Pro-to-Pro Contractor Podcast

Four painting contractors discuss current realities in the painting world and the challenges of moving their business forward in an exclusive pro-to-pro contractor forum hosted by Professional Painting Contractor Magazine. The three-part podcast focuses on the adjustments that have worked best as businesses re-open; the challenges of leadership and cash management; and new approaches for personal, team and business success.

In Episode 1: Back to Work, our PROs talk in detail about shifting to fast-forward as operations resume, all while maintaining an environment focused on worker and customer safety.

In Episode 2: Leadership and Cash Flow, our PROs talk about building a culture of teamwork and developing creative approaches to cash flow management.

In Episode 3: What’s Ahead, our PROs discuss the new opportunities ahead and offer advice for anyone considering a career as a professional painting contractor.

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Episode 1: Back to Work

PS: Hey painting pros, welcome to the Pro-to-Pro Contractor Forum hosted by PPC magazine. I’m the Publisher Pete Sobic, and I’m joined today by 4 pros from across the country. Thanks for joining us. Let’s meet them now:

Hi, I’m Dave Scaturro with Alpine Painting
Hi, my name is Aideline Amaran from Amaran Group in Miami, Florida.
Hi, my name is Jason Phillips with Phillips Home Improvements.
Hi, my name is Cole Polea with Novo Painting and Property Services in Seattle, Washington.

PS: As businesses are re-opening and operations resuming, what’s working for you now? Have you made adjustments, and if so – what?

DS: Well, I would say, about two weeks ago, we went from the pause button to the fast-forward button. We are in full swing. We need to hire about 20 guys in the next month in order to handle all the business that we have, the influx of work. And we kind of saw this coming. We knew that we were going to continue to reach out to our customers to make sure that they were comfortable with starting work again. And, it was only a matter of time before, you know, things would open back up, there would be a different feeling of what’s going on in the area, and people would start working again. Now, granted Pete, there’s certain markets where it’s still a little uncomfortable. Like people don’t necessarily want you in their offices per say, or at least, some don’t. Um, some don’t want you in their homes. But we found with municipal work, with exterior projects, with anything to do with cleaning or disinfecting, it’s full speed ahead. And we’re taking advantage of that. And we’re trying our best now to manage the schedule effectively, so that we can continue to provide good, quality services, and take on and complete all this work that we have before the end of the year.

Some people are completely open, going about their day-to-day. And other people are 100 percent locked down. And they’re not leaving their home for any reason. And then there’s a lot of people in between. So, there’s all different levels of how people are coping and adapting to this. And I think something that’s really important is to be conscious of that and not be too opinionated. We’re just- when we’re dealing with our clients, for example, it’s whatever their comfort level is, we’re trying to adapt to that to make them feel like, yes, we have all the safety protocol in place. We’re doing everything to protect our team and, in turn, protect your team.

CP: Our community work is just going, is kind of gaining this momentum that has been unreal for us. And so, for example, we’re trying to reach out to non-profits and boys and girls clubs, PTAs, and really just developing an initial relationship with them by offering free disinfecting services to help them prepare their space to allow, so they can welcome their community back into their space. And through it, we’re developing stronger relationships with our community’s larger organizations. It’s just, I don’t know, organically kind of happening like that.

Our input goes into community, and the output tends to be that I’ve got a bunch of bids on my board that I gotta go out and get and it’s not like I’m doing anything, any more paid advertisements, or anything like that. It’s really that I’m trying to tap into the safety component for people and what we’re willing to do to help them create that safe space. And it helped some of our people to stay positive in the whole thing. Um, because, I think, you know, mental health is a real thing. And some of our crews who are sitting at home, they just don’t have that kind of support. I think, when people are asking, “Hey, how are you doing? How’s your family doing?” And I think those one-on-one calls throughout the time were really impactful. Um, and it wasn’t anything other than, “How are you doing?” So, I think, looking forward, our teams are healthy. They’re healthy in mind and spirit right now and I’m viewing it as an entrepreneur looking at opportunities looking forward. Hey man, how can we bob and weave? How do we just not stay complacent in where we are and how do we adjust and be flexible? Some of my crew are down and some haven’t been down to be too flexible. And we’re working through it. And we’re really seeing this as a time to strengthen our teams and strengthen our mission of what we’re doing out there and the why.

AA: In my particular case, I just opened up for business like three years ago by myself and it’s been tough and hard. And now, what I’m doing is, I got to have a great team. And I’m so proud of that. You know, also what I’m doing is, I have like all my equipment, and I’m offering my customers who really know rental, doing some repairs. Now, there’s a lot of rain, and I’m doing something else outside of painting, and, you know, all my team is like, “We’re here, whatever you need. We’re doing something else. I’m renting my equipment. You know, they’re saying, “We’re painters, but we’ll do whatever it takes.” So, I’m very proud of them and all the support that I get from my team.

JP: We shifted. My VP set up a virtual studio for project consultant salespeople to present remotely via Zoom. He set all that up. We adapted our call center scripts so that now we were giving people another option. You don’t want us in your homes, sitting at the kitchen table, so we adapted our scripts on the phone to set their mind at ease, based on, kind of like what Dave said, you know, what is their comfort level? What can we do it at the kitchen table, we can do it remotely, at a second meeting, or, gosh, we can do it at your patio table if you prefer.

And quite frankly, most people ended up choosing the patio table, here in Texas, than the remote meeting, the virtual meeting. And so, we also, we shifted our sales strategy and our call center strategy, we also, um, shifted our marketing strategy. You know, when you have something like this, that’s threatening to cut off the life blood of your business, and for me that life blood is the leads and the cash. It’s like the red and white blood cells in the body and the blood. And so, um, what we did is, uh, we said, okay, we are going to begin executing things in marketing that we can bring to fruition within one calendar week. And we need to do things that are going to move the needle.

And also said, here’s the next thing, we don’t want to just do things in marketing that are gonna move the needle this week. We want to create a process that’s evergreen because guess what, this will pass.

CP: For us, ya know, our facilities where we’re serving essential clients, essential businesses, they’re still operating. So, we see opportunity there where, actually, their business has actually picked up from previous years because their facilities are now empty. And now that maybe the initial fear is kind of out of there and people are looking to get back and get people back in, the question is, how do you make the occupants of the buildings feel safer? Um, it’s about safe place. You know, it’s a safe space. Our marketing, and what we did to retool to that concept, um, really has resonated with people because corporate facilities have phased in plans to get people back in. Well, they gotta get their facility ready, right, to get people back in.

Um, we’re seeing exterior residentials amongst clientele who tend to be white collar workers and retirees still going, right. They’ve got the funds to keep their projects on the boards and keep moving. And so, what we’re trying to do is first off, look at our existing relationships and see who falls into those categories and pay, not pay, a little extra attention to them and have more frequent conversations about their plans of reopening, for example, and how we can assist them in those plans to reopen.

PS: Have you found yourself, I don’t know prep the jobs differently, coach your team differently, um, assure your customers safety protocol, or your crew, educate them on best practices?

JP: Absolutely. I see there’s two areas here. There’s one, there’s really being safe. And the other one is making sure your customer sees you’re being safe. And those aren’t always the same thing. And we want to, like Dave said, we want to set their mind at ease. We’re here to serve you, and we care about safety too. So, we ask a lot more questions and see what their comfort level is. And um, generally, when it comes to the exterior projects, it really hasn’t been a problem. And those exterior projects, most of them, they see them as a need. I mean they’ve got rotten wood- They’re worried they’re going to get mold in their walls, water in their house. Like on our roofing projects- you get water coming in your roof, in your ceiling and you’re going to get something done about it. So, the main thing for us is just communicating, yes, we’re open, we’re here to serve you, and we’re gonna be safe.

PS: Okay, all you pros that tuned in – thank you and be sure to check out the next Pro to Pro Forum where we’ll be talking about the importance of leadership and managing cash! See you then!

Episode 2: Leadership and Cash Flow

PS: Welcome back, paint pros! Our next session focuses on the Importance of Leadership and Cash Flow. Let’s jump back in with Jason.

JP: So, Pete, you know, right here, I keep this Kool Aid pitcher in my studio and this is actually an icon around here at my company that, you know, back in the day, the term “drink the Kool Aid” started off as not a really good term, but it’s changed throughout the years. When I, um- I grew up drinking Kool Aid. I think of summertime, friends, family, get-togethers, sunshine, swimming pools, all of that stuff. And to me, it’s an icon of teamwork for us and good times together.

And in our team, the culture that we built here, not just me, it’s my leaders, and everybody contributes to this, is a culture of teamwork. And we literally use the term “drink the Kool Aid.” And if you don’t drink the Kool Aid here on our team, you simply don’t fit in, and it becomes obvious very quickly. But we want team members that are all in. And I can- they proved that to me when, uh, the way they responded to the COVID. And I went to my team and I said, “Hey, I’m drinking your Kool Aid right now” because I believe in you and what you’re doing, and you guys are so amazing. And, uh, it’s just a symbol of someone that’s all in.

And don’t we all want teammates and employees that are all in at our company? Because when we’re all in, we can do so much more. And it’s about building a culture, and really taking care of one another and- so, we took the word team and paired it with the word family, and I came up with “teamily.” So, I always have to explain it, but internally, everybody knows what a “teamily” is, who the “teamily” is. And so, that culture of, you know, when we work together, we care about each other and we will thrive together.

PS: Cole, how about you?

CP: I’m originally from Hawaii, and the island is a small place. You burn one person, and your reputation is screwed, alright? And there’s a big thing that we live by and it’s Aloha spirit, you know? Unconditional love, nothing’s up my sleeves. Come to my house, eat, let’s play music, let’s drink, and then leave and I’ll see you tomorrow, right? And I think that spirit has really helped me, being in Seattle, stay true to how I was raised. From, you know, from my parents. And be able to share that spirit with our team, and really try to support them in that way.

Um, the, what I’m finding, is that, the more I answer that call to my roots, for some reason, it’s um, the outside perception is it’s more authenticity of who I am, and it allows me to attract the same…It allows me to attract people with the same type of values, or who actually, who find value in our approach.

And the people who don’t, that’s okay, it’s really fine. That’s how I’ve discovered more about myself, not as a painting contractor, but as a businessman, entrepreneur, and how to stay true to yourself. And it’s a constant work every day to really be like, Hey man, I’m talking in my broken English, can you really understand me sometimes? And my friends are like, “Hey, you been in the mainland for 20 years.” And, I just can’t help it. That’s who I am. And, I’ve just found, if I embrace it more, and more and more and make it louder and louder and louder, for some reason, it results in positive things for our company, and that’s been really a feel-good thing in this whole time for me.

PS: Dave, how about you?

DS: Yeah, I’m very lucky that I have my two brothers as business partners, and we got on top of this as quickly as we possibly could. We reached out to our network of contractors and trusted advisors, and we put together a plan in place to- even though we didn’t have the answers, and there was a lot of uncertainty, we wanted to create an idea of what the future could look like and what we could do to help keep our employees safe and um, and keep working. We analyzed what would happen if all of our work just stopped. How long could we sustain the company, what our burn rate was.

We did our absolute best to respond appropriately, not react without good intention and stay calm and level-headed for everyone around us. So that they didn’t see that- yeah, everybody’s scared, but we wanted to be that calm in the storm, so that people could be attracted to and feel like they’re protected in this whole thing.

PS: How is everyone managing their cash flow.

DS: You know we did everything in our power at the beginning to ensure that we were going to be here and not only survive this pandemic but thrive at the end and be ready. So, when it comes to cash flow, yeah, that was a big concern. We were very fortunate that our company has been around for 45 years. We’ve saved for this rainy day. We have a lot of equity built up in the company. We made good, smart decisions so that we could weather this storm.

We understand that, in a service-based business, you can have up years and down years. So, we had several up years coming into this, and we had that pot saved away for today.

Um, we took out money from the line. From the line of credit, from the bank. We talk with our bankers and our accountants regularly, to let them know that we’re doing these things as a proactive measure to make sure that we’re gonna be in good shape because there is some uncertainty. We cut spending across the board. We cut all the perks. You know, company lunches. We cut down on credit card use. We did all these things in preparation for the unknown.

We did, originally make some concessions and cut back on some of our workforce. Um, we asked our management team to take a 25 percent pay cut, including the owners.

And then, the minute the opportunity arose, the Cares Act came into play and the PPP small business loans was available, we jumped on it and were literally the first contractor in our region to take advantage of it. We worked so diligently to ensure we could get that money in, and in the appropriate manor. That, the minute we got that money, all the employees had their full compensation restored. Everyone was hired back. We started opening things back up. It was a breath of fresh air for us and it was just what we needed.

PS: Aideline, your thoughts?

AA: What I’m thinking is that I’m going to change my approach. Now I am going to concentrate on the government projects because 99 percent of our work is condominium associations. And right now, they have to pay like their monthly association. And most of them are, they are not paying. They are behind on payments. And I’m a little afraid to continue with projects if I don’t get paid. So right now, what I’m doing is, before this, I had like six projects going on, and right now, I’m only working on one.

PS: Jason, what do things look like to you?

JP: I’ll. tell you what, Pete. I believe that cash is king.
And, um, some years are a little leaner than others. And so, what we did is, we immediately contacted every vendor we deal with, whether it’s materials, landlords or just anyone that we spent any significant amount of money with and just said, “Hey, we don’t know what’s going on here. We value our relationship, but we may need to talk about, you know, some type of alternate, temporary arrangements. And, although we didn’t end up needing any of that, we had some very favorable conversations. Because, you know, our vendors, whether it’s Sherwin- Williams or whoever it is, they care about our business, they value our account long-term, not just today. And so, I was very pleased with the feedback that I got from all of our vendors. But I think when you just are open and honest with them, about what’s going on, that goes a long way with them. Instead of just, you know, you don’t pay your bill and you don’t answer your phone, and you know, they’re wondering what’s going on. But, communicate up ahead of time, and you can help formulate a plan together that’s gonna help get you through whatever you’re dealing with.

PS: Cole, what are you seeing?

CP: But I think the creativeness of how we’re thinking about- it’s not only about paint right now. Yes, we’re painters, that’s a given. We’re there to refresh environments, exterior, interior, all that. But to think outside the bucket, if you will a little, to see how we can contribute to our community and how that actually benefits our business has been really, especially in this time, has really been a huge eye-opener for me.

And has really made me feel like doubling down on it, because it’s in the root of our company values. And who we are. And it’s fitting, it’s genuine. It’s authentic.

I am the first to admit, I am not a painter by trade. I’m the youngest of a contractor family, and I’m always the grunt worker, no matter how old I am. And so, I’m used to taking that trash, grabbing the tools, getting the lunch, and being that real support. And it took me years to really embrace it. And, in this time, I found myself tapping into that a bit, you know.

PS: Hey, Cole, you mentioned something about, and it just lit me up, because you said, “Hey, I’m an entrepreneur. I think like an entrepreneur and I’m always looking for opportunity.” Question for the group: um, and I think Aideline kind of talked about this a little as well, do you see yourself, um, opening up a new revenue stream somewhere, that maybe you would have never thought of before?

AA: I was also thinking like, something that I never, ever imagined, because right now, the raining here has led to an economy for roof repairs and leaks. And, I’m like, wow, I am doing a lot of repairs and roofing because they don’t have the lifts, they don’t have the equipment to go up to the…And I’m like, woah, I think this is a good opportunity to do something else, you know? And you say that and I’m like, you know, now I’m thinking to have some… Because actually, every time they do roofing, after the roofing the painting came, so I was thinking to open up another field and add something else to the business.

Because I started with my father as a painting contractor, and I was also doing painting, that I’m doing right now, but it’s very slow, so I’m thinking maybe I can do something else and add something with roofing, because my painters, they’re following me and they do whatever they have to do. So, I’m thinking that’s another opportunity and something that I’m going to be up into.

PS: Dave, any additional thoughts?

DS: Pete, something that we’re pursuing, and we mentioned the disinfecting and the sanitizing, so we’re promoting cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting for today. And then providing, Microbicidal paint for tomorrow, for the future. We actually put together a promotion, with the help of Sherwin-Williams, called “Painter for a day,” where we were encouraging our clients to use our services where we would come out, clean your facility, disinfect it and then we would apply a microbicidal paint called PaintShield by Sherwin-Williams that would help kill airborne pathogens. Now, the testing is not there to state that it’s going to kill COVID-19, that’s not what we’re saying, but the testing is there to prove that it has killed MRSA, staff and other airborne pathogens. And, , we found that not many were jumping out, cause it’s still kinda new, but it’s opening people’s eyes that a pandemic like this could happen, and people who are willing to do anything to protect their employees and patrons of their businesses are open to trying this out.

PS: That wraps it up for this session. We’ll be back for the third Contractor Forum where our 4 painting pros share with us what’s ahead for them. See you then!

Episode 3: What’s Ahead?

PS: Thanks for tuning back in painting pros! I’m the Publisher Pete Sobic. And I’m joined today by 4 pros from across the country. Thanks for joining us. Let’s meet them now.

Hi I’m Dave Scaturro with Alpine Painting.

Hi, my name is Aideline Amaran with Amaran Group from Miami, Florida.

Hi, my name is Jason Phillips with Phillips Home Improvements .

Hi, my name is Cole Polea and I’m with Novo Painting and Property Services in Seattle, Washington.

PS: In this segment of Pro-to-Pro Contractor Forum, we are going to ask our four pros what’s ahead for them.

So, what does the future look like for your business? Cole, let’s start with you.

CP: Looking ahead, we’re feeling actually pretty optimistic about where we’re at right now. We’re making moves. Like a lot of people, you know- disinfecting has been a positive thing to keeping our wheels turning. We’ve invested into some electrostatic disinfecting guns and backpacks and we’ve actually put a lot into community impact work. So, there’s actually been about 20 murals in our neighborhood that we partnered with the Chamber of Commerce on and that had an unreal response. You know, things from CBS News, to a lot of local press coverage. And that really kept our fire burning and spirits high, as we saw the need for community, community support really.

PS: Dave, how about you?

DS: Yeah, for us, Pete, we anticipated that disinfecting, sanitizing and general cleaning practices would have a big spike. And we marketed pretty heavily to those services. We did not get the amount of opportunities that we had anticipated. I think we put out email blasts to almost a thousand schools within a geographic location around our headquarters. And what I think may have happened is, you know, a lot of the custodians and janitors- they’re not working, you know. Or if they are working, right, their school’s not in play so they have opportunities to clean those schools. And we weren’t getting that work. We did a little bit for some municipalities, we did a little bit for some office buildings, but it wasn’t that huge boom.

Where we’re seeing the boom is within some of the markets that we’ve always worked in. So, for us it’s warehouse distribution facilities, logistical centers so, the big Amazons, these large tilt-ups that you see off the turnpike or parkway in our areas, 300 overhead doc floors, they’re still pumping out business. They, in their opinion, at least from my experience, it’s business as usual, and we’ve secured, I mean, over 15 different properties, just doing logics centers in the last two months. And it’s a huge opportunity for us. Whereas, with like interior high rises, which is another market, we have those secured, however, it’s a wait and see kind of game for the residents on when they feel comfortable allowing us in their spaces.

PS: Aideline, your thoughts?

AA: I have a lot of certifications, so I’m going to start working on government projects. Which, I think, our president is going to do something for us, and they are going to start opening up different projects, like government projects. So, I think, here in Florida, that’s what I’m going to do. Like, my approach has like changed a little bit. So, instead of 99 percent condominium associations, trying to go register into the government like Jackson Health Hospital, I am already getting a lot of emails and a lot of projects that they are going to open up for business, so I think I’m going to be okay with that.

PS: Wonderful.

AA: But I am definitely going to have to change my approach. I am going to have to go from residential condominium associations to government projects.

PS: So, I want to get to sort of an end point here with, really, one of my favorite questions to ask any contractor which is, what advice would you give to a painting contractor that’s considering entering the painting contracting world, or just starting out?

And I was referencing Jason, because I love what he said, and I have the advantage of having read some of his stuff where he said, “I would just stop trying to reinvent the wheel every time by myself. There’s people that have come before me, who I can learn lessons from.”

And it was a really powerful message, but I’ll let you explain it better Jason, and I hope everyone else responds to the advice question, again, knowing that there’s going to be different levels of contractors tuning into our chat.

JP: Well, thanks Pete. You know, most people don’t go to school to be a contractor. Maybe to be a painter, but not to be a painting contractor. And somehow, you just end up there. There’s two or three typical channels where you come in that door.

But if you’re just starting out, or you’re about to start out, the first thing I would say is, you’ve got to treat your business like a business. And there are best practices that you need to discover and learn and implement in your business or else you’re eventually, as you grow your business, you’re going to turn into its slave. And honestly, it should be working for you.

Most people, you know, they want to come into, they want to be a contractor or go into business for themselves so they can be their own boss, earn more money, come and go as they please, retire, buy a bigger house, whatever. And it really boils down to time, money and freedom most of the time. Unless you inherited or you were raised in it, right? But what happens is when you grow your business, it becomes very needy. It’s like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. It’s going to take up all of your time and all of your time.

And so, the very thing that you got into the business for is so elusive: the time, money and freedom. And when you put the right processes in place to systemize your business, you can have time, money and freedom. And that’s huge.

And, one thing I would say is, specifically, value your leads, from every step of the way, starting with before they hit your website. And know and track every touchpoint, of a prospect, of a customer, of a repeat customer, and value and maximize the value of that lead throughout its lifetime, that will serve you well. Cause that’s an area of big waste. Things that fall off the radar.

PS: Cole, any additional thoughts?

CP: Business is business. Same thing Jason’s saying. You have to get your mindset into being a business person and not the painter, right. Thinking outside of the bucket verses in the bucket. Because a lot of the time, I think that when we make the jump from painter to contractor and business owner, a lot of times the mind stays in the painting mind, right? It’s not to say we devalue, that we’re not thinking about our craft and the product we put out. That’s a given. But the skillsets and the demand that Jason mentioned is spot on. It’s gonna call on you from different angles that have nothing to do with paint, really. It’s gonna be a challenge, and you should be prepared to build skills that you didn’t think you needed, right, as a painter.

And every day, from calls like this and webinars like this, to meeting Jason at APC, and getting involved with groups like that, there’s a lot of support systems, I feel, that are available to painters or tradesmen wanting to be business people. And, I think, at the end of the day, we have to embrace that. And the second thing I would say, is to really discover and be selfish a little.

Like why am I doing this? Like what am I in the business for? Like what do I hope the business can provide me? Because, if we’re all being honest, at the end of the day, we did this for a reason, right? We’re trying to progress ourselves, but also to not forget about the people who are helping us progress. We want to help them progress too.

And in the trades, a lot of times it can be cut-throat in the field level. And what I tell people all the time is, hey, we’re trying to help you get from A to B. If it happens that you’re trying to get to C, and I can’t offer you C, I’m gonna cheer you out the door and maintain our relationship. Because, at the end of the day, we all live in the same place, we’re all people. I respect you as a person and we never know when we’re going to encounter each other again.

You know, and I think, in our trade, sometimes, a lot of relationships with our production staff and the office get soured, and sometimes, in how things are dealt with. Ironically, that’s a valued point that I hit on when I attract people to work with us. But be selfish a little, you know, I think about it. As long as your values are right and you’re not trying to step on people, at the end of the day, I think it’s healthy.

PS: Dave, any additional thoughts?

DS: I would jump in and say, embody the characteristics of success. So, find something you’re passionate about. If you’re entering into this industry, it better be something that turns you on every day. Cause it’s a grind. When you’re a service provider, you’re only as good as your last job. Every single day when you show up you have to earn it and create a reputation of success.

Surround yourself, as Cole said, with really great people. From your office staff, to your field craftsmen. Make sure you’re hiring the right people with the right attitudes, the right work ethic. Cause those people are going to advance you tenfold. Whereas the wrong people will drag you back down.

Focus on what you can control. Avoid the distractions. Don’t allow things to get you off that straight, laser-like path you should have to what success looks like for you and your company. Never take pity on yourself. And create a priority list. Every day, wake up and say, I’m going to take over this day, I’m gonna take control of my destiny. And write down those things that are gonna get you to that success. That finish line.

CP: I like that pity remark. Like, man, that’s good stuff right there.

JP: That was really good.

AA: Well, my recommendation, to any person, not a painter or a contractor, that is gonna start a business- I think that there is some criteria that you always have to be honest with your clients. Always, tell the truth. And don’t lie about any magic. A particular product, that you’re gonna sell, that it’s going to change the outcome of the project. I think that’s the best thing.

And, as they said, whatever you’re gonna do, do what you love. Do it with all your heart. Because in my particular case, I stopped working with my father, and I went to law school, because I always wanted to be an attorney. And like after like my first semester, I was like, you know what? This is not me. I want nothing to do with this. I love construction. I love what I do, and I’m gonna go back to be a contractor. And, I think, that’s the first steps that, you know, you love what you do, and always be honest, tell the truth.

And, your employees are very important, you know? Like in my case, I don’t feel that they’re my employees. I think that I have teamwork and sometimes I’ll have lunch with them and, you know, I invite them to a party at my house. And they worked with my father, like, for ten years and now they’re working with me. And I feel like, you know, they’re my people, they’re my teamwork, and I always treat them as persons, not as, you know, as the painter that doesn’t have any school, doesn’t have any knowledge. So, I think that’s very important. Be humble.

PS: That is such solid advice, from all of you. There is an old saying, we are judged by the company we keep. As entrepreneurs, that’s a double entendre. We’re judged by the company that we run and keep. But we’re also judged by the people around us, the company that we keep. I have to tell you, all four of you make me very proud to be in your company and part of this industry.

On behalf of PPC Magazine, I would like to thank our four painting pros for all of their valuable business insights and sharing with us their personal stories. Look for more Pro to Pro Contractor Forums ahead!

I’m Pete Sobic, and we’ll see you next time.