Guest Interview: Michael Sutton of Kind Home Painting Company “The Tools to $10 Million” Series: Live Q & A

Published On: June 25, 2023

Categories: Podcast

Guest Interview: Michael Sutton of Kind Home Painting Company “The Tools to $10 Million” Series: Live Q & A
Michael Sutton

Michael Sutton, in collaboration with Painter Marketing Pros and the Painting Contractors Association, went live with Brandon to discuss our 5-episode series “The Tools to $10 Million”. He held a live Q&A and answer any follow-up questions that listeners have from our incredible series!

This LIVE Q&A with Michael is your opportunity to get answers to the burning questions you have from that series. Was there something you wish we had talked more about? Are you wondering how a certain topic or strategy applies to your painting company? Come get your answers!
In “The Tools to $10 Million”, Mike discusses the professional tools he has used to enable his painting company’s growth to $10 million in annual revenue.
Episode 1: The professionals who supported Mike’s growth, and how you can find your own support network
Episode 2: The books that helped power Kind Home Painting
Episode 3: Key employees – who they are, and how to find them
Episode 4: Numbers Mike focuses on to make Kind Home Painting thrive
Episode 5: Real talk – the challenges of entrepreneurship and how to overcome them
Mike is the proud owner of Kind Home Painting, a highly successful painting company based in Denver, Colorado that does approximately $10 million in annual revenue.
If you want to ask Michael 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 facebook.com/groups/ paintermarketingmastermind.  Again that URL is facebook.com/groups/ paintermarketingmastermind.  There you can ask Mike questions directly by tagging him with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company.

Video of Interview

Podcast Audio

Topics Discussed:

Episode 1: The professionals who supported Mike’s growth, and how you can find your own support network
Episode 2: The books that helped power Kind Home Painting
Episode 3: Key employees – who they are, and how to find them
Episode 4: Numbers Mike focuses on to make Kind Home Painting thrive
Episode 5: Real talk – the challenges of entrepreneurship and how to overcome them

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 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.

 

What is going on everyone. Welcome to this live Q and A with Mike Sutton of Kind Home Painting Solutions. Mike and I conducted the tools to $10 million podcast series. It was a five episode series. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you are doing yourself a disservice, go back and listen to it. Mike is one of the most impressive growth stories I have ever encountered in the painting space episode. One, we covered the professionals who supported Mike’s growth and how you can find your own support network.
He had a lot of really interesting insights there. Organizations I had actually not heard of previously. Episode two was the books that helped Power Kind home painting. Uh So great book recommendations. I think he actually gave us a bonus one in there. Uh uh Episode three key employees who they are, how to find them. This really gets into the org structure and what your company needs to look like. Episode four numbers, Mike focuses on to make kind home painting thrive. And then episode five, we got real, the challenges of entrepreneurship.
It is not all rainbows and flowers. It’s actually a pretty tough life uh and how to overcome those challenges, how to maintain positivity when you’re dealing with so many, you know, so many things that we all deal with. So thanks for joining Mike. What’s up, man? Not a lot, Brandon. How are you doing today? Good, man. I’m always pumped to talk with you. Always pumped to talk with you. So thanks for hosting this Q and A I know we, we both have a lot going on. I appreciate you making the time, man.
Oh, my pleasure. I’m excited to be here and uh it’s my first time live on Facebook ever. So, is it, man, you jump in with both feet, man? Yes. So I guess let’s, let’s kind of do a uh a recap as people get in and get settled. Let’s start with, with just sort of what your biggest takeaways are most important points of the series thing that you really think people should be focused on most important takeaways from the series. I would say that everything’s a little bit harder than you expect it to be uh in business.
And, um I think I’ve heard that theme over and over and over. Uh but with the right thing, you want it to be, it takes longer than you think it’s gonna take, right, uh For almost all of the components that I’ve experienced and so many of the people who uh I’ve spoken with, it’s a little bit harder. Uh It takes more work than you anticipate. Um But it’s one of the most rewarding things in the world to be able to support people and uh contribute to the community and, and make a positive impact and um it’s worth every minute of it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
For everyone who’s listening, if you can just uh input hashtag live uh hashtag live. So we know you’re here. That would be um great. So Mike your story, I just kind of want to set the frame here because I think it, it’s pretty remarkable. So I, I wanna kind of set it, let’s talk about your revenue growth. All right. And how long you, you’ve been around and kind of your year, one year, two, year three, you know, up to year five, basically revenue growth. I know it’s just one number.
It doesn’t paint the picture, but I want to set the landscape here. Yeah. Um What do they say? Revenues, revenues, vanity, profit is sanity, profit, insanity. Let’s get vain man. Let’s get super vain. Yeah. Uh you know, rough numbers. Let’s call it two million, four million, six million, eight million, 10 million. Good Lord. 2468 10. That’s a nice growth trajectory, right. Yeah, it’s been uh fun and exciting uh to continue to grow at that pace and um things are moving fast this year. So uh we’re getting close to the five million scheduled in June and our, our busy season is still coming.
So, man, I, I love it. What if you had to kind of boil all this down? And obviously we’ve talked for five plus hours on your journey again. That’s what the series is. But if you had to boil it all down to maybe one or two or, or kind of a handful of points for, for big growth, what would those points be? Start with the end in mind, Stephen Cobby, uh know where you’re going before you get there and uh don’t give up when you miss, I would say many years, four out of our five years, we missed our revenue goals.
Um So 2468, 10 and four out of five years, you missed your revenue goals. Yeah, so you have big goals. I think our first year goal was five. Uh I think, yeah, so year one, we were aiming for five and we ended at two, I think, year or two, we were aiming for six and ended at four. So, yeah, we always, we’re always uh you know, aiming higher and um where that like where you feel the pain from over shooting, uh a revenue number is in your bottom line because oftentimes you incur expenses based on a size that you don’t get to, which means it’s a little bit harder. Sure. Yeah.
So um another takeaway from like that growth uh something that I would anticipate or advise people is uh and I started doing this in year four was the first year that I did it. Uh But we don’t maintain one budget, we maintain three budgets uh on an annual basis, we have a uh best case budget, a most likely budget and a worst case budget that I tried to keep fairly updated and live. Uh And I didn’t learn that I needed a worst case budget until well after I needed a worst case budget and that was in 103.
So you guys actually have, are, are they basically like financial models like a like an up up case, you know, projections and a kind of a down case scenario 100%. Would I mean, do you have to be like a like a financial analyst to create this or, or can people listen and create or what would you recommend? Hire somebody smart? Uh But yeah, you can create it yourself it’s just, it, it’s really difficult. Um, it’s been really difficult for me to manage it and understand. Um, I have done most of them myself, but I was fortunate enough to have a fractional CFO that uh brought us the tools that I needed uh to help manage that.
And it was, uh our models have get gotten more advanced every year, but it comes down to, you know, a couple different numbers, how many leads turn into jobs? Well, how many leads turn into estimates, how many estimates turn into jobs and what’s the average job size of those and then gross margin? Yeah. So basically those four numbers run the entire business and you can use those to project out an annual budget. The reason I bring up a good and the best is you need to give yourself a range of performance and if you set out and you say, ok, all of our leads are gonna perform at this.
Well, what happens if something changes mid-year that you don’t expect like 2020 or, you know, like a global pandemic or a global paint shortage or a global recession? Uh Three things that we’ve encountered over the last three years that you go into the year and you don’t anticipate it. And that’s where our worst cape’s budget has started helping us making sure that we’re performing above a bottom line that you can sustain with. And what happens. Ok, we can’t do any worse than this. Right. Yeah, knowing your numbers.
I know you’re super big on knowing your numbers and you were really dialed in and at your size, right, your revenue, there were things that you were talking about with sundries and, and stuff that people would have thought was somewhat irrelevant, given the small percentage that it was. Uh, but then when you actually did the math, you know, depending on your scale, that stuff adds up to real money. Um These little inefficiencies which almost every company has. But one thing I wanna dive into pretty quickly is key employees.
So as you’re looking to grow your business, you know, we have a lot of people here who, who are proactive learners, you know, they’re coming on a Friday afternoon, uh heading into the weekend to learn how they can see growth maybe somewhat similar to yours. Who should they be looking to hire operationally as they’re trying to achieve this growth. I would look at your own blind spots and your own weaknesses and hire according to what you need. Um I don’t know if this came up with a conversation with you or with someone else recently, but I think it was our conversation from the podcast where um if you’re not a sales guy, but you are a great painter and you run a great painting company and you love what you do and you want to grow it, but you’re not the best salesperson.
Hire a better salesperson than yourself higher up from you. So, I, I would look at each person’s, you know, where is your passion? Where do you find fulfillment and higher towards that, or? I guess higher from the, yeah, higher away from that? Yeah. Yeah. Would you, would you prioritize what you’re actually good at? I mean, usually they’re the same but they’re not always the same. Would you prioritize you do what you’re good at or you do what you want to do if you had to choose between those two.
Hm. I think that again, end in mind if it’s something you wanna do for a long time, do what you love if you wanted to grow, do what you’re good at. Yeah. All right. So you go ahead, Mike. Oh, I’m listening to a book right now. It’s called No BS. Uh, let me give you the exact title. Uh, no BS Small Business Book. No BS Small Business Book. Yeah. And it has just been a joy sometimes you, uh, sometimes you, you, sometimes you turn on those books and every sentence seems like it resonates with you.
It’s short, uh, it’s only a three or four hour book. So couple drives to a job site and you’d have it checked off. But it, uh, the first half of it, which is about where I’m through is really talking about identifying what’s your own reason for being in business. Why are you doing what you’re doing? And defining that has helped me, uh reach certain points. And, um, sorry, uh, somebody just came to the door. Um, so it’s like I know what you’re doing and if your goal is to run a lifestyle business and you wanna to have free time, build a business that allows you to run a free time.
And if you’re trying to build a business that takes all your time, it’s not gonna work. Yeah. All right, Mike, we’re gonna get down to brass tacks here. So, painter, marketing pros, uh the painter, marketing Mastermind podcast. I believe that the reason that this podcast is so popular, the reason that it’s so well received and seems to have helped a lot of people is because I really, really try to uh narrow down to where the rubber meets the road. And I got to that from listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot of books throughout my life.
And finding that at times I would get frustrated because I wouldn’t feel that I necessarily knew how to take what I just learned what I just listened to or read and how to actually apply to my life. Right? So I’d be, I’d be kind of hearing these things and like, OK, I maybe I’m inspired, but I wouldn’t always see uh direct benefit through my actions or, or through really what was happening in my life. So I now want to, to push you a little bit here to get ultra specific specific because if I were listening to this and I was saying, ok, start with the end of my, well, my end in mind, right, for a lot of painting company owners is I wanna have financial freedom.
I want to build a legacy. I wanna be able to pass it off to my kids. I I wanna work for myself, but I don’t want to work to the bone, you know, I wanna have a company that supports me and my lifestyle and essentially I can be free. That’s what I want. What ends up happening as we all know is oftentimes the opposite of that, right? You end up taking on a bunch of stress, you end up making less money than if you had just decided to be a W-2 employee.
Uh It, it’s exactly the opposite sometimes of what you really started. So when you say you started with the end in mind and then we throw out these just astronomical numbers that you were able to hit year after year after year, I wanna know, what was your end in mind? And how can other people who are listening? Who, who maybe they, that end of mind resonates with them? Where, where do you think maybe the disconnect is between where they are at and where you were at? I’m pushing it because I love you, Mike, I’m pushing it because I love you.
We’re gonna, we’re gonna get some answers. I I doubt there’s as much difference between where they’re at, versus where I’m at or I imagine we’re far closer despite the size of the business of where we’re at. Um, it doesn’t matter if you’re running a, a $10 million company or $100,000 a year company, it’s probably closer than you would expect the stresses or the pressure that one person feels on either side is the same. Um, I would ask somebody, uh, something that I’ve noticed in the past is everyone thinks that, hey, I want to get the job that my manager has because my manager’s got an easier job.
If only I had my boss’s job, my life would be easier. The boss makes all the money, man. He just, you know, he just sits back and relaxes and uh I think what people tend to find is that uh stress is uh personal. So if you’re running a job site and you’ve got a couple of painters and you’re stressed on each one of those job sites. Well, when you run a couple different job sites with a couple of different formats, you’ll feel a similar degree of stress.
Uh that stuff comes with you. Um I’ve seen it from employees that, you know, go from doing one job to another job and ironically the same stress that they experienced in the other follows them because I think it’s as much of a mindset it is as it is the things around you. Um For me personally, uh a lot of what my Y has to do is uh centering around creating opportunities and creating community for people around me. It’s about providing stability in the lives of others. And it’s a, a grounding force that I’ve always been drawn to and I, I wanna continue to be able to provide for people is uh stability and community and the opportunity for growth.
Um And that’s in the core of my Why. Um Simons has a book called Find Your Why. And in that book, he outlines a process that people can use to identify what motivates them and and why they do what they do and why they’re in business. And um it says go on a retreat, turn off everything from the world only focus on yourself. Look at every life event from the history of your beginning and think of all the most vivid memories and, and bring somebody to help you record those and then look for the common thread that exists between them and I did it.
And the takeaway was that I love building groups of people and I love that stability that I can give to others. And if it takes sacrifice on my end to be able to provide it for others, I’m happy to do it. Um I would say the flash forward 10 years, 20 years, why am I doing this? I hope to be able to give stability to my kids and my grandkids. So, do you think that sense of community of you wanting to be able to better the lives of the lives of other people allow them to have the stability that they crave in their lives?
Do you think that has been a driving force in your success? Is that why you’re at 10 million now? It’s a big part of it. Uh I owe a lot of where we’re at right now. It’s the people on the team and the people who have trusted to put their lives. And you know, this is an interesting thing that employer uh I don’t think employees think about, but from my end, I’m humbled that somebody is going to say I’m gonna join this company because I believe working for this company will make me financially stable, will help me in the future and I can live a good life while working for them.
There’s a lot of trust that you put in your employer for sure, even if it’s mcdonald’s or another small business or a corporation, you trust that they’re not gonna fire you tomorrow or they’re not gonna furlough or not gonna go out of business. Um You’re not gonna go into work and be laid off like countless people did at Twitter or other places in the last year. And um yeah, I would say people have craved that stability in our organization and uh focusing on that work life balance for our employees has been beneficial.
It’s amazing. So that, yeah, that’s a bit of a, a secret sauce there. You know, I think sometimes it’s, sometimes you can look at something you can’t really tell the difference. But right there, if you’re conveying this sense of trust, the sense of belonging, the sense of people feeling. Ok. Well, that’s gonna increase their loyalty. They’re gonna be motivated, they’re gonna come in and, and not just do well because oh Mike’s coming by, pretend like you’re working, you don’t wanna get fired. It’s gonna be the complete opposite of that.
Obviously, that’s super toxic. It’s gonna be man. Like I love this place. You know, it’s given me what I need. I feel great here. It’s supporting me and they’re actually gonna want to contribute and help you build it. When you have an army, helping you build, it becomes a whole lot easier than when you’re just the one building it. Oh my gosh. Yes. So there, there is a um comment here from the PC A. So I Copro produce these podcasts with the PC A, these live Q and A s this Facebook group is in tandem with the PC A. Um They have a really, really awesome event coming up contractor reboot conference.
So if you haven’t checked that out, check it out, you can go to W W W dot PC A paint ed dot org, forward slash event forward slash contractor, dash Reboot dash conference. Uh I’m not gonna repeat that whole URL. Just go to the PC A website and find contractor Reboot conference. Ok. Yeah. So we, uh, we do have a question here. How do you weed out C and D clients out of lead gen sites like Angie and Facebook ads? Yeah. Um, how do you weed out C and D clients, man?
Uh, we talk about A B clients and CD clients on a fairly frequent basis. Uh We probably don’t have the best checklist for it. And um there’s times in uh people’s businesses where you can be more selective with the clients. Uh And there’s times where you need more, you have money, we’ll do it that there’s probably a moment where people feel that way and I would be lying if I said we wouldn’t take every job at certain times. Um However, things that can go into it, uh Clients that uh don’t respect a system or a process and they want something to be done a different way than what you typically do it, that’s a, tends to be a CD client, clients who ask for a discount and then ask for another discount and then ask for another discount.
Is it, it’s a day that ends in day. Can I get another 103% off? Uh I would call them chiselers. Uh They chisel at the price and they try to find every opportunity to cut it down. Those clients tend to make larger issues on the back end. Um So it’s i identifying a handful of red flags that come up throughout the process. Um Many of them you don’t see until you’re in front of, but at the same time, you can start to catch some of those on the front end.
Uh When qualifying appointments, we’ve found asking about budget is really helpful and when somebody calls and asks for an estimate, we’re happy to provide them an estimate. One thing we do tend to ask is do you have a budget in mind for the project so that I can make a note for your estimator if they say no, we tend to ask again of, you know, we just wanna make sure that, you know, we can come in within uh a number that seems fair to you and we don’t wanna waste your time if it’s not a good fit.
And oftentimes at that point, you ask again, just like any sales pitch and you’ll get a number and when those numbers are alarmingly low or it’s not uncommon for us to say, uh I don’t think we’ll be able to meet that budget and I don’t think it’ll be the best fit. You have people ever push back on you. Obviously, the natural fear or reaction of some people would be, oh, I don’t want to give him a real number because maybe he would have given me a better price, but he’s just trying to figure out how much he can charge me?
Of course, how do you handle that? Uh So a client’s not gonna outwardly say that very often. Sure. And sometimes if they do, we say, hey, it’s no problem, we’ll come and give you an estimate and we can go from there. Uh But that asking of it, it’s about finding just the couple that you can weed out ahead of time before you get in front of them. I would say the majority of the weeding out that we do happens once the numbers have been presented and we’re into that conversation about the work with the client.
Um I had somebody recently share some things that their company uses and like if, if they wanted to go, if they change the timeline more than one time, the client reschedules, they say, ah, we’re not a good fit. They ask for discounts, not a good fit if they want you to use a different product other than what you use, they say not a good fit. Um On our end where we run into most the most trouble is clients asking us to do things that we don’t do.
Like we don’t do three part log cabin staining. We don’t work with specialty three part stains. That’s not something that we do. And the few times that we have, it’s turned out poorly, we don’t use wood brightener before staining and we don’t do stripping before we staying and it’s better for us to say it upfront, know what we can and can’t do and then when clients push you to do it, uh tends to be a pretty large indication that it’s not the right fit. So Jesse says, hi, friends, what’s up, Jessie?
And he asks why, I’m not sure if it’s why you don’t do those things. Um But the question Michael is why I don’t have to know what the question is. It’s your question. Bye. Uh Why maybe Jess you can help us uh clarify a little bit. Um uh Heidi is looking forward to seeing you at PC A expo. So Mike has never come to PC A expo, but I am on the education committee for the PC A and we’re planning presenters and I have so lovingly convinced Mike to come and present so that should be occurring.
I hope fingers crossed. It’s in the works uh for this upcoming Expo 2024. Uh Jesse says, why not charge for that service? I guess. Why not? Why not do it? Yeah, why not? Um often? OK. So if you’re gonna learn, learn a specialty product or a new service that you currently don’t work with? How much time and energy does it take to learn the service? How many times do you have to practice it? What, how many times do you have to get it wrong to get it? Right. Is the client willing to pay for our learning curve on a specialty stain.
Um Not to mention we do quite a bit of work. Um If it were myself on my own and I were painting all of the projects, I might be more inclined to take on something and learn it and, and learn a new skill. But when I’m running the company and I’m giving that project to a, a different painter and I work with lots of painters. Uh I’m making a choice for that person that that person is gonna learn a skill or a new service. And I’m making the decision that they’re gonna learn it on this client’s house.
And I found that that doesn’t tend to work well. Um I’ll share an experience from this week. Um We don’t typically install garage doors, garage access doors like a pre hung door that you buy at Home Depot to have it installed. We don’t typically do that. We do have a program called Painter for a day and we send out one of our W-2 employees to do a job. Well, I had a client who wanted us to install a door and paint it and do it within our painter for a day program.
She said she got a quote from Home Depot to install the door for $1200. And she asked if we could do it for less. My client account manager, uh asked me if we can do it. And historically, we’ve done them a few times charged somewhere between six and 800 bucks. I said, hey, we’ll do it for $600. What happens? We get to install the door and her door is she bought a 30 inch door and she had a 36 inch opening. I paid our, uh, carpenter to go out and install it.
He gets there. He uninstalls the door, puts the new one in the hole doesn’t fit. We told the client, hey, we, we can’t do this. Uh, you bought the wrong size store. She goes and she buys the right size store. She’s like, now that I, I bought a different door and the different size. Will you, will you install it now? All right. I send them back out there. What happens? The door jam of this is 2.5 inches larger than the other door. So it doesn’t fit. All right, we get a third.
Do we install this one? This is a, an extremely profitable project for you at this point. It’s a $1200 job that we have now sent somebody out onto three times. I’ve spent 1003 hours of my time talking about it. Uh, spent hours of my carpenters time and my painters out there today painting this door and we’ve got gaps between the aluminum siding and the door that are about an inch, inch and a half deep that we have to now fill. Why did that happen? Because we did something that we don’t do every day.
We’re not a door installing company. What was that client looking for? They looked for us to beat a price. They got a quote for 1200. They wanted us to do it for less. I said, sure. Mistake one. I beat another person’s price. Mistake two. Uh, I did something that we don’t typically do. Mistake three. I gave the client two options. Hire Home Depot. I charge you nothing or give me another shot and we’ll try again. And I should have walked away from it on step three. But I didn’t.
Now, I will have spent something like $1200 to produce a $1200 job. Excellent work. Um, we did something that we don’t typically do. That’s why we try to stay within our wheelhouse and identify clearly what we’re good at and what we do, uh, every day and, and cater to that. Yeah. And I, I think there’s kind of value in seeing that you just made that mistake too because it, it would be natural for people to look at you and be like, oh, you’re running a $10 million painting company. My goodness, Mike’s got it all figured out.
You know, this guy is like, I don’t know how he’s figured it out, but he’s just, you know, smarter than now. Right. But yet that story is kind of silly some of the decisions that you made. So everybody’s human and, and you’re just always gonna make mistakes and you just always have to be trying to learn from those mistakes and also humble enough to just recognize it and, and you came out here and just publicly admitted it. Hey, I, I made a bad call this week. I was on the phone with my painter who was there trying to figure out how to co these gaps not two hours ago.
Yeah, I know what we find out. You were saying. It’s one of those days, I guess it was the doors helping your day. Um Yeah, that’s a fun one. Lena says, uh excellent point on taking on projects. You’re not equipped or fully knowledgeable on yikes time and money loss for contractors. So yeah, it’s the same thing guys as, as if you’re running a painting business, not running, running a construction company. You know, you’re probably not gonna go and do the wiring or, or go and do the plumbing because you’ve, you’ve niche down into painting or within painting, you’ve maybe nitch down and do a certain thing.
There’s more than enough market share, almost certainly unless you’re maybe in Antarctica or something for the service that you provide for you to build a really solid, large, sustainable business going wide, going overly wide, trying to add new services, what we call it, chasing the shiny object in marketing. You wanna go chase it. All those tiktok ads. Tiktok ads aren’t the best for painters. I chased it for a second. Realized, what the heck am I doing? You know, it doesn’t really work that well. So you don’t want to chase a shiny object.
You wanna get world class at what you do? Yeah. So you found tiktok ads weren’t the greatest from what you’ve run? Yeah, they, the target avatar, you know, tends to be just a little bit younger on those ads who you end up attracting and the wealth, uh, doesn’t really reside with those people. So you wanna go where the money is and the money is not always there. So that’s what we found. It can work fine. Uh It’s just not, not the most profitable. Uh Jess, he says, do you categorize your subs slash painters with their skill set, for example, with your high quality consumers and high expectations by sending a great painter.
That’s an interesting question. Absolutely. Uh I wouldn’t say there’s a, a formal division of uh skill set uh that we have and uh we tend to be pretty flexible. Uh One of our core values is nimble. Um That being said, um here, we’ll talk about a polar opposite project that’s going on right now. Uh We are working on 100 and $20,000 exterior and there was only one team that I, I worked for us that I was gonna put on that project. Um And we started it yesterday and we’re making phenomenal progress on it.
Uh On that job, there are a ton of windows frames that we’re painting. And when I say a ton there’s well over 2000 windows. Wow. Uh, that need to be masked and taped and, and papered. There’s one very specific person for that on the interiors. Uh, I have three of our five teams that can remove popcorn. Well, I’m not gonna send out somebody who’s never done a popcorn job to do a full home popcorn re removal, skim coat texture. Uh We have certain interior teams that don’t remove wallpaper.
Well, not sure why, but they do struggle with it a little bit. So it’s making sure that you do understand your subs, you know where their skill sets are and you are catering their clients to them. And we do that when we’re doing our scheduling and we’re putting together uh our weekly schedules making sure that we’ve got the right people on the right jobs and reviewing the notes before we assign them. So, yes. So someone uh put in a quote that I think is really, really cool.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,53 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. So that’s pretty cool about specialization. Yeah, kick’s gonna be nasty man when it comes. So a picture Kung Fu Panda. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, man. That’s a great movie. Um All right. Could you describe your material based pricing structure? Yeah. Material based um sweet. So uh pretty much. The majority of all of our pricing begins with measurements and we translate measurements into gallons and we use gallons to calculate our, our pricing.
Uh We do it on interiors the same way we do it on exteriors. The same way you’re measuring square footage of society and square footage of linear footage of trim and accent colors. Um Our system may be a little bit more complex than it needs to be, but we account for, you know, how much paint do you use on a garage door? Is it a single car, garage door, a double car, garage door, a triple car or you know, like two double garage doors? Um So it’s a and it changes based off of every substrate that we paint.
So we have a different divider, uh divider would be the uh amount of square feet per gallon. I believe that you’ll get coverage on. So, Stucco is different than sheet sighting, which is different than lap sighting, which is different than board and bat and we’ve just refined those over the last five years too. Try to get our estimation as dialed in as possible. Um When we do a quote, our goal is not to always have the materials be 100% spot on, but to have that be a very good indication of the material budget that we need.
Uh I found that two different painters painting the same house may use a slightly different amount of material, even if it’s the same colors. Um And that comes down to technique and sprain. So there’s some variation in there. Um And we tend to uh do square footage dividers like 250 square feet per gallon is a pretty good ballpark for coverage that I think any painter could use. Um Sherwin Williams tends to put their products on the higher end. They say that they get something like 300 to 400 square feet per gallon on a lot of products.
Uh, we have found that that’s not quite the case. So someone asked, when in your schedule, do you plan to read? Do you plan time to read now? Yeah. So, um, what I do is I, I block off times, uh, that are called creative hours. They’re hours of work that I have without an agenda for the time frame. Uh, it’s time for me to absorb and to think, um, and to address whatever goes into it. Um, for me personally, those tend to be evenings. So, uh, I would listen to your body into your mind and listen to what, where are you your sharpest?
Where are you your strongest and the most engaged? And that’s where I try to put my creative hours, uh, reading specifically for as much as I say, I read all these books. Um, I haven’t read a book in quite a while. Um, cover to cover. I find myself listening to books I listen while I’m driving. Uh, I listen, while I’m exercising. I listen while I’m walking. Uh, like walking the dog. I’ll, uh, listen while hiking. Pretty much any passive activity. I will have some kind of book and input going in.
Um So blocking off one on one time to just read has been a challenge for me for a while since I started the business. But I tried to find every time where I can use that mental capacity to do two things at once. Yeah. Yeah. You utilizing your time, you have a, a strong desire to con consistently learn, continue to learn and better yourself. And that’s often, you know, those are common traits with highly successful entrepreneurs, business owners. Someone asked a very interesting question. If you had the opportunity to start your painting business from scratch again, what would you do differently?
Knowing what you know now about growing a mid-sized company? That is a very interesting question. What would we do differently? Hm. Yeah. And um everything he wants to say very little. But at the same time, I wish in 2020 when we furloughed our door to door team that we wouldn’t have done that at the point. Um I wish going back, I would have thought a little bit more about our systems. Uh On the technology side, a little bit more upfront and I would have invested into more of those systems being where they are today.
Um So we have quite a few automation that we’ve built within the business. Uh You know, I think uh for anyone listening, Tanner has already like done a lot of those on drift jobs. Uh He made it easy for you. So I would have found a system uh upfront that would streamline the process that I have invested in building myself. So potentially it started with drip jobs, don’t know the size of the business. Uh It’s not necessarily a great fit for us uh right now. But yeah, yeah, focused on that technology platform though, more so than we did.
It’s a great point. You know, when you’re starting out as a business owner, when you’re starting a company, you, you’re a hustler essentially in the beginning of Jack of all trades, you kind of put on different hats and do everything you need to do and the quicker you can leverage the because the automation, the technology that this stuff is here to change your life, but the, the drawback um is a lot of people just aren’t that familiar with it, you know, they don’t fully understand it. It’s just kind of black box, it’s, it’s this mystery and that’s, that’s honestly a blessing of these, the podcasts and all the, all the free learning that people get now uh is huge.
It, it’s, if you’re doing something, it seems super, super labor intensive except maybe for painting, you know, all the, all the attempts at automating that yet, haven’t seemed to fully pan out. I still think Amazon drones are gonna be coming in here and this is, like, kind of off into the future. But except for that, if you’re finding it super labor intensive, you’re probably not doing it the best way that you could be doing it right now. Yeah, we, uh, it was a common thing in, uh, our first two seasons to find a workaround when something wasn’t going the way that it was supposed to.
Um, when I say find a workaround, uh, my wife was incredible at it. Well, this isn’t working so this doesn’t work. So I do it this way and those things started to, like, show up years down the road and that’s how you wanna scale all these little band aids and, and hacks. That’s how you scale business and then you learn how people were doing them and you’re like, wait, why, uh, I’ll fix that and you take the 15, 20 minutes, take the hours, take the time to fix it up front when you identify a problem and get it right from the beginning.
Um, versus living with this, uh, a circumstance. And, uh, one of the things I’ve been teaching my team now, uh, we had, um, goal sheets for every sales person, goal sheets for every person in the company and every January I would remake them and I would start over and I’d build them a little bit better. Than I built them the year before. Well, we don’t do that anymore because I said build it scalable and build it repeatable. I want it right the first time where I built it wrong year after year after year.
So I built it right the first time. Go for scale. So Heidi Heidi had a nice comment here for you. Mike said, wanna say that I appreciate your vulnerability and transparency throughout the series. Also the mindset of being thankful for your trials and never giving up, always seeing a problem in finding a solution. So he very appreciate of your mind. They’re very kind Heidi. Uh And thank you for listening to it. I hope there is value uh in the podcast and the series for, for people. Um I’ve heard some feedback of uh people getting benefit and that’s all I, I hope to do so.
All right, man. Uh someone asked what motivated you to start giving for the Kine Homes initiative. Um I don’t know, it was a commitment from day one that we would give 203% of our profits uh back to the community. Uh You know, maybe it had to do with a degree of how I was raised or um my grandfather was, was a pastor and he would tithe uh our money doesn’t go to a church. Um But there’s something in my core that I believe that if uh you put somebody else’s well-being in your intention that the universe rewards it.
And, uh, gets back, I tend to believe that the more you give, the more you get so selfishly, I believe, uh, make sure that you’re consistently handing or supporting other people. Um, so it was just a commitment from day one and, uh, now we’re kind of wrestling with a, a new challenge around that. And, um, I just finished listening to a book by, uh, the gentleman who founded and built, uh, Patagonia. And, uh, he has an absolutely incredible story. The book is called, uh, Let My People Surf.
And it was in 1996 Patagonia, uh, made a commitment and previously, they had a commitment to give 10% of their profits back to supporting and sustaining, uh, natural spaces around the world. Well, what he found was that what happens when you don’t make money, you don’t have to talk, there’s no 10% to give and that there’s many businesses, uh, that are great businesses, places like Starbucks that have made a commitment to give 10% of their profits away. But through tricky financial, uh, systems limit their profits so that they don’t end up actually making an impact.
And, uh, Patagonia in 1996 switched from giving 10% of the profits away to giving 1% of their top line revenue away. And, um, we’re square in the middle of that debate internally within our organization, if that’s the direction we’re going to go, um, that way if you have a bad year, your impact doesn’t go away. So, and that’s cool. A real bus or a real business, uh, pretty big business decision for you real time. And it’s a tough one, uh, to make and the risk is high. You know, if you lose 2% on 10 million and you give away 53%.
Well, those are big numbers, um, and they can become pretty painful but recognizing that the commitment is larger than, it’s kind of the most important part of, I think why people should be in business is what are you doing with it? And why are you doing it there? It’s only, it’s only 100 grand. Don’t worry about it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we’ll get there. Right. Uh, Mark said, can you share your team’s experience with, uh, door to door? I was wondering what D D to d was door to door, way back when you were first starting out.
How did they do? How many leads per session, per person? What time? And when was it done? Yeah. So I could, uh, we could talk about 2018 and 2019, uh, in the door to Door team then, uh, probably better to talk about it now. Um, so currently we do have, uh, full time door knockers on staff. They’re actually on salary. Uh, and, uh, we give them flexible hours. Uh, we encourage people to be out between, uh, basically, like one PM and eight PM. Uh but we give people flexibility.
So if they want to knock in the morning, they can uh we do strongly encourage people to go out on Saturday because people tend to be home. Uh We are currently have a minimum requirement of 250 estimates a week per knocker. Uh We have incentives that go up to 210 estimates a week per door knocker. And uh we have people pretty consistently coming in between 210 and 2100 uh estimates run per week on the high end of a, a top performer on the low end 25 to 220, depending upon the quality of the conversation and the drive with it.
And our guys tend to touch 93 to 29 and 25 doors a day, sometimes a little bit more. How do you compensate them? Uh, they’re on salary and then we have it’s salary and then the, the commission is essentially, is it a major component of what they’re hoping to make? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Uh, probably about 29% earning potential on top of their uh base pay based off of bonuses. So, and those are uh paid strictly off appointments run. Have you noticed the difference in close rate between door to door and other channels?
Identical? Interesting. So maybe a hair lower then, you know, ok, repeat this. Uh, they are lower than referrals. They are lower than repeat clients. They are lower than a lawn sign. They are the same as a home advisor higher than an Angie’s list, higher than a Yelp. And we still advertise in each one of the places there. So, um, managing humans is more difficult than managing, uh, ads. It’s way easier to turn a budget up on home advisor than it is to onboard three door to door people.
Um, it takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of love and effort to keep somebody engaged, knocking doors. Um, it can be a difficult job. It’s a tough job. Yeah. No, no, no, no. It can be a tough job. I don’t wanna say, it depends on what doors you’re knocking on and I guess what your mindset is there. You had it on the second one. Um, it depends on who you are and if you enjoy it, some people love it, you’re outside, you’re in the sunshine all day, you’re on your feet.
You’re having great conversations with people. It’s enjoyable for a lot of people and there’s people who have done it for 30 years, professional door knockers and they’ve gone from company to company doing door to door sales. Uh, the beautiful thing about painting is that, you know, 100% of the doors that you knock need a paint job. Yeah, you’re not knocking on that door to ask for a political contribution and you have no idea what side of the fence that person might be on uh you know, exactly that they are going to paint their house at some time, probably in the very near future.
So it’s a great point. Heidi said, uh there was tons of value, especially when you showed the real problems that occur as business owners, uh, the times when you doubt yourself and how you overcame that. Yeah, if you guys haven’t listened to episode five, uh got real, it got real real. Uh, She said al also the tidbit about the American Express card was helpful. Um John asks, what’s your 10 year target right now? I um I share a 10 year goal. Uh and I will uh share the same one that I share uh when I do any interviewing, uh we have a 10 year goal that we set uh three years ago and that’s to give back a million dollars in economic resources to developing and supporting kind homes in Colorado.
A kind home is a safe well maintained place to raise a family. It’s a home that is violence and abuse free. A home that is an addiction free and it’s safe for kids uh to raise a family. And our goal is to give back uh over a million dollars in economic support to nonprofits that are supporting kind homes. So we work with uh places like Habitat for Humanity, a Precious Child Hope House, uh and a handful of other nonprofits that we support financially and we volunteer with our dream is to be able to see that impact grow and continue to uh touch um more lives and to support people who have dedicated their lives to helping others.
Um So that’s our 10 year goal. That’s officially our 53 year goal that is written on our BT O and um it used to be a big revenue number, but uh we recognize what’s the point of a big revenue number. No one’s gonna get excited about uh a big number when I’m hiring somebody. And I tell them, hey, we have a 10 year goal and our 10 year vision is to be a, a billion dollar company or a, you know, more realistically a $50 million company. What’s that mean to that person?
It means absolutely nothing. But what’s the impact of being a $50 million company is that we’ll have a half a million dollars a year to get back to support kind homes and supporting people in need uh and improving our community. So that’s our 10 year goal is to give back a million dollars. I think that’s a great tie in to, to going back to the team members and everyone proactively wanting to grow that company. It’s not just, hey, I work here because they give me money. You have people bought into a vision.
Those people are gonna be exponentially, more productive, positive, uh more excellent team members the same person than if they were just exchanging time for money. That doesn’t motivate anybody. None. And that’s why we changed our 10 year goal. I love that man. Someone says commercial jobs uh is where we get more leads and residential or other but to wait on money, uh is too long for a small company. What should I do here? Yeah. Uh phenomenal question. Um I will share my own personal experience. We don’t do commercial unless it’s a cash on, you know, payment upon completion, uh, immediate, we don’t do it.
Um, and we won’t do a commercial job unless it looks like a house. Our, our guys have a very specific skill set. I mean, we’ve built our systems around, uh, customer service. We’ve built it around high end products. We’ve built it around, uh, the client experience and general contractors. They don’t value it the same way. Often time business owners don’t value it the same way. Uh, this week we had to walk away from a very large multi unit, uh, steel structure, easy, easy building to paint. It just doesn’t fit within what we’ve decided to be our niche.
Um, so what I would recommend is identify your niche, find what you’re gonna do and go all in on that. You’re only getting more leads on the commercial side because you haven’t said you don’t want them. Interesting. Yeah, the, uh, sometimes the, the list of no, the things you’re gonna say no to is actually more important than the list of yes, like the things you 100% that focus that comes directly from traction, identify your niche, identify what you do well and do that. John has a follow-up comment slash question here.
I really appreciate you both. Thanks for answering all my questions. Fire, you’re you’re it’s a super fun to have you here, John final question. What are some boundaries you keep in place? This is a good question. I want to hear your answer to this question, Mike, especially with what you have coming up. This is gonna be more difficult for you. What are some boundaries you keep in place for your time and your business and your family. I have no boundaries at the current moment. Apparently you’re gonna learn some currently.
I have no boundaries. Uh you know, just normal day, Monday, I left the office about oh eight o’clock, eight PM. I got home, hung out with uh Whitney, my wife for an hour or two hours and sat back down and I turned the computer off at 5 20 AM as in the office at eight. Uh There are no boundaries that I have personally set at this current moment. Um I have been fully invested in making this thing happen and I would do it at whatever cost it took. Um So my goal has been to get things to a very specific point to where I could turn my focus to a family and uh hopefully we’re going to start setting some boundaries in October and right now it’s kind of all hands on deck.
Um That is New Fatherhood. What was that? Brandon pre preparing for the hail storm? That is New Fatherhood. Sleep. Sleep is gone. Yeah. Yeah. Um I struggle, I struggle with the concepts of boundaries and entrepreneurship. Uh especially if you’re serious about growing a business because some of those things, you just can’t put off some of them, they just can’t wait and they have to get done. And I would love to put it into effect that, hey, at six PM, I’m done and I don’t turn it back on now if there’s a family and there’s a balance that need, that, that needs to be in place.
And let’s say you do have a wife and kids and a family that needs love and support and they need you from 5 to 9. I would make it so that I was present every day from 5 to 9. But after nine, I might have to turn it back on and do the work that I didn’t get to. Um People talk about work life balance. About seven years ago. Somebody introduced a term work-life integration. How does this thing become a part of you? And how can you do it uh and maintain the people that need you.
Um So I’d say it’s various uh person to person and place to place. Um But if you’re not prepared to do more than you think uh don’t start a business. Not, not for the faint of heart. All right. So we’re wrapping this up. Um Are they implementing a home energy rating system for your building? If so what are you doing to adjust the building costs? I have no idea what that means. Uh I’m gonna say no, we are not Mike. I didn’t know, I just read we are not implementing the home energy service rating currently, so don’t paint your house black. Yeah.
Yeah, that would be a bad idea. Ok. Um Mike, I think we’re, we’re coming up on the top of the hour here, man. Really appreciate. Is there anything else we’re wrapping up? Your series was incredible, brother. I am gonna, I’m gonna strong arm you. I’m gonna come kidnap you somehow. We’re gonna get you to the expo and talk in there. Is there anything you wanna add before we wrap this thing up? Uh Just thank you to you, Brandon. Uh Thank you for your support. You have been uh incredible uh peer and friend and uh in a way uh very much a mentor over the last year and uh it’s been a pleasure working with you and uh I’m excited to uh continue to see that relationship grow.
So, thank you, Brandon. I appreciate that Mike and thank you to you. Thank you to everyone for tuning in. It was an excellent series and uh yeah, love it. Thank you brother. Awesome. Have a great day.

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 paintermarketingpros.com/podcast.

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

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Brandon Pierpont

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