Luis Inclan is the owner of Inclan Painting and Waterproofing. Founded in 1981 in Elizabeth, N.J. under the name of Inclan Color, the company was established in South Florida in 1995. PPC sat down with Luis to learn about his company’s success secrets.
How did you get into the painting business?
I am an entrepreneur, and have had many businesses from high-end restaurants to custom cleaning services. When I was introduced to the painting industry, I realized that there was so much potential and room for growth. I enjoy the creativity and art it involves, whether we custom design a mural or simply revive a building with a fresh look. I have been blessed enough to create a corporation that not only thrives on an on-demand service but also provides jobs for many members of our community and gives me the opportunity to give back and practice philanthropy as a successful business owner. I get inspired more each day with the creativity of the industry and enjoy the interaction with our community.
What was the best decision to make your company grow and become more successful?
To take a leap of faith in serving both commercial and government work, which as we all know is extremely challenging when it comes to manpower and funding. During this time, Sherwin-Williams offered to provide a generous credit limit, providing assistance with this challenge. Thanks to them, my company has multiplied in revenue.
Once we received a credit line, one of my biggest turning points was having the opportunity to be certified on several categories in Miami/Dade County, including small business development, minority and certified small business enterprise. These certifications allow us to bid on government work, which provide thousands of dollars in revenue each year.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own painting business?
I have been in business for over 30 years and the biggest challenge I say would have to be time. I think we can all agree, sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thank God I have an excellent team to help distribute all the work. I began with myself and 5 laborers conducting solely painting now I have a team of over 200+ employees made up of office, clerical staff, field specialist, inspectors, estimating, and on-call team members for the busy seasons.
What’s the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Having the opportunity to give back. I am a man of faith and it was faith alone that allowed me to take the leap in starting this endeavor. Faith allowed me to endure the hardships and challenges of the trade, and faith prepared me for the prosperous outcome I have so graciously been blessed with. In turn, I feel privileged enough to have the opportunity to help my community, my church and family as much as possible and being financially stable allows me to do so.
What’s the best business advice you ever got?
“Do what you love, set a goal, make a strategy, and follow through.” Although you may already do what you love it is very important to set realistic goals and follow through with your word. This includes quality work, keeping your books in order and making business relationships. Once your current goal, whether personal or economical, has been met, it’s time to raise the bar. My first goal was starting a business with 20 clients. Nowadays my goal is to hit the next million in service sales. This past year we reached a new goal of $4.5 million is sales and my goal was $4.3, so it was a very productive year.
What advice do you have for young people entering the painting business?
Get educated on what you want to do and don’t be afraid to take risks. If you have the drive and ambition to become successful, it is an industry that will reward you sooner rather than later and the beauty of it is that almost anyone can do it. I say “almost” anyone because “ambition” plays a key part in your future. How bad do you want it? Are you willing to learn and take direction? Can you work within a team? Are you a people person? Several of my employees are young people doing work study programs. We offer scholarships, internships, trainings and opportunity for growth within the corporation. Several of these fine young men and women advance very quickly and secure their career, which in this day and age is rare even with a master’s degree.
Can you tell us about a job that was especially challenging or rewarding?
We recently had a contract with the City of Coral Gables servicing two of their central public parking garages. It was a $275,000-plus contract with a very strict schedule and active work atmosphere, including pedestrian and vehicular traffic 24/7. We were working while the garage was being utilized and space was very limited. During this time, Sherwin-Williams was very diligent on all our orders and deliveries, which made work easier and more efficient. We appreciated the prompt response and follow up on inspections. We worked like a well-oiled machine getting supply, service, and execution with virtually no delays or complications. Sherwin-Williams also gave us a very good deal. They are always thinking of us when they have specials, promotions or Pro Show events. It was a very successful project. We even got a letter of recommendation from the city commissioner who had paid a surprise visit and was very pleased to see that we were moving so quickly.
If readers take anything from this article…
…I’d like them to remember that the painting industry affects us all. Painting is an art. Painting is a job. Painting is a source of income and revenue. Painting is the last thing to touch a surface but always the first impression we see. Painting can be a sponsorship. Painting can mark a memory, cover up a scar or create a clean slate. Painting can be a form of expression and freedom or can create uniformity and order. But most importantly painting affects us all because whether you are the painter, the client, the supplier, the intern, the observer, the student or the reader, you have been reminded that painting is a part of your everyday life.
A condensed version of this article was originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of PPC magazine. Luis Inclan 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.