Guest Interview: Matt & Maggie Kuyper “The Commercial Couple” Series: Episode 3

Published On: September 25, 2023

Categories: Podcast

Matt and Maggie Kuyper - Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast

In this series titled “The Commercial Couple”, Maggie & Matt Kuyper of Harpeth Painting will be discussing how they built a successful commercial painting company together, advice they have regarding married couples working together, and finally specific thoughts on female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the trades.

In episode 3, Maggie & Matt will dive into completing the work successfully after you have landed your first commercial painting project.

If you want to ask Maggie or Matt questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum on facebook. Just search for “Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum” on facebook and request to join the group, or type in the URL There you can ask Maggie or Matt questions directly by tagging them with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

Episode 3

– Make Your Commercial Painting Project a Success

Audio Transcript


Welcome to the Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast. The show created to help painting company owners build a thriving painting business that does well over one million and annual revenue. I’m your host, Brandon Pierpont, founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular PCA educational series, Learn, Do, Grow Marketing for Painters. In each episode, I’ll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in North America and learning from their experiences.

In this series titled The Commercial Couple, Maggie and Matt Kiper of Harpeth painting will be discussing how they built a successful commercial painting company together advice they have regarding married couples working together and finally specific thoughts on female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the trades.

In episode one, Maggie and Matt discussed the different kinds of commercial work and how to choose your niche. In episode two, they talked about how to break into commercial painting now that you know your niche. In episode three, this episode, Maggie and Matt will dive into completing the work successfully after you have landed your first commercial painting project. In episode four, they will be discussing how to decide whether or not working together with your partner is a good fit for your life. In episode five, Maggie and Matt will lay out how to identify the superpowers of each partner and how to effectively work together.

And in episode six, the final episode, Maggie will be discussing female entrepreneurship and empowerment within the traits. If you want to ask mag your mat questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive painter marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook, just search for painter, marketing mastermind podcast form on Facebook and request to join the group or type in the URL facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter. Marketing mastermind. Again that URL is facebook dot com forward slash groups forward slash painter.

Marketing mastermind. There, you can ask Maggie Mac questions directly by tagging them with your question. So you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company. What’s going on guys? I think you need to focus on doing one of those radio ads where you’re the really fast guy at the end in terms of condition may like exactly you’re not taking this medication for over 55 years old. Yeah, may cause death may cause death, destruction, dismemberment, annihilation of anything and everyone you’ve ever cared about. Good luck.

No, we’re good. Thanks for having us back. Yeah. Yeah, super excited man. So we, we covered the different kinds um of commercial niches we covered. All right. How do you break in? How do you actually get known? You know, how do you, how do you figure out what company you want to work with? What general contract or whatnot? Uh Let’s get into now, uh how do you actually succeed? You know the answer to that? Matt. It depends. The ultimate question. we landed the job. Oh, crap. What do we do?

Yeah. And the perfect answer is it depends. Yeah. Love it. Maybe we can go through a couple different scenarios. Uh I actually have a couple of things that came to mind, right? As you were doing the intro with um uh our friend Nick Slavik who is asking me some questions about a commercial project that he was looking at and uh you know, he just wanted some feedback on, on pricing but then also workflow because it’s kind of a different workflow than, than residential can be. And this was just a little uh not so little, but it was a uh like an office build out, you know, just typical acoustical ceilings, vinyl base carpet kind of thing, mostly just painting walls and door frames.

So we kind of just walk through the project of making sure that they let you prime and first coat the walls before they put any ceiling grid in or any floors down or anything like that. Uh you know, make sure you have a touch up process, identified with the general contractor for what the drywall guy needs to come back and do and then being clear about when things are ready, what the final coat needs to be. Uh And every contractor is gonna be a little bit different, but that’s generally kind of the steps for an easy project.

Uh, you know, so even, even Nick not throwing him under the bus by any means, he, he knows what he was talking about. He just kind of wanted a second opinion on if, is this right? Is this how we should approach this? Because when you’re in residential work, it’s a little bit different where you’re, you’re not dependent on other trades as much or if or if you’re doing new construction, you may be, but it’s still a little bit more of a different process with all the trim work and stuff, wood floors, stuff like that.

But I think there’s two key elements to what you’re saying, which is number one, there’s no magic bullet and if there was a magic bullet to sequencing, then we would all have a lot more money in our bank account from jobs. I think everybody would be doing it then yeah, it’s easy. Everybody would do it. And then your point even taking a step further back is what you said is communication is key. And I think our P MS that are good at this are good at it because they make partnerships with the G CS and they build relationships and they have these conversations instead of just um everything being reactive like, oh gosh, they had us come in and prime so we primed.

But then all of a sudden they, they cut a bunch of more holes and that’s a change order. But did you have that conversation about, you know, I mean, we’re learning to now, I’m all like, when’s your tile guy coming? When’s your plumbing guy? I mean, asking those questions and learning about what their plan for that job and the sequencing is all based on communication. Yeah. And the second that it was actually uh kind of flows into my second point. I just got back from a very complex project walk through this morning that took three hours and we’re starting next week.

But there’s, there’s a lot more heavy handed sequencing that needed to happen. There’s, it’s a factory so there’s shutdowns that machines need to be moved. Uh And, and again, it comes back to being proactive and, and communicating with the, the team to understand what the expectations are. How many people can you actually put on the job to accomplish what they want to accomplish in the short period of time that they have a lot of, a lot of moving parts and logistics. So you really need to know uh what you can get done in a given day or week. Yeah.

Makes sense of the proactive communication in terms of the sequencing, in terms of when knowing. Um, I guess what order they’re planning to go in for the project, you know, when people are gonna come, what about? And I think Maggie might have, I think you might have hinted at slightly with the change orders and things like that. I guess as you guys have continually grown your business and encountered more projects and different kinds of projects and different kinds of issues. Do you find that you, you kind of build out your contracts sort of longer?

You put in more terms and conditions or you, you get burned and you’re like, oh wow, we got, you know, we didn’t see that one coming. Let’s go ahead and adjust how we move forward. So we don’t get hit with that again. What’s your guys thought? Yeah, I would argue 50% of the people who think they’re getting burned, missed the communication and, and expectation setting on the front and don’t get me wrong. I think there are painters that get burned by G CS or, or any other client for that matter.

But I would say half of them probably didn’t do their due diligence and, and as we grow in these relationships because as we mentioned in previous episodes, it is so relationship driven, this, this niche of the industry. Um You’ve got to, you’ve got to learn those, those clients and those relationships And so some of the G CS that we work with it to the point where we kind of know how they sequence, we kind of know the other trades that are gonna be there for the most part and we’re able to then bid accordingly.

And that’s an even stronger marketing tool to be able to say, like we know how this job is gonna run. We’re not going to surprise you with change orders unless you guys just blow this up. Um And there’s, there’s confidence in that from both parties. Yeah, so those are key. Yeah. So with change orders, you know, one of the the gripes and kind of the issues with painting obviously is sort of the last thing to get done sometimes, right? So there are things that, that need to get changed.

Well, then we got to repaint. How do you guys deal with with that? I guess how do you protect yourselves against that? The biggest part is documentation, whether it’s uh photos, emails you need, you need a paper train on everything, paper trail, paper train, train, it becomes a train sometimes really. Uh And then just not letting it get too far away from you. Like for example, if, if you started working on other trade damage or touch up stuff that you didn’t feel was part of your scope, but you did it for two weeks and then came to them and said, hey, this is all extra work.

You’re probably gonna get screwed. You need to be a lot more proactive of, hey, we see all this stuff coming in. How do you want to address that? How do you want us to proceed with this work? Are there any things, words of caution? You know, you guys said half, half the time. It’s a lack of communication. Sometimes painters do get burned. Do you have any specific advice for how to, aside from the proactive communication? Obviously, that’s a given. But let’s say, let’s say you’re working with a GC that you don’t know and you think they’re good, but you’re really not 100% sure you’re taking the project you feel pretty good about, but you’re just not, no way to be sure.

How can you protect yourself from maybe someone who doesn’t practice business the best way possible. So you don’t have to get burned to figure that out. I think on the front end, make sure you have a contract and make sure that that contract is reviewed by an attorney. We don’t necessarily have all of our contracts reviewed by our attorney because, um, of the nature of who we’re working with. But if, if there’s any concern at all, I mean, that’s as Zach Kenny calls it, that’s cheap insurance to pay your attorney $200 to review a contract to make sure that if things get dicey, you have the legal backing with that contract to be able to to stand up for yourself.

Are there any specific kinds of, so there’s G CS and obviously, you know, some people just maybe aren’t as good of a person or don’t practice business the same way? But are there any specific kinds of projects, you know, like, hey, these kinds of projects tend to be dicier. Our, our painting companies tend to get burned more if you go into this sector, are there any specific things that you would, you would maybe say carry greater risk? I don’t think so. Uh I’ve never really thought about it that way.

So I’m kind of thinking off the top of my head, but I think there is, I think anything with many layers of red tape. So for example, working for um larger corporations that govern maybe your client. So, um and you know, or a governmental agency, right? So if you’ve got the GC reporting to the client, but then if the client is subsequently referring to like a larger parent organization, I think it’s important to know sometimes that first of all, those are very large animals to fight, but also you’re adding a layer of red tape for decision making, for check, signing for change order, acknowledgment.

Um You just kind of, you know, if things have to continue to work their way up the chain, for example, I have a property manager that I work with who’s um it’s the, the FAA like it’s the government airport, whatever industry. Yeah. Right. No, I knew that. Thank you. But point being like he does, he wants to hire me and he wants to get me paid. But, you know, I submitted a bid for him over 60 days ago and followed up with it today. Only to hear, well, I sent it up the chain which for him probably means, you know, to his boss who then sent it to his boss, who then sent it to the government bubble.

Lord knows where it is. Um So I guess we’re just waiting on Biden to sign off on this. So uh you know, it’s just, it’s just knowing where the paper trail, not paper train, but knowing where the, where the decision makers are and how many people have to sign off is just helpful. It helps you understand why things might be slower than maybe it isn’t malicious. Maybe it truly is just the red tape. Yeah, I can see how that would add a layer of risk too because if you guys for change orders, let’s say if, if you need to get things done, you don’t want to say, well, we, we need to wait until we’re paid or until this is officially approved.

Not really looking like a team player. If you’re kind of holding up the whole project, they’re dealing with red tape, you move forward, you put in work and, and pay for labor materials, then it comes back. OK? This isn’t approved now you got burnt. I think an important thing we’ve learned and, and this doesn’t just have to do with getting paid. But I think it’s indicative of the client is figuring out how far away you are from the person that gets you paid. And yes, we all want to get paid on the end of this.

But I think that is also just a general indicator of how, how far into an organization, um decision makers are going because I that definitely has more, it muddles everything a little bit more. If one person, five degrees away from you is upset and is standing between you and your retainage or you and you know, the punch list, but you’re five people away from that decision maker, you know, so slowly learning your clients and, and trying to get to that person. So this is probably an oversimplification over generalization.

But would you say given that bigger companies tend to have more bureaucracy, you tend to maybe be a little bit farther away from the person who’s deciding to, you know, when and how to pay you. Is it maybe riskier to start working with sort of behemoths these really big companies versus working with maybe a local sort of smaller company or, or is that just not? Right? Uh You’re right, but there’s also the, the risk reward or the the benefit of working with the larger outfits is that they’re gonna hire the more professionalized companies, the they’re not gonna typically be like if we’re bidding on a job with a company like that, they’re not gonna have Joe Schmo painter down the street bidding on it because they can’t satisfy the requirements of that client anyway.

So it does help narrow the pool of competition when you’re working with those people. So there is a little bit of a, a game you gotta play, that’s not a game. But just knowing that it, it may be riskier, but there’s a little bit of reward there too because you, it’s not as a competitive market makes sense. Yeah, pros and cons. So the, we’ve talked about some of the risks, things to be aware of and the importance of proactive communication and setting expectations up front. Let’s sort of talk about during the project, you know, maybe we can actually run through what project looks like.

Obviously, our listeners are going to some will be in the space. They have been doing commercial painting for a while and, and this might be sort of redundant, um are inapplicable for them in terms of learning other people might be thinking about breaking into it. They’ve done strictly residential and they really have no idea what a project entails. So let’s say we, we landed the project, you know, we, we’ve signed, we have the contract review reviewed by an attorney. We’ve set expectations, we feel good about it.

What does it look like? What happens? But liquid on the walls, uh, change the color. That was it. All right. So you guys got it again. I, I can break this down into a typical, but there, there almost isn’t anything as typical of the, generally the clients that we work with, there’s gonna be like a pre startup meeting, a pre job meeting where you get oriented for the job. Go through some safety stuff, check, understand the scope. Who’s gonna be there. go on. Then there’s typically gonna be, once you’re on the job, actually painting there might be a weekly in person, just foreman meeting or, or brief little everybody’s kind of huddled around, check in uh hit the hot button.

Issues of conflicts between subs like, hey, when is this guy gonna be done here so we can get in this room kind of logistical stuff that happens weekly. Uh And those are typically on site or maybe like a call in meeting something like that. Oh And then depending on who you’re working for, there’s a lot of daily reports as well, which is typically just a manpower report of, hey, this is where we work today. This is who was on site, uh which is really good because it kind of gives you the backup too.

When, when something gets delayed, you can write that in your daily report like, hey, we couldn’t paint X A because so and so was still in there and it’s documented. So at the end of the project, they come back and say, hey, you know, why are you behind it? Uh two weeks ago, couldn’t do this because of so and so, uh so there’s just a little bit of daily documentation that happens. Um Obviously just some of the safety stuff again, it kind of depends on who you’re working with.

Some of the smaller G CS have very lax safety programs which, you know, it, it, it, it is what it is. Uh some of the larger, especially national GC, especially National G CS have pretty strict safety programs that need to follow and there’ll be meetings for that and documentation for that. It’s nothing you can’t pick up on the first time with a job. They’re super helpful of, hey, here’s the process. Do this either on a ipad or a piece of paper. It’s not complicated. It’s just another 10 minute, 103 minute step in the process that you gotta do every day.

And none of these, I mean, we’ve done well over a million dollar projects and, but the crew sizes are not really rarely. Are they much bigger than a 3 to 4 person crew? Every once in a while, we’ll push up double that for something crazy. But, you know, I think people think these big contracts, big jobs doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re piling on 25 painters. They just go longer. They just, yeah, and then you have your monthly billing which uh occurs toward the end of the month. And that’s where as we’ve kind of talked about previously, your billing on completion progress, uh pulling out retainage, et cetera.

And so you’re going through another paperwork, another benchmark in the production piece is getting that billing accomplished. Sometimes it’s quite the accomplishment. And again, just to remind your listeners too, we’re, we’re kind of hitting on the niche of new construction just because of its complexity, it complexities and differences. commercial repaint again runs much more similar to a residential repaint. So it’s, there’s less to talk about there. Got it. That’s a good clarification. So the, the safety briefs, all that’s obviously going to be set by the G CS. Some are gonna take it uh more to heart than others maybe.

And then the, the reports. So the weekly reports, daily manpower reports, that kind of stuff. I would assume that’s also flowing from the GC or who, who’s actually creating that format there. OK. So there, there’s probably at least some sort of a learning curve or, or adaptation every time you work with a new GC like, OK, this is how you work it. Yeah. Yeah. So if it’s a new, every time it’s a new client or new GC. Yeah, there’s, there’s a, everybody’s just a little different with the way they do their forms and their, what they want.

But again, they’re, they’re very willing to teach you and sit down because they know you’re nude. It doesn’t make you stupid to ask. And I think that’s oftentimes the fear is that if you’re gonna ask this GC, that you don’t know how to do something that they’re gonna assume, you don’t know how to paint walls. And that’s definitely not the case. There’s, um, if it is the case fire that GC you’re not wearing to help you with paperwork when you’re new. Yeah. Like though the, I guess impostor syndrome, you know, feeling like the GC is gonna find them out that they haven’t done 100 commercial painting projects before. Yeah. Yeah.

So the, it’s, it’s interesting that you guys are essentially using the same size crew for everything, even these million plus projects. Do you ever have G CS come and want an expedited timeline and say like, hey, we need this to move really, really quickly and you have to maybe triple that. Yeah, you’re gonna always get barked at to bring more painters. Yeah. Uh Here, here’s a prime example. Um a, a large project we’re doing in Ohio right now. Um Last we started it last summer and long story short, we took it over from another painting contractor that was not performing that the GC had to fire, which isn’t an ideal situation for anybody.

But they said, hey, you know, we need to get this area done. This area done. You’re gonna need like 20 guys in here to get this done by this date. And I was like, hold up, tell, just tell me what needs to get done. And then I’ll tell you how many guys need to be there. You, you don’t get to tell me how many guys and I put, because we knew what we were doing. We put like eight or 10 out there and did twice the amount of work and half the amount of time is what the other painter did.

And so if I would have put 20 guys on that, we would have, we would have ran out of work in about a day and a half. So it’s, it’s knowing what the capabilities of, of your crews are and don’t let them dictate your manpower, let them dictate timelines. Got it. Yeah. You, you don’t want the micromanaging and telling you how to run your business. Yeah. So you guys have a go ahead. No, no, it’s your podcast. I’m just your guest. What were you gonna ask? Well, I don’t if you have a point here because I, I wanna do some follow ups.

I was just going to say, um I highly recommend the book never split the difference. Uh It’s a really great book on negotiation skills and tactics and I was looking around the office and uh it’s a great book but with very simple tools for exactly what again, not everybody knows how to bark back at a GC advocate for yourself. Let’s call it that. Yeah. Um And so, you know, little tools such as, you know, Matt could look back at them and say so. So you’re saying you want me to go ahead and bring 20 painters before we even know the scope of what all we’re doing, you know, reframing the question back at them.

But it’s a great book. Uh If you don’t, if you’re listening to this thinking, how in the world do I speak up for myself to this seemingly large client that I don’t want to disappoint? It’s an awesome book. Yeah. And uh for everyone listening, who doesn’t know the book is written by the, I guess the world’s leading FBI hostage negotiator, at least a very, very successful one. And what I think Maggie you’re talking about here is basically when, when someone, the hostage, you know, the uh terrorist or whoever has the hostages says, hey, I want a helicopter and I want $10 million and I want this and that and, ok, great.

I want to get you those things. Here are my issues. How are we gonna do it? You basically, rather than fighting each other and you’re on opposite sides of the table, you pull up your chair next to them and be like, hey, I’m not the enemy, but here’s the problem. This is the reality. This is why it’s difficult. Let’s work together on how to make that happen, that he’s not gonna give them those things. But that’s what you’re saying. And, and ok, this is what you need.

How am I gonna do that? So you want me to bring in my painters right now while your drywall guys are still sandy. So, so you want me to put primer on the walls while there’s drywall dust in the air? Yeah, I just sat next to you and made you realize that your request is not feasible right now. Yeah. Yeah, I love it. So II I wanna let’s keep focusing on that theme then. So the, you said you will always get barked at to bring more painters by the G CS. And so I wanna, I, I wanna explore other things because people who are new to the world, you know, they, they listen to the podcast, they’ve done some more homework ideally than that.

And they are, are kind of in their first project and all of a sudden they’re getting blindsided by a few things that might be one of those things. Well, Maggie mad, they said what the heck? They said 3 to 4 painters, they do it for almost every project. Why is this guy screaming at me? I need to bring 10 more painters. Are there other things that they can expect to be barked at about? Hm. It’s almost always schedule. Yeah, I mean, if, if, if you’re struggling with quality, that’s maybe a different thing.

And, and that typically happens at the end of the project, if you’re struggling there. But that’s, that’s typically easy to fix in commercial projects. I can’t think of it. And really, I think we talked about this in, in one of the earlier podcasts is the risk that the GC has when hiring you is can you commit to their timeline? Can you get the job done in time? That’s all they want. It needs to look nominally good but completed on time. Yeah. Hit the, the baseline quality. Yeah, I’m not diminishing quality at all.

I don’t think I’m saying that but they, that comes second to, can you commit to the timeline and the schedule? Yeah. Fine paints of Europe throughout the commercial building? Yeah. And also on time. Love to do it. OK. So then another question, you guys came into that project recently at another painter had been there and got fired. You said it’s not ideal. Obviously, there’s probably work that’s undone. It probably makes your life more difficult when you come into a project like that. A aside from or, or I guess we can elaborate on actually the, the half done work project which is always more difficult to start with something like that.

Um Do you find there are other difficulties, do you find the GC is maybe less tolerant because now they’ve had to deal with other things in the past, you find sometimes the GC is a bad GC and that’s why they had the turnover. What does that look like? So I think we’ve only done this a handful of times again, it’s not ideal for any, anybody to do this. But in, in this most recent scenario, they definitely came in with their hackles up and their guard raised a little bit more because they had been burned.

So they, they were, they had a heavy hand in a micromanagement mindset for the first couple weeks until they realized, like, oh, these guys got it. We’re, they’re not like the other guy. So, and it’s been fine since then and I think it’s fair to assume that of any new relationship. Um I don’t know if that’s what you were alluding to Brandon, but if it’s your first or second, if it’s your first job with any human within the company, let alone your first job with that company.

Um You can probably assume that there’s going to be that same kind of culture and mentality of, I’ll let you run this once you prove and build that trust with me because it’s their job to protect and it’s their client to protect and you’re new and you have to prove yourself. And I don’t mean that in a cocky conceded or any way other than you just have to show them that they hired you for a reason. That’s something we talk about a lot in our office when we do get a new client.

Um thinking one recently where we first time working for this client and it was for their new Nashville headquarters. So it was like as high profile of a job as you could possibly do for a new client. So our, our expectations of how we were talking is like, guys, we gotta knock this one out of the park, we got whatever this one takes. Like this is our focus. This is if something else needs to budge anywhere else, this one needs to be an A plus job and you and similarly, I mean, that started with pricing, you’re like, I have to price this to get it because I want to be in their face.

But also I need to price it to set the expectation of what our pricing is. Um So, you know, he carried it all the way through production and closed out and um it turned out great for the record. Yeah, I love it. So you made an interesting point, Maggie about not just the first time dealing with the company, but the first time dealing with a person. So one of the, you know, one of the things we deal with the painter, marketing pros we obviously work with, with painting companies and market grow and sometimes there will be a marketing director or, or someone who comes into the painting company, right?

And they want to make their mark. So then we have have to have a discussion and say, hey, we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do a full audit of what you’re doing. Show me everything you’re doing. Oh, you’re, you’re not doing this, you should be doing that. Sometimes they have good ideas. Oftentimes, you know, you’re making a lot of noise but you’re not really saying anything. Right? Do you guys have, when, when someone comes into these existing relationships that you have, you know, you’ve done a lot of projects for this company, but now you have a new, new team member who wants to show his worth, maybe he wants to lean on the subcontractors a little bit and, and kind of show how he’s saving on budget or he’s speeding up the time he’s better than his predecessor.

You deal with that ever. And if so, you know, how do you handle it? I think people deal with that no matter what kind of job they’re doing, think of it in the residential world where it’s, you’re dealing with the wife the whole time and then the husband comes back from work trip and everything changes, you know, it was all good until it wasn’t. Yeah. Yeah, that’s just where you have to continue to think about the relationship side of this and, and I realize that that business can be transactional and that’s not a bad thing.

But if you’re gonna choose to get into this world of painting, you have to have a relational side, you just have to very strong negotiation tactics too. Yeah, there’s no, there’s no transactions. Um because in the end, there’s, there’s gonna be these hard conversations and then there’s gonna be these handoffs and thankfully, we’ve built enough, you know, you build a reputation. And so if we’re working with a new superintendent within a company, more than likely someone in the office has told them what it’s like to work with. Harp. Right.

And so you want to get enough of a backing behind your name and you, you’ve done, you do that with all the things we’ve talked about, right? The communication, the, the promptness, the professionalism, all these things we’ve talked about build up to that trust factor. Um, and then also just remembering that people are people and, and I think we have to allow our clients grace a little bit more than we want to. A lot of painting contractors that I see on the old interwebs. You know, they take things so personally and I get it.

It’s our business, it’s our livelihood, it’s our brand. It’s, it’s what we wake up and put our feet on the floor thinking about. But at the same time, you know, you have to remember that, that the superintendent that might have yelled at you for something that you don’t understand why. And it’s not your fault, giving them some grace. Who knows what happened to them the night before, you know, and just kind of remembering that we’re all human in this process and, um, just approaching it with a little bit more breathing room.

Yeah, that makes sense. We are, we’re all human we all have our own baggage and sometimes what, what, you know, if you’re being criticized or yelled that it, maybe they would have done it no matter what you did because I, you know, I had a big fight with their spouse the night before. What not. Yeah. And I, I keep reminding, especially on new construct, new construction. I keep reminding our P MS they might have been crass to you or short with you doesn’t mean it’s you for all.

You know, the plumbing guy just totally screwed up and they’re frustrated like there’s these clients, these G CS have so many things going on to get this project going and to the finish line. Uh And we’re just a tiny piece of that, a tiny piece of that. And so just remembering that in the grand scheme of things as, as you’re dealing with these relationships, a great point. Do you guys have any, any sort of outside the box advice? Obviously, quality work on time, great proactive communication, expectation setting.

Do you have anything else you do to, to sort of assist the relationship? Right. We talked about stuff you do maybe proactively before um to, to show the GC how you’re going to make their life easier ways that you can add value before you start the project aside from doing a good job being on time, being good at your craft. Is there anything you can do? I mean, the, the kind of cheesy idea in my mind would be like a birthday gift or a little gift. So, is there anything you do that sort of goes above and beyond that?

Maybe other contractors are not doing? Honestly, I think, and, and if you ever, the more you listen to me versus Matt talk, the more you’re gonna hear the brains behind operations versus kind of more the human side of it for me, for people who aren’t watching the video, the human was Matt and the brains is. Yeah. Yeah, the brains, the, or maybe the, the operation is Matt. Um, but you know, one of our best commercial project managers will tell you that the way that he wins people over is by remembering their name and asking them about their weekend.

And it’s simple. But you’ve got to remember how much it means to somebody when you give them five seconds of attention as to who they are as a person. And he’s very good at that. He’s beloved on job sites. Yeah, Dale Carnegie. That the people. Yeah, a person’s name is, is the most important. What is it, the most important word in the sweetest word in the world to them. Something like that. Yeah. But no, we don’t really do any other gimmicky or chin or wining and dining.

Yeah, I mean, Matt will, especially if we’re trying to either nurture a client or thank a client, you know, golf trips or golf outings or fishing. Trips or invite them to go hunting if we, we like to fundraise or sponsor, you know, golf tournament fundraisers and you get to force them. So we’ll take two from our team and two from a GC or just this past weekend, we went to a fundraiser for a local charity that we support and we had a, we bought a table so half the table was our team and the other half was clients that we invited.

Um So just, I mean, no, we’re not sending them birthday cards or doing anything super tactical. It’s more of a, a feel of, hey, it’s probably time to time to reconnect with that person partly because we like them, but also because we want to show our gratitude partly because it’s time for Matt to go hunting again and you need someone to come out there with him. So there’s that, it’s, it’s a way to uh have a little business and a little pleasure mix together. Yeah. Yeah, I love it.

Um, ok, so the project is done. You guys did a good job. Is there anything you do you know, in, in residential? We obviously focus a lot on reviews. We focus a lot on referrals, repeat business, staying in front of past customers, things like that. Is there anything you guys do at the end of a commercial project? Uh The way I I kind of put it is to further monetize that project. Obviously, if you did a good job. You’re probably gonna work with that GC again. Was there anything else that you do?

Uh, one thing that we, it’s, it’s a re, uh, I don’t know if it’s a requirement. It should be a requirement, but we, we provide a really good close out package or some people call it a custodian package which basically has our information in it. All the colors where they go, what the products were, uh, basically maintenance information for the building owner. So, hopefully what that does is a year from now when they want to touch up on something, they go to their little drive or, or book or whatever it is that the GC provides them and they can look, oh, these, oh, that was the painter.

Maybe I’ll just call them rather than doing this myself or hiring somebody else that’s kind of a way to, to stay in the door with whoever the building owner is now you’re doing, you, you took it from new commercial to now you’re doing commercial repaints for them. Yeah. Yeah, a lot of stuff gets, it gets thrown away or, or they don’t have a good way of keeping, keeping in touch with it. So, uh, and again, we don’t do this as much as what we should, but when a building is turned over asking our, our client, hey, who’s, who’s gonna be the management team that’s working on long term facility management?

And a lot of times you can get, getting in touch with those people one second. So basically keeping in touch with, with the buildings, basically, whoever is sort of in charge of those buildings. And then uh what I have done with, especially with new, new clients or new people that we work with, um especially now that we have project managers, I’ll usually follow up with them at the end of a project and be like, hey, how did my team do anything we could improve on? What did we do?

Good at? Uh, just so I have direct feedback for my team because sometimes you don’t even hear about it. You’re probably only gonna hear about something if it’s something really bad. Yeah. Yeah. But you want to hear the moderately bad stuff too and you can hear the good stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Unless it’s just something out of his world, you’re, you’re certainly not gonna hear about the, because when it was just me doing it, you get that feedback constantly, especially when they know you’re the owner of the company.

But now that I’ve got multiple people managing multiple projects that I may not even ever go to, I need to get that feedback from them and that probably goes a long way. It gives you the feedback you need, but it also shows them that you care a lot and there was something, hey, I really didn’t like this and maybe in their mind they’re like, you know, I’m not sure whether I’m gonna use this painting company again. Now that you called and had that conversation. I said, hey, I didn’t like this.

Hey, thanks so much for letting me know we’re gonna get that taken care of. It won’t be an issue moving forward. It’s not that nagging doubt has been removed. Yeah, about that. Um, ok. Anything else you guys want to add this topic? I know we’re, this is a bit of a shorter episode at this point, but we’ve covered so much in the first two episodes. I know we’re gonna move into the fun relationship stuff in episode four. Was there anything else that you’d like to discuss in terms of making a commercial painting project successful or really anything that we’ve covered in the first three episodes?

I think the same as what I said at the end of the other episodes is reach out to people. There may not be this episode again, was probably a little confusing for people that have no idea about commercial work, but lean on your peers. Yeah. And don’t be afraid to ask questions whether it’s to the, to the client or to your peers or Google. I mean, chat GP T Yeah, there’s so many resources out there. How do I run this commercial painting project? Chat? What do I do?

Let me see what it says. Yeah. Well, guys, I appreciate you. Thank you for this, this episode. I think we’ve gotten a very big run through and for people who are listening, like Matt said, if, if some of this stuff is, seems kind of foreign or you’re not able to follow, follow it all. That’s ok. It’s like a good book or, or like a good anything. Once you get more experience, go back and listen again because as you get more educated and familiar with the space, you’re probably going to better appreciate some of the things that Maggie and Matt have said here that might be flying a little over your head or, or might not seem as relevant right now.

So guys appreciate your time very much. Looking forward to getting into your relationship dynamics. That’s gonna be fun. By the way. Chat GP T has some great resources on how to do this. What was the prompt? I actually just said how to run a commercial painting project. It, it does, it look good. It gave me 12 bullet points that are pretty much all the things we talked about. What? Well, there you go. So you, you, you could re listens to this or you could just go to chat GP T and, and get Matt’s brain download there.

I’m gonna send this to you. It’s funny. Send it. Yeah, we can, we can include it in the episode notes. Yeah. All right guys, we’ll see you for episode four. Thank you. See you.

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

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Keep growing.

Brandon Pierpont

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