Spring Came Early – Were You Ready?

Despite the fact that today is officially the first day of spring, in my neck of the woods we’re usually still thawing out from a long harsh winter right about now. Not this year though. We hit a high of 73 degrees today and our men are happily working outside. And while we were all glad to welcome an early spring, it also served as a great reminder as to why it’s so important to have a marketing plan in place and ready to execute on a moment’s notice.

We mailed pressure cleaning letters two weeks ago, warranty letters last week and maintenance letters will go out this week. Good news too, the calls have already starting pouring in and our estimating book is quickly filling up (hopefully to be followed by the schedule).

If you too welcomed an early spring and weren’t quite prepared to capitalize, it’s not too late, but you might want to get a move on it. As the old saying goes – “The early bird gets the worm.” And while you’re at it, take a minute and plan for the summer, fall and winter. They’ll be here before you know it too..

Are You Wearing Painter’s Pants or Running Pants Today?

If someone in my family points at your pants and says, “They look like yoga pants…”, and then their voice trails off in a question mark. What they are implying is, “They look like yoga pants but I think they’re really ‘cranky’ pants.” What the heck does this have to do with painting?

Sometimes potential customers are wearing cranky pants. Is this a passing thing? Will they be wearing better pants tomorrow? Or, is this customer toxic?

A toxic customer will use and abuse. At the end of the day, they will take you down like a good case of septic shock. The body (crew working on their property) becomes unstable, the blood pressure goes down (morale) and ultimately the toxic customer will try to kill you (or put you out of business).

If you have the wherewithal to handle the occasional cranky pants situation and turn the experience into a day brightener, more power to you. But be cautious of the symptoms (early manipulations during estimate process) of a toxic potential customer and know when to walk away.

And like the song says, “know when to run”- in whatever pants you happen to be wearing..

Sacred Cows, and scared ones too?

I grew up in rural Minnesota and when I was 17 my family moved to Denver.  My cartoon bubble was filled with all manner of amusing scenes: me getting a full ride scholarship to DU where I’d captain the Pioneers hockey team, me moving into the penthouse atop the Writers Square building in downtown Denver…etc.   Anyway, after a few years and more than that many reality ‘invitations’ I decided that this busy, dusty cow town was no place for me, besides I had an offer I couldn’t refuse: come home to Minnesota and help in the family painting business!  I thought to myself (as I was fond of thinking), ‘what could go wrong?’ (fast forward; I’m even more fond of that saying now, but now it’s more tongue-in-cheek, like a audible call-out…a verbal shrunken-head to deter anything from actually going wrong). But I digress, and I did move back to Minnesota.

For those many of you who aren’t and don’t know it; Minnesota is a place for Minnesotans.  If you’re not one a good second talent would be Nordic, Germanic, Swede or Finnish ancestry – which in most cases makes you one anyway  – or some other proxy for the memetic evolution that allows normal people to thrive in sub-arctic conditions for the better part of two quarters  each year…it’s a skill or affliction, depending on your perspective.  In any case, I invited my wife to go to Minnesota and join the family business, she agreed.   Nine years on and we both took it back, and moved back to Denver…

to be continued in the next issue of the Painters Rag.