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I'm at the point through word of mouth and online advertising (Yelp and Angie's List) that I can't handle all the work that's coming in. I don't want to turn down any prospective projects but am doing so on a weekly basis.

At a crossroads here I feel. Are there any business consultants out there that anyone might know of that might be able to smooth the transition from a one man show that currently utilizes freelance help from time to time to a painting business that can handle a multitude of residential painting projects.

I've been in the business for 15 years, am 36 years old, and stumped. Most of the work comes from a variety of designers (high to mid-range), realtors, and personal contacts. We do excellent and very detailed work with great communication and follow up and I'm worried that expansion will sacrifice quality and, in turn, prospective and previous clientele.

I like the freedom of not having a crazy schedule throughout the week but am throwing away potential profits left and right. Mixed blessing. Any info would help. I live and work in Chicago.

Thanks!
 

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The Lurker
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I'm at the point through word of mouth and online advertising (Yelp and Angie's List) that I can't handle all the work that's coming in. I don't want to turn down any prospective projects but am doing so on a weekly basis.

At a crossroads here I feel. Are there any business consultants out there that anyone might know of that might be able to smooth the transition from a one man show that currently utilizes freelance help from time to time to a painting business that can handle a multitude of residential painting projects.

I've been in the business for 15 years, am 36 years old, and stumped. Most of the work comes from a variety of designers (high to mid-range), realtors, and personal contacts. We do excellent and very detailed work with great communication and follow up and I'm worried that expansion will sacrifice quality and, in turn, prospective and previous clientele.

I like the freedom of not having a crazy schedule throughout the week but am throwing away potential profits left and right. Mixed blessing. Any info would help. I live and work in Chicago.

Thanks!
Sounds like you need to hire employees.. or maybe your pricing your work too low...
 

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Freedom Maker
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I
We do excellent and very detailed work with great communication and follow up and I'm worried that expansion will sacrifice quality and, in turn, prospective and previous clientele.

Thanks!
Grow slowly. But expansion can greatly improve your take home...

We are believers in using subcontractors. Once, we had many painters on staff, but we found it very hard to manage the quality, personalities, and thought process of the "9 to 5ers".

When we switched to (QUALITY) subcontractors, we got business owners that cared about their own reputations and continuing to get work from us.

You have to search hard to find a good sub, but we have had good success with it, and we didn't have to outlay cash for more equipment, trucks, etc - they already had it.

Furthermore, we could control profit by negotiating a price for the job.

Just a thought.
 

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Painting Contractor
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173 Posts
Grow slowly. But expansion can greatly improve your take home...

We are believers in using subcontractors. Once, we had many painters on staff, but we found it very hard to manage the quality, personalities, and thought process of the "9 to 5ers".

When we switched to (QUALITY) subcontractors, we got business owners that cared about their own reputations and continuing to get work from us.

You have to search hard to find a good sub, but we have had good success with it, and we didn't have to outlay cash for more equipment, trucks, etc - they already had it.

Furthermore, we could control profit by negotiating a price for the job.

Just a thought.
I agree with the sub route. Get some quality subs to fill in.

However.... Subs are a business too and always looking for more work, so you need to read them the riot act about poaching work. If someone comes on your job site and asks the onsite guys about getting a quote on some work there has to be no question that they will pass on your number not their own. We have used lots of subs over the years, some better than others and I have had problems with subs not passing on leads. I actually had one crew that I had to let go, who were doing my jobs during the week and their own on weekends using my equipment and sometimes my paint left over from various projects.

If you want to use sub contractors put together a good sub aggreement spelling out all the details of what they are expected to do, quality, safety training, etc. As a sub you are not required to pay their taxes so it is important they reccognise that. They also wont be eligible for unemployement. If they have any employees they have to have their own workers comp coverage either from the state or private. They should have their own insurance both liability and automotive. You need to get copies of all of these before they set foot on your project.

As said earlier sub contractors can be a great asset and enable you to do what you need to as a business owner as long as you cover all the details.
 

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The Lurker
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Just be careful on the subs, IL has been cracking down on the sub laws in the last few years... My advice is hire legal employees and do it right...
 

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Painting Contractor
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We have employees, but there is nothing wrong with using subs.
As long as subs means hiring another independent contractor.
That contractor should meet the basic criteria necessary
to be a legitimate business. Insurance, Compensation Insurance
and the abillity to complete a project successfully, without much
hand holding (or interference) by the Prime contractor.
When they sub, the should represent the interests of the Prime contractor.
Stealing work or contacts at the site is not just unethical but stupid too.
Creating relationships takes a long time. Screwing them up is easy.
 

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The Lurker
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We have employees, but there is nothing wrong with using subs.
As long as subs means hiring another independent contractor.
That contractor should meet the basic criteria necessary
to be a legitimate business. Insurance, Compensation Insurance
and the abillity to complete a project successfully, without much
hand holding (or interference) by the Prime contractor.
When they sub, the should represent the interests of the Prime contractor.
Stealing work or contacts at the site is not just unethical but stupid too.
Creating relationships takes a long time. Screwing them up is easy.
I agree George... If the state of IL feels that the prime contractor had any influence on hours worked, start and finish times etc the line is thin here especially when the prime and the sub are in the same trade... its getting rough out here...
 

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Its usually an Tax and Insurance issue most..

I know that is what I mean. As long your sc and you are on the same page and sing the same song - I don't see how this stuff can get enforced. In other words, you estimate a job at x amount of hours and ask you sc if they will do the work for the x amount of money. If push comes to shove your sc states that he quoted the job for the x amount of money (but not stating that you originally proposed the $$$'s). I am sure that is splitting hair and walking a very fine line though. As long as you are 1099 the sc - I would think you would be safe.
 

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The Lurker
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Its usually an Tax and Insurance issue most..

I know that is what I mean. As long your sc and you are on the same page and sing the same song - I don't see how this stuff can get enforced. In other words, you estimate a job at x amount of hours and ask you sc if they will do the work for the x amount of money. If push comes to shove your sc states that he quoted the job for the x amount of money (but not stating that you originally proposed the $$$'s). I am sure that is splitting hair and walking a very fine line though. As long as you are 1099 the sc - I would think you would be safe.
And he proves he has Insurance or your on the hook for it with your insurance man...
 

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I think theres something to be said about being able to tell the customer that the painters at there home are not subs. I use it as a selling point that my guys are employees, and each has been with me for multiple years.

The only time I use subs is if there is faux painting. I usually prefer to recomend one, but sometimes the HO just wants to deal with one party.....
 
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