Time is the lifeblood of a decorating business
I had an email from Northern Ireland asking for tips on setting up a kitchen and furniture painting business. Time is the lifeblood of a decorating business and below is how I started from zero not too many years ago.
Assuming you can do the job, marketing is the key. Marketing just means, raising awareness. And when marketing a decorating business, the biggest enemy is time.
If you set up your website (your brochure) you have a point of contact that all prospective clients can look at. But it can take weeks and hours and days to set up your website right and even longer for people to find you online.
If you set up your Twitter account (your online networking tool) it takes time to start meeting fellow professionals, suppliers, industry movers and shakers.
If you design and stick classy but simple postcards around your neighbourhood post offices, it takes time for folks to contact you.
If you leave your card (with your website address on it) with designers, builders and architects, it can take 7 contact times before they trust you enough to get back to you properly.
If you do a solus flyer drop (my most successful kick start) to targeted homes in your target market, it is a matter of time before the phone calls roll in.
Time is against you while you wait for the phone to ring for your first job. No work on, and the bills still need to be paid. Tough and nervy times, but if you have marketed yourself and you can deliver the promises – and then some – you will get a chance to show what you can do.
Once your first job has been completed, look for the next one, because you probably need 2 years to elapse before the majority of your first-time customers can see that your work has lasted the course and they are happy to call you back.
You need time for word-of-mouth from satisfied customers to generate valued and valuable leads from your first jobs.
After re-decorating a house top to bottom, you usually need 5 years before the customer gets round to decorating their home again.
Building a round is tough, but if you can stick at marketing yourself for at least 18 months, and you can deliver what you offer, it should work out.
It has worked for me. Slowly building up momentum to the point that after 2 years, I “mysteriously” had 8 hand-painted kitchens under my belt between September 2010 to February 2011, and re-established my specialism in a part of the country I had never known before.
After a slow start with the website, time delivers a growing flow of traffic looking for info that I have been sharing. I get a steady stream of enquiries to my website for quotes and information on how to paint pine furniture, kitchens… and these enquiries convert into work.
I set my targets for premium high class work, gave myself time, and worked like mad to perfect my system. I have been doing good work for years, but you can always source better tools and equipment, become more efficient, and go for it. Now it is paying off, I won’t do the classic British tradesman thing, and rest on my laurels, thinking I have arrived, so I don’t have to try so hard any more.
Just by sharing this post, there are a few potential competitors thinking they can do what I am doing. I hope so, because at the end of the day, the more the public can see what a good job looks like, the easier it will be for the good guys to get work! And you can bet on it, that the best companies will use their time to keep moving forward.
Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.
2 comments to “Time is the lifeblood of a decorating business”