You’ve started your first painting company and now you’re ready to venture out and start your first exterior!
This post won’t be for everybody, this is for the person who’s just starting out.
I’m Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB Coach, and a painting contractor in Massachusetts.
I’ve been doing this for a little over 18 years now and I’m going to walk you through your first exterior paint job.
If you’re venturing out, you’re probably saying, “I’m going to be a painter and I’m going to make a lot of money.”
I’ll give you tips to get you on the right path, but first, let’s walk you through that first exterior paint job.
You’ve provided an estimate and you’ve won the job.
Congratulations, that’s the first step, because if you don’t have a job, you didn’t win a contract and you don’t have anything to paint.
Let’s start from there, your first exterior.
You need to make sure to collect a deposit.
Why do you want to collect the deposit?
It’s a commitment from the customer to you, and it seals the deal.
Maybe it’s $500, maybe it’s a third down, depending on what your contract reads.
You will find many contracts online and if you are using one of the actual estimating programs, they already have basic contracts loaded where the customer can sign.
I’m talking about Estimate Rocket and PEP.
These are the two good ones to use.
There are many more out there that you could use but these seem to be very popular in this world.
Let’s walk through the first paint job.
Make sure to put a sign in the yard that has your logo on it.
This lets everybody know that you’re going to be painting this house.
You can either have the small plastic ones or the fancy metal ones and I’ve actually seen some pretty nice wooden ones made.
Get your sign in the yard, drive-bys are great, you need to brand yourself.
You’re going to start off with washing the house.
There’s soft washing and regular power washing, however, you do it, you also need to remove the shutters at the same time.
You should watch out for bees behind the shutters, by the way.
Label the shutters and figure out the pattern of the house.
You want to label the shutters only because I didn’t label the shutters in the past and it took me hours to figure out what shutter goes where.
When you put them back up, make sure they’re facing the right way.
Ask the homeowner, “where’s a good place to set up shop?”
You need a place for your supplies and ladders.
Maybe it’s against the garage, maybe it’s behind the garage or behind the house.
Find a place that you could put everything without being in the way.
Just remember, if you’re going to leave your ladders for any period of time, there’s a chance it’s going to kill the grass underneath.
That is why we usually try to put them on some mulch or something, or under a tree where there is no grass.
Then you’re going to scrape, caulk, prime, with latex-primer or oil primer.
It depends on what you’re used to using and also on what you’re actually covering up.
You’re going to start your first coat on the body of the house.
If you’re only working by yourself, you’ll do one side first.
After that, you’re going to paint your trim.
Then you do the body of the house and lastly, the trim of the house.
A great thing to do on rainy or overcast days, when you’re actually afraid it is going to ruin what you’re going to do, is shutters and exterior doors.
You can paint the garage door, which can open upward.
Or if you have a shop it’s a great day to bring the shutters.
I know many painters who’ve started working out of their house and they actually bring the shutters to their home and paint them in the backyard, in the basement or in the garage.
You can do whatever you want but shutters are great to use for fill-in.
You can do the extras like washing the windows.
Not every painting company washes the windows, you should wash the windows at the end of your project only, because sometimes when you soft wash the house, they get dirty.
They just need to be cleaned.
What a great extra touch to set you apart from the rest of the painting companies!
Especially when you’re just starting out this is a great way to give a little extra to the customer, they’re going to love it.
One of the other things you should make sure your crews do is paint the mailbox post if it can be painted.
A lot of the times this is forgotten; it’s sitting out in the front, you’ve actually painted the house but that mailbox post just needs a nice fresh coat of paint.
When you’re all done, put the shutters back up.
Then walk around the entire house with the homeowner.
Show them the work and answer any questions they have, to prove that it’s actually been done.
This is an acceptance from the homeowner, and they’re going to be thrilled with the new paint job.
After that, you can get the approval that the work has been done.
Now for the part you’ve been waiting for.
You can present the final invoice and collect a check.
It’s very important because you don’t want to be waiting for the money.
You just started out and cash flow is key, it’s very important.
You can present the homeowner with a thank you gift.
In the DYB community, we talk a lot about giving a can of cookies in a paint can (an unused one of course).
I like to give an apple pie or maybe something else to thank them for the business.
Since you’re already there and they have this beautifully painted house, they have a thank you gift from yourself, here’s where you ask them:
“Could you do me a small favor? Could you give me a video testimonial?”
The reason you’re asking for this is that video testimonials are so strong.
When you come to the next job, you can actually show them the video testimonial.
A lot of people don’t like to speak on video.
You can say that you have these video testimonials from your past customers.
You can also use this for social media.
You can use this to send out to potential customers and you can also put this on your website.
The video testimonial is huge.
After you’ve got a video testimonial, you should follow up with a thank you note.
A handwritten thank you note, thanking the customer for the job.
The next time you get the job, ask the customer permission to do things.
I know some of the more important things, of course, is getting your deposit and getting paid. That’s why you’re in this business, to make money.
You should ask the customer where to put the ladders.
Just don’t plop them someplace, you should also walk around with the customer.
Even before you’ve started the job, ask them specific questions.
The bathroom, maybe that’s in your contract, they’re either going to provide a bathroom or maybe you got to bring in a porta-potty.
You can ask the homeowner where they want to put a porta potty.
These are some of the things you could think about if you’re starting out your first painting business and you’re venturing out into the exterior.
I’m Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB coach, also a painting contractor.
If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find me on Facebook, I’d love to chat with you and then we could also have a phone call if need be.
I help painters work on their business, we want to enjoy our job and most of all, we want to build our own business.
I wish you a happy exterior season.