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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a spinoff from multiple other threads. I didn't want to muddy the waters on those threads, so here is my thought.

There is alot of debate out here about large paint companies and small companies, big guy and little guy. In the big picture, I suspect that we are all owners of small businesses of some form or another. How many owners out here have 10 employees? 20? Even if you include subs that you have used regularly, how many people are we talking about?
 

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Now, to answer the question, I started out solo. Rapidly grew to myself + 6-10 guys, depending on the job. I was doing it all wrong, treating employees as subs, no wc, no systems in place, no rules, etc. It was a freight train barreling at full speed ready to derail at any moment. Luckily I put on the brakes before it did.

Went back down to myself, and maybe one helper occasionally. Slowly grew to myself and 4 employees, but decided I still wasn't ready. I'm back down to myself and one helper.

But my goals are to have at least one 3-5 man crew doing 85% of the work, and me running the biz. I've spent the past year and a half building up for that point, studying, learning, building systems, and currently taking Brian's estimating seminar. By the end of the summer, or sometime in fall, I expect my ducks to be in a row, and I will start the expansion again. When that happens, look out. :thumbup:
 

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Today I had 9 people in the field, plus my office manager and myself. That is fairly typical, though it can be as low as 2 guys in the field (usually due to weather or scheduling issues) and as high as 15.

I'm pretty happy at that level. It's a fairly easy number to manage without going insane.

But you are right Scott, we are all small businesses. I don't remember the number, but I think a small business is anything less than 100 employees. In our industry, 75% of the companies do less than $250K a year, so 100 employees would be huge.

Brian Phillips
 

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Kevin is my neighbor and I have never met the man. PWG, do you know him well?
 

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I started in with my friends co at 8.
Got him up to 62.
Then, I wasn't needed and was divorced.
Now there's 3 of us and no work.
May hang out a new shingle soon.
 

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I am in a different situation than most of you. I work for a commercial painting contractor as a painting superintendent (scheduling the work, manpower) and as the safety guy for the rest of the company. Our day to day average across the year for painters is around 35. Slow tmes 25, busy times 60 or more. As far as the safety end of it we have around 200 regular employees and durning our busy times around 300.
 

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I use to work for kevin he is a really nice guy.... they go from like 100employes in the summer with a lot of youth help and then people go back to school and scale down to like 50 or 60...ur a havertown guy pressure pro ..great place
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I use to work for kevin he is a really nice guy.... they go from like 100employes in the summer with a lot of youth help and then people go back to school and scale down to like 50 or 60...ur a havertown guy pressure pro ..great place

Sounds like if Kevin is "the man", then the man is not so bad. And I bet Kevin has a lot of good men working for him. I think its cool that you can say nice things about a former employer. Thats a goal of mine.
 

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yea he is a good listener and open to ideas and innovation..he would have he company do small volunteer work for charities or retirement homes a couple times a year and used that as a good way to advertise and connect with the coummunity...i cant say the same thing about some of the other higher up people there though...
 

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Yes, Z, I'm in Havertown. Where are you located? I don't know if you do any pressure washing but I am putting together a round table meeting with some of the paint trade companies in the fall of '08. You'd be welcome to come.
 

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im in havertown too...ive done a fair amount of pressure washing but i would not call myself a pro at it.......yes i have some interest in that...just personal message me when it comes up
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I guess, to make a very general generalization, most of us out here either choose to work alone, or employ anywhere from 1 helper to maybe 10 guys.

There are noteable exceptions (like Kevin) who grow exponentially and responsibly. I have crossed paths with him through PDCA, and if I understand it correctly he has offices in numerous markets and even states. And I agree he is a nice guy and very knowledgable.

Perpsective is key. If you go from working alone to hiring a helper, you have doubled. I have a team of four this winter, Timhag's operation looks twice as large. Today, I cant imagine being quite that big, but someday soon I want to, and thats why I am researching it all now. Bottom line, I think its safe to conclude that we are all small business people, some just choose to work alone. Most of us started that way and grew. Some choose to stay right there.

If a solo painter calls me a "big guy", I will have to disagree. I know my business is small. Timhags is larger, but still small. And I agree with what Rich said yesterday in another thread, it is not about size. Its about having some sort of plan in place so that you are not out there slinging paint by yourself until you are 85. There are only so many hours in a day, week, month, lifetime that you can sell.
 

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he does not have operations in multiple states...he talked about doing it but never did....his brother has a painters consulting company you will find in the back of jobsite magazine...sometimes other painters would come out on the field with us from other states just do see how we operate
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
he does not have operations in multiple states...he talked about doing it but never did....his brother has a painters consulting company you will find in the back of jobsite magazine...sometimes other painters would come out on the field with us from other states just do see how we operate
Interesting Z. Must be really hard for a company that size to find enough painters in the local talent pool.
 
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