photo of Dan Ross of Ross Painting in San Rafael, California

Contractor Q&A with Dan Ross: Know Your Goals, Focus on Quality and Enjoy Your Work

Born in Atlanta, Dan Ross grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the owner of Ross Painting in San Rafael, California. He believes exceptional materials and execution are critical to an outstanding result.

“The type of materials you use makes a big difference,” he says. “Quality products flow better and lay smoother. They are easier to apply, cover better (which saves in labor costs) and they clean up better. Colors are more stable and resist fading.”

When did you start painting professionally?


What were the biggest turning points in the success of your business?

When we decided to focus on quality and when I learned to reach out to others and ask for help. I’ve learned a ton from being a PDCA member, and I hired a consultant.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Managing people and their expectations… this includes employees as well as clients.

What’s your favorite part of running your own painting company?

Meeting and working with a wide variety of people and projects and helping them achieve the results they want.

What’s the best business advice you ever got?

Understand what it is you really want. Those are your goals. Write them down and work towards them. It gets a bit more complicated of course, but that is the basic idea.

What advice do you have for young people entering the painting business?

Consider your goals: what you want and why do you want them. Then create a well-thought-out business plan. If you do it right, you should answer some questions in the process that will let you know if you’re on the right path or consider something different.

Any other tips?

Know that you probably can’t do everything yourself, but you can always hire what you can’t or don’t want to do. Doing that can save you time, money and frustration. Most of all, enjoy what you do, because that is the life you are living!

This article was originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of PPC magazine. Dan Ross 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.