Join Nick as he talks live from Denver all about Facebook and how to use it to make more money.
To Franchise or Not to Franchise
Today on The Brush we have JD Mason of Emerald Pro Painting! JD stopped by the office to check out Nick’s operations at Walls By Design and the two sat down for a great chat on the pros and cons of franchising.
JD grew up in Utah, about 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City, and loved being out in nature. He’s got three kids, two boys, and a girl, but he and Nick both agree that weathering the teenage years has its challenges. Now, he’s based out of North Carolina and is expanding Emerald Pro Painting across the country.
JD spent ten years in a paint store as a paint manager and outside seller, and he loved working with contractors. Five years ago, JD was recruited by a national franchise group and he did corporate training for them. He then started his own company with some of the systemized approaches he learned in corporate and focused on commercial and light residential work. But he had a non-compete contract with his former employer, a huge national franchise, and he found himself relocating to North Carolina, which he really liked and adapted to.
Emerald Pro does cabinet refinishing, exterior painting, and interior work, and JD loves getting creative with customers to fit their need. His model is starting with a subcontractor who moves into a full-time staff position. Right now, with his training here in Denver, he has ten franchises! He loves fine-tuning the systems and training and team building and all of that, so he’s in the right business. But it can be frustrating when franchisers don’t follow the system.
Listen to learn more, and connect with JD via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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iMayMedia Web and Marketing with Tyler and Chandler
Welcome back to The Brush! Today we’re ecstatic to have two members of Nick’s iMayMedia group to talk all things digital. It’s a great look at iMayMedia, our new media company specializing in audio, video, web, and digital marketing.
Gone are the days of canvassing, mailers, and cold calling. Now, being successful in the digital space is the kicker in getting new clients and growing your business. We’re talking SEO, SEM, web development, concise writing, and creative solutions to showcase the unique aspects of your paint contracting company.
On the podcast you can also get to know Chandler, iMayMedia’s web developer. She’s originally from Nashville and became an expert on web development — wait for it — on her own time. Tyler’s been a mainstay at Walls By Design and iMayMedia for years now, and will be speaking again at CRANK 2.0. Don’t miss it!
The Business Brush Updates
To connect with other paint contractors, grow your business, make more money and free up more time to spend with friends and family, join The Business Brush Facebook group!
Don’t forget, CRANK 2.0 is quickly approaching. It’s a one-stop-shop for growing your business, here at iMayMedia headquarters in Denver, CO. Click here to learn more.
As always, reach out to Grant@imaymedia.com to be featured on the show.
Thanks for listening!
The Pains of Success
Today on The Brush we have Christian Militello of Militello Painting. He’s a contractor based outside of Philadelphia and a family man with a really interesting perspective on hiring, time management, and building a business.
In his free time, Christian is into softball, golf and coaching his kids’ sports teams. He loves to hang out with family and friends at the beach and in the Poconos. As for his favorite car, he’s partial to ’57 Chevys.
His family has ties in industry: his grandfather was a Korean war veteran and became a jack-of-all-trades handyman, and the knowledge was passed down to Christian. In high school and college, Christian played baseball instead of going to class many days and hoped to become a professional athlete. When that didn’t work out, though, he fell into painting and was surprised to find that he enjoyed it so much. After a few jobs, he worked as a painter for a friend he knew through baseball. Luckily, the two maintained a friendship that has lasted to this day. Chris did learn a few things when painting: how he should act as a boss, the pros and cons of being in charge, and how to weather tough times.
Today, Chris employs eight painters and is partnered with Angelina, his wife, who has worked with him for about seven years sending out invoices, answering phones, doing payroll, and so forth — all while raising the three kids! He also has three foremen and could use a crew leader. But he’s slated to hit about a million dollars for the first time ever this year! (And the first million is the hardest to hit. It took Nick about 17 years.)
The two chat about growing pains, like adding new expenses and staffers that aren’t directly income producing. Chris is focusing on being present at expos and events, starting a sales training program, and putting more thought and energy into hiring. They also dive into hiring processes, training, and marketing strategies.
Thanks for coming on the show, Chris! To learn more, visit his Facebook page and head over to www.millitellopainting.com! Don’t be a stranger — reach out to him to learn more!
The Business Brush Updates
Want to come on the podcast? Reach out through the Facebook page or directly to content manager Grant Stringer at email@example.com.
Head over to The Business Brush Facebook page to get involved and grow your business.
And don’t forget about CRANK 2.0! Click here to learn more.
Customize Your Business
Today on The Brush we have Dustin Zupancic of Dreamscape Painting! His firm specializes in high-end, custom, residential jobs and works closely with builders.
Dustin hails from outside of Vancouver B.C., and when he’s not working, he loves spending time outside with his three kids. He loves to cycle when he has time, but unfortunately, he’s recovering from a back injury and just injured his knee. Instead, he’s planning on brushing up on his salmon-fishing skills.
Nick met Dustin at this year’s PDCA in Galveston and had a great conversation on The Brush.
Today, Dreamscape is a team of eight painters, including Dustin’s Dad and brother-in-law, as well as a part-time office assistant and soon to be an operations manager. Dreamscape’s niche is the ultra high-end residential project. Last year, his team finished up a 17,000 sq. ft. house and put 11,000 hours put into it. And the year before, they worked on a project for two years! The rest of their work is medium-higher end homes, and Dustin is actually planning on servicing smaller homes to keep his guys busy.
Dustin says he’s excited to transition from his nitty-gritty oversight role and focus more on his vision for the future. A big challenge for him is scheduling with builders: in big-project situations, you have to have enough people to respond quickly to builders’ needs, but if you have too many people and projects get delayed, that can be a bad financial situation.
Listen to learn more, and connect with Dustin at www.dreamscapepainting.com and on Instagram @dreamscapeptg!
Come hang out with Nick and contractors from all over the country for CRANK 2.0! Over twenty folks have already signed up, and we can’t wait to connect with all of you. And don’t forget to connect through The Business Brush Facebook page.
See ya next week!
The PDC What?
Today on The Brush, Nick is joined by Chris Shank of the PDCA! He’s their education director as well as a deep thinker and overall excellent human being who is here today to break down his philosophy at the PDCA.
The Painting Contractors Association, or PDCA, is our industry’s membership organization whose mission is to help build businesses and connect folks with each other in a non-competitive way. The PDCA is a non-profit group, which means — as Chris says — that the PDCA is not trying to get any money from anyone! They are there literally to be useful.
Chris has had a really interesting path to his current position. He studied criminal justice as an undergraduate and earned his Master’s in theology and education, and has worked as a social worker and in various nonprofits over the years. He’s spent three years at the PDCA and quadrupled their educational content in that window.
Chris gets us up to speed on what the PDCA is up to these days: a “member to leader” series focusing on business leadership and getting people involved; various training courses; live webinars; themes for every month (next is industry standards); a podcast (Paint Ed, which Nick has appeared on!) and videos in a video catalogue. They also help with accreditation and connect contractors in a non-competitive and non-confrontational way to share knowledge. There are chapters, councils, and regional events as well as the national expo. Plus, Chris facilitates conversations that are intended to benefit business at specific levels of growth and revenue; it’s all about education to help people help themselves to the next stage.
He prides himself on being a great listener and on his ability to facilitate knowledge-sharing between paint contractors — although Chris emphasizes that he is in not the guy to give advice about how to run your business because he’s never run one himself!
At the PDCA, podcasts are free and membership is $399 per year — and Chris emphasizes that, even if the PDCA doesn’t have the answer to your business question, they’ll connect you with someone who does.
Chris prioritizes trust shining through in not only the PDCA’s role as a non-profit but in creating relationships in the industry. He says that in today’s “trust economy”, contractors who aren’t trying to extort folks will win the day and even forge relationships in the industry. That’s what we’re all about!
Head over to the PDCA’s Events page to get in the know, and reach out to Chris via email at CShank@pvca.org!
Like Father Like Son
Welcome back! Today in The Lounge we have Nick LoGrasso, the owner of SNL Painting in St. Louis, MO. Nick was born and raised in the St. Louis area and still operates about 30 minutes from he grew up. He loves his business and friends, and two daughters! In his free time, he loves to hang out with his kids as much as he can, barbecue, cut his grass, and work on classic cars (when he actually has the time). Nick also jokes that he is “terribly” Midwest.
His dad was a painter, and when Nick graduated high school, his dad put him on a ladder during the day when he wasn’t working nights at a pizzeria. He then got a degree in Management and Information Services (MIS) in 2002. Now, his business mainly does residential re-paints but he says that he is trying to shift into commercial painting, which has a few perks: there’s no homeowner there, there’s a tight time schedule, it is mainly walls — not ceilings — and it takes less of a highly-skilled craftsman (no offense to all you commercial painters out there!).
Nick has optimized his Angie’s List account and eventually won a Super Service Award, and he’s also focused on SEO. Now, his Angie’s List has hundreds of comments and his business has quadrupled. For hiring, he focuses on culture and prioritizes cultivating a place where people want to work. He’s also not above poaching painters from the competition. At the office, Nick has an indispensable office administrator who does everything phone related, complex invoicing, and is starting to put their systems in binders.
Nick will be a guest speaker at this year’s PDCA!
Thanks for listening! Head over to iTunes to give us a review, or connect through our Facebook group.
Interior Designers and Paint Contractors Unite!
Today on The Brush we have Angela Schuster. She runs one of the NE’s most successful decorative art firms, Faux Time Design, and she speaks at length with Nick about how she’s gotten her business to where it is today. Interestingly enough, Angela works with both interior designers and paint contractors in running her decorative art and faux finish business!
Angela is based in northern New Jersey, near New York City, and her business services the tri-state area. She’s also just ten miles away from the Benjamin Moore headquarters! And another fun fact: she actually found out about Nick May through The Chaise Lounge Podcast, where he discusses the business of interior design with the world’s top interior designers and architects. Angela has two kids: one studying illustration at the Pratt Institute, and the other will be a senior in high school in the fall. She grew up on a family farm in Oklahoma and says there was a lot of exploration and play on the acres and acres. In her free time, her and her family travel the world and take a hands-on approach to experiencing culture — like staying in apartments vs. hotels and immersing themselves in history.
Her first job was at Airbone Express, an early competitor to FedEx, where she worked in marketing and sales. She credits the experience for forcing her to learn sales skills, and she later spent another decade in corporate. But when a home faux finisher gave her an overpriced estimate, she decided to take the opportunity to do it herself, but right, and she eventually studied under the greatest decorative artists.
Today, she has nine artists and runs one of the largest decorative art firms in the entire NE, and has become busier than ever. Most importantly, she adapted her marketing strategy from traditional to digital and details how that decision has been key. Plus, she’s a big proponent of marketing through events, just like Nick’s forums and upcoming CRANK 2.0. Angela does a Lunch and Learn and Cocktail party in January, when business is slow, so people can learn and network together. She’s also a member of the International Decorative Artist League, and Faux Time Finishing won the PVCA’s award for best decorative designer in 2013 and 2018. Congrats!
To connect with Angela, reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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