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Many of us are lucky to find our “Key Employee” early on in the building of our businesses, for others it takes time!  You’ll find them when your not looking so be prepared.

In 2003 I had 4 employees in the summer and a helper in wintertime, enjoyed a decent living but knew I would have to get out of the field to do so.  Unfortunately the employees I had were not those type of people, I feared leaving them on the job!

I needed a person in the field I could build my business on, someone who thought like I do, someone who is “Above the Line”.  I certainly didn’t want to go to the day labor store or the Big Orange Box labor pool parking lot.

Where do I look?

Well, I started with a list.  (Yes, I’m a list maker hence I love the Wunderlist App!)  A list of Character attributes and features.  Clean cut, the willingness to serve others, an example setter, a leader, Fun, organized, and the list goes on.  Start by making your own list!

Notice how I didn’t say  “Awesome Painter?”

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Hire on Character!  You can always train to paint.

Later that year (2003) another painter approached me about purchasing his business, he was starting up a new venture and wanted out of the painting business.  We negotiated several times and after a few weeks, I bought his beat up van which included a “zero money making low end, poorly managed new construction business and 4 painters.”  I did not know his painters or his clients a total crap shoot (Red or Black?).   I actually just wanted the van and his equipment but in that crew I found Daniel.

Fast forward 6 months later – Daniel and I see eye to eye on most everything (strong work ethic, doing the right things, etc..  I had him working with me on repaints while the other 3 guys continued with new construction.  I realized Daniel had all of the qualities in a person I wanted to run the production of my company.  He became my first real “Crew Leader” and later a “Field Manager” of 18 painters, 6 crews.

Your never know where your “Key Employee” will come from so be on the lookout!

Where do you find people?


Amazon? (I hear painter in a box is coming out soon, just add water for 8 hours of painting)

The Unemployment office line?

Well, maybe Craigslist but let’s think outside the norm…

My most recent employee came from one of my current employee as a referral and I might add he was having a whopper lunch while he found him.  Where was this person working?  Burger King!  Yes, Burger King.

Here is what your really looking for:

You are looking for people who already have a job….  your task is to think about the types of jobs people are currently “Stuck in” and where the location of that job is.  Make a list of places you wouldn’t normally look for employees, it will help.

Now how you can get them interested in working for you?

  1. Make a Google Form for a Job Application
  2. Print up a “now hiring” business card with a link to the application page.
  3. Have cards on hand, look for opportunities outside of where every other painter markets for new employees.  Usually what takes us out to the edge of our comfort zone bears the most fruit.
  4. Hand out as many cards as you can!

Yes, I know it’s January, but the most successful plan ahead. Before you know it the weather will break and it will be open season on exteriors again.

Will you have planned ahead with a fully stacked team of awesome attitudes who look out for your and your companies best interest, or will you be scrambling for what’s left of the labor pool?

We hope you will have planned ahead. In the DYB Community, we are.

Any questions, click here to shoot me an email at ,  or post it in the comments below.

About the Author

As a newly single father of two from MI, he struggled to start over as a paint contractor in FL, going door to door. His situation was so bad, even the IRS had mercy on him.

 Feeling completely hopeless, he remembered the story of King Solomon praying for wisdom. Could it be so easy? 

He felt he had absolutely nothing to lose. So, as a bankrupt, divorced, high school dropout, single father of 2 young kids, now living 1250 miles away from all friends and family, started to pray for wisdom.
 And while he continues to wait for the wisdom to arrive, what did come was an insatiable desire to learn and read books… 
Thanks to God for giving him the burning passion to read books, and attend seminars, (oh and winning the wife lottery) he not only cracks the success code and overcomes the struggle, but also streamlines his painting business in less than 3 years, published a how to book, then sold the company. Now he leads a business coaching company for painting contractors so he can help other businesses, like yours, to do the same. Hear more... Or