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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
So I’m still in my first year of business, and like I’ve mentioned in previous threads, I’m happy with our income. It’s a little more than I made as a full time employee, and this is the first year. My question to you is, how long did it take for your business to have a break out year? (if that’s ever happened). Or have you found that it’s been steady growth with random off years due to the economy?

Also, would you recommend hiring on a few people if there’s the work, or sticking to a small (husband and wife) operation as we are now.

Obviously we’re gonna get a wide range of comments here, and I don’t feel that anyone is wrong. I’m just interested in your advice and thoughts. All the best!
 

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An old time painter once told me it took the average paint company about 5 years to get hummin' and to start making good money. The reason, he said, was that painting tended to be one of those businesses that lots of people jumped into when they got laid off from a job, needed an extra income, etc. People that hire REAL painters want a painter that they know is in the biz for the long haul. They want to know that you will be there in 7, 8, 9 years when they need you again. He felt that 5 years showed that you were in it for the long haul and once customers saw that you were legit and long-term, you were more apt to begin getting the repeat business that helps you achieve nice "bank."

I've found that to be basically true although it could take less than 5 or more than 5. For me, it took more than 5 because it took time getting established with builders, GC's, real estate agents, etc. Those relationships take time to build, but, once you're in the door, business really takes off.........
 

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It depends mostly on economy, if economy is good everyone is busy and making good money but I agree with gymschu it takes a few years to build a good reputation and establish a relationship with your repeat clients such as GC's and builders. Hiring more guys is necessary if you wanna grow your business, upside to having more guys is that you can handle more work, get it done faster and most importantly make more money but the downside is you are responsible to find enough work to keep them all busy year around which can be tough at times but they are relying on your paycheque to put food on the table for their family. Also the more guys you have the more headaches you'll have as not all guys always show up on time all the time, some will call in sick, leave early for doctor's or other appointments and list goes on and on. At the beginning I would recommend staying small as it's much easier to manage your business and as you grow start bringing more people in. Good luck with your new business
 

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Define “good money”.

I made more my first year in business as a painter than I did my last year as a teacher (after 31 years).
 

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RH I'm not sure if that question was directed to me or someone else but making "good money" as a contractor in my view is when a person is making at least 2-3 times more money then they did as an employee working for somebody else. When economy is good and city is booming there is shortage of trades and you can pick and choose your jobs then you can make some "really good money" that's why I said economy plays a big part of it.
 

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RH I'm not sure if that question was directed to me or someone else but making "good money" as a contractor in my view is when a person is making at least 2-3 times more money then they did as an employee working for somebody else. When economy is good and city is booming there is shortage of trades and you can pick and choose your jobs then you can make some "really good money" that's why I said economy plays a big part of it.
No, more a reference to the thread title. Economy and location are both factors IMO.
 
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When I think good money, I think 100K a year and above. I’m sure many here do that in their worst years. And I’m sure many have never got that (like me lol). But that was what I was referring to. I don’t wanna get into a net vs gross conversation. But approaching that kinda yearly sales is what I view as good money. Took my dad 15 years at Chrysler to hit that kinda money. And teachers never hit that.
 

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When I think good money, I think 100K a year and above. I’m sure many here do that in their worst years. And I’m sure many have never got that (like me lol). But that was what I was referring to. I don’t wanna get into a net vs gross conversation. But approaching that kinda yearly sales is what I view as good money. Took my dad 15 years at Chrysler to hit that kinda money. And teachers never hit that.
100K a year profit for a business or annual sales? There is a huge difference between the two.
 

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Im close to being two years on my own. When you first start out, you dont have as much work, and cant charge as much as you'd like. When you get some regular clients, referrals or a GC or two, you start getting swamped, and can start raising your prices to where they should be. You gotta buy more tools and stuff when you first start too. This past year, I am charging over ten more bucks an hour than last year, because I can. (Thats PER HEAD, btw. Mine and any helpers I have) Every company I've ever worked for had at least one 'bread and butter' client, that you get a ton of work from. This could be a contractor, realtor, designer, insurance company, etc. Once you get one or two of those, they trust you, and start to use you exclusively, you almost always have a steady stream of work, and you can hire more help, and make even more money. referralls add up and you start getting more and more calls, and you can start weeding out the low paying jobs, and not think twice about losing bids. You gotta build momentum, and keep your recurring clients happy, even if once in a while they give you a job that doesnt pay as much. Do it for them anyway, or they'll hire someone else, and you might lose all the good jobs they give you.
 

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Im close to being two years on my own. When you first start out, you dont have as much work, and cant charge as much as you'd like. When you get some regular clients, referrals or a GC or two, you start getting swamped, and can start raising your prices to where they should be. You gotta buy more tools and stuff when you first start too. This past year, I am charging over ten more bucks an hour than last year, because I can. (Thats PER HEAD, btw. Mine and any helpers I have) Every company I've ever worked for had at least one 'bread and butter' client, that you get a ton of work from. This could be a contractor, realtor, designer, insurance company, etc. Once you get one or two of those, they trust you, and start to use you exclusively, you almost always have a steady stream of work, and you can hire more help, and make even more money. referralls add up and you start getting more and more calls, and you can start weeding out the low paying jobs, and not think twice about losing bids. You gotta build momentum, and keep your recurring clients happy, even if once in a while they give you a job that doesnt pay as much. Do it for them anyway, or they'll hire someone else, and you might lose all the good jobs they give you.
And what happens when your GC or two or real estate client find the next cheaper version of you? I know it happened to me, one day I was a star who could do no wrong, and 3 months later, I've got someone cheaper and faster than you?
All this after you bent over backward trying to give them a good product at a good price!
 

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When I think good money, I think 100K a year and above. I’m sure many here do that in their worst years. And I’m sure many have never got that (like me lol). But that was what I was referring to. I don’t wanna get into a net vs gross conversation. But approaching that kinda yearly sales is what I view as good money. Took my dad 15 years at Chrysler to hit that kinda money. And teachers never hit that.
I have been at this for about 25 years and never came close to that.:vs_whistle:
 

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I know I don't have the credentials to participate in this conversation, but in terms of business operations, shouldn't there be more emphasis on sustainability rather than a particular personal income number? I mean, you'll have a painter boasting that they averaged $100.00/hr. on one particular job and consider that a prospective of their company's ledger.

There's too many ups and downs in this business to not consider an average over time.
 

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i get back to you when it happens. Don't hold your breathe though.
 
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The 5th year was my breakout year. At the 5th year, we were established enough in the community to dramatically increase prices. Before that I just didn't get the call volume I have now. Those first few years were extremely lean but I am so happy I stuck with it and it's paying off tremendously now. Best of luck to you


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And what happens when your GC or two or real estate client find the next cheaper version of you? I know it happened to me, one day I was a star who could do no wrong, and 3 months later, I've got someone cheaper and faster than you?
All this after you bent over backward trying to give them a good product at a good price!
Well... it happens. Its happened to me too. Hopefully the next one will come along sooner than later. The better the reputation you have, the more options you have. In general though, they would rather deal with just one painter. The GC Im working with now keeps hiring these God awful subs, just because they dont want to try someone else. Its like they are afraid of change.

One thing to help minimize this is to ALWAYS make time for your bread and butter clients, cuz if you dont have time to do that drywall patch, they will hire someone else, and that someone else might smoothtalk their way in.
 

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Like most “how much money” themed threads, there are so variables involved it almost makes it impossible to make comparisons.

Someone who goes about building their business methodically and having a business plan may reach their goal more rapidly than someone who just wings it and hopes luck will be on their side.

As already mentioned, the economy and location are big variables. Size of operation; OMS or crew, and type of work; residential, commercial, or both, can be others. Another is drive or motivation. And at the risk of rolling out a cliche’, for some it’s more the quality of their life that might define success for them rather than how much they are making. Sort of the old, “paint to live, not live to paint”.
 

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Like most “how much money” themed threads, there are so variables involved it almost makes it impossible to make comparisons.

As already mentioned, the economy and location are big variables. Size of operation; OMS or crew, and type of work; residential, commercial, or both, can be others. Another is drive or motivation. And at the risk of rolling out a cliche’, for some it’s more the quality of their life that might define success for them rather than how much they are making. Sort of the old, “paint to live, not live to paint”.
I think the general theme of this thread is the progression of ones own company year by year.
 

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When I think good money, I think 100K a year and above. I’m sure many here do that in their worst years. And I’m sure many have never got that (like me lol). But that was what I was referring to. I don’t wanna get into a net vs gross conversation. But approaching that kinda yearly sales is what I view as good money. Took my dad 15 years at Chrysler to hit that kinda money. And teachers never hit that.
Well, some teachers make more than $100K, plus have a couple of months off in the summer to make more painting or doing whatever!
https://teach.com/blog/highest-lowest-teacher-salaries/:smile:
 
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