Is Your Painting Business Built of Straw, Sticks or Brick?

Hey guys, it’s Brandon Lewis here. I have a guest star with me it’s my oldest Silvia. And it’s funny I grew up watching Looney Tunes and what are those called, Merry Melodies and Sylvia likes those as well. And she watches one of them in particular that’s on my mind right now and it’s Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. And what are the three things that their house is built out of?

It’s made out of straw and those bricks and those sticks, straw, and sticks, bricks.

That’s right. And so, when the big bad Wolf isn’t that your door building your house out of straw or sticks is perfectly fine. It’s like when you go camping and if you have an awning and you don’t tie the thing down if it’s not windy it’s not a big deal. But when it gets windy having a company that is not built with bricks where the systems are weak or the systems are present but not built of really sturdy stuff it can be a big deal. And right now and for at least the next few months the big bad wolf is going to be at your door. So, the best thing you can do during this time is to build the systems and those are the things that are foundationally important, those are your foundation, your walls, your ceiling. And I’ve got a few that I’m going to list out here and I hope that you can work on these right now if you’re working from home like I am and I hope that these will be helpful.

So the first one is looking into payroll protection. If you have not grabbed the application for this and submitted all the paperwork to your banker I would do that. I recently talked to mine and he said that he’s got 100s from the first day that the application was out. I know that there are a finite number of apps they can take and funds they can distribute at least for now so I would get in line for that. Number two, client communication, email, text, mail, newsletters. You need to be communicating with your clients. Even if the organic demand is low and even if they’re telling you to put everything off you want to be there when things get back to normal and when that money starts flowing.

Number two sales, are your sales processes, the tools that you’re using, the presentations, the followup, the pre positioning, the presenting, the post positioning, are they present and are they strong? Because as the market contracts it’s going to be very hard to make it with a pet the dog email a PDF sales process.

Operations, do your crew leads have what they need in their crew packets? Are you training them to be able to leave with a packet of information and bring back a check and a customer satisfaction survey? Are you going to incentivize them and do job costing for coming in on or under budget? As we have to make more money off of fewer jobs it is essential and important that they understand that meeting budgets are critical and that they will be rewarded for it so they don’t slow off the projects. Are you building alliances and communicating with people that can actually help your business? Realtors, interior decorators, other home service providers, people at any of the hardware stores or paint stores that are open, this doesn’t happen just by showing up it has to be a calendered programmatic approach.

Commercial, you need to be reaching out with both prospecting campaigns and also with individual outreach. A lot of these facility managers, maintenance managers and property managers are bored to death right now and it’s a good time to reach out and communicate with them. Are you going to be getting rid of some of your nonproductive personnel? Because labor is your biggest expense. If you have people that can’t implement, won’t implement, are bad for the culture or simply don’t have anything to do you’ve got to preserve your working capital so that there is a company to come back to.

Website and online presence, if you have weak social media platforms, if you have weak websites that don’t convert, aren’t ranking well, whatever the case may be now is the time to continue to invest and work on those so that when the tide rises again your boat is ready to set sail. Materials management, are you paying too much for materials? Are you not managing them appropriately? Have you developed a convenience mindset where you just want it to be convenient? Well you’re going to have to start thinking about overall costs and margins versus just straight up convenient store shopping because you’re going to need every bit of margin you can get at every point.

Let’s talk about personal time management. If you’re not using time blocking, if you don’t have time set aside to do things that are really important but not urgent now is the time to do that and get in the habit of it. Administrative, clean your office up, get your processes set up, document those, put them in manuals, make sure there aren’t redundancies where it can be helped and get the reporting you need to make good decisions. I know this is boring Sylvia I’m almost done.

And then finally you’ve got a good sixth sense likely for things that are broken in your painting business. You know when things aren’t what they need to be either because you don’t know that you don’t know or you do know they need work. Now is not the time to keep everything exactly the same and hope you can just ride this out. I started my business in 2008, built it up large, sold it for $440,000 in 2013. I can tell you I watched people drop like flies, established painting contractors for years. And you have to have a different approach during this time. If I can help you look at your business systems, evaluate them, or perhaps give you a path forward feel free to reach out Do you have anything to say Sylvia?

I’m eight now.

She’s eight now, be advised. Y’all take care. This is Brandon Lewis with Painter’s Weekly and Painters Academy. Love you guys. Be safe out there and also make sure that your company is safe and secure. Take care guys. Bye. Bye.


  1. William . C . on April 7, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Thankyou Brandon , hey Silvia ! ? … As always remain steadfast in Jesus Christ and as always Thankyou Brandon . GOD BLESS

    • Brandon Lewis on April 7, 2020 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! We can and will get through this!

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