Dan Cavagnaro began his painting career at the age of 19 from a master painter who based his craft on customer satisfaction, hard work and precise attention to details. More than 15 years later, he maintains those principles as a master painter at the helm of his own company, Golden Boys Painting in Rochester, New York.
What was the best decision or biggest turning point in the success of my business?
It was when I decided to change from operating as Dan Cavagnaro, the painter, to incorporating as Golden Boys Painting & Staining. I’ll never forget the first time that I put on our Golden Boys t-shirt and put our lawn sign in front of our customer’s home. It was the moment I knew this was going to be my career.
What is the biggest challenge of running your own painting company?
I know for most people, it is usually managing their employees or dealing with their customers, but we truly value both and appreciate what they mean to our company. Our biggest challenge is scheduling around the weather. We take on a lot of exterior work in the summer and I believe it is a full-time job coordinating our schedules every week so that we stay on task and keep our employees working 40 hours a week. All it takes is a few days of rain and our entire plan for the week is disrupted.
What is your favorite part of running your own company?
The chaos of it all. Our day-to-day is anything but routine and I love waking up every morning with a new set of challenges and goals to bring our company even further into success. Any business owner will tell you that there are days when you want to pull your hair out, but then there are those days where your customer calls to tell you how happy they are or your crew finishes a job ahead of schedule and those are the days that make it all worth it.
What is the best business advice you ever got?
My father has been in business for himself since the late ’80s and he has always been a source of inspiration and knowledge. One thing that he told me that always stuck with me is to ask yourself everyday what you did to help your company grow. No matter how big or small, if you do one thing every day to push your company further into the future, then eventually you will succeed.
Anything else you’d like to tell young people entering the business?
Deciding that I was going to be a contractor was not in my original plan. There is such a stigma associated with blue-collar careers, yet so many people are coming out of college with few career opportunities and looming debt. This is such a great time to get into the industry because the baby boomer generation is starting to think about retirement and there are very few young entrepreneurs entering the field. Yes, you will have to work hard, but if you are committed, motivated, and you truly care about the quality of your work then the opportunities are endless.
A condensed version of this article was originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of PPC magazine. Dan Cavagnaro was interviewed by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Read more about what pro painters have discovered on the job in the PPC What I’ve Learned archive.