BUSINESS TIPS TO HELP YOU WIN MORE JOBS
Painting is usually the easy part. Maintaining and growing your business is where most painters find owning their own business a challenge. If you want to stand out from the crowd, take note of these practical business tips.
1. Differentiate your business from the others
With over 30,000 other painters on the brushes around Australia, it’s important that you determine your points of difference as a professional painter. For example, how many years have you been in business? How many employees work for you? What’s your average amount of jobs per year? What’s your quote turn around time? Do you supply a professional looking quote for each job? Do you work on only small residential projects, or do you also get involved in commercial and industrial work? Are heritage homes your specialty? Do you only paint in your local area? Communicate these things in your meetings, marketing materials, and on both your website and Facebook pages.
2. First impressions are critical
Do you turn up and do the quote when you say you will? If you’re running late to an appointment do you call the potential client and let them know? Are you in a clean Taubmans branded shirt? They say 9 out 10 customers have already decided if you have a chance at winning the job before you even step in the door. Always keep a clean shirt and some deodorant in your work vehicle so if you’ve be working all day and you get a call to come and quote you can still look neat and tidy. If a client has any hesitation that you can’t look after yourself they won’t trust you with their most important asset.
3. Always follow up
If it’s coming up to a week since you provided your professional looking quote to the client and you are still yet to hear from them, give them a call to follow up. You don’t have to be pushy, just let them know you’ve called to see if they have any questions or concerns about the quote and if there is anything more they might need from you to help them select the right painter for the job. If they suggest that you are a little too expensive, explain to them that it is because you don’t cut corners like some others and that you use only the best paints from Taubmans.
4. Know your quoting strike rate
Taking time off the brush to quote a job is costing you money, so it pays to know what is working for you and what is not. Determine your ideal quoting strike rate and measure with a tracking tool such as the Taubmans Quote Builder how many you are winning. Perhaps you’re winning too many and you could possible charge that little bit more. And if you’re winning too few, during your follow up call ask for some feedback - you’ll be pleasantly surprised that most people will be happy to share it with you.
5. Cover yourself
Hand shake deals are a thing of the past. At a minimum you should be supplying a formal quote. It should include a clear scope of the works to be completed, what the payment terms are, including any deposit you require before commencing work, and the cost impact of any variation to the scope. These terms and conditions protect both yourself and the client, so it’s critical to ensure that the client formally accepts the quote in writing. There are fields for both client acceptance and terms and conditions on the Taubmans quoting template.
6. Word of mouth is more important than ever
Home owners are actively seeking to find a trusted painter, and one that comes with a quality referral ticks this box. People like to make decisions based on the good experiences of others, however online sites such as Facebook have given them access to more people than just those in close proximity. 84% of consumers searching for a service said that online resources influenced their decision. Demonstrate your exceptional customer service and quality workmanship and you’ll not only impress one customer, you could be impressing thousands!
TIPS ON EXPANDING YOUR BUSINESS
Anyone can start a business, but running one successfully does not happen without planning and hard work. For your painting business to succeed it is important to fully understand what it takes to start, run and grow a business. Often the painting is the easy part.
Follow these business basics, and you’ll have a firm foundation upon which to grow.
1. Make A Plan
The first step is determining the level of income or profitability you want to achieve in a year. Once that’s set, figure out how many jobs you’ll need to reach that goal. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of hired help (if required), products, equipment, transportation and marketing.
2. Know Your Customers
Do you want to focus only on individual homeowners? Does the commercial market offer better opportunities? A critical success factor in business is knowing your customers. Without this important information, you can waste time and money selling to an audience that may not want or need your services.
With your existing customer base, always remember to ask for referrals after you complete a job. This is one of the least expensive yet most effective ways to identify new customers.
3. Scope Out The Competition
Know what you're up against when you’re out there selling your services. Check the phone book to see what other painters cover your area and the services they offer. You might find there is a niche service not currently being offered.
To find out what your competitors are charging, ask your existing customers what they have paid in the past. If you lose a job, inquire about the cost of the winning bid. Knowing what others are charging will help you prepare more competitive bids.
4. Take Your Services To Market
There are many avenues to market your services, with some costing nothing or next-to-nothing. Here are some options:
- Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook
- Post fliers and business cards on community bulletin boards and in paint stores
- Put a sign in the front yard of the home you are painting
- Place an ad in the Yellow Pages or local paper.
- Take out an ad in a local shopper’s guide or weekly advertising publication, especially if there’s a home improvement edition.
- Create a simple website containing your contact information and project photos.
- Distribute a coupon with a special offer using a group coupon distribution service.
- As your business grows, consider advertising on affordable local television or radio.
For more help on either starting up, expanding or simply running your painting business with more success and less stress see the courses available in our training section.