The traffic jam seemed unending. Kate and Ed were traveling home from an early dinner and the road leading to their home was so congested with other cars that they barely seemed to move at all. Eventually, Kate spotted the problem up ahead – the left lane was closed for roadwork, meaning all cars had to shift into one lane. When the pair finally passed the delay, Ed observed that the workers were repainting the yellow and white lines on the road. “That’s great…” Ed said in a sarcastic tone. “There was nothing wrong with the old lines. Why couldn’t they paint the new lines in the middle of the night when fewer people are using the road?”
Commercial clients often opt for exterior colors that reflect their logo, usually limited to a roster of colors approved by a property manager, or they stick with standard industrial hues. But your residential clients will present more of a challenge and may want your input on their exterior color choices. In fact, if you see a client making what could be an epic color mis-step and don’t offer some well-meaning advice, you’re doing them a disservice. Here are some of the exterior paint trends you can expect for 2014 so you can give your clients relevant tips.
Stretching every dollar is an inherent part of owning and operating a personal paint business. And while we would all like to have an unlimited advertising budget with which to work, the reality is that allocating significant money to marketing and promoting a painting business is easier said than done. Even worse, when an owner or team-member does find a way to invest in advertising and promotion, the actual implementation is often so disjointed and disorganized that the result is very little return on investment.
The key to a strong paint business marketing strategy is having a consistently delivered message that finds the customer at the exact moment they need your service. Think about it: no one is suddenly going to decide to buy a car just because they saw a car advertisement in the newspaper. However, if a person arrived at the conclusion of buying a car already, and then saw an advertisement in the newspaper, they might be more inclined to consider that brand or visit that dealership.
If you’ve been hired to work on a vintage home, there are a number of concerns. Aging structures can have defects that make working with ladders and scaffolding dangerous. There can be asbestos in the construction, dry rot or weakened drywall. But when working in homes constructed pre-1978, one of the foremost concerns is the presence of lead paint. In homes built prior to 1960, the use was prevalent and the risk of exposure is even higher.
Paint sprayers have revolutionized how professional painters work. Sprayers are considered as much as ten times faster than using a brush. Think about that: a traditional paint job can be accomplished in a fraction of the time needed to use a brush on the same job. The downside, however, is that to achieve these results the painter must be using the right paint sprayer. Considering the number of parts and pieces working together in a paint sprayer setup, it can be very difficult for even the most seasoned and experienced paint professional to know what the right setup is for the work they are doing.
It should come as no surprise that paint sprayers come in a variety of different sizes and styles. It should also come as no surprise that different sprayers carry different costs, not just for upfront purchase, but also ongoing maintenance and use. The correct sprayer can pay for itself quickly, but have you ever stopped to research the sprayer you are using as a professional painter to confirm that it is indeed the best option for you? It is possible – even likely – that the paint sprayer you are using is not optimized for the work you do.
Frank turned the job down. Flat out didn’t want it. No bid, no thanks. His office manager wondered why and Frank was quick with a response: “More money doesn’t mean more money.” The office manager didn’t understand, so Frank explained, “Just because a job pays more money doesn’t meant it’s right for us. I’d run circles around myself planning for that job and it still wouldn’t be very profitable. Just too many details to manage and I’m not interested. I’d rather go with what I know.”
And that was the end of the conversation about why Frank’s paint company turned down a big paint job just outside of town. But his office manager still wondered why the company wouldn’t be interested in such a big project. What she didn’t know was that Frank had been through this before long ago and had since decided that planning for large paint jobs simply wasn’t his forte.
Depending on what type of businesses you typically work with, you may find that many of your commercial clients are more conservative when it comes to selecting paint colors, and they tend to stick with standard, neutral colors that are functional and restrained rather than bold. But there will be those that want to try something different, more creative and trendier. Clients in the retail space may be more open to a wider range of interesting colors, as will creative industries and some high-tech companies.
Do you know how long it takes to paint the Statue of Liberty? Any guess as to how many gallons of paint are required to paint the iconic statue that has welcomed millions to the shores of America? Is it painted with brushes, sprayers, rollers? How often is the Statue of Liberty painted? Do you know already? Care to wager a guess? The answers are as follows….
No time at all…zero…none of the above…and never.
That’s right, the outside of the Statue of Liberty isn’t painted at all! It’s coated in a layer of copper that’s a little less than 1/8th of an inch thick. Cleaned on occasion? Absolutely. Painted? Never.
The top service companies on earth don’t do what is expected – they do more than is expected. That additional effort or offering is what makes them exceptional. Over time, exceptional companies stand out from the crowd. Eventually, a tipping point is reached and the exceptional company is no longer “the best available choice”… it’s the only choice. On a long enough timeline, the company that wows its clients and customers with a greater frequency and to a greater degree than every competitor eventually wins the sector and becomes a titan in their chosen market. Exceptional service is that powerful of a tool.
But you don’t have that kind of time. You aren’t interested in “eventually” or “later.” Your paint company needs to differentiate itself from the competition today, not tomorrow. These four unusual, seemingly small customer service tips are all set in motion once the painting is complete, and will set your paint company apart from the competition in the client’s mind even after you’ve moved on to the next job. We can’t guarantee that your sales pipeline will magically fill up overnight, but these four strategies will guarantee that clients don’t soon forget the professionalism of your company or the quality of your work.
Clyde and his younger sister Ellie grew up in Taylor, Texas. The town had changed a lot in the last fifty years, but one constant was the ante-bellum mansion just off the main street in town. The lady that lived in the house since the early sixties had passed away and the house was put up for sale. The city discussed purchasing the house and making it a museum celebrating the county’s history but ultimately couldn’t find the money in their budget. The home sat vacant for months with a for sale sign in the yard.
One evening while Ellie was over for dinner, Clyde had a wild idea. “Let’s do it. Let’s buy the place and fix it up. Why not? It’s part of our history and the price is right. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but can you imagine the pride we would feel, the pride the whole town would feel for the house to be restored?” Ellie didn’t take much convincing: “That’s a great idea.”
The next morning Clyde made a call to the bank, the county courthouse, and the realtor on the sign. Three weeks later, he and Ellie owned the place and they were ready to start the work of restoring the home to its previous condition. But restoring a historic home is far from an easy task…