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Guest Interview: John MacFarland of MacFarland Painting

John MacFarland, Founder and Owner of MacFarland Painting, shares how he dropped out of college to start his painting company, and how he has since grown to doing over $5 million in annual revenue. He explains a significant shift he made to his employee compensation model 7 years ago, and how that shift has since propelled his company's growth. John provides solid advice that other painting company owners can capitalize on for free if they want to achieve his level of success, and he provides a unique perspective on how to keep your painters busy during the winter slow season.

Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • An employee compensation model that empowers employees while accelerating company growth
  • How investing into your painting business in innovative ways can provide great rewards
  • One often times ignored strategy for keeping your painters busy during the winter while building better relationships with your customers
  • The importance of making your painting company appear unique in your marketing materials
Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast. The show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I'm your host, Brandon Pierpont founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular pc, a educational series, learn do grow marketing for painters. In each episode, I'll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences on this episode of the Painter marketing Mastermind podcast, we host guest john MacFarland John is the founder and owner of McFarland painting, a residential and commercial painting company based in metropolitan Detroit that does over $5 million dollars in annual revenue. John discusses his path of dropping out of college to start Mcfarland painting and he explains why he describes Mcfarland painting not as a painting company but rather as a professional company that paints john gives advice on how painting company owners can learn from business owners in other industries and he discusses the employment compensation model at Mcfarland painting and how changing this model seven years ago has really helped propel his company's growth if you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that you are L is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast, john thank you for being on the painter marketing mastermind podcast. Thanks for having me. Yeah, absolutely man, it's our pleasure. So tell us a little bit about Mcfarland painting the background, what do you guys do? We do a lot of the same things that you know, larger residential repaint paint companies do a couple of things we do besides the straight interior and exterior reduced. Um we do a lot of kitchen cabinet painting right now. Our capacity is eight a week And we close on a new building in eight days and so we'll be doing about 12 or 14 a week when we were operational in there um and then staircase and banister? Re finishing ballast er swap outs is kind of another specialty item that's a little different than what some companies get into. We have an entire crew of three guys dedicated to do that, they do that five days a week, re stains and swap outs and new posts and things like that and that's kind of a little different and interesting. Yeah, so you guys, you do residential and commercial, correct? Yeah, mainly residential. About 85% residential and repaint. Very little new construction thing for us. Okay, and so 85% residential, almost all repaint, What percentage of that would you say is kind of this more specialized work that the kitchen cabinets and everything else. Yeah, cabinets make up about a quarter of our business. And the stair stuff is increasing at a pretty rapid clip in 2022 I expect it to be you know, maybe 15%. 10- 15%. That's great. And are those your, you know the cabinets and and the staircase, are those your higher margin or highest margin jobs? Uh cabinets are because materials are cheaper, the staircases are a little different because materials make up a much higher percentage than you know, paint material for our everyday work. So sure. Got it. And what do you do, you guys do revenue wise in 2021 2021 we're about mid four millions and I expect this to be about 52 or 53 this next year. That's great man, congratulations, sizable. And and uh so you guys are 4. 5 last year, expect to be over five um this year, when were you guys founded? I became a residential builder in 2005. So you know that's really the first official start of the company. Sure, okay. In michigan you're required to be, you were required to be a licensed painter. Um I went for the full residential builder license encompasses all things. Um but actually I don't know really why, but a few years ago they got rid of the painting license in michigan but we have three people on staff that are full residential builders. And we maintain those licenses, I feel it being over qualified as an okay thing. Yeah. And you guys are based in metro Detroit, correct? Yeah, City is Livonia. We have two offices, one in Livonia and one up in highland highland is kind of a suburb northwest of the city Detroit and Livonia is just exactly west of Detroit. Nice. And and are you the sole owner, sole founder? I am Okay, great man. Well um you know, you and I were speaking previously and you had mentioned uh kind of just diving in here, john you had mentioned that one of one of the things that makes you unique, you think really from a lot of other painting company owners is how you compensate your employees and what your employee model looks like you mind kind of speaking about that. Yeah, sure. I think it's, you know, there's successful companies do a lot of the same stuff, correct and successful painting companies do even more of the same stuff with how they market and do things and their in house process, their follow ups that there's not much different than we do, but we pay our our staff a lump some percentage of the job And so they're full time, you know, W two employees, these are not subcontractors, we we believe strongly um from our point of view that having employees is better than subcontractors. Um it allows us to be consistent. We see our people in the morning in the afternoon, but one of the problems with that is, you know, if it's just a stale 9-5 employee relationship. Um, you're dealing with incremental raises and all these other things that no one likes. So we pay a percentage of the job. Our, our crews are incentivized to, you know, stock the warehouse and get out to the job on time, avoid unnecessary trips to the store, have the trucks and, and all the tools that they need to do a job. Right? Look at the photos and the job file so that we have a game plan before they show up to a project. They know exactly who's doing what and how they're going to dissect it. So we're working faster. Um, you know, instead of kind of that slow start and getting our bearings, they know exactly where they're going to go to. Uh, and I think it's only fair for me if we empower them to do that, that we pay them, you know, some of the savings for what is waste of time, you know, to not be going to the store and waiting in line and doing those things. Sure. And, and so have you guys always been doing that or was this something you switched? Yeah, we switched seven years ago. So, you know, we've done that for millions and millions of dollars worth of work. Um, and generally what we put together seven years ago is the same. Um, you know, did we have a good job plan? Was the estimate well written. Do we have good pictures? We really look at when jobs come back? Good or bad. Why? You know, do we need to adjust prices? Are materials creeping up? Is there no problem with the, the type of skill sets on, on a job or on a crew? You know, are we trying to put square pegs in round holes from the labor standpoint? We, you know, cabinets. We have a very specific group of seven guys that do cabinets. Our other guys probably could, but they don't do them as well. They don't make as much money doing cabinets. So cabinet crew stays on cabinet crew, you know, big residential exterior guys that love walking roofs and doing that. They get paid really, really well. That's not for everybody. Um, So we specialize crews and teams based on what's going to make them the most money, which inherently makes us more money. Is that as the owner, you know? Yeah. A win win. Do you mind sharing a little bit about what percentages or if you have some sort of scale that you have for the lump sum? Yeah. So for us, our number is 31% gets paid the labor. That's another gross ticket. So we're not accounting for taking off paint material or or stock material, sundries or anything like that. Um we pay to a crew leader project manager, they get another 2% on top of that. They may be running multiple jobs. Different sites in the day, they're working project managers for us at this point. Um So that's incentivizing them to have, you know, more than five or six people underneath them. That becomes kind of real money at that point I was and then we found that it's been successful. I will tell you the first couple of years that we did it, we noticed our material consumption going through the roof. You know, we had six years of data that we kind of arrived at this 33% total number on. Um and then, you know, guys were throwing stuff away. Guys were, you know, not cleaning things out, stuff was coming up missing. Um So we actually added in another component where um we're incentivizing and paying quarterly bonuses to our project managers um that are being cognizant of what we're actually expending on those goods. And uh, that's again, why I will be successful. Our bonuses per quarter for last year were Anywhere from 1800 to 4700 bucks. Um to keep that number where we want it to be because reducing that labor percentage from 33 Won't go over real well. So that's kind of a stopgap for us. The guys that are ordering stuff are incentivized to keep track of things and it works. It works really well. And what are you trying to keep that supply percentage below we'd like it to be 17%. Okay. Make sure you have that 50%. Yeah, yeah, we like that to be there. And in fact, I pay them every dollar that's underneath, 17%, you know, so, um, those guys that run and are looking at a four or $5000 quarterly bonus, Um, you know, they're running it probably 16%, So, you know, ball Gorder stocking stuff that's part of it. But honestly, the biggest metric is getting to the job and working and getting off the job and being done, you know, not having callbacks and other things, those costs more efficient inefficiencies than, you know, saving a couple of cents on a roll of tape or something like that. It really is more process orientated guys, you know, our guys are cruising, meet at the shop in the morning, So if they're here and they're back in the shop and they're here for half an hour or 40 minutes, uh it's hard to be real productive and overcome that once we get to a job site and and really get to work. So we try to get them out of here quick and you know, if we have to have guys planning or setting up bands, one guy does that, two guys might do that, not a crew of eight or nine guys kind of hanging out, you know, talk and that doesn't happen here. So yeah, and that, did you say they meet again in the afternoon or just in the morning? Yeah, our crews are cruise right in our vehicles, our letter bands and so almost all of our staff is starting and stopping their days at the shop. We have managers that mainly because of space concerns take vans home, our sales staff takes van or their cars home, but most of the painting crews there start restored here in the warehouse. Okay, got it. And and so do you mind, I mean this, this is kind of a, I guess maybe diving into minutia here, but when, when they meet in the morning or the afternoon, do you have any sort of set stand up meeting or protocols you cover? What does that process look like? Yeah, so we have a handful, we probably have on the high side and I would at times say too many weekly meetings and structured things monday we do a whole company shop talk, you know that maybe silly stuff, letting people know what the deal is with the christmas party in three months, it may be handing out new gear and uniforms and that stuff That happens on Mondays, each individual team, which right now is about 6-10 guys. Um Those teams have been meeting once a week to I have a sit down with what we kind of call our leadership. So my business manager and my sales manager, my operations manager for the paint side and my operations manager for cabinets, thursday morning, every other thursday today was one. Um But those team meetings that they do every week they're going through and looking at their checklist, it actually has a category that says time out of shop, so they're supposed to be at 7:30 a.m. If we're not out the door by 7 40. And we're a crew of three or four guys, what do we spend 30 40 minutes doing? You know it's great to catch up with people. We want everyone to be friendly but it doesn't take 30 minutes to uh make sure we have the 10 gallons of paint for the job and open the overhead door and get out. So uh those kind of checklists are built in you know so that we're making sure that we're measuring that and if we're if we're slow getting out it's gonna be hard to make up for that when we're on the job site. Yeah. Yeah it makes absolute sense. So you made a really big shift in your business model Um seven years ago, you know with how you pay your employees. It wasn't my idea. It was actually uh my my number one producer was his idea. He said yeah he was driving a half an hour to our shop at least and then sometimes farther to jobs. And he said, you know I like it here, I'm a lifer but I think if you just kind of figured out how you know what we cost you you might get more out of us if we did this as a lump sum percentage and we tried it with him for a month. Um We really didn't tweet very much. He loved it, we loved it and you know we let guys kind of opt into it for the first four months because it was so new. You know, certainly that the crew's concerns at that point that it was going to be work harder, faster, longer coming from me. We work less hours now than we did that. I mean we were 55 60 hour week guys at that point when we're hourly and now we're 45 50 to 52 in the summer is a pretty normal busy week. We really don't go beyond that very much. Yeah. Yeah, I think, I mean that's one of the trends and you know, some people use 10 99. Some people do um you know encourage people to create their own companies and subcontract that way. Some people do W two S. But one of the big themes that I've noticed for success here is is allowing whoever is your painting, whoever is your producer, your estimator giving them some sense of ownership, you know, some sense of control over over what happens to them. Yeah. Now when you guys, I mean it's very obvious you're trying to keep your profit margins, your gross profit margins above 50%, you know 50% kind of at the worst. Um if 17% is going to your supplies, what was it before, was it, was it worse? Was it lower? It was about the same, you know, 17, 18. But when the first two years we did this system, I mean it crapped up 21 and then the second time it was 23%. So the labor rate doesn't work at that, you know what I mean? And reducing the labor rate would have not gone over well. So we had kind of address it from the back end, you know, with the material consumption and with, you know, with this switch, obviously it's a little bit bumpy with the supply percentage in the beginning. But what have been the major benefits, has it been that your gross profit has improved? Has it been that you've been able to grow faster? What have you really seen as the major benefits? You know, I think the number one benefit is the culture, our guys operate as if their business owners themselves. So call backs are like terrible, right? If if you're an hourly employee, do you really care if you get a call back to a job, you're getting paid the same or you're starting a new project? You know our guys, those walk throughs got better because that labor is paid, you want to drive a half an hour to a job for a two second touch up. It's terrible. You know, no one wants to do that. So they walk throughs are more consistent. Their accountability with each other is more consistent. You guys gonna be sick? I'm the last one to hear about it. You know their their coworkers and their project manager, they know they already have a game plan before it even, you know, gets anywhere close to me and and I think that culture is probably the single biggest benefit from that. Certainly financially it was a little bit more predictability with what we're doing when we adjust prices were inherently building right now right with inflation were inherently building in pay raises because we're adjusting our prices and they're paid a percentage of that. So um development is kind of handled in that because when someone gets faster and drywall or spraying or you know faux finishes or stain work, maybe they were only worth $15 an hour spraying when they started but they're really fast now and there were 30 32 30 for this solves that you know guys aren't disenfranchised asking for a quarter raise or a dollar an hour raise. It just doesn't those terribly uncomfortable conversations that are hard to scale. Um at times this this fixes that which which we like I love that, you know, you guys are, it's built in, built in raises and built in development raises? Yeah that's amazing. Do you have any well first off did you lose anyone, you know even positive cultural shift can sometimes not be a fit for everyone, not right away. Not right away, you know, certainly after that. Not because of the pay system, but because of the, the more formal nature of the company. When we got our second lease space and we started to grow, um, there were people that, that like the transient nature of painting and just being able to kind of come and go and fly under the radar and not have accountability. And so we did have people that either left or were asked to leave, you know, but it took about a year of this for them to really get uncomfortable with that. That's interesting. So you almost built this accountability and, and people who probably were not your best employees already and there were no longer a fit and just eventually kind of found the door themselves. Mostly sounds like, yeah, if you think about our teams of, you know, there's three or four guys in a project and girls, we have five painters are female now. You know, if you're slow or, or, or lagging or not picking up your share of the weight, you're getting a percentage of that, that profit. So they don't tolerate, you know, those guys will get washed away pretty good or say this just isn't a great fit for you. I like you, but Um, you know, you're, you're kind of more of a 9-5. I just want to work in assembly line type of mentality and that's that's great but that's not here. Um you know we've had a lot of guys like I love it, it seems good but I can't handle thinking about ways to be faster that little bit of stress does doesn't you know, wear on people and it's not yeah it is, I mean it does, there is definitely an element of stress there that would would not have been there before I was going to ask about the culture, you know, because I I could see conflict arising if one person is on a crew and really fast and someone else is really slow. That's obviously going to cause some tension, How has that worked? We're pretty lucky and we're pretty lucky the last few years, you know, really four years on I would say we're dealing with very little interpersonal conflict, you know, personality deals on jobs. Um We do hire a certain type of person, but even then there are certain teams or team leaders that might not be a good fit for a painter a um so we will try a new hire on a couple of teams and then kind of pull the nuke require and and pull the crew and say, you know what do people think about Brandon? Like I I like him but his fear of heights man, I just don't think he's gonna fit with us. We paint so much outside, you know where another group is like, you know, yeah, he doesn't, he doesn't know as much, but he can deal with the heights and we'll fix his lack of knowledge or experience. That's no big deal, you know, so the training, if we have guys that come in on a group and we stick them with somebody, they're more invested to train them because when you're better, they're better and everyone makes more money. You know, again, it kind of fixes, I'm not saying it doesn't create some problems because it definitely has its own, but it fixes a lot of the traditional, you know, hiring and performance metric issues that we deal with business owners. Yeah, there's a term called entrepreneurship. Um, you know, basically being an entrepreneur within the company and, and a lot of it has to do with accountability and, and sort of finding innovative ways to improve things And it sounds like this would, would probably encourage that Yonkers like with our cabinet division, mike runs our cabinet division and you know, that was something that was about six years ago when it started to gain popularity and we did it the way that a lot of guys do right, We did it in basements and garages and taped it off. We have spray booths. Now it's totally different animal. But um, that was kind of a rock paper scissors, hot potato deal. I mean mike was the little man on the totem pole, the other guys that have been with me for a little bit, so I don't want to deal with it. This does not sound like it's profitable. Um, I mean Mike would mike would kill somebody trying to take that from him. He's built this system of, we paint this side in this order and we numbered doors this way and then it's an accent color. We changed colors a tape and I mean he's got all these little built in metrics that it's way better than what I would have done with it because I let him just run with it and take it over. Um, and that's his baby, not even mine. That's amazing. Yeah, that's, that's ownership inside the company. So what do you do? You mind sharing your average ticket values for, you know, cabinets, all the different kinds of work that you do? Yeah, Our average cabinet value is a little slightly larger than our average ticket. So cabinets will be about 39 50. Our average job is about 3700 and 36 77 I think is what it came out to last year And our average exterior is, you know north of 4000 by a bit. So we're not pinning terribly large projects, you know, we're doing 12 day jobs for the most part with our crews. Is that intentional or is that just how it's kind of played out. You know, it's a sweet spot for us. Um, the bigger jobs more can go on. It's not that we don't do residential interiors for 20,000. We just have one come through for 30,000. It's just a repaint and a nice big home. It's not even a crazy scope of work. I like that temple, I do and our guys do, we've found that that's kind of the most profitable were in and out quick where people don't get sick of having us there every day, but it's not necessarily a new customer and a new set of rules and a new hot button every morning trying to get a feel for, you know, how you want things done in your house, how you communicate best. Um, so, you know, two days, it's kind of a nice, nice deal for us cabinets take a week. Uh, you know, we do cabinets, monday, Tuesday, we're in the home friday, We deliver doors and that's pretty scripted, nice. So You guys are, are on track to break five million. What do you primarily attribute that growth too? Um, it's not my looks, it's not my intelligence. Um, you know, I, I think it's me understanding years ago that it wasn't gonna be me And, and now, so what's happened the last couple of years have been really explosive growth. We've historically grown it nice 15, 17, 18% numbers. Um, it's safe and predictable. We hired a marketing admin just over a year ago. Um, I got really, really lucky with a couple of key hires. My business manager chris my operations guy Garrett um that like the freedom like the culture and have certainly enough good ideas that they're willing to take what I think might be right and tell me when it's not right and implement maybe a better way to do it. Um and I think that's probably the number one thing with almost every business owner. If you knew everything, Then it would be a company of one. I really like the help I get from my support staff. I think that's been the single biggest reason I I did our social media stuff before. I did a really half a side job of it, frankly, it wasn't good, it wasn't interesting, it wasn't regular Elizabeth is great and way better at it than I am. So you know, giving up that little bit of control. It's still hard for me to give up control. Um I don't do estimates now anymore. I gave that up about three years ago. That was hard. I love doing quotes, But 10 years before that I love painting houses and you know, giving up that little bit of control thankfully I've been able to kind of realize the people do a better job with their jobs than I would have anyhow. So it's not as hard to reminisce about that. I still like estimating dealing custom right? Yeah, yeah, I think that that's a great point, you know delegating. Um and I think this point that you made about, you understood a long time ago that it wasn't going to be you, I would love to go deeper into that. What do you what do you mean by that? Sure. So um I mean I could talk for hours about how I got into this, but on the, on the child of two public educated educators and administrators um so you know college was it, college was the plan and I went and changed majors to construction management and then dropped out because the construction management program was not doing what I wanted it to do to be an entrepreneur, there was no component to help me with that. My dad was pissed to say the least him and I got along, you know, he thought it was a terrible mistake, I gave up some money, I was getting from the criminal justice program to go to another school and he just thought it was a terrible mistake and you know, he heard every horror story of things like that now, he was handy, he actually got into teaching as a substitute shop teacher and took a long term position that was a principal and administrator so he could do stuff but he just felt like this is just going to be a rough life for him. Um He retired two years later and I handed them business cards and I had him selling jobs for me because I, you know, he wanted something to do. I think his concern was just trying to get that buy in from me and was I really going to take this seriously and do it or was I just enjoying having, you know, some extra spending money and a nice new truck and owning my own house at 21. You know, what was, what was the motivation behind it? Um, at that point I realized what I wanted was to build a business that could actually support other people and their lives and their families pay them well, you know, above our areas averages. Um, you know, allow them to have toys and about in the car and, and these other things that people should have and take vacations and do things. Um, where it's not just this paycheck to paycheck kind of miserable existence. Um, that some contract, there's some painters, I think honestly we're kind of at the bottom of the barrel in the, in the construction hierarchy of, you know, just a loose, a little bit like a transient gypsy in nature and, and that, that was not what I was going to be comfortable being a part of. So, um, it was important for me to build out stuff that people could be proud to work for even if it wasn't their name on the truck was a big motivator for me. I probably should have changed the name years ago. It's a little bit too far past that now, but you know, I have guys that are super proud to say where they work and, and really care about it as if it's their own um, you know, they wear our gear when they're out, you know restaurants and places and sporting events and uh, and, and that stuff is important. Yeah, yeah, I mean it means you've built a culture and that people are proud of and I think you know, you, you started the, the way that I've seen it again, we talked with painting contractors across the country, have clients across the country and then I run this show. So I talked with a lot of painting company owners and, and I've seen kind of two paths, one is and, and a lot of times this past kind of merge obviously on this show we have only painting company owners that are doing over a million. So they figured out what they want typically, but they start as a painter and it just kind of ends up happening or they start as a business owner that, that they're gonna run a painting company. It sounds like you, you went into it as, I mean I'm going to be an entrepreneur and I'm going to better people's lives and and make a difference in my community and I'm gonna do that through painting, but maybe you could have even selected something different. Am I thinking about this the right way. Yeah, no, I think that's a lot of it, I mean we did some other services when I was more heads on, we did some roofing, we did some siding, we did some kitchen remodels and bathroom models and and I was you know, I was you know, master of nothing type of guy was pretty proficient in everything but not great at any of those. Um I think the one thing I was good at is having this vision and trying to lead this and then probably recognizing some talented people that you know could help get there and would want to be in the front, you know in the front seat with me while it's going on and that is that's always been critically important to me that if it wasn't this, you know we, I used the phrase years ago were professional company that paints painting is the service we provide. Um I just hate the word painter because it has these weird negative connotations, I mean I am the president of a company first. Yes, we paint and yes our guys are painters but there are project managers and their crew leads and there you know there there there these great people that this is the venue for it, this is not the existence, you know. Yeah, yeah and it is, it's unfortunate you know it is unfortunate that the industry sort of has that perception a little bit but I think people like you and and entrepreneurs like you and who are creating a culture where people are proud to work there, you know, actually wearing their gear out, I think that is going to eventually change the tie. You know, I think that with the P. C. A. And and a lot of the, you know professionalization is obviously a big term in the industry right now but but all this transitioning I think within the next five, maybe 10 years, I hope that that stigma is no longer a thing. I love it. I mean we're still one of the few companies in our area that has a 401K. Right, that has health insurance, we have short term and long term disability for our folks. So if they blow out and he had softball er or break a hand, we had a guy who broke a foot doing his own deck repair job. Um you know, they're covered on that and that's important because no one's gonna lose the house, you work here, not losing a house, you know, having a car repo because you got in a car accident and you can't go back to work. That's not even on our mind here. Um the new facility we're putting in is going to have a 4000 square foot fitness center in it. I'm going to be hiring you know, mostly predominantly males 18-30 and if they're females they're gonna be younger, our field staff and so that's going to resonate with them. It's a place they can go before or after work, get a quick workout and grab a shower. And I think that would be a desirable draw to our, you know, keep our people happy. But I think that's gonna be powerful doing interviews at the new place. They're going to walk through a showroom and they'll see the fitness center and they'll like work life balance is huge with us. So nobody in my company's cell phone number is on any piece of material ever anywhere. Um We have methods for that. We have great answering service here. We answer the phone from seven am to five. We have a whole company wide text app that you guys can text and have it be screened through the app and we can see that stuff. Um And our main thing is just plan schedule, do what you said you're going to do and there's no reason to contact people out of business hours. All those extra contacts are because generally somebody screwed something up or forgot there was making up for a mistake. It was never intended to get phone calls at seven or eight o'clock at night. You're fixing not doing your job at some other point. You know, so our crews, they made some funny texting memes but they're not getting a, hey, go to this job tomorrow. Text that doesn't happen here. Yeah, I mean you guys aren't doctors, nobody's dying. So things are running how they should be. You can take time off. I use the line, there's no such thing as a pain emergency. I mean, you know our customers. So what if I have to call you tonight? It's like call 911, then your insurance company and then then we'll show up tomorrow at seven and we'll handle whatever whatever we need to, you know? Yeah. Um, so you guys are basically building the, The Facebook or Google headquarters of painting over here with a 4000 square foot workout facility. Maybe we'll have a cafeteria at some point here. I like this. We do have a cafeteria there. It's gonna see about 200. So, um, I don't have the, I don't have the bankroll for childcare. I've got a couple of people here that are leveraging for that and dog daycare services. Those got these, this, you know, and honestly in your podcast and talking with other professionals that I respect. I mean, you talk about the cost of hiring people and keeping people So $30,000 in gym equipment. I'll make that back in six months, you know, attracting one good person and keeping them on board. Um, you know, to me that's like having new trucks and nice tools versus beat up stuff. You get the guys to take better care of it and appreciate going to work when they feel good and look good. You know, it's just, I didn't think I'd be in a position to do this honestly, and we are, and so I think it makes sense to do it. That's a great point man. It's an investment into the business and yeah, you sit down and you actually do the math and you think about it again, like a business owner about the payout that you get from, what other people might say, why would you waste waste? Obviously it's not a waste. Why would you waste $30,000 on, on gym equipment? Yeah, I mean, do you keep one person for a year longer and they do a good job? You just made it back and obviously you're probably gonna get a lot more than that. Yeah, I think, and that's part of it. We're gonna be hiring people that would find that appealing. You know, that, that is our demo. It's, that is going to be a perk where some things are not as important to guys. Um, but in our business being able to do that, get a quick workout. I think it'll be valuable. And you know, the worst case scenario is if we determine it's not, we saw the equipment and repurpose the space to maybe something that they want, but that was a pretty unanimous across the board, hey, high in the sky. What would really be cool to have, we got that from a lot of staff. That's great. So you, you solicited feedback, you knew you wanted to give them something and that was what came out on top. We walked, we, when we, you know, put an offer on the building, it's just down the street from here right now. I mean, we walked all of our staff through that and said, here's my rough sketch. This is where I think the showroom should go. I mean every department weighed in and we made a wish list. That was like, you know, name, things that you need to have in your office, in your workspace. The same things that, you know, you'd like to have or if money was no option, you would by yourself. Um, you know, so a seating area coffee bar was one that was popular with the ladies up front here, That's super cheap. They don't want to be at their desk. They want a time. They can all be together for a few minutes in the morning or afternoon and and take a five or 10 minute break. No big deal. We can we can make that happen. That's that's totally worth doing. And how many employees do you have right now? We're 51. And you walked, you walked, well, maybe it wasn't all 51 at that point, but you walked almost that number of people through. We did, yeah. So we did it with kind of our key people are leadership people. The project managers once and then we did the cabinet guys. We took through their separately, just so they could have some individual kind of time to talk and ask questions. Um, and then, yeah, we kind of did, whoever else didn't get a chance to go, wants to see it again. Once we had our first drawing, we brought him back through there and people made notes that were really good. I mean, my concern about it was this giant investment, um, being wrong. Right. Where do we get people, you know that logistics matters, where should our sales be in relation to our office to our operations people? Um, you know, so that it's not, we can all be on top of each other, but we don't want to be at opposite corners either. And so getting that them to weigh in on that. I just feel more comfortable that way. Yeah, that's great man. So we, we um, have obviously heard a lot in the industry, especially as of late about hiring difficulties and labor shortage has that impacted you. Uh, it's definitely harder than it's been. Um, we're spending a little bit more money to be out there and in front of indeed, um, but we're also pickier than I was two years ago and three years ago. Um, you know, I had the belief falsely back in the day that we could probably take somebody that was damaged or fix them or had some, you know, smudges on their record and this and that we're a little bit more picky about who we're going to sit down. Our free screening is better. Um but we've grown, I mean we've met at 20 employees since COVID started. So you know that it's not been an issue, but it's it's real work to get there. You know, it's real time invested in doing those interviews and screenings and on site trial days and evaluations and trying to, you know, get an idea for their behaviors and the way they think and say they're going to be a great fit for this team or that team. Um You know that that's been a lot more work than I think it was years ago. But our staff is a lot higher quality. So I think it's it's worth it, you know. Yeah. Do you kind of take another step into this for company owners? You know that they have a smaller company, they don't have 51 people that sort of draw from and they are they have been struggling to find employees or they feel capt in some way by what they perceived to be a lack of labor, what advice do you have for them when I was guilty of back in the day is control. Right. I didn't want to give up control. And I think if you give people more control, I think you see the better, you know, leadership skills and problem solving skills out of staff. So that's one of the first things is give them enough freedom to make their own decisions and and and do what they think they're gonna do and people that feel suffocated and stymie deliver, develop and grow and it's just not comfortable and they're uneasy all the time. So that's probably the number one thing. The other thing too is we've had more success hiring the right person with zero experience then the career painter, Yeah, I can do everything. Um We will spend more time and effort trying to fix those people, then we will training up a new person honestly. So get a new guy that gets, it wants to work and we had to walk in interview a couple of years ago was one of the favorite guys in all the company. He just knocked on the door. So I think I like painting, okay. I work in a factory. I hate it. I mean he's like he's everyone's favorite guy because he's a sponge. You know, he was the right guy. We taught him how to do everything, he knew nothing when we started um if he went to a competitor right now, he'd be managing projects and all over the place and he's 25 years old. Um you know, so the right people make a difference. You know, I've been, I've been lots of mistakes and hiring these guys that are, 30, 40 50 years old. lot of stops. Never found a home. And I think the quicker you realize that they were really that worthwhile, they'd be someone's right hand man and they would never lose them if that guy was really good, you know, they wouldn't be looking for a home. We do ask that question in every interview. You know, what's important you, why are you looking for a job? And then I shut up as long as I can. Um and and let them just go and they'll continue to go a little bit deeper with that. And you know, sometimes it's money, sometimes it's time with family, sometimes it's respect. Um but they'll often really clue you into what they're looking for and uh and we may not be a good fit, but if, you know, they say work life balance, like to work on a team. I like to get stuff done. I like to be rewarded when I do a good job. I like to be recognized when I do a good job. I like to learn. Um we checked those boxes, you know, Yeah, I want to touch on a couple of things right there because I think you made some really good points that could be missed. And and one of the things you said, I think it's very powerful is you just stop talking and you listen and I think when you pause, people have a natural inclination to filled pauses. So if you, if you pause or if you, someone says, well I want the job for X, Y or Z. And you dive deeper. You dive one or two levels deeper. Okay, well you want it for for this, what do you mean by that? What do you mean by that? You'll pull so much more information out of them because people will have a compulsion to kind of almost vomit everything to you. And then you can really understand who you're talking to. Is that kind of how you approach that? Yeah. And I follow a script for a sit down face to face interviews if I'm doing it or Garrett and mike are doing them. Um Just so there's some continuity if we're comparing notes on somebody, we have the same questions. But you know, we asked people what you do in your spare time and that's early on, right? So that's an icebreaker and I didn't design this. Um I took some pieces from what I found online, but it's easier to talk about why have kids there in basketball and baseball. I like hunting and fishing. Um Okay, now we've got the barrier down. This doesn't need to be this very formal, you know, it's okay if you miss speaker make a mistake. You know, I didn't really mean it to sound like that way I did like where I worked before. I just didn't like some of the guys were tough on me. It wasn't that I hated the job or the owner. Um And then they'll elaborate and that's critical to because there's two sides to every story, you know? But I think, yeah, I hadn't paused in this interview at all. I've just been rambling. But um you know, I think that in that interview, one on one setting, it's just kind of confrontational, naturally our place to do it, it's just ominous. They don't know the questions and um you know, and I think just give them to relax, talk about themselves, wives, kids, family, you know what you like doing? Um that's more important to me than work. We'll get it if you don't know how to paint, we'll fix that. But yeah, and I think another really good point you made was what is driving them, You know, I think, I think the wrong companies always assume it's money and and that, you know, they're there because they need a paycheck. And I think if you, if you approach hiring, whether you're here because you want a paycheck and you just assume that those are the kinds of people you're gonna hire, they're there because they want a paycheck, not because they want a career or you said respect. That's a, that's a very different thing. Yeah, and you get a, you know, a quarter an hour raise the next company and boom, they go up because they run at it, you know, the local paint store for that, like, Oh, this is they're paying me $20. 25, so let's check it out. Um you know, that that stuff is key to us the why, what do we have? We have, we have weekend work available every weekend. Our guys make so much money that it's not really on their radar. If they have a trip or something planned, they'll pick up some weekend time because it pays a lot of money for us to work weekends. They make really good money doing that. Um but most of our people like their personal time a lot, you know, so like monday Tuesday, we're gonna work later hours in the day by thursday. It's everyone's goal to get guys out of the field by three. Um, so it feels like they have a full weekend, you know, getting home at 6:37 PM on a Friday kind of kills that, you know, and that's not a good look either. So That's great man. So when when you hire obviously there are a lot of changes that painting company goes through any company from zero to over five million. What I guess, can you speak a little bit too that what what you would recommend for for a company maybe kind of along the whole journey if they're at 100,000 or 500,000 or a million? Who do you hire first? Um you know, what kind of delegate first And what struggles did you run into as you scale then, how would you advise other other owners to kind of deal with those struggles. Yeah, it's, I think the best thing is to figure out what you might actually be good at and if you don't know, I think you need to ask your friends and family. Um the financials in doing the bookkeeping is not my deal. I'm not good at it. I put it off, I did a crappy job, it's just not my deal. Um I would try to rank those things. So you got marketing, you got your bookkeeping, you have your sales, you might have your field management, you might have a training and, and I would just do it real thorough self evaluation, ask a spouse or a really good friend or a parent like, hey, I need you to be honest. I'm not attended all these, where am I not that great at. Um, and then I think you hired from there. My first outside deal um was an office administrator because I was better and more effective in the field starting and finishing jobs and training and bringing back the money that I was accounting for the money or answering the phone. So for me that was super simple. Um you know, and then I think I was probably as good as anybody can be on the job site. Job flow managing people, getting stuff done. Um so I brought in an outside estimator, even when I was still managing projects, you know, I didn't didn't work myself out of the field. So it was this nice cushy, you know, white collar job and I stayed clean, it made more sense for me to work on the nuts and bolts of the, the technical stuff. Um, you know, and when I was able to hire somebody to do that, then I, you know, I had another person for the office because the volume was up there. The woman I heard to do the stuff at the beginning was far more better doing just bookkeeping and higher end financials and stuff like that. Um, and then that's more her deal size. The next, higher in the front office was very customer forward, customer service person. The third person we hired for the office was a very young, focused, energetic marketing person who isn't as good on the phone as, as Danielle is with customer service stuff. She's phenomenal marketing. So we, we started to specialize these things once I took them off my plate um, with people that, you know, hey, you might have done all of these parts of this job when it was just one of you, But it's three now. Um, you know, we're in the middle of doing that right now. We just had a meeting on that today. What things do we think? We're just not great at that may change how we hire this new place is gonna have a showroom. None of my sales guys, I don't think are necessarily inclined to do, design work in the showroom so that next person we hire has to be more design focused, comfortable inside sales showroom playing with fun stuff that's not who I have. So rather than trying to make them that we're going to find someone that can do that better, you know, that's great, Right, Right. People in the right seats. Yeah, it's hard to do that when you're smaller and you know, to your question, I mean, that's it, trying to guess that, but I think that self evaluation is, you know, or get a business coach that will do that really thoroughly with you and say, okay, um you know, I was super slow to spend that money. I thought that spending that was going to be impossible to overcome the overhead of having somebody here all day answering phones. And I will tell you that it created this level of expectations for myself. Well, I'm responsible for them, I'm not failing. So if I need to generate more leads or do more networking or get more done during my day, hell, that's what I'm gonna do because letting them go is not an option. They're here. They're mind, we're a team, you know, that's that's already history. So yeah, in that bar is helpful to guys get nervous about it, but um for a sole proprietor who's always done everything yourself, it gives you a little bit of accountability, you know, that's more similar to having a wife or a spouse or a kid where it's not just you. Yeah, yeah, there's definitely pressure there and someone else and maybe that their family is depending on you at this point. That's them. Yeah I mean entrepreneurship business ownership growing businesses it is really not for the faint of heart. It is a stressful thing. Um So kind of a related question. Uh I had actually put up a post and a paint add that P. C. A facebook group a while back and one of the comments that that people wanted to know about is how you paid yourself as you Grow. So you know 0-5 million. How how did you when did you start paying yourself? What you would consider well or were you really focused on investing back into the business? How did that work? Yeah I invested back into the business probably too long. Um But with that said we're purchasing a really nice building so maybe maybe not. Um You know I do pay myself a salary similar to what like an operations manager would be in our business. Um I take at least half my salary and distributions you know that I'm doing. So I'm just not getting killed on taxes. You know my CPA has advised me that's the way to go. There's certainly you know to be totally frank, there's the hidden perks of owning a business and cars and phones and things like that that you know get washed into that that you have to account for. Um but I think the faster there's an accountability when you're setting a salary and you're not saying, Oh, there's 10,000 in the bank, I'm taking out five for my pay this week when that's metered in predictable, It forces habits of making the right decisions when It may be tough to live on, you know, $1,000 a week or whatever that may be, you know, getting by. But if that's what's gonna be in there for sure, then that's what it is. Take the rest out, you know, quarterly at the end of the year or before tax season or whatever. But I think, you know, putting those constraints are important. Yeah, having the discipline to make sure your, your business has what it needs and yeah, the, the account, you know, the phones and cars and everything. I mean, those, you obviously need Ferrari's, john, I mean the three Ferraris, you have were a necessary business expense and don't let anyone tell you that they were not, Well, my mom used to give me a lot of flak about not, you know, investing a ton of money in retirement when I was younger and, and she was correct. I mean, it'd be worth more now, right? If I did this at 21 than 31, but um, I felt like the best investment was the business and you know, I think it still is, but a little bit more balanced back then probably would have been a good idea, you know, not just putting every dollar back into it. Um You know, or previously spending it in my twenties and early thirties, you know that that would have been wise. Um You know, advice that I wish I could talk to myself and say, hey I don't care if it was 40 bucks a paycheck, you should have put that in a four oh one K. You know, if you need more money than figure out ways to make more money at the front end, not steal more from yourself that you can't afford on the back end. Yeah, that's a solution, right? Yeah. Yeah. Um I have a joke with my wife when I'm making a decision that I know is probably a bad decision, I say well that's future Brandon's problems, screw that guy, you know, I'm good. Not really a great long term process there though. Um Okay, so I want to touch on uh winter slow season. You know obviously you guys have a pretty brutal winter. Do you have any advice for other painting companies or how do you try to stay busy during the winter? How do you approach that? Um the the last two years hasn't been slow up here, we've been booked all through, especially the holidays, I mean we got 10″ of snow yesterday up here. Um So traditionally though when we have a slow season Um we tell new hires were gonna if you're good enough to be with us in the summer, we're not laying off for keeping all winter so everyone's hours need to go from 45 to 35 then that's what we do. Uh and that was the case. Now we've been blessed last two seasons would be booked where that was the concern. Um, but you know, we didn't provide a lot of discounts. Um we would really just start having conversations with people even in august um you know, if it's an interior, are you sure can I, can, you just do me a favor and do this in december? December is tough. Um you know, my first available for your job might be september anyhow. So with five or six weeks back kill you because it would mean the world to me and just be honest with them. Um, I think that got us more traction than you know five or 10% discount or repaint upgrade or some of the other things that people do um and it might be because I'm a little cheap but I just don't love those type of discounts. I, I kind of like honesty. Um you know, if you could do your job in december, it would be, it may be the difference of guys haven't worked for that. They are not to be totally honest with you, most of our clients say, well yeah, that's not that big a deal. My dining room can wait or I have family coming in and it can't, you know, but um we would just front load those conversations and we did a little bit more and again before Elizabeth is a smaller operation, it was really kind of Helter skelter with um email marketing. We might run an email campaign to try to drum up stuff. We would call back, you know, open estimates and try to close those deals. But our stuff closes one of a couple of days, generally very few of those 56 months dead leads are gonna say, you know what, yeah, I do want you to come, you know, so we did that stuff. We might do a lot more facebook. But the problem is when you need to do that, you're busy by the time you're slow enough to do that, it's too late that your marketing, marketing happens before you need marketing. Yeah, so I struggled with that a little bit, you know? But my main change was actually in the estimate at the home saying is it possible to do this in january? Yeah, that's something we could we could move down the road a little bit. That's great, man. Yeah, that that is the first time we've really heard that on the show. You know, and it sounds I mean that's a relationship driven approach there. You know, you're you're essentially just being honest and open and asking people may say, yeah, for a couple 100 bucks or for $1000 off this big project, I will and then you can determine if that's worth it or not. But I mean most of the time they, especially back then our customers, they want you to succeed. I mean they want you to be around in five years when they need you again. Um Most people are not, you know, making so much money off this that people feel gouged and, and so that the human element is a pretty powerful tool that I think we kind of forget sometimes. Yeah, I think purely business and numbers and strategies and we forget we're all people and I think generally people are good and not trying to to hose you or, or you know, they care, they care a little bit at least. I mean I had a guy for a seal coat job at my house in my driveway that I tried handing money to uh in in the fall and would not take it and then call me back in the spring and I said, I don't want to call you back, I want to be on your list. I'm cool with you keeping my couple $100 deposit so that I know I have a spot with you. Um let's do this. But his thing was not almost like he couldn't trust himself. Um you know, you said that you just, you have to call me back, but I didn't call him back. He called another person that took a deposit because I I wanted that relationship to go both ways. I was fine committing to him. And you know, I understood he probably couldn't fit me in the fall. You know, he said he might be able to and I said, you know, I'm, I'm good with more of a sure thing and I'm good with, you know, kind of helping you with your business and you're scrambling working a bunch of overtime in october to try to wrap this up. Mine's not critical. I'm cool to go in april, you know, let's just do that. So yeah, interesting. Um, are there any brought up marketing a couple of times? I think you, you have someone who's doing a lot of your social media marketing. I mean, have you done any marketing that, that you found to be really successful? And have you done any marketing that you thought would be successful but was wildly unsuccessful? Yeah. We've done some stuff that I didn't think was going to be successful. That is, and, and actually, oddly enough, it's, it's a multiple company, kind of cellophane wrapped print print deal, um, that I really thought, well this, this is worth a shot. I knew the guy and, you know, like him and said, it's not that much money. We'll try it. I wasn't expecting much, um, why it works for us. And I told him I had to be on the outside. So if people open it or don't open or throwing the trash. They're still seeing it and we didn't do painting. I think that's a lot of problem that painters get into into your next year painting, but that's not cool. No one cares about that. That's not fun. Um, custom folk cabinets is fun. Handrail re finishing is fun, you know, staircase redoing the spine. Custom really cool front doors are interesting, you know, But painting walls from base to gray, which is all we've been doing for six years. Uh, that's not interesting to anybody. So from that marketing, we went just for handrails. So we're a painting company that only marketed in that mailer for handrails. Um, and our return on that investment has been wildly successful. We get several calls every time that goes out and we're talking that margin on that is maybe a five or 6% marketing costs for that. Um, so that's been good. And I didn't think it was gonna be the traditional stuff that I thought would be good that we did, that we did some videos on stuff, some kind of how to stuff that I just think we did do a good enough job marketing and supporting. And it was kind of poorly done. And that didn't didn't provide any traction somehow to things. You know, we get asked all the time. How do you do a paint touch up because kids were gonna mess up walls and no one wants to call us back to deal with that. And and some things that, that we thought were a good idea, that we just didn't execute well enough, so they didn't stick, you know? Yeah, yeah, that's stuff that the house two's and tutorials and Youtube channel, that's definitely a long term. You gotta, you gotta stick to that long term to see the results. Um, awesome. And yeah, so you basically found a way in that mail or first off to make sure you were visible, um, regardless of what occurred and then second to, to stand out basically, you know, even if even if you are as a penny company owner only offering interior exterior somehow you have to stand out. You have to do something that's different. Um, you guys obviously focused on something that is quite different. So it makes it kind of naturally easy to stand out, But, but some somehow you just, you don't want to just say we slap paint on the walls. Yeah. I mean, it could be anything personalities of guys, you know, I think we have a lot of stuff that shows our crews in it. Um, they present, well, people want to know is coming to their house. They're not hearing me, They know that now, you know, I'm not even going to do their estimates. So they're not buying me anymore. That's, that's years ago. You know, who is going to come to my house. Can I take a look at these guys. Are they having fun when they show up or are they gonna not like being at my house? You know, if you, if you do cool stuff, even if we did a couple of things, it was just a front door refinished. You know, fiberglass refinished. Um, people still know you can do that. So that had traction to us. That's like very generic, who cares? It's, it's a door refinished. But that resonated with clients in a way we didn't think it would, you know, to kind of zoom in on some of those photos. Right? So I have a little different interests and, and how to, instead of just a before and after rumor home and I think that's, that's helpful too. That's great. Yes. Find finding a way to stand out from others. Do you, I guess do you see the, the painting industry Changing over the next 5-10 years and if so how do you see it changing? I mean, I think we're, we're overdue to have it become a little bit more of a, of an official real life, you know, contracting companies, right? Real life. Like not not one guy in a van. Right? So, and I would love that. I tell people all the time. I know I got guys in our neck of the woods that I talked to all the time that I don't care if we get to get a job or don't get a job as long as the guy that gets it is not going to be someone that's gonna cause us problems down the road by you know not doing things right. The tail light warranty that I'd rather have to go to a competitive mind. That's a legitimate competitor. We get it, we were friendly with each other it's fine. Um Maybe mr smith liked their estimator more than mine because he smiled different. That's cool. Um You know so I hope that happens. I'm not positive if it's going to I mean I I sit on the board as a as a director for a painting and disaster restoration academy. They're trying to do some online schooling to to have this be more of a legitimate kind of following like the union program but for an open company Um you know the micro has been beating this drum for 15 years now right that I would love to see, I think that might be one of the first aspects of if the labor gets a little bit more formal. Uh Some of the fly by night guys go away because people want to work for a good company, it's going to take care of them rather than the guy that pays them cash on Fridays. Um You know maybe it starts that way, maybe it starts with the employees instead of the actual companies a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you, you definitely are approaching it from a very, almost I would say almost a corporate approach but not a, not a corporate, a corporate with a facebook field, obviously facebook is corporate, but yeah, it's, it's nice. It's nice to see do you have any advice and anything that made you maybe haven't already shared For painting company owners that their businesses is not at five million, maybe it's not even at 500,000. What advice do you have for them if they would like to get the five million? Uh Gosh, that's a really, really good question. Um, I think if you want to take something from 34 or 500,000 to 5 million, it's really not as hard as people think it is. Um, when we all started painting painting a big rumor, big house was difficult. It's the same thing. But what seemed, you know, massive at one time is not anymore, but it doesn't happen overnight if you're consistent with stuff and you take some calculated risks, it really isn't that hard to do. Um, you just have to take some calculated risk. And I think, you know, I've been lucky that some of mine have worked, but I've had more fail. I mean it's not easy and I'm the first generation of this company when I did quotes, you know back in the day, people said, is this your father's operation, it really pissed me off because I'm like, no, I built this, what are you talking about? You know, this is me, um, you know, so it wasn't given to me. Um, and, but I think if you take some calculated risk and try to find out where you're weak, but you know, you can do this hiring the right people. Um, Don't just hire the guy because he says he has 30 years experience if you need someone to do your books and answer your phone because you're not good at it and then that's your first hire. Maybe you only have three painters, you know, but if you need someone to answer the phone and then that's it, you know? Yeah, Yeah. Being being willing to hire, even even if maybe you're a little afraid at that point, Yeah, you have to, I mean no business has really made it and did it just absolutely super slow and predictable. I mean there are people that did stuff that just was an insane risk um, that, you know, that's not my personality. Yeah, I'm not, I'm not only amazon or Tesla, you know, I didn't get into books and now I own everything with, right, that was nuts. And if you would have gone back and said, oh, the way you're going to become a Brazilian air is going to be to deliver groceries and all this other stuff, people say no way. But I think if you take some, some risk and then I still do on both sides of it. Some, you know, peer mediation stuff, talk to your peers and and ask them what, what should I do when um guys and other businesses will be super helpful carpet cleaners. You know, landscapers to say uh this is how I do that, you're not their competition, where your competition might tell you to get lost. You know, those people in your area will be like, oh and I I had that too. I used to advertise with door hangers and I gave that up because it was terrible or I I used to hire all the best guys and I stopped that I'd rather train and they don't give you that information before you can even afford a business coach. You can get a lot of that stuff for free. Just find a couple of mentors. What a great point. Yeah and and even not, I mean obviously you want to be cognizant that what works in one industry, in your service area, might not work in painting, but just finding other other companies that are doing well in your local area. I mean go go to your chamber of commerce, go see if there's any sort of entrepreneurship group that go to these kinds of Of groups connected, these kinds of people and small business owners and even larger businesses that they want to help other business owners. Ultimately that 100%. Yeah, I mean I've been a business network for 15 years, that was a huge part of my marketing right back in the day. Um and I yeah and there's others and but you know, some of those more seasoned professionals, I got in, I was 23 years old and I had a cellphone attached to my hip, I was in painter's whites and then company that you just took over. Exactly, exactly. So um but those older members, I mean they wanted to do that, they feel some satisfaction, kind of training and teaching you and I'm still friends with these guys now, like I have, I had no idea I knew you were going to be successful, but I had no idea that you're buying a building like that or that and they had some mistake in that because I would go to them in december and say, hey guys, I need work like now, you know, does anyone need a couple of small jobs? I don't ask for a lot of favors, I'm pretty proud, but I need work like the next four weeks and I got two guys that I'm beating and I can't lose them and it's super important to me. Does anyone have a job that, you know, you were thinking about getting done that maybe we get fast tracked. Oh yeah, you know, we got the spare bedroom johnny's off at college, it's a good time. Hell, let's do it, you know, and just some humility helps be willing to ask for help. I joke around at the office. One of my favorite smart Alex sayings is that, you know, I'm the best at being humble. That's really funny. It took me a second. It took me a second. That's good. I'm really good at being humble. Yeah, I was like, wait what? Um cool man, is there anything else that you wanna you wanna say? No. I mean, I, I really appreciate the time. I hope we got some content out there that may help, you know, under, under a cruise or people that are getting into the game later, but companies that are newer um you know, I'm, I'm available and I'm, I'm totally happy to share tips and tricks, you know, people want to get a hold of me to like, I don't mind telling you how we do it and why it may not work. You know, our stuff, our company culture may not fit or may not be right for someone else as an owner and that's cool too. There's a different way to do it. But if somebody thinks that what I'm saying, may may help then no, no, you can find it. Do you want to maybe share an email address or what would be the best way for people to email is always good. My email is just john J O H N at Mcfarland painting dot com. M A C F A R L A N D painting dot com, response to me, tell me what it is. I have showed guys financial stuff. I have no problem with that. I mean, I wish I had more money than I did the deal. You know, it's, it's something we're constantly working on. So there's, I'm not too proud to do that and ask for help and I think there's guys that do different stuff in different markets that I can pick away stuff from and bring it back for us too because we are, we are by no means a finished product or are doing everything perfect. So yeah, well this is a perfect example of reaching out for mentorship and for people who are farther along and getting that help. Um just just to clarify. So I've been saying your, your company's name wrong the whole time and your your name wrong the whole time. It's Mcfarland and Mcfarland. It really makes notes. I don't know if you can see, I'm not sure if you're not gonna offend me either way. If you type in Mcfarland Mcfarland painting dot com, I got them both because everyone, everyone has their own one way or another. Yeah, All good. No worries. All right, john well, thanks, thanks man, this was amazing. Thank you for being on the show and I think people are going to drive a ton of value and I hope that some people do take you up on your offer to reach out and get some advice. I'd love to talk to people Brandon. Thank you. Hopefully I didn't didn't talk too damn much, you did. Great man, You did great. Alright. Thanks job. 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 you are l is PainterMarketingPros.com/podcast. Hey, they're painting company owners. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also if you're interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at PainterMarketingPros.com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon@painter marketingpros.com and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time. Keep growing