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Old 08-09-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default New business owners

I'm curious who on here has gone into business for themselves in the last year. How old are you guys. I'm also curious what kind of marketing have you done so far, and what are your results? I'm in the same boat as you guys just started this summer for the most part. sis some work on my own last summer but went legit this summer.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
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I'm in my second year. I worked for my dad and my brother in thier businesses for years and took over dad's painting business when he died. I haven't done any formal advertising yet. Last year was better than this year. I got some work from a letter I sent out to old customers. For what the yellow pages costs, it just doesn't pay off imo. I'm putting my money into a website soon. Word of mouth is the best. I'm trying to revive a dwindled to nothing business. After 50 years in business I thought it would be a lot easier to take over my old man's business. Not true. There is so much competition in my area. I'm also trying to build a referal network of people in different trades or businesses like BNI. I need to build a whole new customer base. His customers are all dead.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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A glut of competition is a issue in my area as well. I find that if you do a good job, repeat customers are wonderful. I need to handout more business cards to quality customers. They can give them out at bbqs and dinner parties. Let your good customers advertise for you.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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A glut of competition is a issue in my area as well. I find that if you do a good job, repeat customers are wonderful. I need to handout more business cards to quality customers. They can give them out at bbqs and dinner parties. Let your good customers advertise for you.
Repeat customers are the best so far that's about all I've had besides the people I've been referred to by friends family and customers. The few responses I have gotten from flyers have been duds so far. I'm leaning towards LPQ to get me in front of new potential clientele at this point.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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I just finished my second year with this business, and we're up big time from last year I have been using Service Magic for the last year plus, and it has worked out pretty well. I know alot of guys hate Service Magic, but it has gotten me in front of alot of customers who would not otherwise have called me, and alot of them have turned into repeat business. I hope to be able to quit using them within the next year or so, and rely on an amped up website, word of mouth, and direct mailing. I would also like to try getting on some bid lists for condo associations, apartment complexes, and places like that. Oh, and I now advertise on angie's list, but they have to call you and ask you to advertise, you can't just do it.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
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Hump day has provided me with a breath of fresh air! I have been struggling with leads but they rolled in today! I signed up with craftjack and got my first lead within a few hours. It's for a full exterior repaint in an upper class area. Going to give an estimate tomorrow at 10 AM. I e-mailed a Realtor last night who responded to me today and said she'd gladly recommend me to clients since she didn't know any painters. I gave her my address so she could send me her cards as well and get this, she used to live down the street from me! Had another guy contact me to offer a lead service that takes a 10% commission after I do the job. My cousin even called and said his barber wants to have the exterior of his shop painted. I just hope all these leads don't fall through now! I'm excited though after a slow July August is finally picking up for me I wish the same for you all!
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:21 PM   #7
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Good for you.

Marketing is a hard thing (for me) to invest in. It's like gambling. Sort of. I have someone working on a website. Yard signs and truck lettering has helped. A lot actually. Have been offered a great deal in a Yellow Pages book but still need to research the company a little more. Not sure if I want to go Yellow Pages. I'm gonna stick with the website see how it goes from there.

Incorporated the business in '08, although I went to school basically full time up until June of '10. Beginning August of '10 became truly active with the business. For first year actually being active it's been successful I think. Learning a lot and most of it I wouldn't have figured out so soon had it not been for PT.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FatherandSonPainting View Post
Good for you.

Marketing is a hard thing (for me) to invest in. It's like gambling. Sort of. I have someone working on a website. Yard signs and truck lettering has helped. A lot actually. Have been offered a great deal in a Yellow Pages book but still need to research the company a little more. Not sure if I want to go Yellow Pages. I'm gonna stick with the website see how it goes from there.

Incorporated the business in '08, although I went to school basically full time up until June of '10. Beginning August of '10 became truly active with the business. For first year actually being active it's been successful I think. Learning a lot and most of it I wouldn't have figured out so soon had it not been for PT.
Thanks! Pretty awesome you went to school full time too. That's what i'll be doing this year. It's my last year of college. I'm ready for it though. I agree this site truly is a blessing... glad I found it!

*Another thing I always try to remember is scared money don't make money. If you can't spend a little you can't make as much. you gotta roll the dice if you want a shot at making the big bucks you know.

Last edited by Sully; 08-12-2011 at 07:26 AM..
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:04 AM   #9
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Newbie here, just getting into biz for myself after years of working for others.

One thing for sure--gotta have a website. Anyone under 40 is for sure going to check you out there before they hire you, and if you don't have a website you usually can't sell them unless they're already sold.

Doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just a bit of info, some testimonials and other things that help folks get more comfortable with you.

I would tend to avoid Yellow Pages unless you have a large budget. Being on the web is more important every day, while being in the Yellow Pages is less important every day. In my opinion...
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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Started mine last year. Im 48. I registered the name, etc April 2010, got licensed and bonded in May and started my first job in June. That first job came from Local Painter Quotes (Now Craft Jack) I spent my down time last winter working on SEO for my website which accounts for probably 75% of new customers. Most of the rest come from referals from paint stores and previous customers. I have only had a couple calls from the phone book. I also get a good bit from repeat customers. I will probably triple last years gross this year. My advice is to network, network, network....pass out cards every chance you get.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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I am 40 years old, 5 years as owner in October. 2 full time employees now. 95% repeat and referral. Main referrals come from BM paint store, custom kitchen shop and clients. I have one custom builder that we do drywall and painting for that accounts for 30% of our volume, as well as he passes on leads to me. A few calls from a local ad in the paper and a few from YP.

YP is a waste of money, but I am going to stick with it for one more year. I do get calls but they all seen to be ones where they can't find anyone so they go to YP! Then I have to tell them I am booked for 2 months!

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surf the heck out of this site and you will see that......everything you ever wanted to know is here!
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:24 PM   #12
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This is my first year owning my own business, but I worked for my dads since I was 18 (I'm 30 now), the first 5 years as a painter, and the last 7-8 as an estimator / office manager. The main reasons for starting my own are 1) we wanted to go non-union (I'll get into this in a second) 2) my dad is getting older / looking to retire 3) create a modern image and market ourselves as a "green" business.

My dad has owned a union painting company since 1985. I grew up working in the summer for him puttying nail holes and touching up walls. After graduating high school, I went to college part time, and worked part time as a painter. After I got my AA in marketing, I worked as a project manager and an estimator. His business does mostly commercial and multi-residential and I have worked on everything from painting a HM door/frame to a half a million dollar state job. We live in the state capitol city, and also have a large university, so we did a lot of work for the state.

I don't have anything against unions or union employees, I just wanted to go in a different direction. The local around here I feel doesn't offer adequate training to their members, and I feel I can train them better myself in the field.

I also am a firm believer that the future of all construction / building trades will be deeply connected to the "green" economy and I want to capitalize on this. I chose a company name that stresses this fact.

I am a new member of painttalk, but have lurked for a while, and I am excited to share tips and information with other contractors around the country!

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Old 08-23-2011, 08:21 PM   #13
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I am just starting up this year(34). My test date is Sept.7th. I do custom homes mainly.
The future looks bright from were im standing. I am looking into websites and already have a good word of mouth reputation thanks to a well known GC who I've worked for for the past two years. I am very grateful for this site and hope to give back what i am taking.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:30 AM   #14
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G'day Sully,

I've been in the Painting and Decorating Industry for 15 plus years now, mate.

I have always just relied on word-of-mouth and it has literally kept me busy for my entire career. That being said, marketing is an amazing thing. My son (25) decided he wanted to get into the game a few years ago and I've been training him up. He has brought with him a lot of knowledge that us older blokes don't necessary have. Facebook, forums, Twitter - my business has shot through the roof since he's come on board and started doing all of that kind of stuff. It's a whole new world.

If you're passionate about the industry, mate, I'm certain you'll do well because as long as you're passionate, reliable and honest, I believe customers can spot that (corny, I know but it's what I think,) and are much more likely to pass your card on with confidence.

If you're ever after anyone to pick their brain, I'm happy to offer whatever advice I can, mate.

All the best,

JC
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ Paint View Post
A glut of competition is a issue in my area as well. I find that if you do a good job, repeat customers are wonderful. I need to handout more business cards to quality customers. They can give them out at bbqs and dinner parties. Let your good customers advertise for you.

Not to be picky, but I cannot see my customers( or ANY customers) handing out business cards at dinner parties.. My wife is in business and is on the board of a coulple high profile social functions here in town and we have and attend many "dinner" parties and such. Handing out my business cards is not part of the action. Of course,I have them with me and will hand them out if asked, but only if asked.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #16
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Not to be picky, but I cannot see my customers( or ANY customers) handing out business cards at dinner parties.. My wife is in business and is on the board of a coulple high profile social functions here in town and we have and attend many "dinner" parties and such. Handing out my business cards is not part of the action. Of course,I have them with me and will hand them out if asked, but only if asked.
This is the idea of leaving a few cards with the customer. If and when they're asked they will have something to hand out. So people get gung hoe and hand them out at above said functions, but either way your name is still getting around. I always put cards in with my estimates, and leave 2 or 3 when I'm done the job. Some people ask me for a dozen of them which I gladly hand over.
I'm on some pretty slow times right now so I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong with my marketing. I have the truck lettered, a clean business card, I've done nice door hangers and special flyers, I'm using craftjack, I'm on buildzoom, I have the facebook page up and running.. maybe I just need some soak time...I'm now digging in this forum and contemplating my next move. I'd like to think of a way to directly target people who need painting. I've been thinking about running a special on storm damage repairs after the hurricane. I'm thinking I need to give people a reason to look at my company.
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