This article is a guest post by Steve Maxwell, one of Canada's most read home improvement journalists and editor of Pro Painter magazine. Pro Painter has been an excellent source of support to my business over the years with technical tips, business advice and industry trends. Look for a re-vamped Pro Painter debuting in 2017.
Every painter wants a schedule full of great jobs, serving clients who appreciate good work and pay good money. But whether or not you actually get this kind of work depends on more than just your skill with a brush, a roller and your estimating book. All these things are critical, but success in painting, as in life, ultimately depends on deeper qualities like energy, honesty, selflessness and humility. Please forgive me if this sounds like a Sunday school lesson, but reality backs me up. A painter I know named Gary Walchuk reminds me how true it all is...
I’ve been consistently impressed by the kind of person Gary is for two decades before he took up the paint trade, and that’s why I wasn’t surprised when he told me about his professional philosophy. Gary always has work, he never advertises and he can’t recall ever having trouble with clients. But Gary’s skill with brush and roller, his ability to estimate well, and his knack for treating clients like family is just the fruit that comes from a deeper root. And from everything I see, the future is bright for painters who understand this.
A couple of years ago I read a Maclean’s article that quoted shop teachers explaining that today’s grade 12 students can only grasp technical concepts that grade nines used to be able to understand a decade or two ago. While it used to be possible to teach most kids in high school to take apart and reassemble an auto transmission, the best that seems possible now is to explain what a transmission does. According to the article, most kids today don’t know which way to turn a screwdriver to tighten something, and 40% to 75% of young people who start apprenticeships drop out because they dislike showing up on time and actually working.
While none of this is good news for society, it does mean the quality of your competition is on a steady decline. Good clients hire good people to paint their homes. The fact that you’re reading this proves you’re probably on the right track. But isn’t a little reminder always a good thing?
We are taking a couple of months off for the winter season. I hope you had a succesful 2016 and wish you a restful winter break. Thank you all for reading and sharing the content on Micro Contractor Blog. We are ending our 2nd year publishing with 35,000 views and 10,000 unique visitors. We look forward to delivering more content relevant to your business starting again in March 2017.