think the CRM is a lot of it. I, I think it all kind of starts with that transfer of information. Um, where if you’re a smaller person, I think you’ll do yourself a disservice by not getting one of those, even with two or three people.

I would use that system. Um, I think you’ll have a lot less text and phone calls going back and forth between your people. If that’s where we share information, logging hours, putting notes, reminders to grab the, you know, large extension pole or the 14 ft a frame ladder for tomorrow. Um, but what happens if you have a flat tire and the crew goes out to that job site and you just had it in your mind that we needed a 214 ft a frame. No, that note’s there. You know, Brandon had a flat tire. Boom.

I know. Oh, he put a note in crap. I almost forgot that. Let’s grab that ladder. I just saved myself 210 minutes round trip, drive time to come back and get a lap, you know. And so I, I think I should have done that faster. I was probably resistant to that technology early on. It wasn’t as good as it is now either. Um, but I don’t care if you’re a team of two or three people. I think that’s, that’s like number one. Yeah. So the CRM, obviously there’s other stuff you can do in terms of interacting with customers or prospective customers, but just having one point of, of uh information, one source of truth, so to speak, for everyone to be looking at it all the time.

We have automated follow ups on quotes. You know, you send a quote, you’re busy, you’re working on projects. Are you gonna call back that person and say, hey, I noticed you didn’t approve this. What’s going on. Probably not, you’re busy. So those automated follow ups that drip is, is easy with that. You started to forget it. I still think phones are the best, you know, to really get feedback on why someone didn’t go with you. But um if you don’t have time to make the phone calls, you just set those reminders.

We do one at two days and two weeks. Um And then sometimes some estimators will turn that off and actually follow up on the phone as opposed to the automated one. But all of these platforms have really slick back end systems that were just not available 212 years ago to us. Yeah, 212%. And did you, and, and a lot of the painting industry really doesn’t capitalize on them, which means that if you do, you’re ahead of many of your competitors. So that’s, that’s pretty huge. Did you have to train your staff on this, on using the CRM or what did that process look like?

Yeah, we did. Well, again, you said it, I mean, Marshall came from a, a larger, um, franchise plumbing outfit that had one, I think theirs was probably proprietary at that time, um, to them and, uh, their national franchise. And so, um, him and I actually went through and probably looked at six or eight of these before we really committed to the best one. They all have positives and negatives for us. This checks more boxes than not. So we’ve stuck with it. And um yeah, there’s training, I mean, their online training is, is certainly adequate.

There’s a ton of webinars and the help desk and all of them is really pretty good. Um But for us trying to make this customizable and thinking like, ok, our notes now, if we went back to 2000 and pulled up a job with notes and pictures, there’s one note that’s half assed and terribly written, there’s four pictures and they’re no good. Um Our sales guys now are actually automating and putting, you know, diagrams with circling stuff and, and little footnotes on the photographs of, you know, I this was too high for me to measure, it looks like a rip down one by 214.

So bring that plus a one by 703 just in case like that’s all in there. Um And, and so Yeah, we did, we trained on that for sure. Yeah. So Sean, uh, Sean asks, is business down for you in 270 or are you just as busy as ever? I guess what I’m asking is, is the economy negatively affecting your revenue this painting season? Um Awesome question. So the winter was, was tough for us. It was pretty flat to the year before and, um, I forgot what it was like to be in a seasonal business for most of us COVID was fantastic.

Um So the winter was flat line and we were sweating a little bit for sure. Um It was, it was not, not super pleasant and kind of high stress. The spring summer has been great. Um I do think we’re in a sweet business because we get to shift our offerings a little bit. You don’t try to sell a $270,2200 top to bottom, you know, repaint. You do the most necessary rooms in a home and they call you back in a year when people are less, less frantic about the economy and interest rates.

Um, interest rates are high. People are not moving in my area. The real estate market is very depressed right now in terms of availability. So people are staying there that helps us in the repaint business. Um If you did, if you had a mix of new construction, you lean more into the residential repaint stuff and then maybe you get back in a new construction when that picks back up. So, um for me, this has been a great year, quarter two, we were up almost 20% year over and we’re on target to do that again.

Now, I’m hoping we finish the year 15 to 18% over 22. That’s great. And one of the, the important things there was you’re, you’re strategic, you’re willing to pivot, you know, you’re willing to look at, at opportunities. Um, not just view things as negative, but ok, if it’s negative, how do you make it a win? But I, you know, I did it personally through the, the 2008, 9 703 disaster. Um, I mean, I was doing roughs though, I would take kitchen remodels. Then we kind of talked about this. I got rid of all that remodeling business.

Um, we did anything, there was no job above us and we licensed builders were capable of doing it. Um, getting rid of that stuff when the market was good and dialing and painting was kind of a nice luxury and a wise decision. Um, but if things really got tough, yeah, we’re gonna open up the service offerings, bring back some handyman services and some of those other things to make sure that we’re keeping our team intact. Yeah. Getting scrappy. And even, even if you don’t have, um, the ability to maybe do roofing or things like that, I mean, pressure washing, you can scrap right.

If you have to gutter guards, gutter cleaning, you know, there’s, there’s guys that kind of, you know, move into some of those extra offerings that are, are high value to clients and low cost really um great add-ons. You just lean into those more, I think. Yeah, I love it. Be an entrepreneur, entrepreneurs make it work. So we are wrap up coming to the wrap up of the hour. I wanna, I do wanna ask you a big question though, John, that we didn’t really super cover in this series.

But I think it’s interesting because you’re, you’re running a really big company, uh relative, relatively speaking in this industry, it’s a very big company. So for somebody who’s listening to you right now, uh and they want that kind of, they want 60 plus people. What is one thing that you would tell them? Uh you know, one kind of North star that they could focus on that might improve their odds. Uh One of the biggest things that changed for me was understanding you’re gonna be compensating people at a rate that was probably more than you made two years before that.

So you want to hire a good estimator, they’re gonna make six figures and that’s gonna irritate you because you painted 100 houses and couldn’t scratch six figures. Um And I think if you check that at the door and know that there is a windfall for you and sometimes you might hit these weird little plateaus um along the way that, yeah, you know, your motivation is, is not to give up but to work off of those plateaus a little bit and know that you may have some staff that you may have painters that for a stretch of a summer are making the same income as you.

And you’re like, God, I could just go back painting and make more money if that’s what you want, that’s fine. But you got to work through that. Um Stay determined, have a vision and just understand that you, you have to compensate people enough that you’re gonna be a magnet. Um And, and it took me a little while to get rid of that. I had the a grand opening here at this new building in December and we had 12 or 14 guys that worked with me 10 years ago. Um And their comment to me was holy crap, man.

I know you talked about this back then. I just didn’t really believe it. Um And, and they’re super proud of where it’s come, they’re doing different stuff generally, they’re not even in the trades. Um But I, I think you can have those success stories if you have a vision and are just comfortable being a little uncomfortable with maybe what you’re paying some of your, your staff. You know, they, there’s times where you just got to swallow your ego and be like, man, I, I’d be making a ton of money if I worked for somebody like myself, I said that when we started lump sum, um, when I was a younger guy I would have bankrupt someone like myself with, with the system.

Um, and not really because it’s kind of fixed. Right. It’s, we’re all winning at the same relationship. Um, but man, I would have made a ton of money if I would have had a, a boss like me and I was in my early twenties with no kids and you know, like working six days a week, it would be a joke. Yeah, man, that’s a, that, that is phenomenal advice. You know, the long term focus of the entrepreneur uh is always important, you know, being willing to go through what you have to go through.

But the plateaus, you know, people really struggle with plateaus, they’re growing and then they hit this and they’re not growing or maybe they backpedal a little bit and they kind of panic but just maintaining that sense of calm and that focus and then when you have uh a painter’s may be making more than you. The business owner, you, you’re supposed to be making the most money. Sometimes you gotta eat it, man. And as an entrepreneur, you have to eat it generally for a long time. Yeah. You think that’s your job to fix it, right?

So you want them to be successful. That’s a win. Now you just gotta fix what you’re doing wrong. Maybe you need three of them making that kind of income so you can make the income you desire. Right. It is just that plateau. I have a guy who made a lot more than me. Today was a payday. Made a ton more than me. This paycheck was 12 grand Brandon. I’m not kidding. Two weeks. It was $12,000 that I don’t make that right. I’m not taking my home. My accountant would kill me if that was on my.

But these guys work 14 hours on a Friday and a Saturday to do a commercial building. And in our system, it paid him, the average production on that job was $100 an hour to them. Hey, wow. So he paid his staff $70 his guy, $70 an hour and he made over 200. Um, I don’t begrudge him. That’s the system. You know, my, my job is to make myself and I’m kind of there right now with some people. Um, you know, maybe changing the rules isn’t the answer. Getting more people to be successful like him is probably the, the trigger point or that springboard for me to get to the next level.

And I don’t, you know, iii I deal with those same things. It’s just, you know, different times. You kind of second guess it and you get a little bummed about your day and man, what am I doing? And why is it stressful? That’s what you signed up for. Your job is to fix that. And if you don’t like that job, then call one of your competitors, you respect and say, hey man, I’m folding up and coming on. How does this look? Yeah. Call me John. Do you have, do you have anything else you wanna add before we wrap up this Q and A?

Yeah. And I talked for an hour. Do you want me on all night? We can do this all Friday night, but I’m gonna have to grab a keep it going. So, yeah. Well, John, I appreciate your brother. The series was amazing. Uh I know we’ve received a ton of positive feedback. Sounds like maybe you can have some team members coming on board uh from it, which is very exciting. Thank you, man. Thank you for everything. I appreciate the relationship brand. That’s always fun. Yep. And everyone, thank you for tuning in.

Uh look, looking forward to getting feedback on this and talk to you later. John, thanks.

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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