S5 E8 – Nick Talks Systems at PDCA Expo

Welcome to an all-Nick episode of The Business Brush. This week, the Brush presents Nick’s talk from the recent PDCA Expo about how Wall By Design uses systems and processes to deliver consistent service.

S3 E8 – Custom, High-End, New Build Projects: Dustin Zupancic

 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!

S3 E7 – All About the PDCA: Chris Shank

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!

S3 E5 – Getting the Most Out of Angie’s List: Nick LoGrasso

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!

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