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Old 07-15-2009, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PressurePros View Post
Perfection Pitfalls

Anthony, there is a pride of craftsmanship in all serious contractors. That pride represents a double edged sword when it comes to business ownership. There is always something that can be cleaner, sharper, finer, better. Those perfection details represent the last 5% of a job but can consume much more than 5% of the time allotted to a project.

Am I saying to perform only 95% of the work? Yes and no. What I am saying is perform all work to 95% of your perfection standard. When taping and mudding a wall, don't get hyperfocused on working it into perfection. When sanding a surface, don't stick your nose to the wall looking for that last dimple. You will waste a ton of time because there will always be one more thing you can make better. Now instead of that second coat going on the walls at 3 pm, your leaving at 5 pm and the second coat has to wait until tomorrow.

Perfectionism is why so many contractors will remain a one man show. In their minds no employee will ever do as good of a job. They are probably right. No one in my company can make a deck look as good as I will when I'm on a site. I get one deck done per day. Employees get done two or three. Oddly enough, when I QC them from time to time, there is no visual difference between their work and mine at 4 feet viewing.

Price Selling Dead End

Ninety percent of salespeople are weak because they sell with their own wallet. In their mind is the mantra "I would never pay that much" so they have no confidence in asking for that much from a customer. I was a corporate trainer for a high end stereo retailer and we taught top down selling (show the most expensive first). I would secret shop a store and I'll be damned if most of the salespeople didn't take me right to the mid/lower priced gear. They never ascertained my needs.. more importantly my wants. They just figured it would be easier to sell me something cheaper.

That ties right into contractors selling their work. If a guy sells a paint job, he will get paid for a paint job. In the market, it becomes a commodity which most homeowner's believe, if they really tried, they could do themselves. There are a whole bunch of guys and gals out there selling like that. By commodity I mean one paintjob is the same as the next, etc. The only thing that differentiates a seller of commodities is price. That's the Walmart model. Cheapest guy wins.

That is a model for bankruptcy for the new contractor. These guys at PT will attest how hard it is to estimate, paint, pickup materials, do book work, and wear every other hat of a paint business owner. If you sell on price, you get busier but you make no money. So now you are up against a brick wall. You only have so many hours in a week. Your working your tail off morning to night. You cannot afford employees. Work's backing up. Customers are getting PO'd, your girlfriend is nagging you to go back to work for someone and you are dry heaving every morning before breakfast from stress. Is that what you dream of when you think of owning a business, Anthony. It happens often.

So if you don't sell perfection and you don't sell price.. what do you sell?

You sell and deliver the whole experience. You've seen the commercials for Staple's "easy button". Genius. That's what people want. Peace of mind. They want to be confident you will perform. They don't want to be inconvenienced. They want value for the dollars they are trading you. They will not buy on their needs, they will buy on their wants and desires. They want that bathroom to feel like the high end spas they have been in. They don't care how you get there. They don't care that you use Benjamin Moore Muralo paint (at least not for the reasons you think). I will outsell a contractor mentioning Muralo every day of the weak even if I was using Behr. How? I'll sell on the selection of designer colors that they saw on HGTV. I'll show them the Behr brochure that matches ceiling, walls and trim colors. No guesswork or stress on their part. The EASY BUTTON.

I could go on forever. You have a long path in front of you and I don't want to mislead you into believing that I have it all figured out. I learn from and adapt to something new every day.

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WOW!...Ken I have been saying this forever, just never could say it like that. Perfection will kill you and I find it somewhat sad, sometimes funny, when I hear "painters" talking as if they are artists. I tell my guys to walk that line of a very good clean job completed in a timely manor.

I'm going to print this out and post it!!!!

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Old 07-27-2010, 12:23 PM   #22
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I brought this back up after doing a search for top down selling. Do any of you painters/paint contractors use a top down or multiple-tired service selling technique?
PressurePros is a Pressure Washing Company servicing Delaware and Montgomery Counties in PA

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Old 07-27-2010, 03:08 PM   #23
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I have used a multi-tiered approach last summer. I credit it to keeping my sales relatively steady during a time when other painting contractors in the area were down.

I have since stopped doing it besides for the occasional one upon request.
Yaro S.
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:16 PM   #24
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When I used to paint and clean decks (Exterior only work) I used to upsell a maintenance program which included washing the exterior of the house in spring and in fall for $250 for a single story and $375 for a 2 story (that was for both cleanings). If they took the maintenance program I offered to repaint a coat on the house on the 5th year for 30% the cost of the original job. This kept me with work when many others were down (spring as I could wash in the rain). This also assured a booked year on my 5th year. With decks we offered to clean it each fall (just a maintenance cleaning) and then offered to re-seal the deck on the 4th year.

To be honest, 2 out of 10 point blank said no thanks. Two more said maybe and the other 6 jumped at the chance. The honest fact is you cannot win them all however if you can land 1/2 on maintenance by the 3rd year you are going to need quite a bit of help.
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Old 07-30-2010, 04:42 PM   #25
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Entrepreneurs need good luck, so best of luck to you, sir. I'm a Junior Member, too, by the way. See you in the threads!
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