Guest Interview: Tom Droste of Estimate Rocket “Roadmap to $5 Million”

Published On: August 28, 2023

Categories: Podcast

In this episode of the Industry Partner series of The Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast, titled Estimate Rocket Roadmap to $5m, we host guest Tom Droste. Tom is the Founder and CEO of Estimate Rocket. Estimate Rocket handles all the tech, so painting contractors can focus on doing what they do best. Listen to Tom as he discusses what he has learned working with painting contractors over the last decade on how you can scale your painting business to over $5 million! If you want to ask Tom questions related to anything in this podcast series, you can do so in our exclusive Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum on facebook.

Just search for “Painter Marketing Mastermind Podcast Forum” on facebook and request to join the group, or type in the URL There you can ask Tom questions directly by tagging him with your question, so you can see how anything discussed here applies to your particular painting company. Check out all of our podcast episodes at

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Estimate Rocket: Roadmap to $5m

Audio Transcript


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

Welcome everybody to this episode of The Pain of American Mahy podcast industry partner series. We are talking with Tom DRS. He is the founder and CEO of Estimate Rocket. Many of you know, uh estimate rocket, many of you use Estimate Rocket. So I’m extremely honored and excited to be speaking with Tom today. Tom, what’s going on, man? Great to be here. Brandon um busy as always and uh but always looking forward to uh to doing podcasts. It’s nice to get out and talk to people. I love it, man.

So I guess if we could, I, I know, the focus of today is really talking about how to break that $5 million barrier. It’s not, it’s not one that’s talked about the million dollar, right. The million dollars super common sometimes if you’re all too aggressive at 10 million, but there is a number in between those and we’re gonna talk about it. But I’d love to, to initially if we can just learn a little bit more about the estimate rocket story, how long you guys have been around maybe kind of the origin, how it came about all that stuff. Sure.

Well, uh just in general rockets and end to end software solution enables service contractors to run their businesses efficiently saving them time and money so they can focus, not on technology but on focusing on their customers and the work that they need to get done. We’ve been, uh, we’ve been doing this for uh seven years. Moroccan is about seven years old. Um, and uh, having a great time and, uh, really enjoy working with our customers, uh, really enjoy the solutions that we’re putting out there. It, it is really exciting to see, uh our customers grow and using the product and uh just growing in general, but even more satisfying when they’re using your own, your product.

So it’s been a really good fun ride and we’ve seen some of our folks go from 2 million or 5003 million to 5 million to even higher. You know, it’s not it’s not all of them, but certainly people are, uh, enjoying the ride and hopefully we’re giving them the right things that they need. Yeah, I love that, uh, that unique value proposition that succinct II, I find that it’s a challenging thing, you know, to be able to give that sort of elevator pitch and, and yours is very, very dialed in.

We, we allow them to focus on what they do and we handle the technology so they don’t have to worry about that. Yeah, I’ve actually designed that based on conversations with our customers because I never knew how to, how to put that out there in a way that actually resonated with people and in talking with our customers, they actually told us what the things were that that really worked for them and help them and what it was allowed them to do. I mean, at the end of the day, our tool is really an enabling tool.

It’s, it’s not magic. You still got to put in the work and do the hard work, but it, it’s a tool that will, you know, enable you to get a lot out of it and a lot and, and help you grow your business. So, so where did the idea for estimate rocket come from? Uh It’s an interesting story. So, um we started out doing sort of one-off projects with customers when we first started the company, which was actually 12 years ago. And um 2012, 12, yeah, 11 years ago. Um And so we were just pretty much doing one off, you know, development projects for people that would, that we knew, I knew from some consultants that I work with, that had customers that needed things.

And one of them happened to be a, an estimating program for a concrete lifting company. So they had, they sell uh uh the, the uh if I can say the company, it’s hm I company, great company, great people. Um and they were, you know, they had a kind of a secret sauce of how to, how to do the estimates, but they didn’t have a vehicle to do it. You know, they could tell you what the math was to use to figure out the materials that you needed, calculate it.

But they didn’t have a way for to make that easy for people and, and to be out in the field doing it. So we built it and at that time, all it did was estimating and that’s where we ended up with the estimate racket name, which is a little short sighted in the long view. But uh you know, that’s what happens. So anyway, we built that uh that they, that was used for a while. We went on and did a, a native um a mobile app that all it did was estimates that turned into invoices that turned into, you know, or work orders to invoices very, very limited no connectivity to other, you know, to other multi user or anything like that.

But it actually took off pretty good. We were selling in the APP store for a dollar 99. We thought we made it now, you know. Yeah. So talk about the journey, right? Um You saw enough of them, you have made it, but you gotta sell quite a bit at 1 99. Exactly. So uh we then looked at that, we looked at the need for connectivity to get, you know, we needed it to be multi user and, and even the HM I app was really a, um, it was a native app on a, on a tablet only ran on a tablet.

It was, you know, specifically sized for a tablet and we wrote a web app because that seemed like the way to go and we could have the backend connectivity and, and as soon as we do that did that, it kind of took off. Um it was uh um serving an area that was very underserved at the, at the, at that time, for sure, probably still underserved um as, as indicated by the number of competitors that we have today versus what we had just three or four years ago.

I mean, the, the space has really filled up. It’s a, obviously a big need out there. So, um we just kept, you know, adding the things that people need into the product to, to extend it from just not just the estimating but work scheduling and uh all the way out to, you know, collecting payments. And probably one of the best things we do is the way we report things. So I was a bean counter in a former light or an accountant as what we would say. And, um, so I have kind of a focus on the counting in integrity of what the system is producing and it’s definitely a different, you know, way to look at things than a lot of, you know, development houses do because I have that background.

So I’m all about the business purpose of it and, you know, getting out of it, what you need to really to drive your company and that really shows in what we do for, for reporting. So it’s, it’s really kind of fun. That’s great, man. So you, how did you go from being an accountant to, uh essentially owning a software business? Well, it was sort of like leaping off a building. Uh, so I was, I was sitting in my office one day, you know, if I get, if I go on too long about this, just let me know.

I’m sitting in my office one day as a staff accountant. And I had the, one of those epiphany moments where I looked out and I saw my boss’s head and my boss’s boss’s head and my boss’s boss’s boss’s head all lined up and I looked at the guy in the line. I said no way. Am I waiting that long? So I quit my story. This is a real true story. I saw the three guys in a line. They, I swear they, their heads lined up at a moment in time. Right?

It was, and that really did hit me the stars in line. You like, oh my God, that a long path. Honestly, they really did. And uh so I quit my rock solid job, you know, working for an accounting firm and had benefits and it was, you know, a great job. I, I found out later my father in law thought I was in, uh, yeah, hopped in with the sharks. I did. My father-in-law thought I was a whack job for leaving my, this solid job because I took a job at a computer store.

Now, this is, again, this is a long time ago. Uh, and, yeah, the computer, I thought, ok, this is a segue into computers and that’s what I want to do. And I started meeting people who were coming in that I was doing training and, and, you know, set up and things support for the customers that would come in. So I, I started listening to their problems and I started helping them, I basically started consulting with them to help them solve their problems. Right. Loved it. I mean, I was so jazzed on that.

That job lasted about a year and that’s when I jumped off the cliff and started my own business and we started out basically doing training, but the training all led to people needing customizations. And so being a systems person, I didn’t want a custom, I don’t want to do things just for one people. I want to do things that could expand and serve many but in, you know, with enough flexibility to satisfy them. And uh that’s how we ended up here. I love it, man. That’s quite the journey.

So, so let’s kind of go in and I know you started with Estimate Rocket. It started essentially uh 11 years ago as a one-off software development program. Sort of the true origin story. It’s officially been started seven years ago. Um starting, you know, you say sort of uh potentially mis misnaming it maybe due to the potential that it had Estimate Rocket. Although, you know, I’d argue a lot of times that really doesn’t matter. Uh But let’s get into the, the software today and then I’m gonna back up and we’re gonna go out, you know what, we’re actually gonna talk about it growing at 0003 million.

But what does the software do if it’s not just estimating? Uh So uh it does uh proposals, it does sales follow up. Um Once you’ve, once you’ve created a proposal, uh it does uh messaging, you know, two way messaging with the custom with the clients. Uh And then once the proposal gets set and does have automated follow ups. It has sort of, I’ll call them mini drip campaigns. So for each stage of the project, you can, you can create a drip campaign. Some, you know, like a, like an appointment confirmation might only have one.

It’s just the appointment confirmation or some of our customs, use them, use them creatively and they’ll send out a, a drip that says, hey, here’s what to expect when we get there. You know, here’s the way to prep for it. So they can do that constant communications and they automatically turn off when the projects move. So it’s really, you know, it, it works very fluidly for them. So, uh after the sales is after you’ve closed the deal, you’ve got, um, you’ve got work scheduling or work, you know, we know we need to put guys out in the field, um, you know, set up what the tasks are that they’re gonna do and uh provide them with some sort of a work order that they can work off of and know what exactly they’re gonna produce.

That does this, that, that’s management functionality. Absolutely. Yeah, just built in as one of the steps in, in the project lifestyle. We, we call everything, a project project startss when you get a lead goes through the sales process becomes a work order goes through, the work process goes to the invoice process and then it’s completed. Ok. And then invoicing payments and uh best part of all is the reporting, what’s the reporting? Just all of the, all of the uh pieces that we have like the sales reports, closing ratio reports, um profitability reporting, um accountability reporting.

So we do keep track of what who the user was that clo that owned the project, who sold the project, who worked the project. So we know, you know, when we go to have a, a meeting at a uh you know uh report project review meeting, we can sit there and go. Ok, hey, let’s get the estimator and the crew leader out here and let’s talk through this because, you know, something went wrong here. Did, was it a problem with the estimate? Was it a problem in the field?

What exactly happened? So we have all those details that and we know who was, who participated and it makes it really easy to have those conversations about, hey, you know, let’s talk about this and figure out what went wrong. What went right sometimes. Yeah, I love that man. So the, the reporting is something I’ve found that that’s lacking so often in, in software for us for, for other marketing agencies. It’s one of our big pointers is our real, real time reporting. But people want that. People need that and they need it to be easy.

They don’t, they, you know, we’re contractors, painting company. They’re typically not uh you know, technical super technically proficient. Always, they’re not running software companies. They’re running a painting company. How, how flexible is your reporting at what I what I like is OK. You can actually assign the estimator to that project, right, the project manager and you sort of consolidate. So all of a sudden you can start to look at trends amongst like who are your more successful estimators or who are, who running the more profitable project?

Can you do stuff like that? Absolutely. Yeah. And the project Profitability report, you, you get to see, you’ll see whoever the participants were and you can filter by, you know, you can pick this supervisor and this uh estimator or whatever combinations of those things that you want. Talk about you man. Yeah, that’s, that’s what’s so beautiful. I mean, you know who it is, you know how long things took to progress? I mean, all the details and everything’s in one place. So you know, you go to look at a project and you scroll down through the project and everything’s there, the details of the of the scope of work and everything, the uh any communications, emails or messaging back and forth.

It’s just all in 11 spot makes it real super easy to keep track of. Yeah. So, so you have the macro level where you can see see some of your key team members, their their ultimate performance over time, but then you also can drill down as far as you want to that micro level. Yeah, every report has a, ultimately has a drill into a project. Yeah, excellent. So, who do you serve? Uh, we serve, uh, service contractors. Our, our core customer is, uh, probably 5 to 50 team members. We have some that have over 100 and have some that are smaller.

Um, what happens is some of the things that, what we do, um, may be overkill for a single operator. You know, it’s a, there’s a difficult thing, it’ll work for them and it’ll do great things for them, but they may not want to have, take the discipline to, um, to keep up with it and then, you know, they get to a certain stage and I think, you know, five is really a good entry level stage. You know, around five people on your team, you’re, you’re capable of bringing in somewhere between 6 $6900 a year depending upon how your, you know, your pricing works and, and what kind of a market you’re in and that’s where you start, you know, you get over one or two people, you get to five people, you start needing to have that coordination factor that’s kind of built in for scheduling people out and for the accountability.

Yeah, I love that. A tipping point there. Yeah. And you guys are serving service contractors who you work with. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, painting is probably our, is certainly our biggest, uh, core group. Um, but we also work with remodeler. We work with, um, uh handymen. We work with, uh a lot of people in the concrete. Obviously, we, we got started in concrete repair, but we work with foundation repair companies. Um, you know, really, it’s really designed around the service contractor model, which is, you know, estimate what the heck you gotta do and get a proposal in the customer’s hands, schedule the jobs out and, and, you know, get the right people on the job at the right time and then get your invoices paid.

What does the train up look like that? Do you guys have any sort of onboarding or training or how does someone get comfortable using the software? Yeah, we, we got, we have so from when you, when you, from the moment you sign up, an onboarding specialist will reach out to you and schedule a meeting with you 15 minute call just to kind of set your expectations. Um, we have, you know, we have chat through our, through our site. No bots involved pure like human beings answer. And, um, we also have telephone, you know, call them by telephone if you want to, uh, or email. Certainly.

But most people use the chat and talk. Yeah, I know. We, we do actually some things that are quicker over the phone but, you know, um, and, and our customers do seem to like the phone. I think it’s a, I think it definitely is a service contract thing. That. It is. It absolutely is. Yeah. But it’s important. I mean, there’s some things I talked to the support team but in customer service is a really important thing to me. I think you, uh, you have to provide real customer support to people.

You have to give them the tools they need to be able to, to run the product. And I’ve always felt that way in terms of what we do. I’ve always been very service heavy in terms of what I’ve done in all of the software projects we’ve worked in. I think it’s an important thing. We have a whole and a ton, you know, we publish videos constantly, we publish these little one minute videos that are kind of how to, how to do this, you know, quick tip kind of things.

Uh probably 100 videos that, you know, explain the different processes in the program. We run weekly sessions called Collaboration Tuesdays, which basically a session where we have a topic for the day. But it’s mainly for people to ask questions and in a group scenario where they can, you know, you know, give help each other because we’ll have people saying, oh, well, I did this this way and they did that that way. And really, I love that because it just gets everybody, you know, together. Yeah, not continuing education components.

So important too because you’re probably constantly updating, rolling out new features, things like that. Yeah, totally. And it and it is hard, it’s hard to get, you know, we find people that have been using the system, they’re big users in the system and we’ll be reviewing something with them in their account and realize, oh my God, they’re using like, you know, 20% of, of what’s there for him. And most of it is, most of it is really just knowing about it. It’s like, oh God, you just hit that button and it starts the campaign or whatever it is.

But, you know, not, not everyone is an explorer and I think computers software in the old days was really easy to screw up. Like you could really hurt yourself bad without too much effort. It’s really changed a lot. I mean, at least our tool. Yes, you hit delete and you go to do something and it says type the word delete to continue. By the way, you’re deleting all these things and you still type in delete. Ok. Sorry, I can’t help you. But, you know, whenever you see that in any application don’t do it unless you’re really sure.

Yeah, it’s giving you an opportunity to, to be sure right about what you’re doing. What is the, so what’s the, the, what’s your revenue do people? Is this a one time purchase, annual subscription, monthly subscription? It’s a monthly subscription. We do it. There is an annual option as well. Um, and it’s tiered, um, based on the number of users So, depending upon how many users you are, you can go to a higher tier and that’ll give you more included users and a better per user price. Got it.

Ok. And so just to kind of make the numbers easy, this is probably a fit for painting contractors once they’re close to maybe a little above half a million in annual five team. Yeah, it’s still cost effective when you’ve got one or two. But it again, people at the one or two, they’re working so hard just to get the work done. They don’t, you know, they do the systems a little late. You wanna start when you got two or three, not when you’re up till up to 53. Yeah.

No, for sure. And I mean, ultimately, this is about systematizing and making your company efficient. So if you’re an owner operator, if you’re out there doing the estimate and the painting and the project manager, there’s really not, not so much to use this for, it’s when you actually start building a team and, and a true company. This makes sense. Ok. Yeah, totally. So I wanna kind of back up for a second. So the this is obviously a part of our industry partner series. So what that means is that, that estimate Rocket is a vetted a partner, uh a vetted trusted industry partner, trusted by painter, marketing pros and one of the reasons.

So we used to not, we used to not have ever have any vendors that we would talk with, we would strictly talk with painting companies doing over a million a year. That’s how we really started. Uh, the podcast. We’ve since branched out a bit. Now we’re doing series and, and we have an industry partner series. The, the value that I have found aside from just exposing people to good products and, and making their lives and companies better by doing that is that you have experience with a lot of companies, right?

So when we talk to one painting company, they typically have experience with one company. You as a, as a, as a vendor with a company that serves many painting companies, you can pull in, you can share data on a more aggregate level. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. So I’m gonna let you kinda however you want to lead this. I wanna, I wanna explain to people the path to 5 million. All right, I’ll do my best. Uh Not to put you on the spot, but also to no pressure at all.

Yeah, no pressure. So um it’s more than one step. First of all, um between, you know, you’re gonna find that every, at every, every block that requires you to hire one or more people is another leap. And that’s one of the things that you gotta be prepared for, you’re gonna, you know, as you get up there, one person can probably do about 100 K in revenues. And again, this all depends upon exactly the type of business you have et cetera but, you know, two people, one production, maybe one sales, maybe you can get up around 200 k, five people, 6 ft.

But, and the reason, the way, place I get these numbers, by the way is we made this little uh Google sheet tool. That’s really kind of cool. I call it the what up spreadsheet and basically one spreadsheet. What, what if the, what if spreadsheet? What if spreadsheet? Basically you can, there’s like seven or eight variables and you, how many people you got, what do you charge per hour? What’s your average hourly cost and do more? Right? And basically you put in, you change any of those numbers and it shows you, ok, this is your potential revenue.

You know, how many the other things they asked for is do you give paid time off? You know, do you, how many weeks, you know, how many weeks do you pay people for? And how many weeks do you, do they work? You know, do they work for you? It sounds like a fun to, like, keep, keep 100 million and then, like, see if you can go higher. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Michael. I made the columns really wide though. So you, you can’t blow it up. But it’s neat because you can, once you download it, you, it’s yours, you get, you know, you make your basically your own copy and Google Sheets.

So it’s not, you know, you’re, you’re on your own. Not, not, uh, nothing worth reading but, uh, it, it’s fun because it, yep, I can pop things like this in there and say, yeah, ok, about this many people to make this much revenue anyway, back to the, back to the goal. So the couple quick stats here, nine, only 9% of us businesses ever reach a million dollars in revenue and only 1% make it to 10 million. And I couldn’t find a stat on 5 million. And so I’m not sure exactly, but it’s somewhere between that nine and one. Yeah.

Um, so, but the good news is that there’s 53 million small businesses in the US. So that’s really, you know, 331,000 businesses make it to 10 million even. So there, there’s a lot of opportunity out there. Yeah. The other thing, the other quick idea is that to get to 1 million in the 1 million vicinity, you’re probably gonna need around 10 people. Now again, your mileage varies by, you know, what your hourly rate is and you know, what, what, what, you know, how, how you run things. But if you’re selling hours, which is what most service contractors ultimately do, they sell materials too, but the materials are not generally a big, you know, uh, big cost item in what they do.

Uh, if you sell our you know, 10 people are gonna yield you around a million dollars to get to 5 million. You’re gonna have end up having somewhere around 40 people. So that gives you kind of an idea of that expansion. So you can see as you go through these phases, you know, from 1.53 to 2 million, you’re gonna need closer to 20 people. And again, these numbers vary. But, you know, I hate, I hate calling out, I’m kind of a, a very detailed accounting type guy by nature. So I, I hate throwing out numbers and people.

Oh no, that’s wrong. Well, yes, there are variables in there. But yeah, look at it’s in the ballpark, you know, 100 25 K, right? So, so what does it take to get to those different stages is the key. So I think the hardest one actually is your first hire, you know, when you’re, when you’re at 280 K and, and you’re really crushing it, but you want to grow, you’re, you’re, you’re limited. You, you can only go so far with one body. So you gotta hire somebody. And that first hire is probably probably the hardest thing for most people to do because it’s a leap no matter what you do, right?

So I always suggest that at that stage, what you need to do is you need to build your backlog, building a backlog of work. Gives you a comfort level of saying, OK, I I can do this, I’ve got enough work for the next six months. I know I can pay somebody else and I know I can get even more business if I have that capacity and steps like that are gonna occur at each of these steps that you’re gonna go through the next hardest one probably gets to be where you actually need to hire management people as opposed to just production people.

So you, you know, you get into that five people, you know, between five and 2500 people is where a million dollars is actually that, that’s, it’s right in that range. Um And that’s where you also probably need to add somebody in who is, you know, pure overhead. They’re, they’re just gonna manage projects or they’re just gonna do sales or something to that effect. And that’s another difficult, um, a difficult leap. But the key, the other key that goes along with this is as you, you know, imagine you got one person, you add another person that’s pretty easy, that person has things to do, you have things to do.

But the next step as you go through this process is delegation and, you know, there’s a ton of business coaches out there that will, you know, that teach this stuff in detail and how to get to each level. And the reason there’s a lot of different business coaches is because they’re all teaching at different levels because there’s different things that you actually have to do at each of the steps, at each of the, you know, the hurdles if you will. So, um, the, you know, the one of the next hurdles is hiring that, uh, that overhead person, maybe your bookkeeper or your admin person.

Um, that’s also one of the ones you probably should do earliest because that’s someone you can delegate a lot of things to, to free you up to do sales and to manage your team. And that person can also help you to hire more production people, you know, on the San recruiting funnel because you should always be recruiting. Even when you don’t need people, you’re not in a desperate position. Exactly. And you, and you get a backlog of people that, you know, you can call on in the future, maybe they’re in the middle of something but you like them and they say, hey, you know, call me again in six months, who knows what’s gonna go on here, kind of thing?

So, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, you can be transparent and, and, you know, let people know, hey, there’s, we’re not a position right now, but we wanna get you on a short list and see if you’re interested. One of the things you didn’t pay your marketing pros fairly early on was hire a full time recruiter, which is very abnormal for a marketing agency. But it allows us to, to have kind of the first pick of talent and I think it’s something that, uh, painting companies should strongly consider, even though that, that’s sort of an outside the box idea.

What do you recommend? So, so these positions, especially the management, you know, the overhead, that is a painful one. I can attest to hide all of a sudden, man, I’m making less money right now. What it, what that was stupid, right. You’re kind of, you’re betting on the growth when you do something like that. But what do you, I guess I, I have a few questions for you. Number one, how or, or what advice do you have uh for finding good people? Because obviously that’s a pain point.

You know, even, even painters or really any good people, the, the common refrain is that, you know, there’s no good people out there. What would your response or advice be for that? Well, again, there’s another one that depends upon your stage. Um, as you get, as you get bigger, I strongly suggest that you create a growth and training program and start training people coming out of tech schools. You know, it opens up your options to looking in other places. I, I remember, um, going down to visit a customer in New York City, they’re a, um, a masonry company.

And when I walked into the office at uh, oh dark 2000 was literally still dark. And that, and the groups, you know, getting, getting set up for the day and I, I walk into the kind of the downstairs and there’s this big open room with a bunch of like half block walls everywhere. And I, like I said, so what, what exactly is that? He says, this is our training facility. This is where we, where we grow masons and actually teach them how to, you know, do the masonry work.

So again, that’s a longer play. Obviously, that’s something you can do more easily as you grow, But it’s definitely something to keep in your, in your back pocket. Um Other than that, I, you know, I have to tell you, I have not hired in that area personally. So I’ve, you know, my hires have been generally through recruiting or through people. I know that, you know, relationships I’ve established, but that’s kind of the, you know, if you’re any sort of a networking person and, you know, people, it’s really a matter of putting it out there and asking, you know, if you’re in that early stage and you need one person or uh are trying to find a key person, ask your friends, they don’t even have to be in the business.

Just say, hey, do you know anybody who you think might wanna be worthwhile to ask if they want a career in painting? I mean, that networking thing really works, especially if you’re good at it. Uh No, II, I love that. And even though you don’t have maybe extensive experience recruiting people directly for a painting company, I think your points uh of the growth training program. Obviously, it opens you up to recruiting non painters, recruiting people not from the space which opens up the wide talent pool for you.

But it, what it also does is having a program like that or, or even maybe something beyond that as people grow within the company, it attracts talent because what you don’t want is, hey, why should, why should you work for my company? Well, because I’ll give you $25 an hour or I’ll give you $25 an hour, you have the ability to go up $103 an hour. That’s attractive to a point, but only to a point. And when you’re looking for, for true rock stars for truly driven people in their career, that is not enough, you have to give people the opportunity, you have to show them the vision for the future, for themselves and their family and, and their career.

Yeah, I’ve been super impressed actually with, uh, especially in the painting industry and I think I honestly the PC A has plays a huge part in this at what they’re doing in terms of, of elevating the trade. They’re, uh, you know, I talked to a lot of, uh, painting contractors that really have serious programs for recruiting and training. And, uh, in hr basically, they may not have hr people, but they got a full hr package of, hey, this is your growth pattern this is what you can expect as you go up levels and your skills.

I mean, and like you said that for people who are, are looking for a place to, to be and to be a part of that’s really important, knowing that they can actually grow because I think too many of the trades have the reputation of an old school. You’re just gonna go there and they’re gonna, they’re gonna use you as a tool and you’re not gonna have any opportunities to grow or, you know, turn it into a career and I think that’s changed a lot. Yeah. And, uh, the PC A is doing a phenomenal job of that.

You know, they’re, they’re having more and more events. There’s a, a craftsmanship forum coming up, there’s a women in paint in November, there’s a commercial paint, um, meeting in November, you know, there, there’s a actually a Spanish event I’m going to, um, next, next month, September 210th. I was talking in Toland about that the other day. Yeah. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna go see, uh, try to brush up on the and see what, what kind of damage I can do there. But it’s an outreach to the Spanish community, you know, pull them up.

But yeah, the, the idea of providing people a growth opportunity, you know, something we do at painter, marketing pros, which I strongly recommend painting companies do when you’re talking to someone figure out what, what do they want for their life? What do they want for the future? And can you provide it? So, even if you hire them as a painter, you know, you’ll find some people, people are very interested in business or they want, they, they want the opportunity to manage a team one day or, or maybe they want the opportunity to learn to sell, even though they’re not an estimator, is there for their vision?

what they’re passionate about is there a path in your company for them to get there? Because if there’s not, you probably shouldn’t hire them for any role. Right? Or you should empower them to, to basically have it. It’s a two way hire, you don’t hire them, you know, they hire you too. Right. It’s a two way higher. It’s gotta work both ways for sure. Yeah. So let’s talk about, you know, from the 210 to 230, we talked about the, the personnel numbers, you know, essentially when I think you, you said basically when you’re nearing a million, you probably need to, to add uh an overhead type position and, and probably would have been smart to add it maybe earlier, maybe around half a million, you know, some take over a lot of that stuff.

Um, so aside from from hiring, you know, and, and getting into that, maybe 40 numbers, so to have a $5 million company, what other, what other things they could do, whether maybe that sales or marketing or position, what else should they be focused on? Um, I think, I think they should, most, most of them are gonna be in the early stages. They’re the salesperson. They’re probably good at sales or they wouldn’t have gotten to that point where they’re growing. It’s not necessarily gonna be the, be all, end all forever, but they’re probably good at that.

I think what they need, uh, is marketing because, and, and marketing at any stage can be done in many ways. You marketing pros Tom. Exactly. Absolutely. I mean, but even in the early stages and, and part of that is having like processes and systems too are really important, right? Because in the early stages, it may be, hey, you guys need to, when you’re in a neighborhood, you gotta go do door hangers and all the, all the neighbors, you know, little things like that, that neighborhood right around that huge. Yeah.

Yeah, I was uh I was speaking with Brandon Lewis uh recently and, you know, he, he’s a big proponent of that and I think that’s a really important, important thing, you know, it, it, it, there’s a lot of little things you can do and, and I will freely admit I am not a marketer that’s just not my bag. And, and so I miss some of those, you know, gorilla nuanced things that you can do at an early stage that are super simple and they’re super inexpensive. You know that, that, that will, you know, may get you more business than you want, which is not a bad thing.

Yeah, I, I think the, the Sops and the processes are super important. I’m gonna loop back to that in a second. But this idea, I think there’s a bigger idea that you were mentioning here. So you’re, you’re saying, you know, when you go out and do a project pepper the neighborhood, right? Your your band, hopefully it’s a rap band or is already there. You can the yard sign, I hope the guy, you got a yard sign, right? Hopefully you’re even for using subcontractors. Hopefully they’re wearing shirts with your company’s logo and name on it.

But you, so you have that going on. But, but the bigger, the bigger uh focus here is monetizing further monetizing what you already have and that’s, you already have a position, a presence in that neighborhood. It doesn’t take much to monetize it, right? You could even do more door knocking on the, on the, you could do direct mail even to those immediate houses. You have a past customer list, you have a past prospective customer list. People think, well, they didn’t close and you know, and I followed up with them for a week and they maybe they didn’t close with anyone, right?

You put them in a campaign or Estimate Rocket. I know these campaigns, you put them in something, you, you drip it out for the next year you might land them six months or a year and it took you absolutely zero effort except for setting it up in the first place. So, monetizing, taking fully capitalizing on the opportunities and the assets your business already has will help you. Especially when you’re, when you’re starting out 100%. Yeah. It’s kind of funny because when we first set up our, our, our follow up campaign, we go from like seven days, 14 days, 21 days, 30 days and then no, actually one year, 103 that’s what we do.

We do it days or something like that. And I’ve had people call and say, I just, this guy just called in, it was a, they didn’t even know it was going out in a year, right? But yeah, they’ll do it. They’ll be, yeah, I mean, how many, so you, you got, maybe especially let’s, let’s just hypothetically say it’s through Angie, right? Or one of these lead aggregators. And so, you know, they, they sent it to five people, send it to 30 people who knows how many Angie sent it to at this point, but present it to all these people.

Uh And, and so, of course, you know, it’s highly competitive. If you put them in a campaign like that and you reach out to them in a year, I can almost promise you that no one else is. So, if they didn’t close, you’re the last man standing. Absolutely. And if they decide to move forward at that point, people’s lives change, sometimes they’re really not serious. Sometimes something happens, set them back and, and, and then six months a year from now you, they’re like, you know what? Yeah, now is actually a much better time.

Thank you. Thank you for reaching out. I don’t think you remember, you didn’t remember your automation. You remember to set up the automation. You remember to do it? Yeah. Planning, planning, I don’t know whatever that’s saying it, failing, failing to plan is planning to fail. Yeah, you didn’t do that. You planned. All right. That’s so you are accounting. You are now software, you’re very detail oriented. So I think you’re gonna, I think you’re gonna have some good stuff here. Sops processes. This is hard for a lot of people.

What recommendations do you have for people who maybe don’t feel like they have dialed in processes. So um in, in the simplest sense, a process is an outline of the things you do. So you literally need to sit down and it that you don’t have to have the greatest processes in the world. Good, you know, good processes come from a bad process that you started with. So, but you need a pro you need processes for things that are done repeatedly for things that you know, you’re likely to delegate.

And again, this is one of those things when you’re the only person you are the process. But as soon as you start hiring people, there are, there are these little things that don’t get done all the time that if you don’t have a process for them, then every time they need to get done, someone’s gotta go, hey, how do you do that? And you need to stop what you’re doing and go explain that to them again. I, I was, I’m a member of a, of a thing called Sass Academy, which is, which is, you know, training or mentorship for Sass business owners.

And um one of the greatest things I’ve heard is the video process process recording. So you basically sit down, even if you don’t like to write, you, you sit down with you or have your phone and you walk around whatever you’re doing and you basically just video and narrate what it is you’re doing that is that is a modern day process recording now should have some text around it. Ultimately. Yeah, but you know, as a starting point, just having little videos about the different things you can do can go a long way to help people know.

Oh, hey, here’s, you know, here’s this video on you. You wanna know how to do that. Here’s a video on it, here’s another video on it that explains the steps. I mean, that works also for sending people out of jobs too. Um Certainly video is a super powerful tool. Yeah, 100% so that, that’s uh something. So at Pan American Pros, we have something called a knowledge base. So there are common questions or combinations or common things that arise and if we have a new team member, they might not know the answer to that, but they can go in and reference it.

So every time you have any objection, every time you have an issue on site, every time you have any kind of issue that should be recorded for the future, it’s never a brand new thing. Again, people kind like an encyclopedia of your company. Sure, huge. Every, you know, any, any company that’s growing and succeeding has something of that effect, right? So as some sort of a knowledge base um with both, you know, basically processes how to do this thing or how to do that thing or how we, how we work together, how we talk together, how our project flows, whatever it is.

But again, it’s just an outline of the steps. That’s, that’s the fundamental piece of a process. And even if you just get that part of it done, even if it’s not overly elaborated, it’s still better than not having anything than having it in your brain and no one, you know, no one can get in there without you being there. Yeah, it causes you to be the bottleneck and we, we record. So that’s one of the things I did when I was, when I was kind of starting to build a team, I’d record all the videos of how I did it and then I’d send it and I had someone else essentially in our, um, our CRM we use, click up now where they would basically break it up, they would add, uh, add text to it and then they would chop the video and then there’d be little segments of it, deal with accompanying text and painting companies can either have an admin, do something like this or they could go to five or fiv er R dot com outsource that you can use uh outsource talent in places like the Philippines and other countries to actually do this for you for relatively cheap.

Again, take advantage of the opportunities of globalization, the the technology estimate and everything that we have access to that we didn’t used to have access to, you have to do it. So that’s really the there’s so many good tools out there for that type of, you know, process creation. Now it’s, it’s just, it’s wonderful. Yeah, I and I want, I want to address something else, Tom too. You said you’re a member of a SAS Academy and that you’re receiving training and mentorship. So continuing education, investing in yourself, investing in the PC A investing and stuff.

Never be too, too proud, too big, too smart to invest into learning. You have to do, you have to keep doing it. You have to get, there’s two, there’s two big reasons for me, one is you need to be learning. If you’re not learning, you know, you’re not growing, you’re dying, getting better and getting worse, man, every day. E exactly. And the other reason for those types of things is you need some, um, you need peer, you know, uh, reinforcement, like, and, and otherwise, yeah, as a business owner it’s, it is a lonely world and, and it’s rewarding and, and I, you know, I love it but, uh, without other people to listen to and hear you think you’re the worst thing in the world, you know, you’re the only one who has all these fires.

You, yeah. Or you think you’re the best thing in the world and, you know, when you get the other. Yeah, you need it and it’s really, it is so healthy and, and you learn about what other people are doing for their systems and processes and it, you, you know, I can’t overemphasize how important those are that being in some sort of continuing education group, it, it’s just really invaluable and you meet people that become, that can become your group. You know, you make friendships at those events and then those become people that you can really bounce things off of and, and that is invaluable too to have that, you know, uninterested third party.

Uh, it’s not your wife, it’s not one of the people that work for you. It’s just some, it’s somebody who really is gonna tell you, hey, you know, you’re a schmuck or they’re gonna say, hey, I think you’re on the right track. Don’t be thinking you’re not, you know, going in the right direction. It really helps. Yeah, I love it, man. So what would the, you know, there, there’s, well, sops processes, they’re not, you know, people over complicate them. If, if it’s you doing it just write down and record what you’re doing.

Boom, you have an sop, right? What is obviously it’s something that can be iterated on. You said it might not even be a good one but just write it down, then you have a starting point. What’s your sop or your process for improving your sops and processes? Um I think it’s uh I mean, for me it’s in, in our company, it’s kind of a a if you read it and it’s terrible and it doesn’t really fit what’s going on anymore, then you should update it, you know, take the time to update it to what’s new because let’s face it.

There are some things that when you don’t have a process and you wanna get the process down, you create it and it may be something that’s a really core process and nobody may ever look at that again because everybody does it every single day. You know, a lot of the time the processes you need for things that happen occasionally that you forget. Oh God, how did we do that? Thing, right? But, uh, having those processes, the core processes, you know, they’re probably, you probably should have a review process for those that says, hey, once a quarter, once a year, at some point, we’re gonna review those and see, are there new steps?

Have we changed how we do that? Should we change how we do that? Especially for you. And, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s smart. Yeah. Maybe, maybe they added, uh, you know, software, maybe they, they took on Estimate Rocket because they got big enough. Well, that’s probably gonna change quite a few things. A lot of processes for sure. Yeah, I like that. I like that regular review. I mean, that applies to a lot of aspects of business but that’s so rarely done. Oh, I know. We usually wait till something breaks and I’m like, oh, no, what did the process say on that?

Why, why did that happen? And then it’s this reactive, you know, retroactive thing as opposed to getting ahead of it? Yeah, I do think, I do think there’s good opportunities to, you know, if you see something, say something kind of thing where, you know, hey, this isn’t the way that by the way, that whole process that, that’s nothing like what we do this now. Can, you know, can I update that or should we update that? And I think that’s a, that, that part of it can help because it is tough to review every single pro you know, if you do develop a whole ton of processes, which is good, um You need to look at them and throw out the ones that are irrelevant anymore.

Because like you said, if you bought a new um piece of software or you hired an uh you know, painter marketing pros to take over the marketing stuff, you don’t necessarily need that that process becomes different. You know, there’s just one word in it. Painter, marketing pros instead of like, you know, 30 page book of what your process is. So how do you delegate, you know, the updating or who decides what process you, how do you delegate that to your team or does he own? Should the owner do all that?

Oh, no, you should, that should definitely be delegated to the team and probably whoever, and again, depending upon your size delegated initially to whoever that, that team leader is that’s responsible for that area and, and review it with them. And that can be a, I think you, that can be a healthy process once you get into it and it’s gonna start out with something like, hey, let’s go look at a couple of the processes and they go through them and they’re all out of whack. And you say, hey, you know what, we really need to do some work on these.

Let’s, let’s, let’s chip away at one a week or whatever to get through this until we’ve uh we’ve looked at them all and thrown out the ones that don’t matter and improve the ones that do matter. Yeah. So you so kind of backing up a little more macro here, you know, back to the theme of going to 5 million. You’re ba, we’re basically assuming that the company knows how to sell because they’re, they’re, you know, they’re, they’re making sales. So then we need to, we need to hire so we need to come up with a consistent mechanism.

So a recruiting funnel, potentially even having someone full time or, or at least that’s a main core component of their job doing that. Uh, we need to layer on sops and processes and, and things that a lot of things will start to break pretty fast. If you get to a certain point, you haven’t done that. Uh, and then we need to market. So we need to get good at marketing because that, that’s really, you know, people say, well, I, I get 80% of my, my business from repeat referral.

Well, maybe that works at 500,000, you know, might not work at 5 million right there. You have to reach what’s called sort of a cold audience. You know, you have to expand your, your, um, reach. Is there anything that I’m missing, uh, like big topic wise to get to 5 million? No, I think we’ve covered most of the, most of the ground there. I mean, I think, I think I, I think, uh you know, over probably at about 1.5 million to two, you are gonna need, um, you’re probably gonna need sales assistance because you, you’re not gonna be able to sell at all anymore.

And I don’t know if we touched on that, but, um, that is gonna be a really, especially in service contracting that is gonna be an area that requires the processes to have been defined because, and in many cases systematized because as you know, however you’re doing your estimates conveying that depending upon what you’re using for a system is gonna be difficult to a new person that you may have to train doing it. And I know that’s a fear for a lot of our customers is they come in and, you know, they’re like, oh, I don’t want to learn this well, but if you don’t learn this, you’re never gonna be able to get someone to, to or set up a process for it.

You’re never gonna be able to get someone else to go out and do estimates and sell for you because they’re not gonna, they’re not gonna be, you, you’ve got already got however many years you’ve got in the, in the industry and in the business and, and you kind of have to accept or a mental shift you have to make because, because we, as business owners, especially when we’re growing up, we think no one can do it as good as us, right? Or like no one’s gonna be able to sell.

Well, I understand this company is so much better than everybody, anyone. And that may be the case. But what you have to get good at a mental shift that you need to make is, is, well, maybe you’re not very good at actually building the team and, and actually running a company, maybe you’re good at running and doing a company, but you might not be good at running a company. And do you wanna do a company or do you want to run a company? Because if you suck at running a company, you’re gonna have to go ahead and accept that and then learn to get good at it. Yeah.

And, and you might, some of your metrics might get hurt, you know, maybe your close rate does suffer, maybe it’s, but, but you kind of have to accept that so you can actually scale past that, that sort of breaking point where you can’t do it all anymore. Right. Yeah, I personally, I love programming. I, if I was, you know, it was, it was my, uh, if I could, I’d do nothing but that, but I can’t because I, my skills are, you know, elsewhere. I was good at that, but I’m also good at systems and helping people grow and, and, and managing the company and seeing it grow is like the most fun thing you can do. Yeah.

Well, and you’re on this podcast right now. You’re not programming, right? So, you’re, you’re, you’re spreading the brand, you’re, you’re spreading your knowledge and, and it’s something you’re doing for the company. Absolutely. Ok. Well, Tom, this has been incredible. We, we’re coming near the end of it. I want to. Uh, well, you know what? Actually let me back up. I, I had a question for you. I’m sure that I remembered. So, you’ve seen, you’ve seen some companies again, you have a larger sample size than most. So you’ve seen some companies really grow and you’ve seen some, not as much.

Is, is there any, are there any trends that you’ve noticed with the ones that, that grow versus the ones that don’t? Well, I can say that the ones that, from our perspective, the ones that are growing the most are actually utilizing the most thing, features in the system. I won’t say probably nobody using everything, but they’re the people that take the time to learn the systems and understand how they work and, and embrace them. Um And there are, there are a lot of customers that use our system, not in the way it was meant to be used and it probably is aggravating as hell for them to, to use it in the way they’re doing it.

And, and I think, um, so that’s, that gets back to, uh being in, you know, a, a, some sort of a continuing education, you know, reading self-improvement books. Uh, somebody said the other day, one of his five non negotiables every single day is read at least 10 pages in a self-help or self-improvement book. And actually at 10 pages a day it really goes pretty quick. So, but, um, um, it, it’s, it’s a really critical thing. You, you gotta keep moving forward. Yeah. And I think the, obviously estimate rocket is good software.

It helps using, it is going to help your business. But I think the there’s sort of this um cause and effect uh chicken and the egg kind of thing, right? You, you hear people promote at events or say, you know, people who participate in our program see a 30% bigger sales than people who don’t, right? Or people come to the event. But the people, the the real underlying um sort of bigger cause I would say is that the people who implement Estimate Rocket implement the features are embracing technology and change in general and leaning into it.

So that propensity to, to be forward thinking, to use the tools that are accessible to you is ultimately the those people win in the long run. Absolutely. You have to, you know, it’s like if you didn’t, how would you paint the house without a paintbrush? And if you’re gonna paint it, are you gonna use the right brush or are you gonna use a terrible bru? You know, there’s tools are everywhere and software is a tool process is a tool. All these things are tools. If you’re not gonna use to the appropriate tools or the best tools for the job, then you’re gonna have a harder job to do. Yeah.

You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage from somebody who is for sure, Tom, is there anything else that you wanna add before we wrap up this episode? Uh, just that, that was a great conversation and I, uh, I truly love getting into the weeds and some of these things because it’s important and, and even I learn a lot every time I do one of these podcasts about myself and always learn something new. So, Tom, are you on Facebook? Uh, I am, I don’t, I’m not a big Facebook guy.

I’m adding you to the group. So we have seen the Market Ma podcast forum on Facebook. I’m gonna add you to it. So people will be able to tag you and ask you questions directly if they have anything. So you need to start checking your Facebook a little bit. Tom. Is there another way that they can contact you if someone wants to email you or anything like that? Tom at estimate rocket dot com? Ok. Tom. At Estimate rocket dot com. Ok. So tag him in the Facebook group.

But if you don’t want to, you can also email Tom at, I do check it probably once a day. So. Ok. Well, that, that’s turn out. All right, Tom, I appreciate you, man. Thank you for the time. Likewise,

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

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 and I can give you personalized advice on growing your painting business until next time.

Keep growing.

Brandon Pierpont

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