Hiring Painting Subcontractors & Employees in a Difficult Labor Market

Right now, painters are facing the toughest hiring market in memory.

A combination of pent-up demand springing from loosened government restrictions and the government’s lavish unemployment benefits for able-bodied people have led to an artificial labor shortage of epic proportions.

Essentially, painting contractors are expected to complete 50% more work with 33-50% fewer painters. As a result, schedules are running behind and labor costs are rising.

 

In this interview, Morgan Ray of Bookkeeping for Painters and I discuss what we’re seeing across the nation when it comes to recruiting painters. We discuss the strategies owners are using to mitigate the effects of the labor shortage and how it’s impacting the bottom line.
Here’s the entire interview…

Brandon Lewis:
All right. Jason, please cut this front part off and put the Painter’s Academy thing in front of it. Here we go. Hello everyone, I’m Brandon Lewis, a founder of the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors. Joining me today is Morgan Ray, managing partner of Bookkeeping for Painters. Similar to myself, Morgan interacts with hundreds of painting contractors across the nation. We’re going to talk about what we’re seeing and what’s working and what isn’t in the realm of recruiting and hiring in a historically challenging environment. Morgan, welcome to the program, dear.

Morgan Ray:
Thank you so much for having me on Brandon. I love being here.

Brandon Lewis:
Well, I’m glad. I’m glad because you’re here anyway, you might as well be damned happy about it. So before we get started, tell people a little bit about who you are and what you do there at Bookkeeping for Painters.

Morgan Ray:
Yeah. So like you mentioned, I’m one of the managing partners over here at Bookkeeping for Painters. At Bookkeeping for Painters, we do business as bookkeeping for painters as well as bookkeeping for trades. So everything that we do is accounting services targeted towards trade contractors, but painters really were who we started with and are really our bread and butter. Make up about 80% of our thankfully very rapidly growing client base.

Morgan Ray:
So as you guys have seen, times have been really good for the home services industry in the last couple of years, and similarly for us. So we’ve had some really cool growth over here. My role was in Bookkeeping for Painters is really heavily focused on advising. I manage the account management and advising team, super heavy on the face to face interaction with clients. So I just love getting to talk to painters day in and day out about what’s going on out there on the ground and figured this would be a fun time for you and I to chat a little bit about what we’ve both been hearing and seeing out there.

Brandon Lewis:
All right, so let’s get right into it. Tell me what you’re hearing from painting contractors that you work with. I’d be interested to see how it jives with what I’m hearing out there. It does differ market to market, and company to company, and owner to owner. So just give me the 50,000 foot view of what you’re seeing out there.

Morgan Ray:
Yeah. I think that everyone was really surprised in 2020 to see how much demand and production there actually was, and especially in the second half of the year. So everyone was really on the fence about what was 2021 going to look like? Is that trend going to continue? It seems like a lot of people slowed down quite a bit after the holidays, which is traditionally seasonally true, and it has ramped up dramatically here heading into Q2 and now into Q3. So the really big things that I’m hearing from all of the contractors, I’m talking extensively with everyone about really is about the labor shortage.

Morgan Ray:
So like you’re familiar for years now, we’ve been seeing a lot of changing in how we would gauge and measure the profitability of businesses because of the fact that the labor costs have just been increasing so much in recent years. It feels like that’s really spiked up dramatically here in 2021, and on top of that, people are really struggling just to get warm bodies to show up anybody, to answer the job ads, to keep people. I’ve been hearing a lot of concern about people being poached and having to rapidly adjust compensation plans all over the board for everyone because everyone’s panicking about losing team. So that’s what I’ve been hearing and talking a lot about. What about you? Have you been hearing things in the similar realm?

Brandon Lewis:
It’s the same thing. I mean, basically what you had is 2021, a whole lot of people would not let folks, or 2020, a lot of folks would not let people into their homes. Then in 2021, in that first quarter, everyone who decided that the black death was not at their door still needed to get something painted. So you’ve got all this pent up demand from 2020 that comes into 2021, but you’ve got a third less people in the labor force to do it with seasonally speaking because the government has incentivized people heavily to stay at home and not look for work. So never has the industry faced both the difficult obstacles that were left behind from the great recession of 2008, when hundreds of thousands of people left the painting industry as a worker. Then a little bit more than a decade later, they’re having to compete with their own federal government as a source of income, which who would have ever thought historically that would be your number one competitor?

Brandon Lewis:
Don’t worry what the guy down the streets doing. Worry about what the guys in Washington are doing, because if they have their way, these people will never pick up a brush again until 2035. So, that’s what we’re seeing. Now, I have seen some disparities. People in rural America are not having nearly the difficulty in hiring as the people that are in metro markets. If you’re in a metro market, it has been tough. If you are in a rural market, has not been nearly as difficult. Depends on which state you’re in as to whether or not your state has ended extended unemployment benefits. Some of that’s being litigated in the courts presently in various states, and then of course in the states that have kept that, or will keep it until September, even some of those in rural markets are having difficulties to a degree, but not nearly as what I’ve seen in urban.

Brandon Lewis:
Of course the final thing is, it varies a lot by owner. A lot of people are just not very aggressive, assertive. They don’t spend much money or time recruiting and as a result, when you’re doing what you’ve always done in the environment gets really, really difficult, it didn’t work before when times were pretty good. It really doesn’t work now. So what do you think owners who are looking to hire painters, what should they be doing to out compete other contractors? What have you been hearing as people grasp desperately for something that will work? What have they been finding that might give them a little bit of purchase?

Morgan Ray:
We’ve definitely been seeing an increase in working wages. A lot of grumbling around that too understandably, because up until this point, I think the way that people think about estimating and pricing has been very firmly anchored at one point. Now the market’s shifted so dramatically that I think it’s been hard for a lot of people to mentally adjust to that. So, the going rate for wages has definitely gone up because of the stimulus. The things that are pulling people out of the workforce, but the flip side of that is that demand is so incredibly high for a variety of reasons that pricing for anybody who’s snapped on to that has really shot through the roof as well. Because, I was having a lot of conversations with contractors who were booked out four, five, six months booked through the end of the year.

Morgan Ray:
The advice there is just you’ve got to start raising your rates. So you have to start raising your rates to start bringing more people in because you’re underselling yourself if you’re so far booked out. I think one of the really big reasons why demand has shot up so much is obviously people are spending a lot more time at home. There are a lot of different projects, but also I think COVID really permanently pushed a lot of people out of the labor market that would have otherwise stayed in. So that’s already been the issue in the trades is the silver tsunami of retirement. A lot of skilled painters and craftsmen going out, even people passing away and things like that, which has been very sad to see amongst friends and comrades in the community, but there’s an insane amount of demand.

Morgan Ray:
So I think everyone who’s catching on is raising their prices in accordance. They are paying more aggressively, and I’ve also been seeing a lot more people shifting towards subcontractor models or using subcontractors more. That’s something that I wanted to actually pick your brain about a little bit and your opinions around that. It seems like a lot of people that I’ve been talking to have struggled for a lot of the first part of the year to hire employees. Retention was a nightmare. Getting them in the door training was a nightmare. I have seen this get flipped on its head. Like we were just saying, historically, contractors don’t spend a lot on recruitment. I have been seeing people throw a ton of money at recruitment and getting almost zilch out of it. So they kind of in desperation turned towards using subcontractors in the local area more, and I can’t help but think this is because the rising retail rates for repaint is driving a lot more people to only consider doing work as a subcontractor instead of as an employee. So, that’s been an interesting shift.

Brandon Lewis:
Yeah. I’m seeing that too. There has been a shift to subcontractors. I think it’s a combination of things. Number one, there’s so much work out there. Whenever there’s a feeding frenzy, you’ll find more sharks in the water. Whenever there’s a lot of demand for painting services, you’re going to see more people enter the market. Then also just I think from a psychographic and behavioral standpoint, people that own their own little subcontracting outfit where it’s them and a buddy, they’re less prone to try to get on the dole because they are their own entrepreneur. They’re not going to take unemployment and sit at the house. There’s still a little bit. We are holding on by very thin American work ethic. They belittle it, but that is what has kept the restaurants open with three people instead of six. That’s what’s kept the painting companies open with 10 people instead of 20, is that remnant of people that are like, “You know, I’d rather just work.”

Brandon Lewis:
You’ve got that going on and what we have also found is, I’ve had to shake our guys and say, “Listen, it’s great to post online. That is fantastic. That is wonderful. It takes 10 minutes. Yes, you should write compelling ads. Yes, it should be all about differentiation.” We offer a better employment opportunity, not an employment opportunity. Employment opportunities are beside the point. Now it’s all the things that make you want to leave your current employer such as we, do you hate your boss? I won’t be an SOB. We pay more and here’s how. It’s unlike other people that hire subcontractors, we use production rates and bonus pay and this is what makes us different. It’s all about differentiation now and it is about keeping the people you have, or if they’re out there working and you’re trying to recruit, it’s about stealing painters.

Brandon Lewis:
It’s about finding other subs. I mean, you’ve just got to compete for it just like you would for jobs. Then finally to me, I think the wages question is kind of beside the point, because we always teach our guys to just whatever you pay with your average pay rate, plus your labor burden, just double it. That’s how you get 50% gross profits. So if labor rates go up, doesn’t make any difference to you.

Morgan Ray:
Yeah, mark it up.

Brandon Lewis:
If paint prices go up, doesn’t make any difference to you. You start with your building blocks and then you price from there. You don’t start with your prices and then try to figure out how to make the wages work.

Morgan Ray:
Exactly, exactly.

Brandon Lewis:
So people often go backwards there. Let me ask you this. Have you seen any interesting compensation methods or strategies that others might consider or emulate to get people in the door that otherwise weren’t? They’re in the market, so it’s not about getting them to come into the market. It’s about how to get the people that are in the market to come to your company. So what have you seen there?

Morgan Ray:
Right. Well, like we mentioned, the shift toward subcontractors. Pricing there is a lot more straightforward and I think that I’m seeing a lot of contractors leaning into that part of their business because of the simplicity of it. It’s a lot easier to control and predict what their costs are going to be for different projects while they’re using the subcontractor model a little more heavily. I’ve seen a lot of people who were struggling badly with their gross profit margins lean into that and start to see some really rapid success with reigning in where their profit margins are. So that kind of positive reinforcement is definitely going to keep people going in that direction.

Morgan Ray:
Because of that and because so much of the labor market now for actually going out and producing the work is starting to become people who want to be self-employed and want to be two or three main crews that are subs, I’m seeing people focusing a lot more on trying to hire some of those higher value team members like the production managers, the crew leaders. So that’s where I’ve been hearing a lot more of the interesting conversations around compensation.

Morgan Ray:
I think in recent years, we’ve been seeing a pretty strong shift towards, for estimators and for project and production managers, moving towards compensating as a function of gross profit instead of sales. I think that that’s really key because I think a lot of contractors were getting into issues with paying commissions, especially the estimators, based off of just sales revenue. Because it’s kind of a little bit of a perverse incentive there if you think about it, it’s all about closing the sales so that you get that commission rather than estimating it properly, making sure that all of the I’s have been dotted and the T’s have been crossed so that everyone else can produce it reasonably and hit the margins that everyone’s after.

Morgan Ray:
I’ve seen that as a pretty good way to give production managers a better incentive to really push things in a way that’s going to push the bottom line for the owners. Eyes on the prize with the gross profit margin rather than any other metrics. So I’ve been seeing gross profit margin based compensation plans that are gearing towards paying a percentage of GP on a sliding scale. So if they don’t hit a particular metric, no bonus. If they hit 42% GP, maybe they get a 2% payout. If they hit 45, maybe it’s two and a half. If they’re hitting 48 and above, then maybe they’re hitting a three or a three and a half percent of GP payout for a quarter. So again, I think that that’s a pretty great way to try to keep everybody really in touch with what’s going on on the production side and still steadily incentivize pushing that growth.

Brandon Lewis:
I agree, and we forgot, it’s interesting. In the end of it, the compensation and money is all well and good. We have saved labor bonus program that not only that we recommend the guys use that not only compensates crew members and crew leaders for hitting budget or saving labor hours, but it also brings in the things that most men, which is 97.3% of our industry leave out. Which has all the personal recognition, private recognition, awards, walls of fame, talking things through and really rewarding people in crew meetings. All those things that create a self policing culture, because not everybody’s motivated exclusively and only by money, which is something very difficult to get through the heads of many contractors that I work with. All that extra stuff, it’s not about just one thing. You’ve got to put multiple incentives and disincentives around the behavior if you want to pull those guard rails close enough together so people don’t run off the road or go into oncoming traffic.

Brandon Lewis:
Even when it comes to subs or if it comes to W2 employees, I always ask our guys this very fundamental question, and this is worth writing down if you’re watching this. If the ones you had loved had been kidnapped and held at gunpoint, and if you couldn’t find a crew in a week that could produce painting jobs on budget, if they were going to be murdered, would you do what you are presently doing to recruit people? Would you post an ad on Craigslist and ZipRecruiter and just call it a damn day? Probably not all. Well Hell, I’d get out there. I’d go to the paint store. I’d see people. I’d be face-to-face. I’d drive up in the road. I’d talk to people, I’d put them on the newsletter. I’d built a database, da, da, da, da, da. Well, how about you damn do that today instead of waiting for this fictitional awful thing to happen. You know instinctively if push comes to shove what to do, but then people don’t do it.

Brandon Lewis:
So I would recommend if you’re out there, instead of trying to talk to the people that are unemployed, that if you’re really interested in recruiting, you just go directly to the source and you steal them, which goes to the other question that we’re going to talk about here, retention. How do you keep your painters from being poached and what are your ideas on that? Because, that’s one of the biggest things that I teach people how to do, and especially in this labor market. I mean, you can train them up and that’s all well and good, but-

Morgan Ray:
You’ve got to keep them. It’s a heavy investment to make.

Brandon Lewis:
Yeah, you’ve got to keep them. So talk a little bit about retention in your experience.

Morgan Ray:
We’re seeing a lot more of an emphasis on those qualitative [inaudible 00:17:04] factors because you hit the nail on the head. Money only gets us so far and I think you and I got to talk about this a little bit at Expo a couple of years ago, but a lot of the research around motivation theory really indicates that money is what they call a hygiene factor. You’ve got to pay people up to a certain threshold and past that point, it’s not motivating them to be any better. People get really worried about money. They get really stressed about money underneath a certain point, but once we hit that point, throwing more money at the problem is not going to actually fix it. So what are the other factors that people are actually finding motivating? It’s these qualitative quality of life things. Time off. Some of the contractors are still not doing any kind of paid holidays.

Morgan Ray:
They’re doing, “You start with me and get five days, six days, seven days of PTO, and maybe you get one a year increased,” and that’s just not cutting it I think, compared to a lot of the other opportunities that people have out there. So, sort of an emphasis on that. Team building, community building, culture building things. What are you doing with your team for the holidays? What do you have? Do you have a really clear guideline and plan for their progression, their career pathway within the business, rather than just pulling people in as a baseline painter and then never giving them any sort of forward-looking goal that they can strive towards? What’s the motivation in getting better. If there’s a pathway to that, it’s not been made clear.

Brandon Lewis:
I agree, and don’t be a SOB to your people. It’s tough sometimes.

Morgan Ray:
Is it? Maybe for you. It’s not for me, Brandon.

Brandon Lewis:
Well, you’ve never employed a gaggle of painters.

Morgan Ray:
That’s true.

Brandon Lewis:
In all due respect ma’am, in all due respect you’ve never managed a gaggle of painters. So, you have to be consistent. It’s the stern and loving parent. You’ve got to be there when they need help and you’ve got to positively reinforce when they come in on budget, when they do good things, and they get positive customer satisfaction reviews. It can’t just be the only conversation you ever have with them is when the crap has hit the fan.

Brandon Lewis:
Additionally, having your ducks in a row, operationally having an ultimate crew leader packet, [inaudible 00:19:21] agenda driven crew meetings, not being emotional but being focused exclusively on outcomes, being consistent with everyone. Not playing favorites and getting people together, and corporately just like you would in a civic organization or church or anything else that has a longstanding history of bringing folks together to have that allegiance to a cause, or to a company, or to an organization. Those are all important. So often, we just want to find a body, find a house, put a body at the house, repeat, and that’s just not attractive to people moving forward. If you want to keep people from being poached, one other good thing is to not send them to the damned paint store. Do not send them to the paint store. That is-

Morgan Ray:
The flip side is if you’re looking to poach, where do you hang out?

Brandon Lewis:
If you’re looking to poach, go to the paint store. The only reason you should be in the paint store as an owner, or well, just as an owner, your painters should never be in the paint store. The only reason you should ever be in the paint store as an owner is to either steal painters or to try to generate referrals. That’s it. They have these things called deliveries. You’ve heard of them. The trucks, they bring the paint directly to the job site and/or your office. They have these things called order sheets that you can fax in, send in, scan in, mail in, text in. Whatever you want to. It keeps them, keeps you out of there, and if you spend an hour and a half at the paint store just a week, just goofing off ordering paint, you will have spent one month of your working year at the damn paint store. Stay out of the paint store and keep your painters out of the paint store too. So-

Morgan Ray:
Wait, one quick-

Brandon Lewis:
Go ahead.

Morgan Ray:
Note on that too that I’ve been talking to a couple of people about lately with the retention piece is that most of the contractors really struggle with spending a lot of money on recruitment, and they feel like they get a gaggle of people in and they lose them all really quickly on the front end. Honestly, this is something that we actually struggled with as a firm when we started really scaling up our staff too, is we were finding that it was very overwhelming for people who were coming in, and we realized that we had to reorient the way that we onboarded and started to step people into the work. The mantra really became, give them a lot of small wins at the very beginning that could give them that psychological boost early on.

Morgan Ray:
I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of managers, tend to be very strongly self-directed people. They don’t like to be micromanaged, and so their management style tends to naturally lean towards, “We’re going to do a little bit of a throw you into it, trial by fire. It’s okay. If it doesn’t work out, I’m here, I’m going to coach you through it.” I think that’s definitely my natural management style and I really had to stop and pivot and think, how can I just pad this cell for somebody coming in here so that this looks and feels so much more uplifting right at the beginning? Positively reinforce being here for the first couple of weeks to get them through this painful phase of learning everything and getting oriented around everything. Because I feel like that’s where a really huge portion of the drop-off is, and if you can get people past the first few weeks, your chances of keeping them are going to really skyrocket after that point.

Brandon Lewis:
Well, most companies do not have an orientation video. This is what we’re about. This is what we expect. This is what we expect on the job site. Here’s the short list of things that are critically important. Can I get your sign on an agreement for it? Here’s the safety training. Let me bring you into a company meeting where you can experience our culture and figure out what’s going on. Let me put you with a mentor in the field.

Brandon Lewis:
One of our members, Trent Husky has a very interesting methodology for compensation that I like a lot, and he has specific roles with specific pay ranges. Every specific role has a list of competencies and responsibilities in addition to a bonus program. So when people come in, they know what they can learn, they know what the upward progression is. It’s all spelled out, and then that way people don’t come to you every three minutes looking for a raise or whatever, in which case you can point to the pay structures and say, “If you’d like to move up, here it is. We can test you and take you through these technical and non-technical skills assessments, and if you make it, we can compensate you more.”

Brandon Lewis:
So a lot of those things, it’s hard in our industry in particular, when you go from being a technician to a crew leader, and then typically the path is business owner. All the stuff that goes around business ownership is left out, and we still tend to try to do what we did as a crew leader to make the company work when in fact, all these other skills that have nothing to do with painting or project management are really what’s essential to be successful. So on hiring and recruitment, you talked about keeping a balance between profits and painter pay.

Brandon Lewis:
We discussed that a little bit with my very simple, non nuanced formula, but what are your thoughts there and what are you seeing? I tell all our guys 50% gross profit, 30% cashflow to owner. That’s how you need to orient your company. You may take a slight dip if you bring on an operations manager or an estimator until you grow into that from a revenue standpoint. That might be a temporary six month, 12 month lull, but aside from those instances where you bring on a fair amount of organizational overhead, you should be able to hit those metrics. What are you seeing? I think people have real low expectations for their gross profit, which probably has to do with their low percentages of repeat and referral work or poor sales systems, all of which contribute to hitting 42 instead of 50, which is a big old difference. You can talk a little bit about that.

Morgan Ray:
Yeah. So this is going to vary a lot based on kind of the cohorts I think that we’re talking about. So the metrics that you’re throwing out, the 50% GP, 30% profit to owners, I definitely see it. I definitely see a lot of high-performing, so I always tell people, “You can hit this.” I have some painters that maybe there’s a little bit of magic in the mix of what’s going on in some of those scenarios, but I definitely have painting contractors that are pulling 40%, 45% profit to owner. It’s really, really impressive to see and it’s sustaining. I’ve seen it for periods of time. However, the majority of the industry, there’s the averages, which are not what we’re aiming for and then there’s what we coach people towards, which is, what are your healthy benchmarks? This is the healthy baseline that you really have to get to in order for all of the other growth pieces.

Morgan Ray:
So the healthy baseline that I always advise people on is really we’re looking for around a 40% gross profit margin, is what I would consider minimally healthy. Once I see businesses starting to consistently hit that 40% GP, I find that that’s where they have enough breathing room to really invest and further strategy and further growth and development to push past that point. So I feel like that’s the first marker that I always throw out there for people, that 40% GP. Because that number has shifted historically from the last five or 10 years where 50% was much more doable, everyone who’s hitting that 40% gross profit margin, they’re doing a healthy net profit or discretionary earnings towards owner by really cutting down on their operating and their overhead expenses. So, that’s what I’m seeing across the board is that all of the contractors are starting to run much more lean on operating expenses than they ever have been before.

Morgan Ray:
So, it’s a classic case of, we fit to the plate that we’re on. We shift things around to make sure that it’s all where it needs to be, and so for profits to owner, the healthy baseline that we say, we track it as discretionary earnings. It’s that metric of the owner salary, as well as the net operating income combined, and we say 15% is the minimum baseline. If you’re a franchise, 12. 10 to 12 is what I see as the minimally healthy, but again, I see a lot of high performers in that realm too. So that’s where we start people. This is the win that we’re looking for now, and then we can start building on that. So that’s kind of what we like to discuss.

Brandon Lewis:
Well, I think a lot of people get caught up in, well, what if I don’t get the job? Well, if you’ve got limited capacity, better that you only close the ones that are at 50% gross profit and if people say, “No, that’s great because if you’ve only got 10 painters and you’re used to having 20,” and for example, I have a thing called a cash flow projection sheet, which just simplifies everything. That’s what I have our guys run their businesses on. One of our members the other day was like, “Oh, we’re at 44. We’re trying to get to 50,” and I said, “What do you mean you’re at 44?” “Well, it’s not that big a deal. It’s just a few points off.” I said, “Really?” I said, “Well, let’s change this cash flow projection sheet,” and it took his monthly earnings from $18,000 down to $10.

Brandon Lewis:
I said, “Is that not a lot? Half of almost what you’re making, bud.” You need to focus on operations. This isn’t small. This isn’t we over spent on postage this month. This is a bigger deal, and so we focus back on that and you’ll fast forward 60 days, he’s up to 50%. He’s like, “I didn’t realize by moving things six to eight points that it would double my income.” I was like, “Yeah, well, it’s all the money at the end, buddy. It’s not the money at the beginning.” So I would say to all of you out there, do not have low expectations on your gross profits. Do not have low expectations because if you can’t be the cheapest in your market, be the most expensive. Be the most expensive and find that optimal close rate, not the maximum close rate. So any other thoughts on recruitment that you would like to share, Ms. Ray, as we close out this program?

Morgan Ray:
I think the last thought is one that we probably hear cited a lot, but it’s always worth the reminder, which is that some of the best recruitment opportunities that you have are going to come from your own team. The people that already work for you. Humanize yourself, humanize the business by getting to perspective recruits through the people that already work for you, and incentivize them for bringing in good people.

Brandon Lewis:
You know what? That’s a closing thought, but I’ve got to tell this one, because I forgot about this. There’s so much, so much. We could talk for another, I don’t know, 18 hours, but-

Morgan Ray:
We should sometime.

Brandon Lewis:
Who has time for that? So one of the biggest things, and if you’ve taken nothing else away from this call but a migraine headache, then I recommend that you do this every time you interview someone, and people really drop the ball on this. When you’re sitting across from one of these guys that you’re interviewing, I want you to say these words. “You know, I’ve really enjoyed interviewing you here today. Let me ask you a question. If you were putting together your own painting team, and if you were going to work with somebody on a crew, somebody that was fast, somebody that was ethical, somebody that was honest. If you’ve ever worked with anybody like that in the local area, and talk to me a little bit about what type of characteristics they had.”

Brandon Lewis:
They’ll go on, “Well, I worked with this guy named Bobby and he was da, da, da.” “Who else have you [inaudible 00:30:20]? Is there anybody else [inaudible 00:30:21]?” You’re just writing down Bobby, Earl, José, who the hell ever, and then at the end of that say, “You’ve got these four. Do any of these guys still live in here?” “Well, yeah.” I said, “Do you have any of them in your phone?” “Yeah.” “Could I have their phone number please? I won’t tell them who told me to call. I won’t whatever.” I mean, when you’re interviewing someone, if you don’t get two or three other names, which makes your life 300% to 400% easier, you are missing the boat.

Brandon Lewis:
What you have to remember is that hiring and recruitment is marketing and sales, and most people will bend over backwards to close a hundred thousand dollar deal, but if you’re charging $60 bucks an hour and there are 2,000 labor hours, that’s $120,000 in revenue in labor alone. Not counting the other $16 to $22,000 that will be in materials. So round that up to about $140,000. You’re sitting in front of $140,000 job and people act like it’s a big monumental inconvenience, and I think one of the big things that contractors need to do is shift their focus and get as excited about landing a painter as they are about landing a commercial exterior. I think they would probably put a little bit more time and effort into it. So shift your mindset on that stuff and always ask for referrals. For those of you who actually watched to the end, hopefully that’ll be helpful to you.

Morgan Ray:
Solid point.

Brandon Lewis:
Morgan, it’s been a pleasure. How would people get in touch with you at Bookkeeping for Painters if they’re tired of screwing around with their books? If they’ve had a CPA that only raises his head once a year when taxes are due, can’t give you any information to run your painting business on because they don’t understand the industry? If you’re tired of that kind of mediocre non-value add bookkeeping and/or tax service, how would they get in touch with you?

Morgan Ray:
Yeah, for anyone who’s tired of rustling paperwork and really needs great information, the best way to get in touch with us is to go find our website, BookkeepingforPainters.com, double O, double K, double E. You can call us. The business line is 800-605-1921, or you can just email me directly. Morgan@Onlinee.Bookkeep.com, double O, double K, double E.

Brandon Lewis:
There you go. Well, thank you so much, Morgan. I appreciate all that you do at Bookkeeping for Painters to support the academy and I can’t wait to see you at the sixth annual Painting Profits Summit, which will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida or thereabouts, just north, the last weekend in January. So we’ll be having that puppy. We’re actually putting up the event page now. Last year, we were the only industry event to go forward. We braved the water. Half of us died. Half of us died the last year or so.

Morgan Ray:
It was still a smash hit.

Brandon Lewis:
I know. The repeats are going to be real low this year because we lost half of them last year. Probably when we have it this year, we’ll probably lose another third. We’re going to be down to a small group this year. No [crosstalk 00:33:28].

Morgan Ray:
They’ll be with us in spirit. Right?

Brandon Lewis:
We had tons of people, nobody croaked to my knowledge. Now I can’t promise, you take your life into your own hands when you walk outside these days, but at any rate, I hope that y’all can make it down there.

Morgan Ray:
We will be there. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Brandon Lewis:
Awesome, awesome. Well, I’ve enjoyed talking with you, Morgan, and I hope everyone else has too with this edition of Ask the Expert with Morgan Ray of Bookkeeping for Painters. Until next time, I’m Brandon Lewis, signing off. All right, there we go. That things in the can. I’m going to quit recording here if I can. There we go.

 

 

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