Never Avoid the Small Painting Jobs


Hey, it’s Brandon with Painter’s Weekly. Do you love small jobs? Little bitty, nitpicking jobs. Jobs that take just as much time, energy and effort to go do, to start, to wrap up, to bill, to mobilize for, as painting the entire world?

Yeah, I know little jobs aren’t fun. But I’m going to invite you to change your perspective on little jobs by asking you to think of this critical concept and this fundamental truth in the painting business. And it’s about lifetime customer value.

Now, we’re not going to talk about how you maintain it, because it’s through constant communication, but I do want you to understand the concept. And here’s what it looks like.

Let’s say that you get called by Mrs. Johnson. And she’s got some of her friends coming over for a garden party, and what she really needs is her back, square, tiny little 10 by 10 concrete patio to be rolled out with porch and floor enamel.

And you think to yourself “Oh, goodness, I don’t have time to do this. I’m going to have to come over and pressure wash the thing. It’s only going to take 30 minutes to pressure wash. Then I’m going to have to come back. I’m going to have to put a coat on it. It’s so small, it’s not even going to be dry by the time I get done, I’m going to have to wait around a couple hours. So I’ve only got four hours of work in this entire thing, and it’s going to take two or three trips, maybe even. I’m going to have to invoice her.”

And so what you do is you slack on getting the estimate to her. Or you overprice it. Or you avoid the call. Or you pass her along to somebody else.

See, when you focus on these projects and you ignore lifetime customer value, you are missing out. See the average person will spend about a thousand dollars per year in repaint services, about $11,000 over 11 year on average, between complete exterior repaints, two big interior repaints, a couple of small jobs like the porch we just mentioned, and staining a deck.

So when you look past a $500, $300 painting project, you miss out on the chance that in a month or two, a year or two, that Mrs. Johnson’s going to call you back for the entire exterior, which is $8,000, $12,000, $15,000. Now you may think this is just true in residential, but I continuously and constantly help people go after large commercial repaint projects, to build huge portfolios of commercial customers. And each and every one of those relationships, almost without exception, starts with small trial jobs. And usually several small, trial jobs.

So not only do you miss out on the huge opportunities when you miss the small jobs, you also miss out on the referrals. The customer refers you constantly to other people, and now all of that money, all of that value has gone out the window.

In closing, I will tell you why most people don’t like small jobs. It’s because they have not staffed themselves intentionally to be able to handle small jobs, by having perhaps just one person in a van who always works by themselves, whose job is to primarily do small jobs, and then to go work with a satellite crew when small jobs aren’t being processed.

And the second thing is because the owner is so operationally incapable of starting and stopping projects efficiently that it ruins his life when he has to move people around or to reprocess a job.

So what you really need to do is not worry about small jobs, you need to look for them and enjoy them and hope for them. If you’re at a point where you dislike small jobs, what I would like to say is that you really have probably a hiring and a staffing issue and a recruitment issue, and you probably have an operations and a management issue. There’s nothing wrong with small jobs. In fact, they’re wonderful, and you need to take them and you need to look for them.

So I’m Brandon Lewis, saying good things come in small packages. So go find those small jobs, build those relationships, and get the maximum lifetime customer value in referrals and sales from the customers that are attached to these tiny projects.