It’s a busy time for painters right now! The COVID-19 pandemic certainly created an appealing marketplace for the trades. Record numbers of new homes are being built and painters are needed for every one of them. That’s not even counting all the homeowners who have finally taken the opportunity to give their home a much-needed makeover.
The only thing that’s been a challenge, besides keeping up with all the work, has been keeping a strong enough workforce to take it all on. I can’t tell you how many painters I’ve spoken with who have had 20% or even up to 75% of their new hires not work out.
There’s nothing more frustrating than meeting a great candidate, going through the onboarding process, and having the admin team take care of all the paperwork—only for the new guy to call in sick on the first day, or even no-call/no-show.
That’s exactly the issue that I’m going to be showing you how to address today.
But that’s not all you’ll learn: the tips in this article will also help you to maintain a steady stream of new paint contracts, even when the market inevitably starts to slow down. Let’s go:
In both of these cases—winning contracts and making great hires—it comes down to fundamental human psychology.
People want to work with those they trust.
Every one of your clients who’s hired you for a paint job has believed that you were going to do good work and trusted you to do so. They trusted you with access to their home, they trusted you with their money and they trusted you with their very lives on some level. There’s a lot of risk that goes into inviting a stranger into your home.
Likewise, every one of your employees has made an act of trust as well. They’ve taken the chance of working for you versus a competitor because they believe that you will take good care of them, pay them fairly and on time, and keep them busy. They like you and they trust you.
Basically, it comes down to a math problem. Obviously there are a lot more variables that come into play, but they all boil down to this simple formula:
If their faith in a positive outcome is greater than their fear of a negative outcome, they will be likely to work with you.
Your brand is what speaks to your prospective customers and employees first. They’ll hear the unconscious words spoken by your brand WAY before they ever hear your voice or shake your hand. This can either be an asset or a liability depending on the work you’ve put in.
Your brand is everything about the way your business “feels” to an outside viewer. Every aspect of your day-to-day operations is a reflection on your business’s brand, not just your quality of work.
A key example of this is the army of Alexander the Great. They weren’t the largest army in the world. They didn’t have the most advanced technology. They didn’t have the strongest warriors. What they did have was the best trained warriors and a fearsome reputation for victory.
Once, Alexander’s army drilled silently in the morning before invading an enemy city. Upon seeing the magnificent display of unit cohesion and military prowess, the enemy promptly surrendered. Alexander the Great’s brand had won him victory without a drop of blood spilled.
The enemy believed that the risk of surrendering was far less than the risk of fighting.
This is what your brand can do for you. It can give an instant impression in your potential hires and customers that it’s more risky to ignore your company than to engage with it.
Your website is usually going to be the first time a new user will interact with your brand. When someone sees one of your ads, clicks your business in a Google search, or taps into a job posting, they’ll immediately look at your website to get a feel for what you’re all about.
What they see there will be their first impression that will set the tone for your interactions in the future. It’s imperative that your first impression be a good one.
Make sure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and filled with well-written, pertinent copy that gives the user a reason to read more. Ensure that answers to your users questions (both conscious and unconscious) are easy to find, easy to read and crystal clear. Any ambiguity on your website will kill your conversion rate (the percentage of visitors to the website that ultimately become customers or employees).
The best way to ensure that people recognize your business when they see it is to have a great logo and use it often. Make sure your logo and business name is on everything.
Everything that represents your business and has the possibility of facing a current, former or future customer should have your brand on it.
The way your logo is presented is every bit as important as the logo itself.
If you paid for a gourmet burger and they delivered it to you in a grease-stained paper bag, would you be likely to buy it again?
If a company had a beautifully designed website, but it was hosted on a slow server and took 30+ seconds to load, would you be at all impressed by the design after waiting so long?
Which plumber would you be more inclined to allow into your home with your kids: one with a rusted out ’95 Chevy Astro with their business name written on the side with mailbox letters from Home Depot? Or one with a clean, white sprinter van with a professionally designed full-vehicle vinyl wrap?
Going the extra mile to make sure that your brand materials are printed and displayed well will go a long way towards inspiring confidence in your people and your customers.
I promise you, this works. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Fortune 500 company with 300+ different roles available or a small town painter just looking for your fifth guy. Having a professionally built, well-written job board on your website will ALWAYS attract higher quality labor (while repelling the time wasters who are just looking for a small business that will let them get away with their bad habits).
Your job board should be structured like a funnel. The first page should explain what your company is about and what you’re looking for. This will help to attract the right labor while repelling the wrong labor. Explain what your pay structure is like, what benefits you offer and what your company culture is like.
Once at the beginning and again at the end, have a button that will allow your users to view open roles.
The Open Roles page (called the Archive) should be a list of every job position you’re hiring for. It should ideally be a list of them with a button allowing the user to click into each job to read details and apply.
The individual job page (called the Single) should feature details on the job, requirements, and a link to apply.
The application itself can be on the job Single, on a popup, or on its own page. Your application should mirror a paper application you’d give to an in-person applicant. Note: Get the details you need, but do NOT ask for sensitive information such as social security numbers, driver license numbers or anything like that unless your website is SSL secured and fully encrypted, and you’ve consulted an attorney to ensure you’re not running afoul of the law.
While it’s typically not a great idea to have customers jump through too many hoops, the same is not as true for job applicants. Applicants expect some legwork at the beginning, and having a comprehensive application for them to fill out will generally give the impression that they’re working with a high-level business that will provide them with a secure job.
Note: see an example of one of my job boards at https://seaeng.com/careers/
This is something the most successful painters I’ve worked with do really well. They ensure that their work trucks are parked on the street with the logo, phone number and website facing the world.
A few of them even put little wire yard signs in the customer’s yard with their information so they can promote themselves even after heading home for the day.
Having your logo on the back of company shirts is also a great way to go, since your workers will usually have their back to the world whilst working.
Putting on a great show while on an exterior repaint is a spectacular way to generate referrals. I know of one Montana painter who managed to paint six different houses on a single street just by looking good and branding themselves well on the job site.
Having a well-designed, well-produced and carefully thought-out brand will go miles towards putting out the right image and generating great first impressions. These critical first impressions will help you set yourself apart from the competition and attract not only the best paint contracts in your service area, but also help you attract the best labor.
If you want me to give you some personal feedback on your website and show you a few ways to improve it, click the link below to book a FREE 30 minute call with me.
I’ll show you exactly how you can modify your existing website to boost your results, and I’ll teach you exactly how you or your team can get it all done in just a few days. I take these free calls three days a week, so click below to pick a time. Good luck!