Pro to Pro with Phil Schoen: Don’t Leave ‘Em Hangin’

For more than 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: Phil Schoen, Schoen’s Painting & Decorating, Inc., Sheboygan, Wisconsin:

Don’t leave ’em hangin’

“Always be honest with your customers. Tell them the truth – they will understand. If something comes up or you are going to be late, make sure you call. Communication is a must. You just can’t leave them wondering what’s going on.”

–from the Spring 2008 issue of PPC magazine

About the painter

Sheboygan is a city of 50,000 people on the shores of Lake Michigan known for its bratwurst and being the best place in Wisconsin for surfing (really!). In a small, tight-knit metro area like this, good customer service and high quality work are essential to longevity in the painting business. Phil Schoen is a great example of how to do things right.

The word “customer” seldom enters his vocabulary – he considers the people he paints for to truly be his friends. That close connection was obvious as he gave PPC a tour of the many beautiful homes he worked on in his hometown.

Phil has now passed on his paint brush to the next generation.

“I started apprenticing for my dad when I was 14 years old,” says his son Chris. “My dad established Schoen’s Painting & Decorating in 1986, after working as a union painter. In 2019 he retired from the business and I’m continuing his craft and legacy.”

His dad taught him a lot about the painting business … and life.

“I never compromise quality for time and give my clients realistic schedules that accommodate their lives,” Chris says. “I strive for honest customer service, so contracts are only paid in full when the finished work is to their complete satisfaction.”

Story and photography by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Read more of what pro painters have discovered on the job in the PPC What I’ve Learned archive.