The Most Essential Business Tools For Every Painting Contractor

I want to share something with you that I’ve never shared before. It seems trivial and for many of you, you may think, “Well, that’s kind of remedial,” but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. You would think there would be some sort of very complicated approach that turns a painting business around. However, after doing thousands of business diagnostics for painting contractors, I’m here to tell you it’s pretty darn simple. I’ve run that same game plan with over 450 painting contractors, but there’s something that often cripples, slows down, impedes an owner from getting started, and it’s not going to be what you think. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the really essential business tools that owners need to master and if they don’t, they’re in a little bit of trouble.

Organizational Tools for Painting Businesses

Often I’ll try to work with an owner. From day one, we’ve got a challenge on our hands and here it is, they can’t operate in a really good organizational framework because they do not know how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. I know this seems very remedial for many of you, but I would say almost a third to a half of our painting contractors that are tradesmen turned entrepreneurs cannot use these tools effectively. A lot of people can’t use them at all. Often I will interview, I kid you not, owners of painting businesses that do not have computers. They run their business from their phone and you can get by with that and you can make a wage doing that, but you can’t build a company doing that.

Professor Teaches Excel, Word & PowerPoint

I’m going to recommend right now that you buy a resource, I don’t sell it, but I’ve recommended it to thousands. I have seriously recommended this to thousands of painting contractors and it is Professor Teaches Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. It’s got lots of different configurations. You just type in Professor Teaches into YouTube and it will pull up a wonderful course that can help you do these things because so much of what you’re going to do in business can be solved by a good Word document that has checklists, or directions, or communicate something for marketing. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with that. You can use the mail with it. It really helps you master a lot of things. Excel, a few simple reports in your painting business can triple your profits, I promise. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly and PowerPoint is great for communicating things to your prospective clients. It’s a good tool for other things as well. Even communicating things in staff meetings, it makes it very simple. Guides your conversation, gives a visual reference point. Those three tools are really important in the organizational realm.

Essential Communication Tools for Growing Your Painting Business

Moving on to the second thing, communication. Communication is critical. Being able to quickly communicate with your in-house group of painters and staff people but, more importantly, being able to communicate with your past customers, unconverted leads, commercial prospects, and referral sources. You have to these forms of communication because there is only a handful of them. One is a mass email, the most popular program that I see our guys use is MailChimp and Constant Contact. Mass Text is increasingly becoming essential. Text Magic is a program that our guys like to use. Print direct mail. If you want to reach somebody, there’s only one place where the message doesn’t come through the phone anymore and that’s the mailbox. It’s still remarkably effective, especially when you combine it with text, email, and phone.

Being able to directly communicate with your list is important. You need to pick up Mass Text or some other type of text messaging platform. Phone, you got to be able to reach your people by phone. Now, there are some things where you use phone discreetly, like with follow-up in the sales process, but sometimes you need to talk to 1,000 people, 500 people and you need to be able to do it all at one time. That’s where there’s an application called Slybroadcast that our guys like. What it does is it leaves messages in cell phones without them ever ringing. You’ve probably had somebody do this to you before. It’s a quick, easy way to touch your list.

Then finally, Facebook and LinkedIn. Almost everybody can post something on these platforms, but really the one thing that I would like to ask you to Google and research is Facebook Custom Audiences so that you can reach out to your list of past clients with ads. It’s very effective, very direct, very little waste, and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great for commercial prospecting. If you’ve got a list of companies that you want to reach out to and find facility managers, maintenance managers, et cetera, for commercial repaints, this is very helpful.

I know there’s a lot of technology nerds out there. I’m buried in it. I use very complicated applications and processes I would never, in a million years, recommend to our clients because if you can’t master these basic things first and do them really well, there’s no need to get overly complicated. 85 to 90% of the contractors I work with, they can build a multimillion-dollar business with the tools I’ve just outlined here. I’ve watched it happen over and over again. Not only that, often I discover that painting companies that are encumbered by tons of applications and technology really don’t have a good handle on their business and their net profits are low because they’ve obfuscated the things that are important and they focused on secondary things.

Don’t Be Afraid to Learn New Systems – Painter’s Academy Is Here to Help

If you do not have these skills, I have watched people pick these up. I’ve watched people learn them. You don’t have to learn all of them and master them. I’m not saying you have to spend months on this, but you need to be able to get around in them. You need to be able to get around in them well enough to eventually affect a change or get something out the door. Then you can get an executive assistant, a part-time marketing coordinator, an admin assistant who can pick that ball up and run with it. It’s always handy to know just enough to get around in those things and get something done because if someone leaves your company, you don’t want them to take all that knowledge with you. You want to have enough of it to get out there. I know for a lot of folks, this is remedial, but I watched not having these skills be an impediment to just moving forward with things like job costing, sales processes, customer reactivation. I just wanted to lay those out there for you.

These are simple business tools that every painting contractor should master and I would look into that Professor Teaches course. I think it’s $49 for the year to access everything that they teach. It really is a great value. I’ve used that course to take people out of the field that had no computer skills and turn them into estimators and operations managers that hit really good numbers and did a really good job, even though they didn’t have the organization or the communication skills that you would typically hire. You can learn these things, I promise. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t graduate high school, don’t have a college degree, you can pick up these skills and you can use them in your business. Brandon Lewis with Painter’s Academy and Painter’s Weekly. Talk to you next week.

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George Hamby
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I have been watching multiple videos over the past two or three years. As I watch these videos I get inspired to try to step my...
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Brandon has great insight and content in the painting industry. He definitely has the pulse on the industry. His insights has helped me tremendously in...
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I first met Brandon several years ago at the Sherwin Willliams Pro Show. My "take away"... I was sitting up front, second row, and he asked...
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