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Guest Interview: Matt Kuyper of Harpeth Painting

Matt Kuyper, founder and co-owner with his wife Maggie of Harpeth Painting, discusses how he reached $1 million with his painting company in his first year working only part time. Harpeth Painting now does over $6.5 million in annual revenue, reaching that revenue in less than 6 years. Matt shares the advantages that early responsibility in his career gave him as a business owner, and why he thinks most painting company owners think way too small. Matt elaborates on the mindset needed for success, and how surrounding yourself with people who have an abundance mindset can transform your business. Matt now views his primary role at Harpeth Painting as leadership development. He deep dives into how he is building and improving his team on a daily basis, and provides actionable insights other painting company owners can benefit from.

Video of Interview

Topics Discussed:

  • Stop thinking small – your mindset makes or breaks your business
  • How to surround yourself with the right people to help you grow
  • The importance of networking and leading with value, and concrete steps to doing this right
  • Why developing leaders is important and how to do it within your company
Audio Transcript

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Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast, a 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 Matt, Kiper Matt is the founder and co owner with his wife, Maggie of Heart, with painting a residential and commercial painting company based in Nashville Tennessee that does over $6. 5 million dollars in annual revenue in this episode Matt shares the advantages that early responsibility in his career gave him as a business owner and why he thinks most painting company owners think way too small, matt elaborates on the mindset needed for success and how surrounding yourself with people who have an abundance mindset can transform your business matt now views his primary role at harper's painting as leadership development. He deep dives into how he is building and improving his team on a daily basis and provides actionable insights. Other painting company owners can benefit from 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 matt. Thank you for coming on the painter Marketing Mastermind podcast man. Glad to be here. Good to see you. Yeah, it's good to see you. So tell us a little bit about heart with painting. So I own harvest painting with my wife Maggie who has actually been on the podcast before. So I don't know what that means if she's more important or not, but we are in Nashville Tennessee. We are a commercial and residential painting contractor. Uh what about 60% commercial and 40% residential um some larger commercial jobs and then we do quite a bit of custom residential, new construction, which has been a unique market I never thought we'd get into uh and then residential repaint as well. Um Yeah, that's that's kind of the overview. Did you guys start as residential or commercial? We started out primarily as residential because it was easier to get into a little less cash intensive. I actually started the business on the side when I was a project manager for commercial construction company. So again, that was kind of easier to to manage on the side um but relatively quickly got into commercial work since I had that background. And are you, this company is only five years old, is that correct? This is our sixth year, six years, nice 2017. And you guys are doing how much in revenue? We did 5. 5 last year and we're on target for 6. 5 this year. Congratulations. Thanks. So yeah, for sure man. What I guess, what do you attribute that growth too? That's obviously a lot of abnormally large growth for only 5. 5 years in business. Um It goes back I think to it's been a long burn in, in the startup to this company. I've been in In the construction market in Nashville for almost 20 years now, so I've gained a lot of connections, industry experience, just the Nashville being a big market has also helped. There's no shortage of work here and I just, I wasn't scared either, so just kind of got right into it. It wasn't really necessarily intentional of, hey, this is how quickly we want to grow it, it happened that way and we were able to manage it effectively. Well, I wanna, I wanna know what you mean, but you weren't scared. Um So I'm a very calculated person. I'm not a risk taker per se, like the typical sense of uh I'll just do it and you know, whatever happens, build it on the way down. Yeah. Yeah, I'm not like that. I'm very calculated, but I had experienced doing bigger things and I wasn't scared of the bigger things. So I knew the steps that I needed to take to get there and just was able to do it quicker than really what I even thought was possible. Yeah. Oh, that's great, so yeah, I remember when Maggie came on the podcast that she brought a really interesting viewpoint, which is, and I'm bringing this up because you talked about being, you know, being scared, not being scared of success, kind of brings its own challenges, you know, and it can be scary to succeed, especially if you're a lot bigger, a lot faster than you expected, you can kind of get imposter syndrome or sort of wonder whether or not you can actually handle everything that's that's going on. Have you dealt with any of that? I know you and Maggie were really largely running everything up until last year. Mhm. So no, to the imposter syndrome, um I always felt like this, this is where I was supposed to be, and and like I said the the years leading up to it and kind of giving me the perspective on where I am, but the fear now is like, wow, I got here, can I keep it here, you know, because it's just an interesting uh not that it's all going to go away, but like without a certain plan of how we got here, it's more interesting on how to keep it going. Yeah, now we're now we're learning how to run a big business now that we got here. Yeah, which is totally different and I think a lot of people who have never been there, I don't really understand that, you know, it becomes a different company essentially. Mhm. Yeah, Yeah, yeah, and it's, it's ah I find these psychological um aspects of growing and building and maintaining a business really interesting and when you're starting, you kind of don't have as much to lose, but then when you get to where you're at, you know, you, you sort of start to feel like you have a lot to lose. Our friend nick talks about head trash a lot and I think this is one of the target areas where you can, you can drown in head trash if you wanted to. Sure, yeah, we don't want to do that. Um so you are 60, 40 commercial residential, how are you getting, let's focus on the residential first. How are you getting the majority of your work right now, you're not gonna like our answer, It's been all referral based up until this year in january or february, we started to do some targeted google ads and some blogging and along with rebooting our website, but we have not spent, we played around a little bit with some facebook ads in the past and things like that, but it's all been self generated just through network and referrals, we're very involved in, in community groups and church and gyms and stuff like that, I think just being, being involved in the community has generated a lot of work. Sure. Yeah, I think that's a huge play and no, I do like it. We'll edit out all that, but I do like, you know, repeat referral, business networking, providing value to your community. I mean, you're never going to get better leads than that. We can't get, it's not without work. That stuff takes work. It's not like I'm just staying here, we're sitting here and leads are coming in. Sure. We're intentional about what we're doing to to generate referral work and cure him, be connected with people and it pays off. Yeah, No, I mean, you end up building a brand and people want to do business with you because they know you. So what advice would you have for companies that are still under a million and and are focused on the residential portion. What, what would you tell them? I think there's two different ways to look at this. I never, I didn't start this business with a brush in my hand. So I didn't have that the craftsman trap or whatever you want to call it, of working to get off the brush. So if you're one of those people that is in the field trying to grow their business, that the first step is obviously you've got to build a team in the field that can support you to go out and grow the business and there's a lot better people to talk to you than me about that? I don't I don't have any advice for that, wow. But on the on the flip side, the way I did it, it was it was just about let's see how to explain this. It was my own limitation that would have held me back. And I was able to, like I said earlier work on the side. I was at my other job and I got to nearly $1 million dollars my first year as a side job. I just I didn't even think that that was unique at the time. I wasn't I wasn't connected to P. C. A. I wasn't connected to any other painters. I didn't even I didn't know that that was something. So I don't really have advice. I just did it. I wonder how many people are going to listen to this episode and be like man screw this guy. Like as a side hustle a million dollars, just everything it touches turns into gold. Yeah. I don't I don't know, it's I don't like when people ask me that question because I don't have a fulfilling answer. Yeah, that's okay man. Everyone, everyone has a different journey and that's your journey. You and Maggie have um achieved incredible success in a in a very short amount of time. So but it's not without its challenges, I guess looking forward, You know, let's say this year, maybe the next five years. What do you foresee as being your biggest challenges? It's definitely developing leaders now we run a, a sub model primarily. So labor is less of a restriction for us. It is a restriction, but it's one that we can overcome mostly through just dedication and focusing on it. Ah but finding and developing leaders is where I spend most of my time thinking right now, whether it's sales people, project managers, we're getting to the point where it may be a true, you know, divisional operational leader role, uh president level type hires. So that's, that's really the restriction that we're in right now. Yeah. So I know you and I were talking and you had mentioned that you're considering sort of maybe splitting the companies or making a little more um, I guess real organizing a little bit between your residential and commercial. Can you speak a little bit to that and why you might be thinking that way? Yeah, there's just some, the way they operate is very different. The residential side is more, you need more constant direct and immediate feedback for your customers versus the commercial side where you're on a project. We've been on projects for three years with the same people and there's a different expectation of communication and your systems. We're struggling to find a system that communicates well through both. Um, we, we may be working it out where that works, but that's kind of the growth challenge we're in right now. So there's part of us that's wanting to maybe kind of separate the way they operate with a leadership structure on both sides. Yeah, yeah. We're constantly playing around with that over the last three or four months, kind of in the top of our mind of where that all goes. Kind of figuring out what the award chart is ultimately. It's moving around right now. Yeah, yeah. So in a good way for sure, man. So with the success that you found, what has been a struggle up till now, what maybe hasn't gone so perfectly or what have you found challenging from point A to point B here, I think the biggest challenge was that we did too much ourselves as a leadership team, mostly Maggie and I, and in the beginning, me and built the business around what we could do, which is pretty much everything. So we were really good generalists and now we're having to step back and create some specialists and it's, it's breaking the systems that we built of, Hey, I'm matt, I can do everything. So that's the challenge is, is stepping back and and then finding the people either that we have and putting them in the right roles or finding people to go in those roles. So you're saying the challenge for you when you step back, I guess you have a desire or compulsion or your natural tendency would be to just go do it. And so you're having to force yourself to not just go do it. That and realizing that not everybody is a generalist. Like I am like I'm not scared to do anything. I'm I can probably because I'm the business owner. But you know, I'll go sell, I'll go bid, I'll go produce, I'll paint, I'll do whatever. And none of that bothers me. But if you tell a employee to do that, like that's not, you know, I don't know how to do that. That's not my job description. I don't I don't know how to do that. I'm not good at it blah blah blah. So stepping back and realizing that not everybody needs to be like me. Everybody can be different and we just need to work towards those roles. Yeah. So basically you're you're hiring kind of going back to that or chart and and developing leaders and Everything there. So with commercial, let's let's talk about that. So that's the majority of your business, you know, 60%. How do you get that work? What what kind of work do you specialize in? And maybe what advice do you have for people wanting to break into commercial? So we've really focused on the client side of it rather than the project type. I had some longstanding relationships. Again, going back years and people trusted me because of previous things that we had done together. Um but it's it's all kinds of commercial work from, you know, 10ant build outs stuff too. Two churches to some really cool industrial projects that we've done some specialty, you know, sanitary codings. We've, we've gotten into a broad market of, of types of projects that we're working with really about three or 4 general contractors in town for that work that are feeding us repeat business. I'm not just throwing bids out willy nilly to everybody and their uncle. Sure. Do you have a specific goal like a five year growth goal or whether its revenue or another way of looking at it? So the commercial new construction, we want to cap off at about the revenue we're at right now, which Averages I'd say about $3 million dollars a year. That's a, I feel like I've tapped out the people that I want to work with in town, not saying there might not be other opportunities down the road, but our growth is going to come through our residential repaint and uh doubling down on our commercial repaint market as well? That's an untapped market that we, we stumble into every now and then, but we haven't focused on specifically. What, what is your plan there? If, if you're doubling down on on the residential repaint, commercial repaint, how are you, how are you doubling down? How are you going to the commercial repaint will be another higher, which will be primarily a sales or more like a business development type person because that's a go shake babies, kiss hands kind of thing. You got to go out and find these people. It's it's not, you know, the leads aren't going to just come in through flyers or whatever. Sure. How about for the residential repaint? Um that has kind of grown itself to, to a good value already. We hired a salesperson towards the end of last year and with the marketing stuff that we put in place this year, it's, it's already kind of started the flywheel on that. That's Kenneth you met Kenneth? Yeah, man, he's a great guy. He's on track. He's been selling 200,000 plus the last few months and no sign of stopping. So if he if he stays on that track, that's 2. 5 million, 2. 4 million for the year. So that doubles basically what we had last year. So that like I said that flywheel is already kind of going, he's he's selling 200,000 a month. Uh huh. That's impressive. That is solid. So what, what are some of the biggest mistakes you were at the pC expo um you know, you know, a lot of of owners of painting companies, what do you see a painting company owners like what, what common mistakes do you see them making? That, that you would maybe want to point out that they shouldn't be making because there are these trends, right? And people tend to make the same mistakes, I'm wondering what your thoughts are. I think thinking small, make it small people get in the trap of uh, I'm paying 10 more cents for a roll of yellow frog tape versus what I was six months ago. Like I gotta figure out how to buy this wholesale and save this money on this tape for or you know, are we going to use an angled sash brush or, or many rollers for this job? You know, they get, they get stuck in the small things and those things will work themselves out or become inconsequential if you think about the big picture. Yeah. And so that, that to me right there largely sums up your success, I believe so, kind of just looking from the outside in, Yeah, you're, you're in a market that's good. You, you do have some background, but you started residential. I don't think your background and commercial really probably helped you that much with that. And on the side you still got to a million and you kind of say it just happened, which to you, it probably did just feel that way. But I think a lot of it's your mindset, you just said people think too small. It starts with mindset and if you have an abundance mindset and you, you said you, you know, you weren't afraid of it and I think there's a lot of power there that I'm not even sure you fully recognized with the way that you're kind of conveying this, that's, that's my thought, I could be wrong. I'm just telling you and, and you know, you and I have hung out a few times and spent days together um at Nick's Plavix event and so I've gotten to know you a little bit and I just want to make sure everyone listening um doesn't just think that, that, oh, he just got lucky or something because that's not the case. You know, if you go into this stuff and abundance mindset, the universe tends to reward you for having that kind of mind at least that's my belief. Yes, I agree. If people, if, if some people are struggling with, with kind of the smaller thinking and, and I want to make sure I do. Um you know, we're we're empathetic sometimes the 10 cents, if you're in a tight spot, you're in a tight spot, you know, and it can matter. But how can people stop thinking that way if they don't have this abundance mindset? It's a tough question. I don't know the answer. I thought maybe you do matt. So I think one of the things is, is part of the stuff that we've been involved with Brandon of surrounding yourself with, some people that have that abundance mindset and you know, there's Shoot 30 or 40 people that I can consider close business associates that have that mindset and it just, it smashes all the other stuff and all you're talking about is is the bigger picture or abundance mindset as you say, I don't know it just doesn't even come up. Yeah. Yeah and there you know you see all these are all these facebook groups with painting contractors and the majority of what's being discussed is I would say kind of this smaller stuff like like uh increase in some sort of price or or a customer and kind of complaining about some issue. Whereas very rarely are you seeing sort of the bigger picture type stuff that you see at the expo and that we talked about at Nick's event and and yeah your your social circle has a big influence on you. So aside from I mean joining the P. C. A. I think I think obviously people should do that you know I think you you meet a lot of people there but do you have advice Um for people who are listening who maybe don't feel they have that kind of social circle. They don't have 40 people with an abundance mindset. How do they how do they get the social circle they need there's a lot of other opportunities outside of the painting industry to which I think is super valuable. I'm involved with entrepreneurship alumni group from my university in town. We meet once a month. These are people that have shoot like a flower shop or a record company or uh tech companies. I mean it's all across the board and getting perspective from people that are in other industries has been really valuable for me, I love that. And that probably helps you, you avoid kind of groupthink tunnel vision, that kind of stuff. That Yeah, yeah, just just overall economic insight of macroeconomic stuff, they're seeing things that may be different, you know, there for example in Nashville amazon and oracle and some large corporate relocations have been heading here and some of the, some of my peers in the tech world are facing some crazy staffing issues because these Companies are coming in offering people, you know, $200,000 a year for these jobs and the little local companies or having to Fight to keep their people or raise their wages. It's the same thing we deal with on the painting side, just multiple exes, you know these people aren't making $15 an hour, they're making $150,000 a year. But we're talking about the same thing. Sure. What, what have you heard? Um whether it's that or anything else from these other industries that you've been able to implement or capitalize on in your painting business. I think we share a lot of the same leadership issues and and recruitment of leadership and onboarding cultural izing that sort of thing. Everybody that I'm involved with is is struggling with those same things so if you're involved with the, with people in the tech space and you guys are talking about culture then I assume you guys are probably gonna get a ping pong table in your office. Little coffee. Is that cool enough? There's a dartboard should work. Yeah, that's that's cool. Um What is changing tracks a little bit here? What is the biggest customer blunder? Whether residential or commercial? Hopefully, hopefully not too terrible of a commercial one. But what's the biggest customer blunder that you've ever made? And how did you handle it? So if Reese listens to this, I'm not throwing him under the bus. He's one of my project managers. I gave him a lot of leeway early on in some estimating and bidding some commercial work like plans take off kind of stuff and teaching him that as he was coming on and not his fault my fault. I let him loose too soon on that and he bid a whole job at half scale So it was 100% off on the price or 50%. So instead of a, he bid a $60,000 job at $30,000 and of course we got it and we had to produce it and it was not a good job, regardless of how it was priced, just everything went wrong on that job and we just had to bite our tongue and get it done and lick our wounds and move on. Yeah. And I'm not blaming him for that on here. If he ever listens to this podcast, I take full responsibility for that. But that was a good learning experience for the whole company. Yeah, for sure. It's a good opportunity to work on your operational efficiencies right there. Yeah, yeah. The the silver lining, I guess. So as you're, as you're working on leadership and building out your team, where are you finding your team members, your employees and how are you vetting them? So we've been fortunate so far to be able to fly on her. Yeah, that's a good question. So I haven't even said that. You haven't even said it. No, Maggie Maggie, your your wife said it many times to me and that's the running joke and I haven't heard you giving me crap about it already, my questions yet. So I'll just start saying that's a good question, Brandon, Cool. We've been able to rely on our network so far uh which is not infinite. So I know that at some point that's not gonna work are our project manager that works kind of on the commercial side. I've known him since he was 16, 17 years old through some mutual friends and we we duck hunt together, He's 26 now. Um so he was one that years ago, I was like when he gets a little bit older, he's gonna be the guy. So you know, I always had my mind on him and made that happen. And then our other project coordinator was originally our nanny and she, she uh with all the covid college stuff was able to do remote college and she had just the aptitude and desire to get in with us? So again, kind of one of those serendipitous things that worked out perfectly chuck Kenneth. Our sales guy came from a referral from a general contractor we worked with, he was moving into town looking for a job, he was working at a painting company in Alabama, um Melanie or admin was a referral from a friend at school. I mean it's it's just been when we ask people, hey, we're looking for such and such type person. We've been able to just rely on our network for that. Yeah. Yeah. And I know I know in Maggie's episode she talked a lot about your guys community involvement and kind of how out there you've been. So I want to make sure everyone listening, you know, knows you guys and you mentioned it, it's effort, you know, you guys put in that effort to, to provide value, to be out there, making relationships with people and not just trying to get stuff from them and you get rewarded with things like this. And I'm an introvert. That's the last thing I want to do. I want to talk to my my five close friends and and Maggie and screw everybody else. Yeah. I called today. Yeah. Yeah, sometimes, well oftentimes growing a business requires going outside your comfort zone. I think almost every time. Yeah, you pretty much learn to live out there, I think. Yeah, yeah. Um Okay, so what, so, so as you've grown your business, what are some of the things if, if you could go back 56 years ago and and tell yourself, you know, know what happened? Would you do anything differently? Would you? Would you, I mean their mistakes obviously that one customer job you just said, you know like that painting project, you probably do that differently. But are there any kind of bigger term things that you would probably have done differently? I probably would have hired sooner. Higher center. Yeah. Who would you, who would you have hired? That's a good question. Thank you. Thank you matt. Finally, a little, a little affirmation here. I probably would have hired Maggie sooner. Yeah, not hired. She owns the business, but she didn't come in really full time until about two years ago. Uh, like teaching or coaching. She was athletics director teacher that was her education was her background, educational leadership. Um, so it took me a little while we had young kids and she had a baby and all that stuff that kind of impacted that. Sure, I could definitely not do what I do without her input. Um, we, we, I said it earlier that we did too much on our own and it kind of initiated some bad systems because of that, that we had to break As a $5 million $2 million dollar company. Yeah, probably a little bit more challenging to break it when, when you're bigger? I mean, the the prophet was world class. Yeah, when you have no overhead and Yeah. Yeah, no, for sure. It's it's gross profit is basically net profit for you in that scenario. Um Okay, awesome. So you you would have hired Maggie sooner. Um I'm noticing kind of a couple of themes here is abundance, mindset, growth, going to mindset, don't sweat the small stuff higher, sooner get involved in your community. Um leverage your network for uh employees for for solid employees. Are there any specific traits that you're looking for? So, so aside from, you know, hey, we need this person. Okay, maybe maybe the nanny or maybe someone else can do it. Do you, do you use any kind of like personality profile assessments or anything like that? So we do use disk as a as an assessment, but it's post higher. Okay, We won't make anybody take that before we hire them. We do will conduct at least three in person sit down informal interviews. Uh It's just a feel on a cultural fit basis at that point. Did you say in in formal or informal? I think when you you don't say that it's going to be an interview, people share a lot more. Mhm. Like you don't have a list of questions necessarily that you're gonna ask. You're just sitting down and having coffee and talking and you get a lot, lot better perspective on a cultural fit from that sort of approach rather than sitting down, you're like, so how many balloons would fit in this room or whatever, you know like the amazon? Yeah. Yeah, I mean how many windows are in new york city? Yeah. Yeah exactly. That's relevant to you. You'll get all, you'll get all those things at some point but the spend a lot of time just trying to relate and you'll feel because the cultural fit obviously is the biggest thing for us and yeah, it's hard to quantify that as a as a specific thing. It's just a field. Yeah. So you and Maggie have three kids that correct? How is that how how is it running and growing a business with three kids? It's challenging but it's not insurmountable. The thankfully they're all full time in school, there is a full time employee and I was like cut this part dad. uh there are 10, 6 and three I would say the limitation comes more for ah the window of time that we get to work, It's really about eight, Oh my goodness. That's when you guys can work 8-2 or three because then they're getting out of school. Yeah, so that's kind of self disciplining. You need to be very focused on your time and your schedule to produce in that amount of time. Yeah, I think that there's a there's a word for that. I forget the, it's it's the something principle like your task will take the allotted amount of time that given, yeah, it'll expand or contract to fit fit the time that you a lot. So I know a lot of people that work, you know, 12, 15 hour days, whatever because they've given themselves that amount of time to work. Yeah, we're we're Very deliberate about giving ourselves. For me, it's usually 7-4, Um and if that's what you set your calendar on, you're going to get it done in that period of time. Yeah, I'm not saying there's not weekends on Sundays and there's there's there's anomalies that get thrown in. There is some nights. But um yeah, just challenge yourself to fit, fit your tasks into the time that you have. Yeah, it's a power, that's a super powerful point because otherwise you can end up being inefficient and when you have to constrain yourself like that, you have to prioritize to which you should be doing, but a lot of us don't, at least not to the point. We should, Yeah. Um Okay, well, I guess how do you see kind of shifting gears a little bit to the industry in general, painting industry in general and if you want to speak, uh just about the industry as a whole or if you want to speak residential versus commercial, but how do you see it potentially changing and let's say the next 5 to 10 years. So the being a part of the commercial industry for most of my career it's always been a little bit more professionalized. Especially the larger companies. There's you mean you just have to be, there's bonding, there's insurance, there's financial capacity, all this stuff that uh just has always kind of been a part of that industry and I did not realize how fragmented and disorganized and unprofessional the residential industry was. I I just didn't I didn't know it was a thing and it's changing and I think it's changing quickly. Maybe not quickly enough. But uh the work that the P. C. A. Is doing the work that you're doing anybody that's out there doing these sort of podcasts or being a a voice of reason on the painter internet is is changing things for the better. Rising tide is raising all the ships for sure. Sure. So professionalizing the residential painting industry, do you think that that's been been a contributor to your success? The fact that you you you kind of already had maybe not all the systems dialed in but you just approach it from a a very professional way because you didn't really know any other way. Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Yeah. And it was surprising when I got on and like I said I never I said like I said, Maggie says that's a good question I say like I said so you can make fun of me for saying that all that Um when I was learning how to paint after I started a painting company, I was watching, you know the Idaho painter and nick Slavic and these people on the internet of mine, but I should probably figure out how to paint and those were the guys that I found who are the professional guys and then you dive deeper into the industry of Again, I'm not judging anybody here but people posting how much to paint a bedroom or whatever. I didn't even think about that, I would stand in the bedroom and say, hey you know this would probably take me six hours, I need to charge this much an hour to, I knew I needed to make some money. So it's like that's how much it costs. I didn't even think about it as a thing that people struggle with. Yeah. Yeah, interesting. And not saying that to Toot my own Horn, it's just a different perspective that I had coming from a different background. No, for sure. So you were doing, you were working as a property manager or project manager for a construction company, is that correct? So my my whole history was started out of college working for a small contractor developer. They mostly built their own projects that they developed. So I learned a lot at a very young age in a uh small company that gave me a lot of leeway and it was, it was probably the best thing that set me up for success was having that background. What do you what I mean makes sense that that background would set you up for success. But what are some of the things that you learned or the qualities that that were honed in you that were most instrumental in building your painting business? It goes back to some of the things I've said about not being afraid of the challenge. So I was given, we were, here's an example, we're developing a shopping center and I was 23 years old and they gave me the leeway to, here's the set of plans, worked with the architect to develop it, go take it to the planning commission to get approved price, the job, get it permitted build it. Oh well they're still there, you know, advising me. But I was I was doing things that no, 23 year old should be allowed. Yeah. And I didn't know that that was unique at the time either. I thought that's just what people did. But I think I learned later on in life that I was given a lot of responsibility. Ah And and so that again helped me with the painting thing of right, nothing seemed like a challenge after I done many challenging things before. Yeah. Yeah. So you were empowered and and you weren't empowered. That's I think that's a good word. Yeah. And you weren't afraid of the challenges because you had already been taken on a lot of responsibility for a long time. Yeah. And they offered a safety net, two of its not like here feed you to the wolves that was, here's an opportunity and we're here to support you. Yeah, it wasn't scary. Yeah. I wonder and it sounds like maybe you did a little bit with Reese maybe prematurely, but I wonder if is that gonna be part of what you do in terms of crafting leaders kind of giving people more responsibility than other painting companies do. Yeah. And I do it to a detriment as well. Like you said what I did with Reese, I've done it to everybody and had to step back a little bit and changed. Give them a little bit more guidance. Yeah. Yeah, it's I think it's it's going to create great opportunities for the right people though. The people who wanna kinda grabbed the bull by the horns, so to speak, yep, so matt, what do you have any any other advice that you would want to give our listeners that are wanting to grow their businesses. I don't have any advice. I need people to give me advice. You need, you need people to give you the advice, let me think, I don't know. Um keep learning what's one of our core values is continuous improvement. I think that can, that can be held to a lot of different factors in your business. If you're if you're the guy that's trying to get off the brush or if you're the $10 million dollar painting company that's Trying to get to 20, there's always something to be learned. You learn from your peers, read books, listen to podcasts, all that stuff keeps me energized. Do you have any books? Um you would recommend or or any any other things to listen to that? You would recommend? one that has really been um valuable for me the last year or two or last year and I've read it three times. Never split the difference. I love that book. Um never split the difference. Who what's the boss? V. O. S. S. Yep. Never split the difference. It's a good book to read. A good book to listen to client. Problems will become a thing of the past. Well the problems will not go away. But the stress that you have in learning how to deal with them will be greatly eliminated with the tactics that are presented in that book. Yeah. And in that book for anyone who who hasn't heard of it is by an FBI negotiator, former former top FBI uh hostage negotiator and negotiation tactics. So he's dealing life and death stuff we're talking. You know, disappointing somebody because you scratched the floor. You know, there's this stuff can be easily easily figured out. The stakes are a little bit lower. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well matt, thank you man, thank you for your time. Um you know, you're introverted. So this this again was you going outside your comfort zone and sharing your story and I really appreciate it and I can't wait to hang out in Albuquerque with you next year at the expo. Yeah, thanks man, appreciate you. Thanks for that. 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.

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