End-of-Summer Woes

If you have school-age or college-age kids, back-to-school is an exciting time of year.  But if you run a business and you employed college students through the summer, this may be a stressful time of year.  With a couple more months of good weather before the cold really sets in, you may need to hire a new employee!  Back in April we did a series of blogs about increasing your workforce.  If you find yourself short-handed now, you may want to check these out! Tips for Increasing Your Workforce: Part 1 – generating a job description (http://paintestimating.com/v3/tips-for-increasing-your-workforce-part-1/) Part 2 – how to write a job posting so that you attract quality applicants (http://paintestimating.com/v3/tips-for-increasing-your-workforce-part-2/) Part 3 – tips on conducting interviews that will lead you to the best candidate...

Be Seen. Get Called!

Here’s a really simple way to increase your call volume and offer great customer service before clients even contact you:  provide a phone number!  The other day we needed to contact the paint store and had to dig for their telephone number.  It wasn’t on any bills, it wasn’t on any receipts, it wasn’t part of their email signature.  It was on their website, but not on the main page.  Bottom line – getting in touch with this store was hard.  Everything that has your company name on it should also have a phone number.  It will make you and your company easily accessible.  And customers will appreciate that your number is easy to find when they need to contact you. Email:  Format your email signature to include your company name and telephone number.  Not only does this make it easy for clients to get in touch with you, it makes you look professional. Mobile advertising:  If your company name is on the side of your work truck, your phone number should be there too.  Potential customers can use their phones to snap a picture of the side of your truck and quickly record your name and number.  They will be less likely to look up your phone number if it isn’t there.  If you provide logo shirts to your crews or yard signs at locations where you’re working, those shirts and signs should also be mobile advertising. eBids, Proposals, Contracts, and Invoices via PEP Cloud:  Configure your company information so that your phone number appears on all the documents you send out through PEP Cloud.  Just go to “Misc Settings” to edit...

Prepare for Winter – Don’t Wait!

Your calendar may be booked solid now, but what does it look like a few months out?  It’s better for your employees and your cash-flow to have continuous work.  We recommend starting to fill your calendar now by advertising special deals for fall/winter jobs.  Entice customers into thinking about the paint job they need and to motivate them to call you for an estimate.  It doesn’t have to be much – here are a couple examples (and feel free to use them yourself!): Summer is going by fast – don’t wait any longer!  Call now for your free estimate and get on the schedule.  Jobs scheduled for Oct – Dec 2015 will receive free ceiling paint or window cleaning! Looking to change a color or just to freshen up your interior?  Call today and plan ahead for the holidays – the 1st gallon is on us between October and December 2015!  Call now for your free estimate. You don’t have to discount the job itself, though you might consider offering a discount on labor for jobs over a certain amount (10% off labor for all projects over $500, for example).  You could also try throwing in a couple movie tickets or a gift certificate to a local restaurant.  The idea is to show clients your appreciation that they’ve booked...

Tricks of the Trade

Cleaning latex paint off brushes We were talking to a painter the other day and he said that you can use household ammonia to clean latex paint off of paint brushes.  We had never heard this before, so we decided to give it a try and guess what:  it works beautifully!  Here’s what you do. 1. Submerge the brush’s bristles and heel (the part that binds the bristles together) in household ammonia overnight.  Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area!  Even though household ammonia is a solution of ammonia and water, the fumes can be intense and toxic.  You can find ammonia in the cleaning isle of your supermarket. 2. Use a wire brush or paint brush cleaning comb to gently brush out the ammonia and old paint from the bristles.  You can repeat the process a few times on really stubborn brushes.  It’s that easy!  Especially during this hot weather, latex paint wants to dry on brushes and it can be a real pain to clean later.  This trick is helpful during these hot-weather months to extend the life of your brushes. Speaking of brushes and other sundry, there’s a quick way to charge for extra materials on a specific job: Select the client. Select the job. Select “Materials Summary”. Click/tap the button labeled “Edit Material Settings”. Fill in a dollar amount or add a percentage of the labor to cover these expenses as extra...

Dog Days of Summer

August is the epitome of summer – backyard barbecues, baseball games, swimming pools, and heat.  You don’t need us to tell you it’s hot outside.  Your work can’t stop because of the weather (see Juggling in the Rain for more on this), but you also can’t have your crew getting sick from the heat.  Here are a few tips to keep everyone feeling good. KNOW THE SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS – As part of regular training, make sure your crew knows the signs and symptoms to watch out for in themselves and the people around them.  Also, have an emergency plan in place so everyone knows what to do if someone becomes sick with heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Here are some helpful resources from OSHA and the CDC. Heat Illness Info Sheet (pdf) Heat Stress Fast Facts (pdf) Heat Related Illness and First Aid HYDRATION – Make sure there is drinking water available to your crew at all times and remind them the importance of drinking small amounts of water throughout the day.  Consider using water backpacks (like CamelBak) – it makes water always accessible and keeps it from baking in the sun (unless your crew is baking too). TRADE THE SHADE – If there is work in the sun, workers should regularly trade places with those working in shaded areas.  Taking turns in the shade is safer for your crew and will ensure that all areas are completed. SUN PROTECTION – Sunscreen is a must to protect exposed skin from sunburn and to lower the risk of melanoma (which causes skin cancer).  A wide-brimmed hat will help...