Guest Interview: Ray Rahni of Paint Track Painting Services
Ray Rahni, founder and owner of Paint Track Painting Services, shares how he has grown his business to doing over $1 million, but why revenue isn't his focus. He talks about the importance of prioritizing profit, and how he motivates his painters to ensure high profitability within his company. Ray also discusses some hard lessons he's learned, and demonstrates how to pivot successfully as an entrepreneur.
Video of Interview
- Focus on profit, not your top-line revenue
- How to hire good painters, and incentivize them to make you money
- A massive change happening in the painting industry, and why it's a good thing
- Why pre-qualifying your customers with an estimating fee can be incredibly valuable
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 in annual revenue. I'm your host. Brandon Pierpont, founder of Painter Marketing Pros and creator of the popular pc, a educational series, learn do grow marketing for painters. In each episode, I'll be sharing proven tips, strategies and processes from leading experts in the industry on how they found success in their painting business. We will be interviewing owners of the most successful painting companies in north America and learning from their experiences on this episode of the Painter marketing Mastermind podcast, we host guests. Ray Ronnie Ray is the founder and owner of paint track painting services, a residential painting company based in Westchester county new york that currently does over $1. 1 million dollars in annual revenue. Ray has made big improvements to his company in recent years that have resulted in a much more efficient business model and he shares how other painting company owners can improve their own profitability. He discusses some major shifts happening in the painting industry today and why entrepreneurial business owners should be excited about them. Ray also discusses what he charges for his estimates and how that has been instrumental in his company's success. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that you are l. Is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast. Ray, thank you for coming on the painter marketing master my podcast. Thanks for having me. Brandon. Absolutely. So talk to us a little bit about paint track painting services. So um I started paint track painting services in 2004 after I had worked in a um I. T. Field for a few years out of college and After September 11 like January 2002 I had lost my job and I was trying to land another programming job which it was very hard to get that time. So I started calling some of my old customers that I had worked for during the college years and one thing led to another and I got really busy in that summer and hired a couple of helpers and I was working in the field and we started with some major new constructions at the time. Like I'm talking about 10 12,000 square foot new constructions and that's how I started my painting business basically. Wow. So are you guys, what kind of work do you do now, are you residential, commercial, new construction repaint? What do you guys focus on? We are focusing pretty much like 99% residential repaint. I mean we do very little commercial and and new construction, Awesome. What's your employee model? You guys subcontractor? W two. So it's W2, it's been all W2 up until last year for the first time last year we started working with two small subcontractors and we're kind of like um going after that a little bit this year, I'm going after it a little more than last year and we're hoping to do some more subcontracting. Excellent. And what is your projected revenue if you don't mind sharing this year? 2022? About 1.1. 1.1. Nice. Um Alright, excellent. So you and I were chatting a little bit rate before we started recording here about topics that you felt were important, you know, you've listened a few of the episodes and asked what you wanted to convey and you really wanted to focus on profitability. Can we, can we dive into that. So um there are some industry benchmarks as far as how much a painter in the field should produce per year. There are numbers from 100,000, 150,000. Sometimes I would think that I would want Production on the upper end of that spectrum, like sometimes somewhere around 130 250,000 would be really a sweet spot and a very profitable operation. Um We have, as I said, we have always had doubled between employees and if you have some sort of a profit sharing system in place where all your employees are buying into it, you could really produce that kind of, that kind of numbers. So um one thing that we need to focus on is to provide a great service and also be profitable and make money at the end. I mean after all that's all that's what we're in business for. We can really get so obsessed with that big number. The big revenue number, whether it's five million or two million. I mean obviously if I'm going to do five million in revenue and make the same same profit as I can make in with two million, I would rather have less headache and The two million and make the same profit. So that's where my focus is. I mean it's great to have a big operation and be able to service everyone who calls, but it's also good to be selective and have less headache. I love that. So you're, you're focused on running a tight ship really tight ship. Yeah. Yeah. Is when you do residential repaint, is there a specific demographic you're targeting? So our clientele are, you know, they own an average home between 700 to a million and a half in this area. Um they're really like people who care for getting a good service and a good experience. Um They want to trust people that they work with. Um and they don't, they need some hand holding but it's usually um they're willing to pay the top price for that experience. Sure. So okay this is good. You're giving me a lot to work with here. Right? So you you focus on on the profitability. I want to take a step back. There are a couple of things you've talked about that I want to dive into. Um let's kind of go sequentially here. You set a profit sharing program, get your employees bought in, can you speak to that? So we have a profit sharing plan in place where we basically estimate all our projects like everybody does based on its set number of hours and if we can, if the crew can finish these projects within that set number of hours or bring it on there without cutting any corners. The left over time would go back to the crew as bonuses at the end of the quarter. I love that. Yeah. So what that does for us is basically the crew is motivated to get the job done on time and without callbacks, but we are able to produce more with less manpower. So it frees us our schedule so we could jump to the next project basically. Okay, so can so if they complete the project early, basically they still get paid for the same number of hours. It comes as quarterly bonuses. Now, what happens if it runs over? Do they do they lose some of that Exactly? So they lose from whatever they have accumulated for that quarter. I see. So this is the way that that you guys can basically be confident that you're maintaining the profit margin you want on your jobs. That's right. Okay. So what what are those profit margins that you're aiming for with your projects? So we are aiming for 50, gross margin and 15% net at the end. Sure. And what do you mind sharing the split? You know when you have 50% cost of sales, what's your split? They're generally between labor and materials. Um labor and materials. I think labor is about 35% and material is about eight, or maybe labor is a little bit more. Got it. Cool. Thanks for sharing that. So you, you know, you motivate your employees. Uh you make them you give them kind of an opportunity to make more money if they're more efficient, Which is good. Now you said that you have crafted this niche for yourself basically because that's pretty high end homeowner, you know, 700 750,000 1. 5 million. And and your selective in who you serve and you serve homeowners that are willing to pay top price for the experience, talk to me about the experience, what are you providing them that they're paying top price for. So um first of all, when we when we get a phone call, we heavily pre qualified these clients just to see if they kind of share the same core values as we do. I mean our core values are honestly respect and knowledge. So when we get a phone call, we want to make sure that the customers who were going to serve doors care for those cultural values and if they do then we take it one step further and we talked to them about that project and then um, we also, we also charge a small fee of Between 75 to $200 for consultation and estimate which kind of like um get rid of some of those car, kick it so to speak. And so by the time we show up to the project, you know, they are, they know that they're talking to somebody who is an expert in this field and we tell them about our crew and how we're going to do this project. And then by the time the crew shows up, um, you know, they put them completely at ease and within an hour after we start the project, they trust the crew. They see how we operate and how we care about setting up covering up the questions that the crew asked the homeowners, it really puts them at ease. And then from there on it's really an easy process. Got it. So what we would call that with marketing would be kind of the onboard process. But basically your initial interactions with the customer are such that you're asking a lot of questions, You're making sure that you're covering all their concerns so that they feel taken care of you're, you're not just oh you want this painted. Okay, great. We'll take care of it for you. It's a lot more thorough than that. That's right. Okay. And I love this. Um, you know, most, most companies obviously not all, but most companies provide free estimates. You don't Now do you when you charge that 75-$200 fee Do you apply that to the project or is that just a separate expense? It does come out of the final limbo as if they decide to go with us? If no, we're covered for a couple of hours that we spend with them. Sure. What do you what do you see? I guess when you express to prospective customers that there is that fee for the initial estimate, do you see a lot of slippage there? Do you see a lot of customers ultimately not want the estimate then? I mean there is definitely some slippage but honestly I feel like for the most part they are the customers that we probably don't want to work with because the moment you bring that up sometimes the tone of voice changes like, oh no, I'm getting another four estimates for free. I'm not paying for estimates. So right there. I know that even if it would land this job, the process might not be as easy as the customers that we really targeted to serve, whereas if they're willing to pay like oh sure sounds good. I mean and the key is to tell them that right away in one short and sweet sentence that there is 100 and $20 consultation and estimate fee that comes out of the final invoice and just wait for them to respond. And most often um if they already know that they want to get an estimate and they want to talk to you and they they've heard about you, they agreed to paying that fee. Yeah. I love that. I think that's a it's a powerful play and I think it already positions you such you know in the customer's mind it differentiates you in a way I think because every other company is not charging that. Exactly. So I mean if that's the only way I can differentiate our company from the others let it be. Yeah. When you go out they, you know, I would think in the back of their mind they're already thinking well this company is probably superior. They must be because they're charging me and and the other companies are doing it for free, right? That's one thing. But also when you interact with customers on that sales meeting um they treat you differently. If you're charging for the estimate, they respect you more and respect is one of our core values. I mean um I had a case maybe a year and a half ago where somebody had called and um you know they said that they were referred by another existing client of ours. So I told them about the fee but I said I'm gonna waive the fee since since this is a recommendation and I'll come and see you. So I showed up at 10 o'clock in the morning and I rang the bell. The husband opens the door and he was very dismissive. I'm like I'm here to meet with your wife to talk about the exterior painting and it's like I'll let him know you're here and he just slams the door and goes in. So I waited there for about eight minutes left the driveway and then I get a call from the office and they said, oh such and such called and said that she just missed you if you could go back. I said I'm not going back. So two months down the road the same customer calls and she does not say that she had called and we had an appointment two months ago, two months ago. So I didn't bring it up. I went through the same script and got to Point that I said that is $120 consultation fee. She agreed to it. I went there the next time I went there and showed up at their house. Both husband and wife. They walked out with a smile on their face. They shook my hand. We walked around. They were very receptive. They were listening to everything that I said we signed a contract and did the project. So I was like okay this this really makes sense now from there on, I was like, we gotta be really so focused and just charge for the estimates, especially on new customers. I mean I don't, we don't do it on existing customers once they've done a project with us, they know us and we do not charge for them, but any any new leads that comes through internet uh we definitely didn't want to charge him, wow, what a what a case study, right. Same people two months apart, huge difference. So you, you started this, you know, this company has been around for a long time. What prompted you to start charging for the estimates? When did you start doing that? I think it was the frustration, it was a lot of frustration of like just going around and estimating jobs, educating people about their projects and what they need to do and what not and not getting back me back to me with any feedbacks. I think that was the worst part, like I felt like you know, I spent a few hours meeting with you writing up an estimate, telling you what products are, are best for this solution for for this project and giving him solution providing him with solutions and not hearing back and that was the time that I decided I really need to kind of differentiate our company from the rest and also cover ourselves for the time we spend with people. Yeah. How are you getting the majority of your leads right now? Most of the leads are still two referrals and existing customers. Um whether its recommendations on facebook or not it is still mostly referrals mostly referrals. Got it. Um interesting. So yeah coming coming from programming you know I don't think there are a lot of owners of painting companies in their background was in programming. How do you feel that that has either helped or hurt or differentiated you and running a painting business? Um I mean I could tell you stories again when when I was when I was in college and I used to paint at somebody's house that they had a seven years old house that they had built it from ground up. And the lady had five cabinet with a folder in there that was construction folder. And there was a sub folder called painting folder. So every time I went there to paint something she would pull this up and go to the dining room and okay here is the color of the wall and here's the finish and here is the product. So then I came up with the idea that I would create a database on my website and save all the colors and finishes and give customers a user I. D. And a passport. So they could log in and check the colors that we have used in there in their homes and that's how I came up with the name paint track for a company basically keeping track of colors and Machines and all that, which I did. But um I sent an email to all my customers telling them that they use their ideas, the first letter of their first name plus their last name and the password is 123456. And um they could. Yeah, so but then that became every week I would get calls from customers right? I can't I can't log into my account, what should I do? So then we scrap that but we still keep track of all the colors, all the activities, everything that happens in the field. It's actually a trader law app that we set up some cards and our field employees is basically a scope of work that our field field employees go through and they check as they go through it. But also we can refer to it down the road and see what college we have used in people's homes. So the name still applies. That's so funny. So you're you're kind of setting up a software company, they're within your painting company pretty much early on. We were talking about like 2005, I had Yeah. And have you done any, have you tried anything like that since or or been more kind of focused on the painting only. It's been more focused on the painting. Yeah. Yeah. That's so funny man. Um what's your company doing the best with right now. What would you say? You guys are just knocking it out of the park? Your, your ultra confident in right now kitchen cabinets and see there and mahogany surfaces that nobody else wants to deal with. Got it. So that's your, that's a sweet spot for you guys. Now, is there anything whether, whether it's uh fulfillment or whether it's something internal or marketing, is there anything that you guys are are struggling with or anything you guys are working to overcome? Um We have had struggles with painters, like we have hired painters in the past and we always had some sort of trouble in the field where the jobs would not come on time and we changed our employee models from last year, year and a half ago after. Nick's love it came to our area and he had a workshop about hiring help, hiring and training apprentices. So we kind of focused on that. And four out of our five current employees have been with us for about a year or less. So this is what we were able to do with unskilled apprentices who came on board, but they're really good people, they're good human beings, ethnic Slavic calls it. And we've been, we've been able to produce more where these apprentices and one senior painter who has been with us for a long time than we have ever been able to do with six or 7 painters wow. So you you guys actually hired people who then we're not experienced in painting, you just hired for character, that's right interesting. And you have to let go of a lot of employees. It sounds like we had to let a bunch of painters go about a year and a half ago. And you did that as part of this transition just knowing that they weren't meeting the standards. Exactly. So what recommendations do you have for any painting company owners that are listening? That I think, yeah man, maybe my my crews are not, you know, staff with the right people right now. Did you give them an opportunity? Did did you, how did you present that to them? What what's the process? Because that's a scary idea? Well, I have seven painters, I'm gonna go ahead and get rid of them all and start with people who aren't painted. That's a scary thing. Right? So what I would tell anybody out there, um, is to first define your core values as your company or your personal core values, See what you stand for. And if anybody fits into that core values and into that culture, you want to keep him around. If they don't, then you need to kind of revisit this whole idea and look for people who fit into that culture. Um, and from there on things are just going to work. I mean, it's amazing to see that people who barely could hold a brush within a month and a half what they were able to do because they wanted to. That as we have painters who had the skills but if they want, if they didn't want to do it, there's no way you can make him do it sure. Where did you find the your current painters, was it indeed or facebook or how did you go about that? So we had in the past we had put ads in craigslist and indeed, but we were always looking for painters but this from a year ago or a year and a half ago that we started this transition we posted um and indeed and we looked for people who were looking to start a new career. So we got somebody who worked in a grocery store, somebody who worked at the restaurant, someone who Uber and and they've been our best hires. Excellent. So I see you have a Breakthrough Academy shirt on there. Yeah, what's going on here? You remember B. T. A. I am a member of P. C. A. I'm a member of the Breakthrough Academy for the past 23 years and one of the main focuses of Breakthrough Academy is also profitability. I mean you have your financial goals that you said in the beginning of the year and you want to kind of like work your way backwards and say, okay, this is my goal for the year a million one and I want to see how much filled hours I need to produce in order to make that happen and how many employees I need and when I need to start hiring and and so on and so forth. Sure. So what would you say at this point? You know you you've been focused on running such a tight ship. What is your job role? What do you do on a day to day basis? So I have a full time estimator Sarah who's been with us for about two years and I should give her credit for some of these changes because she came with the college pro background and she was able to hire some new college students in the summer and do some painting works And she's the one who kind of brought it to my attention and make me think about hiring people who have no skill but they have the right character And so she does this, she does majority of the estimating last year it was 70%, I did estimating and she did about 30% this year we have switched roles. She's going to be doing 70% of the estimating. So I have about 30% of the estimates. I have been also in and out of the field half a days or one day, four days here and they're training these new employees. I also build relationships with customers and yeah, that's my role and I am in the office working on systems be ta systems that we have like for many years kind of kind of the working on rather than in the business, I guess when you're doing that kind of stuff. Exactly, yeah, I ask because that's one of the, you know, that's one of the struggles that painting company owners have as they're trying to grow, its so it's difficult to know what you should be doing sometimes. You know, the temptation, if you have the painting background temptation is to hop in there and start painting, you know, get things done, go back, handle the touch ups yourself whatever it is or if you're full time estimated or sales, you know, just keep doing that. But at some point, depending on what your goals are, you kind of have to to learn to step back from, from almost all these roles really build the processes, right? Do you have any go ahead? I haven't painted in the field for about 10 years, but honestly, it doesn't it doesn't hurt if you know how to swing a brush and it doesn't hurt to be able to step in from time to time if you have to train some new people. But as long, as you know that that is not your role and it's just temporary, you're going in to train some new people and hopefully you're gonna train some trainers so they can take sure that role and train the next, you know, new people that you're going to bring in. Sure, let's say, you know obviously joining breakthrough Academy is a, is a great idea for a lot of people? Um, you know, they have a really great system there, but if let's say that that opinion company was maybe not in a position to do that or doesn't want to do it at this time, it feels like they're wearing too many hats. What do you, where do they start, how do they, how do they kind of start delegating? I would say if they could just come up with a list of day to day activities and figure out how much time they spend with each one of those tasks and then work off of that list and at least and figure out what they can delegate from that list, that would be the greatest start. And as soon as you have three or 4 employees in the field, I think if you're looking into growing, you should bring in some help. I mean most people say for every five or six people in the field you need 1% in the in the office. But I would say if you're looking to grow, let's start that process a little earlier And maybe three or 4 employees in the field you can afford maybe an estimator or an office admit or somebody who can really help you with some of the tasks and and the day to day stuff that you're doing. Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. So you've built the business primarily. It sounds like on word of mouth, you know, people knowing you, you've been in that area for a long time or are there any marketing strategies, a little more official marketing strategies that you've ever used or tried? I mean we tried some Google adwords around 2008, when things were really um Easy and there wasn't a whole lot of people utilizing those services. Real prime prime keywords for like 60, day. Those are the glory days right there. Alright. So we did, we did get a bunch of clients at that time that they have become a lifetime clients and you know that that was a good start. But then um we got a lot of ah calls from people who look on facebook groups, facebook mom groups or people who we have about, I don't know 100 reviews online, 100 google reviews which people who search on google and they see our reviews um bigger cause from that, but it's mostly organic were really our marketing budget is very, very limited. Sure. So you you guys do you do anything, I mean it sounds like you don't, but I'll ask some companies do, do you guys do anything in these groups? Let's say these mom groups or these other local groups where you actually proactively will go in and market your services or if he's just these are past customers really recommending you guys. Yeah, I think you want your past customers to refer. You, you don't want to get into those groups groups and promote yourself? Right. You could be in the mom group. Could be like I'm not a mom but I offer painting services. You could, you could, there is there is a local group here that many painters are part of. But I don't think it's it's good to promote yourself and those girls. So that's one thing. But yeah, Sarah has been estimated has been part of a very active B and I group. Um And we have generate some leads. We have generated some lead from that group in the past year. Um Other than that we are involved with like local chamber of commerce is we go to their meetings and stuff, a few leads here and there from those. But um yeah you guys are involved in the community. You guys, you guys network with the other business owners and and you do that long enough and it starts to pay, you know, some people, I think they go to a B. And I'm eating our Chamber of Commerce meeting and they walk away and they didn't get a bunch of new customers right away. And so then they think, oh that's stupid, I'm never gonna do that again. That's that's a long term play. Right. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So what what, you know as you've you've been around for business has been around for a long time. What what's a really big customer blunder you've made, what's just a bad situation that you've been in and how did you fix it? A bad situation? Um I think early on um we were doing new construction and we were working on a multi million dollars addition on a huge property in Greenwich Connecticut and we were on time and material and the project was just going on for I think 15 months and we were just tired of it. My guys were tired of it. Everybody wanted to get out and um but the project manager who was running that project, he was on a monthly salary and also he was getting a percentage of every subcontractors bills. He had no interest in finishing that job at some point. I think I had to literally just tell them like, you know, I'm not continuing with this project anymore, regardless of how perfect everything was. And we were done, they were always making changes and all, let's change this and change that. And we just wanted to get out. So we walked off the job and they said that they were not they weren't going to pay us For, I think it was a $20,000 bill for that month that we had worked on. And so that was the only time we had to basically put, we can explain on a property in the past. Yeah, 16 years that we've been in business and and then we eventually got paid for about 90% of what they owned us, Which is good, but that was around 2006 I believe. And that was the time I decided I would not want to do your construction and I put my focus on doing the bedroom here, in the bathroom there and just a residential repaint And it really worked in our favor because by 2008 there was no new constructions, but by then we were in a very good position with our residential repaint, wow, that was pretty fortuitous timing there for your lessons. So it sounds like Ray, one of the things you do well is when something doesn't go well, you adjust, you kind of take it back and if it doesn't go well with the customer that didn't go well with, you know, big new construction project, you'll go back and you're not, you know, just kind of kicking, kicking rocks. You're actually thinking about whether or not you need to make a change your business model sounds like this has been a repetitive thing for you, definitely. Yeah, if you can't change, if you can adopt, you're in the wrong business. Like, I mean, if you're, if you're an entrepreneur and you're in a business, you need to be adaptive, You need to change, you need to grow. If you feel like you're stagnant, your business is going to be stagnant. Yeah, so that has been a big part of my business and even myself. I mean I'm always looking for new ideas. I'm looking to learn regardless of how good you think you have it it might be great now it might not be great next year. So as long as you're ahead of the curve and you're learning and you're educating yourself, you're able to adapt to different situations. Yeah I love that. Yeah I've heard an expression there are no no business problems. There are people problems and if whatever whatever problems your business have it's really an extension of a problem that you have. Very true. Yeah that that sense of extreme accountability right? Extreme ownership. I love that. So I guess how do you how do you see over the let's say the next 10 years how do you see the painting industry changing or do you see it changing? I I really think that the that change has already started but many many new people getting interested in the trades and um rather than looking at themselves as some painters with a banner and a brush and a few buckets they're looking at it as a business opportunity. And that's very encouraging to see people getting involved with pc a trade association. I think um we all need a central hub as an industry for somewhere to go and get educated and network and know what's going on in our industry and that's very encouraging Like this past expo a month and a half ago in florida. I saw many new faces that I told some of the older friends that I have in at P. C. A. That this is extremely encouraging that we don't know many of these people. That means that the new generation is interested in the trade and hopefully they're gonna set things up in a better way and raise the bar in our industry. Right? You didn't come to my presentation at the pc expo. I just figured out I just figured I'll call you out now that we're now that we're being recorded and you know a lot of people's lives and I didn't see in the crowd. If it was if it was eight o'clock in the morning it might have had something to do with the night before. Yeah. Yeah. I got some good nights there right at the expo. Yeah it took me it took me about a week and a half to recover from from the from the cover, right? But yeah a lot of fun. Um So you just talked about something pretty interesting. So I went to like next 5:00 went to ask a painter live winter retreat about I guess a month ago. And one of the things that we really focused on was this idea that painting painting as an industry um kind of has a scarcity tends to have a scarcity mindset like like kind of a cutthroat you know don't don't want to share my secrets. You know every every other painting company is my enemy mentality and you just said that, oh you see all these people coming in, you know, kind of, I guess the young guns or whatever sort of focused on, on looking at it as a business opportunity, not a painter and and well they just kind of paint houses and all this is a great business opportunity and you were excited about that, but yet these are your competitors. So why are you excited about it? Um, as long as my competitors are educated enough and they are basically offering the same sort of service services and they have the same sort of standards and they kind of like um, run the same type of business most probably if you're bidding on the same job, our prices are not going to vary so much. So this is like setting a level playing field which is going to help all of us in the industry. I mean I am a big proponent of getting in touch with my local competitors and getting together if we could on once a month or once every other month and talk shop. I mean, I have referred jobs to my competitors in the area and I have received referrals from my competitors. I mean once you build that kind of trust with your competitors, that means that's the greatest compliment any painting contractor can get to receive a referral from a, from a fellow painting contractor and this is really great for us. There's nothing to be afraid of. Yeah. Yeah, I love that. One of the things Jason you know Jason paris really talks a lot about how much opportunity there is there. And the scarcity mindset doesn't really make sense when you sit down and you run the numbers, there are enough houses there, enough new construction, there's enough of everything for every successful painting company owner to really succeed. The constraint is really with you. It's not because your competitors are taking all the business that's for sure. Yeah. So you guys being being based north of new york city, do you have any advice or tactics or strategies you found effective in combating winter slow season. So one thing we do from right now like early spring anytime we come across an interior project or kitchen project that they have been thinking about painting for three years and they have procrastinated, we say what it is to wait another eight months before you do that. So we You know offer him a small discount if like a 5% discount or if there is a whole project, let's say a whole interior project that they want to paint we offer them if they could wait for the basement to be done in december or in january after following here and um we are able to plant at least a dozen or so projects that way from spring till the end of fall for winter and then if you get a few more calls here and there in winter, um, you're not gonna have this, I mean this winter was crazy. We had 46 leads in January which is just unheard of. We didn't have to worry about it this year, but in general that's what we do. Yeah. Excellent. And do you, do you take any kind of down payment to lock that in or how do you handle that? I mean again for the most part if they have paid a fee or if their existing customers, No, we do not collect down payment. Yeah. You, so they already know you and they worked with you or you have 120 other hard earned dollars and that's probably going to be enough if they haven't worked with us. Yeah. As long as they pay their fee, even if they cancel that, that's fine. We still have something to feel that gap in the, in the meter. Sure. Got it. Um Right. This, this has been amazing. Do you have any other advice for other painting company owners listening? Any anything else that you'd like to say? one thing that I want to emphasize again is sit down and define your core values, your personal core values and they're probably, you know, a reflection of what you want for your business and once you have that set of core values defined, you could make decisions based on that. Whether it's hiring, whether it's firing, whether it's changes that you're making to your business or dealing with different customers, you could always refer to the set of core values and makes, you know, uh being assured that you are going to make the right decision when it comes to that. I love that. Yeah, there will always be unknowns that come up, right. No matter how much you prepare, if you have that that value system, you can kind of run it through that value system and be confident and whatever whatever course of action you take. Very true. Yeah, great. Thank you so much for your time brother. This wasn't an amazing episode, very enlightening. Um definitely a different perspective that you brought to the table here. I think you're programming background. Um got kind of help with that. But thank you for your time. Thank you Brandon. Thank you for having me. If you want to learn more about the topics we discussed in this podcast and how you can use them to grow your painting business, visit painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast for free training as well as the ability to schedule a personalized strategy session for your painting company. Again that you are l is painter marketing pros dot com forward slash podcast. Hey, they're painting company owners. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure you go ahead and hit that subscribe button, give us your feedback, let us know how we did. And also if you're interested in taking your painting business to the next level, make sure you visit the Painter Marketing Pros website at Painter Marketing Pros dot com to learn more about our services. You can also reach out to me directly by emailing me at Brandon at Painter Marketing Pros dot com, and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time. Keep growing.