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Old 01-21-2017, 07:55 PM   #1
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Default Questions from a new business owner.

Hey all,
Looking for some advice and possibly what to do next to grow my business as I am sure many of you have had or are having success. Here is my current status.

So I started a painting business after 10 years in the Army as I have about 3 years experience and I truly love seeing a completed job that I can take pride in. Currently I bought a F150, ladders, tools, (no sprayer yet), business license, truck magnets, yard signs, business cards, 6 large T-Shirts, and well I have a facebook page. I currently use leveler app for estimating.

So its just me at the moment as I have only completed 1 interior and 1 exterior so far. I have 3 rather large exteriors lined up but I want to keep it going and need some advice.

Some questions:

Should I hire another painter so I can continue to estimate homes and if so at what point is it safe to do so?

Should I buy into homeadvisor for more work? $350 annual and $11-46 per lead.

Should I try to grow as large as possible or stay 1-3 guys max for best profit, easy management?

Do I really need a business plan?

At what point should I invest into a website, SOE, social media?

What advice would you give a 28 year old who just started a painting business and loves it?

Link to my facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanVeteranPaintingLLC/
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:18 PM   #2
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Do not use home advisor !!! They are terrible ! Just go online and look up the problems small businesses have with them ! You don't need them ! It sounds like your on the right track ! Ive been on my own for 20 years . The only advice I would give you is do good work and stay aggresive , do not get lazy , and bid the job like you need the job , because you do when starting out !! And ask your customers to please refer you , they are your best advertisement . Good luck and thank you for your service to Our great Country
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:21 PM   #3
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Moderators will soon be on this thread to tell you its in the wrong place on this site !
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DEK Painting inc. View Post
Moderators will soon be on this thread to tell you its in the wrong place on this site !
You're right I moved this thread to the Business, Marketing, and Sales section.

Carry on..
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:57 PM   #5
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To answer your question..

* I would steer clear from Home Advisor.

* Instead of Home Advisor try advertising on Facebook. I think right now it's the best bang for the marketing buck and you can target the market you want to go after like no where else I've ever seen. Seriously it's crazy how targeted you can get on Facebook.

* Definitely ask your customers to refer you.

* Get a domain name and build a website yourself for right now. I suggest siteground.com for hosting and domain name and use wordpress to build the site it's time consuming, not too hard,and very cheap.

* You need a business plan. Lay out short term and long term goals and how you plan to achieve them. It's important!

* Don't hire unless you're 100% confident you can handle the costs associated with hiring and unless your 100% sure you can keep them busy 40hrs a week.

* I say keep 1-3 guys until you feel comfortable then grow as needed. Growing pains can be costly if done too quick without the right systems in place.

* Best advise I can give to a guy starting out... Don't be the cheap guy. Figure out your costs and how much you want to make. Right now when your new it's easy to give in and low ball to get jobs, don't it's a trap. You'll get referred because you're cheap and the people getting referred expect a cheap price. Pretty soon you known as the cheap guy getting every job but having no money to show for it then burning out. That's not a place you want to be and it's very hard to get out of the cheap circle you'll be running in. So many new guys fall into it and eventually go out of business, don't be one of them.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-21-2017, 09:21 PM   #6
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Thanks! Most seem to be saying home advisor is a no go, thanks for the post.
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:10 AM   #7
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Employees: Consider doing estimates after work and on weekends for now.

Paying for leads: Measure of last resort. Your existing clients would be so impressed by you, they refer you without you having to ask.

Growing: a highly efficient 1-3 man crew, targeting high-end clients, yields profits I would have never imagined when starting out.

Business plan: Written plans improve everything. Start it now and work on it regularly forever.

Website: Learn WordPress, easy, quick, free, google friendly.

My 2 cents:
Identify top clients, build your business around them.

Save money; Cash in the bank will save you in down economy, slow winters, cheap competition, etc.

Quality employees are family and deserve respect and top pay.

Even with 1 employee, you are required to hold safety meetings to review state regulation. Consider promoting him/her to safety inspector.

Shift your focus from making money to serving people.

Upgrade clients & service level every year.

Responsiveness increases closing rate.

Marketing does not stop when you are booked up.

Complaints should be addressed immediately.

Create a process for turning down work you do not want without offending anyone.

Invest 5% of your income in your own self-education:
English235 to write great proposals,
Audiobooks in your car or while you paint: Anything by Brian Tracy, 7 habits, the pumpkin plan, profits first.
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Old 01-29-2017, 12:44 PM   #8
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One thing that is rarely mentioned but is worth noting. I've helped mentor some new painters and help them get work when I'm flooded with jobs. The one thing homeowners want to know about new painters is this: Are you going to be around in 5, 10, 12 years to address any problems I have with my paint job? Are you going to be around the next time I need something painted? Let's face it, painting can be something someone does when they're laid off, got fired, in between jobs, etc. and homeowners want to know without doubt that you will be there for them now AND IN THE FUTURE!!!

You've done a lot to present yourself as a long-term painting option with a truck, signs, shirts, licensing, etc.......that's what homeowners want to see......not a beat up station wagon with a guy driving it who has paint all over him, smoking a cigarette, blasting some Molly Hatchett out on the radio.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:11 PM   #9
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Something wrong with MH?
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:02 PM   #10
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Something wrong with MH?
Just sounded good in my last sentence........no offense to MH or ChrisN Shoulda went with Marilyn Manson I suppose.
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Old 01-29-2017, 08:51 PM   #11
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A million differentways to grow. My advice is find good help and make sure they are actually good help. Work with one and then find another. Stay on the jobs until you can have people replicate what you desire. Keep the work rolling...

More jobs are a function of good past jobs. Key to solid future work is having a good demenor and knowing all you can about your trade and making people feel comfortable with you doing work for them. Whats not taught is that your personality sells jobs more than the price. People would rather spend a bit more if they trust you, trust your expertise, and trust the quality of your final product. Starting out should be a struggle. It shouldnt be easy. You grow from mistakes and you learn from them. You start small and start taking on new and more technical aspects until they become "old hat".

My advice is keep struggling and enjoy your time in the trenches. Find good people and take care of them. When you find average people, get rid of them. Find people that want to buy into your dream. Along the way, some of those people may want to step out and start their own thing. Thats not a bad thing. You just have to seek out the ones who want to roll faithfully with you for the long haul.
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