A three-man paint crew topcoats a wood-sided home exterior

Leadership: Chad Jeffries on How to Find and Keep Good Workers

What’s the toughest challenge in the painting business today? If you said employee retention, you’re on the right track. A veteran contractor offers advice on how to get better at it.

“We’ve decided to stop chasing after painters. We’re hiring people on attitude.” –Chad Jeffries, Brick City Painting and Drywall

“The biggest challenge in our business today is, it seems to always be keeping employees,” says Chad Jeffries of Brick City Painting and Drywall in Mexico, Missouri. “It seems like in the paint industry it’s tough for everybody with that.”

Be creative to improve retention

Through trial and error, his company is continually working out new ways to retain their best workers.

Offering benefits, he says, is one the most effective things they’ve done to overcome employee turnover. They’ve also instituted bonus systems to reward good workers. Worker training is another effective tool.

“That shows that we’re investing in them and really brings up their morale,” Jeffries says. “They know that they have some value. They think, hey this guy wouldn’t be spending this money on us if he didn’t see something.”

What to look for when hiring

Finding new painters is likewise a challenge throughout the coatings industry. Jeffries has chosen a route that more and more paint contracting company owners are trying these days.

“We’ve decided to stop chasing after painters. We’re hiring people on attitude,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of success with that. We’ve already hired a couple guys that had no paint experience and within a year, they’ve surpassed guys that I’ve had working for me for three or four years.

“It’s strictly an attitude thing,” he adds. “They want to do better, where some guys are just happy to do 40 hours, and you know, it’s just a paycheck. So, by not just looking for painters, we’re hiring on attitude and that’s helped a lot.”

Chad Jeffries was interviewed for the Pro on the Go series by <Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Watch more videos in our Pro On the Go series on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.