Do You Have a Mentor?

Finding a good mentor can help your business flourish and grow

Sometimes a little advice from a trusted source can be just what you need to take your business to the next level. That’s what many people in the workplace are realizing, as mentoring programs are increasingly common among the most successful businesses.

Studies have found that people with mentors report greater happiness in their work, experience less workplace anxiety, and are more likely to receive promotions and higher income than people without mentors. Those benefits aren’t just limited to big Fortune 500 companies either; they can work for your painting business too, helping you make more money, retain talented employees, and enjoy your job more.

Hard Lessons

Having a mentor you can talk to about your business can be a great help, especially when getting started. The U.S. Small Business Administration found that while only half of small businesses survive for five years or more, that rate jumps to 70% if the business owner is receiving mentoring.

A business mentor can help answer your questions and share advice based on their own past experiences. Dan Petrulak—Owner of DP Ready 2 Paint in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania—says his mentor gave him advice on the little things that helped his business to excel.

“My mentor gave me lots of valuable insights, but the one piece of advice I use over and over is: ‘While a potential client is interviewing you to see if he/she wants to give you the job, you should secretly be interviewing them to see if you want to take the job,’” Petrulak says. “Not every job or client is a match for you and what your company does. Learn to recognize red flags.”

Learning those lessons from someone else can save you time, headaches, and costly callbacks. Jason Phillips, Owner of Phillips Home Improvements in Plano, Texas, wishes he would have found a mentor early on for his business, so he didn’t have to learn all the hard lessons himself.

“Although the last two decades have been very fruitful for me, I learned every single thing the hard way,” says Phillips. “I could have done so much more if I would have coupled my drive and work ethic with leveraging the mistakes and successes of others instead of trying to reinvent the wheel at every turn.” 

Finding a Mentor

If you want to find a mentor, one great place to start can be through the Painting Contractors Association (PCA). Formed to help painters operate productive, profitable businesses, the PCA offers plenty of events designed to help painters connect, network with, and learn from one another.

“If you’re an up-and-coming painter and you want to better yourself, you’re going to find the best servant leaders in the PCA,” says Jason Paris, Founder of Paris Painting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Education Foundation Chair on PCA’s Board of Directors. “Coming to one of the PCA Expos is a great place to meet those people and establish a mentoring relationship.”

Katie Jacome, Marketing Director for the PCA, says she’s seen the profound impact of mentorship within the PCA community firsthand.

“Our members join PCA for various reasons, but a common thread among them is the invaluable opportunity to engage in mentorship,” Jacome says. “This ethos of mentorship has been ingrained in our community since its inception, driving our collective commitment to excellence and growth. From seasoned industry veterans to newcomers eager to learn, PCA members generously share their knowledge, experiences, and expertise, uplifting and empowering one another along the way.”

Another great resource for mentorship can be through your local Sherwin-Williams. Their experienced local reps can help connect you to other local painters or even take a hands-on approach themselves. Cole Palea—Owner of Novo Painting and Property Management in Seattle, Washington—says his representative, Jake Marple, has been his industry mentor for more than a decade.

“My relationship with my sales rep has really been at the core of our success,” Palea says. “He’s brought a lot of knowledge into our relationship and has helped to guide the formation of our company. He’s truly a mentor with us. Throughout every single project we do, he’s always there accommodating whatever we need, and to work for a solution to any problems we encounter. It really has been an asset to have him as part of our team.” 


As the industry enters a generational shift—with many young laborers looking to enter the trade and many experienced painters looking to impart their wisdom before retiring—mentoring could be a great way to help grow and expand your business. Plenty of painters have experienced the benefit of a mentor in their lives and want to share that benefit with others.

“Everything I’ve ever learned and achieved in my business has been through the help of other PCA members and mentors I’ve met over the last few years,” says Juan Vasquez, Founder and Co-Owner of Illusions Painting Inc. in Sand City, California. “How could I not give back?”