The #1 Reason Painting Contractors Are Rarely Rich

I’d like to challenge you to do something if you dare…

Notice: You must emotionally detach yourself from your business and your business from your personal identity to do this…

The next time you are at the paint store, look around. What do you see?

Rolls Royce’s? BMW’s? Mercedes?

Nope… Just a bunch of dudes in tattered clothes and old trucks and vans.

Why?

Because most painters barely make a living – even “established owners” often make well under $100,000 a year. Frankly, it’s not worth the trouble for that take-home pay.

You’d be better off getting a job and letting someone else deal with the risk and headaches.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I made a lot of money in the painting business. Still do.

I know a TON of really successful business owners who are cash-flowing quite well and living a balanced lifestyle with room for friends, family, and leisure…

But I assure you – they are the exception of exceptions. Not the rule.

Why is this? Simple…

While you are still at the paint store, ask the next owner you meet: “Hey John, when’s the last time you worked on improving the business-end of your business? Maybe took a course, read a book, or engaged a mentor about sales, marketing or management?”

Ask that question of 100 owners… I’ll bet only 98 have done anything in the last 12 months – maybe never.

The #1 reason painters are rarely rich is this: They never take the time to become a “serous student” of the “business-end” of their painting business. Painting business management is something they simply aren’t interested in. They are stuck in the technician’s mindset.

They mistakenly believe that their technical skills and craftsmanship will make them wealthy… it’s hogwash peddled by people who would rather feel better about their station in life than reach for their dreams through improvement.

Question: Are you making this same poverty-inducing mistake?

If you are, I’d like you to do two things:

1 – Leave a comment below this blog and let’s talk. No more “suffering in silence” hoping that the next year will magically get better… because it hasn’t worked yet.

2 – Register for the 2019 Painting Profits Summit. It’s the place where the nation’s most “serious students” of painting profits and wealth gather each year. Click here to register.

Now, have a fantastic day!

Let it be the day you decide to start laboring in a different way – a way that will lead to your business working for you… instead of the other way around.

Brandon Lewis
Founder, The Academy for Professional Painting Contractors
Publisher, Painter’s Weekly

24 Comments

  1. Matthew Holmes on September 16, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    this sound so convincing. I really want to register for the 2019 Painting Profits Summit, but at this time I can’t afford to come and participate. i’m praying that God will allow me to come and fellowship. I have the mindset to learn your system and strategies.

    • Brandon Lewis on September 17, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      We hope you can make it! It’s the must-attend annual conference for painting contractors who are focused on business growth!

  2. Jerome Brooks on November 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Will this be recorded and sold ?

    • Brandon Lewis on December 4, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      No, I am sorry.

  3. Todd on November 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I understand education is the key part I’m missing but it’s not going to be in school it USA mentor or people that have made it

  4. Todd on November 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I understand education is the key part I’m missing but it’s not going to be in school it USA mentor or people that have made it. I’m hopeful to make it to the 2019 conference

  5. Ron Romero on December 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Awesome article better. Please view my website at Ron Romero and Son painting.com. Obviously as a young man in private elementary school and high school I did not plan on being a painting contractor. My father started with Marilyn sons in 1971 and I was a natural fit for working outside of the box. There’s no way I could be contained in a office building regardless of the pay. 18 residential homes in Orange in LA County‘s for the last 30 years. I am 55 have raised two beautiful children in private schools in gated communities with my wife home. I agree the contractors that I touch base with do not spend time marketing their trade. I have had to Porsche is. A Jagwire for my wife and my son a BMW at 16 years old. But it has been very stressful to continue to create work. It’s that simple. Homeowners today are basically paying off their kids college debt or millennials still living in their parents home until they’re 40 years old. The key to my success is simple I answer the telephone on the first ring I scheduled the appointment ASAP. And then I get my clients options based on their value of what they would like to do. My primary avenue of leads his been of course referrals but also a strong presence in the community newspapers primarily the Orange County register, San Gabriel tribune. Daily breeze. Unfortunately the Internet is filled with lead providing generating companies. Who are not professional contractors they are sending these helpless homeowners out to pagers who cannot find work themselves. Again the key to my success his band to stay aggressive and in spite of the success stay super super hungry. In the great recession of 2009 I was positioned in three stocks that would’ve made me a multimillionaire had I not sold early in 2010. As a result I have to keep painting home is now probably until my retirement. I could have done many things different but I have no regrets. Having my wife work as a nurse, putting my children in private I’m sorry public schools . Would have made a difference of $3 million over the last 20 years. This is the life. It is my life. I do not like being a painting contractor I love the element of providing an incredible job for my beautiful customers and homeowners. Please check my website I would love to speak with someone on your side regarding 2019 marketing plans.

    • Brandon Lewis on December 24, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks for your comments Ron! Will Have Jennifer reach out to you about your painting business on Wednesday!

  6. LEN BROWN on January 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I sent myself to high school & college doing painting, ,sheet rock repair and roofing. It was hit or miss but the reason I succeeded was it was a matter of survival. I always set side 10% of my profits to buy books ,tapes and seminars to help me improve my business. I am semi-retired now but had my first 3 million dollar year in 1975. If I was starting now, it would be a lot easier because of you tube and organizations like yours.

    • Brandon Lewis on January 12, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you Len! You are very kind!

  7. Wakefield on February 3, 2019 at 1:17 am

    This is very true! As someone from the painting industry as well, you can’t just rely solely on skills, you have to find ways to advertise your skills. If you want to stay in the game, you have to continuously learn to upgrade, not to mention you have to keep up with the competition too. Thanks for sharing your insights and hope you can post related topics.

    • Brandon Lewis on March 12, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Marketing a painting business is tough! Anything we can do to help the industry is out aim!

  8. David Freid on March 11, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Great Article… Makes me think… Our painters can tell you that we are “painting experts”, our clients can too… But, if you want to go beyond that, you simply must market yourself.

    • Brandon Lewis on March 12, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks David!!! Growing a painting business takes a lot more than just “doing good work!” Let us know if we can ever help you!

  9. Stephen Gliksman on June 6, 2019 at 11:18 am

    But this is true in any profession. 99% of all Gardeners, plumbers, musicians, actors and businessmen people barely make it. Only the top percent makes it to the top
    Most people cannot be rich, only a small percentage. But we can all be happy and enjoy our life no matter how much money we have. Being rich doesn’t necessarily mean happiness, because happiness comes from within

    • Brandon Lewis on June 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      I agree Stephen! Happiness comes from within – or even an understanding of He who created us and His love for us.

      However, I urge our painting contractors to consider this: If you are going to work 40-50 hours per week in your business, there is no reason to earn 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 what you could otherwise generate. It’s senseless. Instead, I encourage painters to develop the marketing, management and sales skills necessary to maximize income, minimize hours worked and build sell-able equity in their painting business.

      If we can ever help you grow your painting business profitably, please reach out.

  10. Josh on July 16, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    We have recently started our new painting service company and came across this article.
    I really appreciate you taking the time to educate us on this. I’ve really focused on our painting skill being the forefront for our business, but I haven’t spent a ton of time learning about how to scale and grow the business. Thanks for the resources in your article! I hope to become one of those rich painters!
    Painting services are by no means an exciting topic to write about, but you did a great job at keeping it enticing and informative. If you wanna check out our new website and give me any tips, that would be great. Thanks a ton

    • Brandon Lewis on July 16, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Josh. We are always trying to help painters grow their business!

  11. Matt Rathgeb on October 29, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Great article !! Painters academy was huge for me and I may come to the Summit this year . Thanks for all your help , Brandon ! I might be calling you soon shortly as we are experiencing growth ( and some growing pains )
    Matt Rathgeb

    • Brandon Lewis on October 30, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      High praise from a very successful painting contractor! Miss you bud and hope to see you soon!

  12. Ron Romero on November 22, 2019 at 12:38 am

    So brother basically the reason I am not a multimillionaire is quite simple. All of my money is spent on my family. I preferred to have my wife home as opposed to grinding out a 9-to-5 job working at the bank. Also I put my kids to private elementary high school and universities. That’s hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. I also enjoy fine dining. Boutique hotels. And dressing in the finals clothes. My biggest fear in life is. Not leaving behind a wonderful story for my kids to share with their kids. But having a dresser full of hundred dollar bills. But nothing to speak of as far as life experiences. Sure I wish I had another $3.5 million put away to go to sleep at night. But the beauty of what I do is the freedom/not having to work in a 9-to-5 job. I have been my own boss since I was 21 years old. The biggest problem with the painting business is homeowners who will more than willing hire an unlicensed. Uninsured Painter. Nine times out of 10. Because of the lower bid. It’s just that simple the low bid always wins. My primary source of leads is through chloroplast signs on the front yard after we complete a job. Referrals. Newspaper display ads. All the hype of Internet marketing. Has yet to come through. Again if I stop going out for dinner’s. And quit wearing $375 pair of Purcells sure I would have a closet of cash. But life is too short to simply hoard money. It’s meant to experience life. And remember the more you give away the universe responds the more you received.

    • Brandon Lewis on November 24, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      Ron, these are not mutually exclusive goals – equity vs. income/lifestyle. I would not let your limited perspective paint you into a corner unnecessarily. If I can help you see a different angle, let me know. You can have your excuses or you can have your results – but you cannot have both.

  13. Casey Cooper on January 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Great article! The people who get rich in this business do the exact same things that people who get rich in other industries do. It’s not about how much you bring in, it’s about what you do with it after you’ve earned it. Successful business owners are the ones that understand the difference between assets and liabilities (and can differentiate between the two). When it comes to running your own business in any field, your success depends on how you treat the money coming in.

    If my business nets $50,000 in a year after I pay myself a livable wage, do I (A)treat myself to a new whatever (truck, boat, etc, ) or do I(B) put that money into something that is going to make me more money (reinvesting back into my business or other assets such as real estate)? If you answered B, you are on track to making millions and building a business that will take care of your family for generations. If you answered A, you are shooting yourself in the foot for the sake of short term satisfaction.

    Anyone can be a millionaire, but most of us will not educate ourselves on how to get there. Most of us will blame outside factors on why we cannot make it. It takes time, patience, and most of all, vision to build something that is going to pay dividends in the long term, but it is most definitely worth it.

    Casey Cooper

  14. Twocare Home Services on April 26, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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