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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I believe that the quality of your craft trumps all business tricks. I have never paid a dime for advertising for 16 years. My impeccable work has been my advertising and has yielded me with plenty of patrons since my beginning. Slick brochures , fancy yellow page ads, silver tongue rhetoric, hot shot business plans, and big shiny F-350’s pulling up to the job yield one job at a time. Quality skills yield you a lifetime of customers who will gladly wait for the day you can stop by and make their home beautiful.
 

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I'm trying to figure out if you are saying you are the best and don't need any form of advertising
or
That you can't stand other painters

both are dangerous mindsets
 

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So I guess the theory being presented here is that businesses fail due to lack of quality workmanship. It seems that it would be possible to work by yourself, focus solely on quality, hope for lots of word of mouth and keep going "one job at a time" as the original thread put it. But what happens if you get sick, or need rotator cuff surgery, or have to take care of an ailing parent...is there a business foundation in place to guarantee you an income if you are not in the field. Things happen. I think its a good idea to have a plan.
 

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Classic Paints,
I use to think the same way, even though I haven't been in business as long as you. But the longer you stay here and read, the more the marketing and advertising guys make sense. My back and knee's hurt already,
in ten years I don't want to paint every day.
 

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Classic, you are right. Your work ethic and craftsmanship are very important. The reality is though that no employee will perform the work like I do it. If an employee did have that attention to detail and caring about the customers, the odds are that he will own his own business in the near future. I can go out and work every day and wow people with my attention to detail. The problem is, no one could afford my services. I'd have to be a one man show with a helper and accept that I will have to work until the day I die and accept a mediocre lifestyle. Lets face facts. An owner operated painting company is not going to make enough income to support the American Dream. Your wife will still have to work if you want to own a home in a nice neighborhood with good schools and drive a mid level, semi new vehicle. Those are not my aspirations. I deserve more than that and I work very hard to achieve more than that. My children deserve to have the finest education. I deserve a couple of weeks of vacation every year. My wife is entitled to drive a new vehicle.

Basing your work on quality is great. Do you charge for it? More likely you do great work, charge average prices and of course are in demand. That makes you a slave to a job not a business owner. I'm not trying to be harsh classic, but it is what it is. I'm sure you bust your hump and you have every right to be proud of the work you output. Guys will wear the "I don't advertise, my work quality speaks for itself" badge like a Silver Star. Every person that I have ever heard say that considers himself a guru in his field, works his tail off, has no exit strategy and resents that which he doesn't fully understand. These forums help connect all of us. I learn as much from the new guy as I do the seasoned veteran. If someone has ideas to help me make more money from my business, I am all ears. Keep in mind we are business owners. I didn't start my company so I could be a slave to it.

Classic, when you get the opportunity pick up a copy of The E-myth. Its worth the read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Different strokes for different folks. Yes, my wife works and yes I guess my business is more like a job. What I like about my job is I only have to make the customer happy and not have to deal with some greedy stressed out boss back at the shop each night because he under bid the job and I did not get it finished fast enough. I guess I have a decent job without a boss, and I love it!Geographical logistics play a big part as far as having a big company or a one/two man operation. If you live near a large metropolitan area you can build a large business but if you live out in rural areas it is not feasible.When I had employees I was miserable, my days were 16 hours long and full of stress. I am happy the way things are going for me and if becoming big is what your goal is that is fine to. To each their own. I think those who ridicule you for being a small outfit or a large company are acting ignorant and blowing smoke out their ass to put others down or they are trying to sell you something.In other threads I see the 80% failure rate brought up. That is nothing new. What if a 20% failure rate was the norm. Do you think that if that many succeeded that the competition would be a bit high?
 

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Classic,

I for one have no problem with someone who works alone out of choice. If that's what you want, and you are happy with it, great for you.

I do agree with Ken's points. If you understand them and accept them-- and what they imply-- again I have no problem. But if you don't, you could wake up one day and be very disappointed.

A problem does arise when someone wants to get beyond being a solo operator while still maintaining the solo painter mentality. As you yourself experienced, employees bring other issues. Those issues can be addressed and solved, but it takes a different mindset and a different way of doing things. It's a very difficult transition to make.

I've been active on this forum from day 1, and I don't ever recall anyone putting down the solo operation. (If so, I stand corrected.) I think some people take certain comments to mean that, but I think that's a misunderstanding. (My evidence is that I've been accused of putting down the solo operator, and I have never done so. I used to be one.)

Usually my comments are primarily directed at the person who wants to grow his business, or improve what he has. I've been down that road, and I'm willing to share my experiences and what I've learned, just as others did for me. That's never been intended to be a slam on those who want something different.

As you said, different strokes for different folks.

Brian Phillips
 

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Different strokes for different folks. Yes, my wife works and yes I guess my business is more like a job. What I like about my job is I only have to make the customer happy and not have to deal with some greedy stressed out boss back at the shop each night because he under bid the job and I did not get it finished fast enough. I guess I have a decent job without a boss, and I love it!Geographical logistics play a big part as far as having a big company or a one/two man operation. If you live near a large metropolitan area you can build a large business but if you live out in rural areas it is not feasible.When I had employees I was miserable, my days were 16 hours long and full of stress. I am happy the way things are going for me and if becoming big is what your goal is that is fine to. To each their own. I think those who ridicule you for being a small outfit or a large company are acting ignorant and blowing smoke out their ass to put others down or they are trying to sell you something.In other threads I see the 80% failure rate brought up. That is nothing new. What if a 20% failure rate was the norm. Do you think that if that many succeeded that the competition would be a bit high?
I cannot believe this response. Why do people get so defensive and always mention the SIZE issue. It's NOT about the size that everyone is referring to, it's what PLAN you have in place to not have to bust hump until your 85 years old.

is anyone else hearing the same response over and over and over and over again?

Can we call the whole painttalk forum "please read e-myth" before anyone can post anything, instead of painttalk?
 

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I cannot believe this response. Why do people get so defensive and always mention the SIZE issue. It's NOT about the size that everyone is referring to, it's what PLAN you have in place to not have to bust hump until your 85 years old.

is anyone else hearing the same response over and over and over and over again?

YES!!

Can we call the whole painttalk forum "please read e-myth" before anyone can post anything, instead of painttalk? WE SHOULD
 

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is anyone else hearing the same response over and over and over and over again?
Yes, there does seem to be a "big guy" versus "little guy" thing going on. Personally, I think we're all "little guys" trying to do well. And we define "well" differently.

If you've never seen Shakespeare's play Much Ado About Nothing, I highly recommend it. There is a good movie version available. That movie turned me on to Shakespeare. It's a comedy (and a great love story), but it really applies to this issue.

Brian Phillips
 

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I cannot believe this response. Why do people get so defensive and always mention the SIZE issue. It's NOT about the size that everyone is referring to, it's what PLAN you have in place to not have to bust hump until your 85 years old.
Rich

This should be the quote of the day for yesterday. One for the highlight reel!

By the way, glad to hear about your new opportunity. With a family, that is a nice feeling of security, I'm sure!
 

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Quality Craftmanship is the best marketing of all........

IF you are after high-end residential rework. Which is an honorable market.

BUT if you are after a higher volume commercial market then quality will be one item, but turn-around, manpower, and ability to float while you wait 60 days for $$ will be what gets you the job.

I've been on both ends of the spectrum and believe both types of operations, the smaller craftsman and the larger production-driven type are valid - depends on your long term goals (different strokes etc)

I've been involved with dorm painting operations that require heavy manpower for a short duration with little emphasis on quality (they just destroy them every year and repaint). Yet there is good money to be made and it is an honorable market. To get it you will have to do some "fancy" marketing and slick talking..at least to get a foot in the door.

That's my $.02

mndrk
 

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Quality Craftmanship is the best marketing of all........

IF you are after high-end residential rework. Which is an honorable market.
mndrk
That is our market. In the past couple of years, more than ever, those clients are becoming more and more interested in cost, production rates, s.f. and l.f. pricing. High end builders that we work for, that is...

The quality has to still be there, but they are more aware of cost than ever, which has made me have to adapt to knowing my numbers alot better. It does no good to say "it'll cost what it costs" if you really dont know your costs. And "my quality speaks for itself" doesnt really hold up.

Yes, we are still marketing quality as a priority, but it has to be packaged in a way to demonstrate the value of the product.
 

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I've had the same mentality as classicpaints for years - and what has it gotten me? 13 yr. old Astrovan that I have to do all the repair work myself just so I don't spend money having a garage fix it. I feel people vote with their wallets - and homeowners and residential in general has really beaten contractors down with price, and contractors have submitted and quality has suffered - but if that was a problem, homeowners would be chasing quality again - they haven't. If quality was so important - homeowners would wait 3 months for their plaster walls to totally cure before putting a solid coat of oil primer, but they won't wait. If I am not willing to paint those plaster walls within a week, and use a latex primer instead - I will lose the job. I believe in places like Holland - homeowners respect quality, want quality, will pay for quality, and will wait around your 8 months booked out to get quality - but in America, they want 'B' work at a competitive price - and want it done the day before yesterday - that's our market - that's just how it is.
 

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I've had the same mentality as classicpaints for years - and what has it gotten me? 13 yr. old Astrovan that I have to do all the repair work myself just so I don't spend money having a garage fix it. I feel people vote with their wallets - and homeowners and residential in general has really beaten contractors down with price, and contractors have submitted and quality has suffered - but if that was a problem, homeowners would be chasing quality again - they haven't. If quality was so important - homeowners would wait 3 months for their plaster walls to totally cure before putting a solid coat of oil primer, but they won't wait. If I am not willing to paint those plaster walls within a week, and use a latex primer instead - I will lose the job. I believe in places like Holland - homeowners respect quality, want quality, will pay for quality, and will wait around your 8 months booked out to get quality - but in America, they want 'B' work at a competitive price - and want it done the day before yesterday - that's our market - that's just how it is.
Dan, your perception may be the mitigating factor here. There are plenty of people willing to pay for quality.. as long as you bundle it into an overall positive experience for them. Marketing, image and sales get you the higher paying jobs. Integrity, skill and follow through keeps that pipeline open. If no one bought quality, Mercedes would be out of business. Mercedes has spent decades not only building fine cars but making the experience of owning one something prestigious and desirable. Look at their commercials. Are they selling people the suspension componentry and variable timing valve train, or are they selling an image of a car cutting through canyons like the wind? Its all about the presentation Dan.

Don't sell a paint job. Even though you, me and everyone else here knows thats all it is, you have to sell people on the benefits of that paint job. I don't sell a deck restoration. I sell backyard barbecues. I sell a save haven for the children to play. I sell an increase of money in the homeowner's pocket (property value). These are the things that excite us, Dan. I don't care what my car is doing internally when I press the gas pedal, but try getting the sh-- eating grin off my face when I'm fighting g's trying to pull myself forward in my seat and you will understand what motivates me to buy a toy.
 

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Ken - I still do very high quality, and my goal is to sell to that upper crust market. What I don't want to do - is give my A++ quality work to those customers that want deep discounts. That's what I use to do - that's what my mentality was stuck into. Through advertizing I want to acquire the better customers. And again I would like to add guys, and I know - that their work will never be like mine. As to the internals of your car - I use to build high output air-cooled volkswagen engines - so I love knowing the nitty gritty of what's going on under the hood.
 

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Yep, we are on the same page, Dan.

I'm actually a car nut too. That was a bad example.
 

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I belive everything flows together. I myself have certain ways about my business that I belive make it diffrent from some. for one I strongly belive that first impression is a big deal, I have a set of clothes that I use for going to meet customers.(not polo shirt thing) and I mean no offence to anyone but I feel that if you show up in a primered 1979 chevy truck with ducktape holding the tail lights on, and wearing dirty work clothes, thats what they see!! and it does reflect on your business, Im very new at this too. Ive worked for other contractors all my life. and this is my first year on my own, granted Im not hireing 3 guys anytime soon. but my main goal is to be what the customer wants, give the highest quality work at the highest quality pay. Im a yes ma'm no ma'm kinda guy . military haircut, clean shaved, clean cut kinda guy, and all this for the one reason, that I feel it helps. I advertise as much as possible, I will not shortcut anything! I know that it might as well be a piture of my face on that job! thats my mark, my name. Theres alot I need to learn, and Im very teachable. I learn alot from all you here, I feel that I can carry on as a one man show and make a good living off it. and for now thats what I want, Im only 46 so I have some years left in me. ps. now doncha get me wrong, I is the bestest backwood shotgun toting, story tellin, hillbilly on this here ridge! aint no buddy tellin no difrent, but Iz just no'in when an where to be myselfs!!! later man.
 
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