Professional Painting Contractors Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I never really cared much for simplistic introductions. I would like to create a holistic picture for you. If you find it just too dang long to read the entire post then just scan the first and last paragraph and you will get the gist of it all.

I started working with painting contractors in the midwest 15 years ago (W. KY). I started out in custom residential homes as a grunt where my main tools were stacks of sandpaper and boxes of caulk (bleeding, pointy fingers) . I developed a keen interest in doing the absolute best job I could and slowly but surely my bosses realized that I was no slacker.

Eventually I ended up with a company that had around 20 full time painters. After a couple of years there I realized that I would never be happy making 9 bucks an hour (the most tenured of the workforce made $12 an hour after 20 years of dedicated service). I grew weary of bathing in kerosene everyday as I washed out my oil brushes and eventually decided I wanted more.

Four years in college studying Archaeology did wonders for my analytical thinking processes but little for my pocketbook. I worked long hours for my professors and took summer internships with the National Forest Service hoping to create an alternative career for myself. I painted and did repairs for my landlord to supplement my income. There were always some destructive tenants moving in...and out, so I stayed very busy.

Eventually I began to create a name for myself in that small college town and slowly began to develop a very professional image for my very small company (just me!). In time I moved back to where I started and very unsuccessfully launched my own painting business.

Unfortunately I couldn't break into the market there and found employment with a very well known and highly respected outfit (a competitor to my former employer). Money was my goal and professionalism was the path to that end. I discovered that I could make much more painting than working in my field much and that depressed me to no end.

So I trudged onward and eventually developed a 'student' mentality about the painting industry. I absorbed every ounce of information I could find. I ate books for lunch taking each word and savoring the taste. My coworkers though I was insane. They were happy with alcoholism and drug use and that disgusted me.

Eventually I met my wife and moved to the Houston area to build my family. The market was much larger here and I saw opportunity at every turn. I started working with a local company and eventually gained partnership. I lead the crews to begin with but eventually started taking on more responsibility. We hired consultants, took classes, focused on marketing, lead generation, customer retention, employee training, record keeping and all the other necessities. We went to Chicago, Phily and other locations across the country for meetings and seminars. We were doing well for ourselves as we began to strengthen our crews and build our business.

Then I hit a road block. My partner and I began to disagree on a number of factors. The most important to me was his dishonesty with our customers. I began to realize why he never agreed to put our sign in our office window. He was worried someone, or groups of someone's might find him and get even. He had never been able to retain customers or employees for a number of reasons which I don't care to explain and this fact slowly became blatantly apparent to me. I wanted out but didn't have the option to turn my back on the income. Luckily, he forced it upon me.

I took some time and restructured my goals. I built a business model and slowly began to get the jobs rolling in. I built my company based on integrity, honestly and quality craftsmanship. Referral after referral after referral kept us busy. In my down time I built a website (most of the credit should go to my lovely wife) and learned some basics of SEO optimization. I'm still working on refining what little knowledge I have in the hopes to create more leads in this apparent downturn in our industry in my area.

Lance Stewart
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,314 Posts
Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to post a great intro!:notworthy:
It's always interesting hearing how others refine and rebuild their business.
 

·
Lambrecht Painting
Joined
·
1,607 Posts
Welcome Lance, are you related to Last Craftsman or Retired in any way?
 

·
Born To Be Mild
Joined
·
4,956 Posts
Welcome Lance, are you related to Last Craftsman or Retired in any way?
He's longwinded enough to be related to LC, but not nasty, ignorant, arrogant and cranky enough to be related to retired. :eek::censored::whistling2:
 

·
PinheadsUnite
Joined
·
30,724 Posts
Welcome Lance,

You're right, long winded. Nicely written and composed, though. A nice read.

I have a problem. I'm wicked ADD and usually can't make it through more than ten lines. My problem, but thought you'd like to know for future consideration, 'cause I'm not the only one.

again, welcome
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the warm welcome folks!

The phone has been ringing off the hook over the last week so I have had little time to visit.


Never underestimate the power of a well designed website!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top