How Paperwork Kills Painting Business Problems


Hey, I’m Brandon Lewis with Painter’s Weekly. Let me ask you a question. Are you constantly putting out fires in your painting business? Correcting mistakes? Finding things left undone? Going back behind people and cleaning up messes? It’s not any fun is it?

But here’s something I will bet. I will bet that if you’ll look at the problems that you’re having in your painting business, 80% of the problems are the same 20% of the mistakes over and over and over and over again. A place was missed. A mess was made. A checklist wasn’t followed. Somebody didn’t pick up a piece of equipment. Somebody went to the wrong place. Somebody showed up late. Whatever it is, here’s what I’m going to recommend that you do to completely solve these problems because really, if you have the same problem week after week, month after month, it’s not a problem. It’s a choice. I’ll say that again. When you have the same problems over and over again, they’re not really problems, they’re choices that you’ve deliberately made to solve over and over again. You don’t have to do that.

Take out a piece of paper. Write down the five things that you’re constantly having to do that you shouldn’t, especially when it comes to field operations. What are the five things you’re continuously and constantly fixing for other people that makes you feel anxious, worried, like you have to be there, watching a job like a hawk or double checking. Where’s the ball being dropped?

Now, I want you to think about what type of paperwork or process could eliminate that problem or greatly, greatly reduce it? I’ll give you an example? Perfect example is callbacks. Your crew, they look at the job. They say it’s okay. Looks okay to them, right? And they leave. Homeowner’s not there, and the homeowner comes in and says, “Hey, they missed a spot.” What’s that mean? That means you, as the owner, or the crew leader have to go back to that job and fix it, and if there’s enough stuff left over, and if it’s a big enough deal, and if you’ve already moved on to another job, now this small little thing or a few small things can become a big huge headache. It can hold up payment. It can get you bad reviews online. It can make for an unhappy customer. It can kill your referrals, kill your chances for repeat business for one little mistake that happens over and over again.

So what I’d recommend is you set up a dual column checklist where you have a checklist of all the things that somebody should check for that would cause a callback, and that the crew member and the crew leader sign off on it in one column, and then the homeowner signs off on it in the next column. And it has to be done before anyone can leave the painting project. This is one example out of hundreds. This little piece of paper and this little process can kill this problem, almost make it extinct, and you’ll reduce the incidents that this happens by about 85%.

So, if you’re constantly trying to manage your painting business without paperwork and processes, if you’re constantly just try to verbally manipulate people, if you’re constantly trying to play puppet master, I promise you, pulling the strings gets really old really fast, and if you’ve not been really successful doing it that way, now’s probably time to change.

I’m Brandon Lewis with Painter’s Weekly. I hope this has been helpful, and I hope you’ll use it to grow a profitable painting business that you love.

Talk to you next time.