Pro to Pro with Jonathan Zawacki: Do Only What You Do Well

For 30 years, PPC magazine has been on job sites throughout the U.S. and Canada asking residential and commercial paint pros to share their stories. In our Pro to Pro column, we recap some of the best advice contractors have received and passed on over the last three decades.

THIS TIME: Jonathan Zawacki, Hands On Painters, Baltimore, Maryland:

“A friend in business once said to me: ‘If you don’t do the work in the office, don’t do the work in the field.’

“When you run a painting company, your clients can ask for a lot more than painting. We have been asked to refinish furniture, grout tile floors, and do electrical work. “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is almost a daily mantra I repeat to myself.

“Every time I have wandered off course to work on something that is not in our scope and expertise, we’ve lost money. It becomes a huge headache, and worse, it can tarnish your reputation. Do what you do and do it well. It is that simple.”

–from the Spring 2008 issue of PPC magazine

About the painter

Jonathan Zawacki started Hands On Painters, Inc. with one intention in mind: to pay back his mother for supporting him while he took a 4,000-mile, cross-country bicycle trip which built up his leg muscles but drained his wallet. When Jonathan came to the conclusion that he needed the means to pay off his debts (and fix his broken-down pickup), he started a business called Jonathan’s Odd Jobs. Three years later Hands On Painters, Inc. was in full swing.

His goal today? To keep Hands On Painters on its path of providing painting projects with the attention to detail they deserve, while at the same time growing a little each year as staff and clients mature in skill and size.

Jonathan Zawacki was interviewed and photographed by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Read more of what pro painters have discovered on the job in the PPC What I’ve Learned archive.