The Death of Traditional Painting Contractors

Online Leads for Painters

How Online Middle-Men & Industry Trends
Are Making Your Way of Doing Business Obsolete

The days of traditional painting contactors may be over. The New York Post reports that a new online platform plans to play middle-man between painting contractors and their customers. Backed by millions in venture capital, Yahoo Finance warns PaintZen may make traditional painting companies obsolete.

PaintZen’s CEO, Mike Russell, says his online process eliminates the need for the traditional contractor’s “fuzzy estimates” and walk-throughs. When it comes to interviewing a painter in person, Russell says the customer “doesn’t want it.”

The Age of Middle-Men

Of course, the “pirating” of customer leads and relationships for profit is nothing new. Home Advisor, Houzz, and Angie’s List have been at this game for a long time. Now, a new online business starts up every day with one objective: To get between you and your customers so it can later charge your credit card for the privilege of reuniting you both. How very thoughtful of them…

The story gets worse. Many painting contractors have “outsourced” their marketing activities to these and other online lead services, exposing their business to unnecessary financial risk. These owners are paying to commoditize their own services while the online lead-service sends the new customer to multiple contractors simultaneously.

Not only do the costs per lead continue to climb over time for the contractor, but the quality of the leads grow worse and worse. Contractors report that many online leads fail to return calls and that most never turn into customers – yet they are still paying a high premium for them.

Owners Are Pawns in the Online Game

Online lead services aren’t the only ones diminishing the influence of owners over their potential and current customers. Giants like Google and Facebook promise a sea of qualified leads for free if you’ll just supply their search engines and news feeds with a steady diet of content at your own time and considerable expense. However, what happens in reality is quite different than what is promised.

First, owners report that cold SEO leads have some of the worst closing rates of any media source. It makes sense when you think about it. All you really know about an online lead is that they have an internet connection and they think they want something painted. This often means that estimates are written to customers who do not appreciate and cannot afford your services. It’s a waste of time.

Second, online and social media giants love to lure painters in with a free platform and then change the rules. Owners who relied primarily on organic search for marketing were decimated when Google changed search algorithms. Painters dropped like flies from the first page of Google to no-man’s land.

Facebook abruptly told painters who had accumulated thousands of fans, to their sheer horror, that posts would now only be seen by… about 15% of fans. If you want fans who used to see your messages for free to see them now, you’ll need to send a check to Mark Zuckerberg.

Fierce Competition & Industry Forces

As if online influences weren’t causing enough uncertainty, the changing competitive landscape is presenting established, traditional painting contractors with a change-or-die ultimatum.

Most established owners approach sales rather casually. In years past, showing up on time, building rapport, and emailing an estimate was good enough to secure a contract. Now, new start-ups and painting franchises are bringing sophisticated sales processes into the market, making it difficult for painters to communicate the true value of their services.

In most local markets, chuck-in-a-truck is giving away his services for nothing, while savvy owners are using effective sales processes to command premium prices. This creates a situation where mid-priced owners are “squeezed out” by the competition – unwilling to match bargain-basement prices, but ill-equipped to present a good case for premium pricing.

These competitive forces, coupled with ever-rising labor, material, and fuel costs mean owners must take an entirely different approach to thrive financially.

Certainty In Uncertain Times

We turned to expert Brandon Lewis, founder of the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, and asked how the most successful owners are growing sales and profits despite negative market forces.

#1. Turn to Your Customer List

According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs anywhere from five to twenty-five times less money to sell an existing client than a cold lead. Yet, when owners are surveyed, most admit that they never communicate with past customers or only do it occasionally. This is the quickest and cheapest way to create a cash-surge in the short-term and predictability long-term.

#2. Use a Proven Sales System

Most owners know how to estimate a job, but few have systems for selling a job for a premium price. Customers do not buy the quality of your work; they buy the quality of your sales process. If your process is poor, you will be poor too.

#3. Don’t Hope for Referrals, Create Them

Owners will tell you word-of-mouth advertising is important, but few do anything to proactively generate referrals outside of doing a “quality job.” Systems for creating referrals are necessary for high profits on a limited marketing budget.

#4. Commercial Repaints Are Essential

You can’t get wealthy painting grandma’s bedroom. Commercial work is simple to do, pays more, and is a great source of recurring yearly revenue. Owners are uncertain how to approach this market, but with the right system it’s easy.


Traditional, middle-of-the-road painting contractors are going to find their way of doing business radically changed in the coming months and years. Those who change themselves, getting ahead of the trends and learning the secrets of elite painting contractors, will weather the storm and THRIVE.

The rest will be forced to helplessly watch as sales and profits plummet because of the online and competitive influences in their local markets. Yet, this need not be the case.

A Powerful, Free “Painters Survival Toolkit” Just for You

On this page, in the top, right-hand corner, you can request a FREE Audio CD, Written Report, and Video Training Series that reveals exactly how the most successful owners are dealing with the financial upheavals in the painting industry. You’ll discover the simple, systematic approach being used to thwart the online middle-men and your local competition.

Don’t wait until your business is placed under undue financial pressure, prepare for market changes today. Request the free resources on this page!



  1. Noel Rivas on May 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm
  2. JT Trainor on May 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    If I had all the solutions to the challenges outlined in the article by Brandon Lewis I would be in a much better place. I am excited to be learning how to overcome these challenges with the help The Academy for Professional Painters. It is much easier than I expected and really the only thing that prevents me from implementing more solutions faster is my own stubbornness or lack of commitment to “get it done!”

    • Brandon Lewis on May 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      JT – Thanks for your kind words! You CAN do MORE than you imagine… and implementing just a few systems will put you head and shoulders above you local competition!

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