Chris Berry has been a professional painting contractor since 2003. He is the owner of B&K Painting in Boise, Idaho. PPC sat down with him to learn the secrets of his success.
What was the biggest turning point in the success of your business?
It was when I started our YouTube channel, idahopainters. We now have over 20,000 subscribers and are averaging 8,000 video views a day. Along with my YouTube channel, I studied all I could about social media and how I could use it to increase my reach, further my brand and increase my profits.
What is the biggest challenge of running your own painting company?
It has been hiring employees who meet the high standards that our company expects. Training and teaching employees your company philosophy is a lot of work but not nearly as hard as finding the individuals who will carry it out in your absence. We have used every means to search out the best candidates: contacting the local colleges, posting on Facebook and LinkedIn, calling local job services, posting on newspaper websites and more.
What is your favorite part about running your own business?
The satisfaction of turning an OK-looking house into an amazing-looking house. How much more satisfying could it be than to see a customer leaving for work saying goodbye to the old faded house then arrive home to a new custom color scheme we created with Resilience® Paint from Sherwin-Williams?
What the best business advice you ever got?
To create your own niche and develop it with all you have. I was told you cannot possibly take on every job out there, and to pick the right jobs that are going to further your company’s goals and specialties and that you will enjoy and give 100 percent. Turning down a job will sometimes be the best decision you could make, no matter how bad you want or need the money.
I was also told to never compromise your quality and integrity. To this day we give our customers only the best products from Sherwin-Williams, a high quality paint and a job at a very fair price. You can never overlook great customer service.
What’s your advice for young painters?
Starting a business is not easy. It takes hard work, long hours, a willingness to read and study, and a financial investment. If you are willing to work long hours marketing your business in the beginning stages it will eventually pay off. It may take hanging door hangers, passing out flyers, learning how to use social media, and more. Never stop.
The work will not come to you. There is lots of it out there but you have to go get it in the beginning stages. Once you start, get email contacts from every customer you ever get. This list has great value later on. If you work hard, give great customer service and offer a good product, you will become successful. This will take an investment in the beginning and all along as you go. You have to be willing to put back into your business if you want it to grow.
A condensed version of this article was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of PPC magazine. Chris Berry 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.