We all know the hardest time of year to be a Painting Contractor: Winter.
Chances are, just reading that word made you shudder, and not because you’re thinking about how cold it gets in December.
Right now, it’s summer! Leads are coming in, your closing rates are up, and customers are looking at their new homes with awe and approval, and your bookkeeper is doing the same. Summer makes people pay for paint jobs, and that’s good.
However, this reminds us of an old fable about some ants and a grasshopper. The Grasshopper spends his summertime enjoying all the immediately-available fruits of the season while his neighbors, the Ants, spent their entire summer busy, hard at work, gathering food to stockpile for the winter.
How does this affect you as a Painter? Let’s break it down into the 4 Ways to Keep Painting Business in Winter.
It’s 2019, and the absolute truth of running a Painting Business–or any business, really–is that online presence is a must. Sure, people still read the newspaper and local magazines, but when you can look up, navigate, or order just about anything from a brick that fits in your pocket, you can bet that that’s the number one way people will be finding their next painter.
Have you ever Googled your own name? If you have, you may be relieved if no results about your personal life show up.
But if you search for your Painting Business online and find no results…well, that’s a major problem. 85% of users do not go past Page 1 of Google, Bing, etc. to find what they’re looking for.
So, what does that mean for us in the Painting world? It means we’re required to excel at things most people in our profession aren’t familiar with.
- Have you fully optimized your Google My Business?
- Is your website built around keyword relevancy and accordingly structured?
- What are you posting on your social media?
- Are you using your social media frequently, if at all?
There are good practices and terrible practices in making sure your painting company is found online.
It’s important to realize, too, that “having a website” does NOT mean you will be found online. If your optimization is poor (i.e. keyword density, an abundance of service pages, etc.) you will not get found.
And sure, the bank account is fat right now when it’s warm…but remember last winter when everything got lean from November to March?
Getting found online takes time. If you’re going to paint in Winter, your best option is to start storing now.
2. Don’t Neglect Your Customer List
You get a phone call. It’s a potential client. Great! Leads are coming in. You go size up their house, get them a quote, draw up some paperwork, and close the sale. Great.
You schedule a date, get the project done, and BOOM: you’ve got that big cash stimulus in your account.
Great work! On to the next one, right?
Hold your horses. One thing Painters always neglect is their past customers. This is a HUGE opportunity that painters lose 1,000’s of dollars a year on.
If you’re not staying visible in front of your past customers, you’re losing precious real estate: their brain space.
Customer Repaints should be the easiest job to acquire. If you painted Bob’s living room 8 months ago and now, he’s ready to have the kitchen painted, he won’t remember you from Adam if you don’t stay in touch.
Monthly newsletters (both email and snail mail), relevant posts on social media, offers/deals, REGULAR POSTING…all critical actions for you to take to keep your customers thinking about you.
Don’t lose your foothold in their brains just because you’ve already completed a job for them. Loyalty is important to customers if you do a good job, and, of course, it should be important to you, too.
3. Get Creative in the Winter
Picture this: It’s January. It’s cold out, the leads are slow, your bookkeeper is warding off panic attacks, and your painters are bored.
Chances are…this sounds all too familiar to you.
We see it all the time: if there’s no painting to be done, we layoff our painters.
While most of us hate to do it, our budget just won’t let us hang onto our painters while there’s no paint work to be done.
It is imperative to remember, however, that your painters can do more than just paint. Keeping a loyal, quality painter at your company is one of the smartest moves you can make as a Painting Business owner.
But how? There are no jobs. No jobs=no money…no money=no payroll.
This is where you, as the business owner, can get creative. Examine ALL the ways your business brings in revenue and beef up your personnel on some of those tasks. It may be administrative tasks, sales, outreach, building repair…you name it.
If it brings money into your business, assign your painters to it if they have nothing else to do. Not only will this help you keep your best painters, it will also save you expenses of contracting out for other personnel and will help you better prepare for your busy season.
4. START NOW
“What!” cried the Ants in surprise, “haven’t you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?”
“I didn’t have time to store up any food,” whined the Grasshopper; “I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone.”
The Grasshopper is introduced in Aesop’s classic fable begging the Ants for food. While he spent the summer doing what he felt was important, he missed golden opportunities to make his life better in the future.
We all know the wisdom from this fable implies that you must take advantage and prepare for harsh times while resources are plentiful.
Are you starving for leads in the Winter? Then the SUMMER IS THE TIME TO PREPARE.
And, as we established, you’re going to have a pretty hard time continuing to get leads and close sales if you’re not getting found online. Not only in the Winter, but for the life of your business.
Web presence takes time to develop. If you want to be found online by November, the time to start preparing is TODAY.
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