Hey. I’m Brandon Lewis from Painter’s Weekly, and I’d like to reveal to you the biggest mistake that multi-million-dollar painting businesses make. I’ve done 822 in-depth analysis of painting businesses. Many of them are small, but tons of them, two million, three million, four million, I’ll have clients on retainer that are in the 20 and 15-million-dollar categories. There’s this weird perception that once you reach a certain level of top-line sales, that you’ve got your act together. What I discover more often is that basic, fundamental systems are completely missing, and they are the ones that feed into the seven critical systems or metrics that end up going right into the owner’s income.
Without exception, every time I get on the phone with people that have large, complex painting organizations, typically they’re running at 10 to 15% net margins, which is pathetic. We discovered the cause of that is a really bad pricing strategy that they are spending all of their budget talking to internet leads and stone-cold strangers, and zero of their budget dedicated to repeat and referral business. We discover they do not have B2B referral programs in place. I mean programs, not something you do. Programs. They don’t have referral programs for past clients in place. Programs. Not, “We give them a $50 gift card if they refer us.” That’s not a program. They don’t have anything for going after large, commercial painting leads. Their online presence has fundamental errors in it.
If you are a large painting contractor, a multi-million-dollar painting contractor, you have to be very careful in that you do not become assumptive that all of your systems are in good order, because for you, one system being absent, multiplied over months and years of income, can cost you $50,000, $60,000, $100,000, $200,000 dollars a year, and when you compound those mistakes of 50, 100, 200 over a career, or 10 years, it gets into the millions, so large painting businesses have a ton at stake. You shouldn’t just be a bank for your painters and your clients, a revolving fund that doesn’t collect interest. You should make sure that your systems are in place.
I know this is a big, huge issue, because after doing diagnostics with these multi-million-dollar painting businesses, I see the same fundamental mistakes multiplied and amplified that are made by small contractors, so the number one mistake that I see multi-million-dollar painting businesses make is really hubris. It’s this concept, this thought, that they’ve got it all together, and I rarely ever see that it’s the case. Often, it’s really simple blocking and tackling things that can immediately be fixed, so I would like to encourage you, if you have a large, sophisticated painting operation, you need to have someone look at it other than yourself and someone who focuses exclusively on the repaint industry only. If I can ever assist you, I’d be happy to walk you through a diagnostic, and if you’re a small contractor and you want to get to the big leagues, I promise you getting your basic, fundamental systems in place so that you could scale effectively without leaving money on the table is your best bet for doing it.
The larger you get, the more important the fundamental and advanced strategies are. Make sure there isn’t something that is glowingly obvious that you’re missing, because seeing the transformation it can make in your business and then looking back over 10 or 20 years and counting the money you’ve lost is a painful exercise, but better late than never. If you need me to help you with this, please reach out. Brandon@PaintersAcademy.com. Just shoot me an email. Brandon@PaintersAcademy.com. I’d be happy to talk to you. Take care.