Many painting contractors face intense pressure to provide the lowest price quote to win jobs, but doing this can eat most or all of the profit in a painting job.  This is the second in a three-part series about how to earn business through trust instead of rock-bottom pricing.  The first post, about personalizing your quoting process, is available here.

For many businesses, each customer provides revenue month after month – for years.  Cell phone service providers are a great example.  The reason they’re willing to pay so much money to get new customers is that one customer might pay them 50 or more times before switching providers.

Unfortunately, that’s generally not the case for residential painting contractors.  Most customers have one house, and once it has been painted, they probably won’t need to hire you again for years.  For contractors, that can lead to intense focus on earning the business, doing the work, and getting paid.  Customer interaction after the job is complete takes a back seat to finding new business.

Just because a customer isn’t going to hire you again doesn’t mean they won’t be valuable to you in the future.  In fact, they are your cheapest, easiest, and most effective source of future revenue.  That’s because a referral is extremely valuable in the painting industry.

For one thing, referrals are more likely to happen in residential painting than in most industries.  Anyone who sees a customer’s house and talks to them regularly will bring up the new paint job – it’s just a polite thing to do.  The customer’s most likely response will be to thank them and tell them a bit about what led to their decision to paint the house and how the process went.

Simply put, if your company made an impression – good or bad – your customer is going to bring it up at least a half dozen times in the weeks immediately after the job.  Those conversations are reviews of your service, and most of them are being provided to family and friends who trust your customer’s opinion.  These opinions travel, too: each of the people your customer tells about your company could in turn recommend you to anyone else they talk to about home renovations in the coming weeks.

Good customer service is hard to find these days, and it only takes a few simple acts to make a shockingly good impression on a customer.  Here are some things you can do during the final walkthrough to make your customers want to recommend you to everyone who mentions their new paint job.

  • Take your time. Commit all of your focus and attention to the customer and their home.  Eliminate distractions like your mobile phone.  Don’t make them feel like they are keeping you from something else.
  • Ask them if they’re happy with your work, or if they have any spots that they want you to touch up. It’s better to hear about these now, while you’re still on-site, than in a follow-up call a week later.  And it’s better to deal with them a week late than to read about them online in a negative review of your company.
  • If you read the recent post on increasing value during the quoting process, you’ve already asked the customer what they hoped to accomplish with their paint job. Whatever it was – increasing home value, highlighting a new bathroom renovation, or just making a room look bigger or more modern – bring that topic back up during the final walkthrough.  It reminds them of why they hired you, and lets them know that the job was about more to you than the number of hours worked and paid.
  • Finally, tell them how important it is that you want them to be happy, both because you take pride in your work and because you know people may ask about their recent paint job, and those conversations are one of your best sources of new work. This is also a time to ask for an online review if they’re pleased with your service.  If they love the work you’ve done and they know these informal referrals matter to you, they’ll probably be happy to mention your company’s name in conversation, and many customers will even take the time to leave you a positive online review.

Don’t ask for payment until after you’ve confirmed they’re happy with the work and there are no touch-up requests.  Their mind will be on the paint job while you’re in front of them, but it might seem like too much of a hassle to get you back out to the house to fix a few things once you’ve left.  Instead of being thrilled with the job, they just settle for satisfied – and satisfied probably won’t get you any new customers.  Bringing customers from satisfied to thrilled doesn’t take much sometimes, but the business reward for you can be extraordinary!

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your painting business gain more customers and earn more money, call us at 855-385-1134 or email us at