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Confidently Advertising You Are Not a Cheap Painter

If you’re ready to learn how to approach a bold advertising strategy, then look no further.

Eric Barstow
Published Date: 04/29/2020

If you’re ready to learn how to approach a bold advertising strategy, then look no further. In this article, we’ll be covering exactly that. You can also find this article to be helpful when thinking about setting up the perfect estimate.

Just imagine, it’s the height of the painting season. You and your crews have been waiting all winter for this & you’re ready to get out there & rake in the revenue. Your salesmen are chompin’ at the bits to go out and book some jobs.

But then some guy comes into town, blasting advertisements everywhere about how he and his crew will paint 3 rooms for $300 – waaaay under cost

What the heck is this guy doing? Is he intentionally trying to lose money? Doesn’t matter what his motives are… bottom line is, he’s gonna kill the market with that bonehead advertisement.



Look at it this way. The customers you’re losing to low-ballers aren’t your customers. Let me say that again… the customers you’re losing to low-ballers ARE NOT your customers. Do you want their business? Sure. Do you need it? Not by a long shot.

The last thing you need is for your paint crews to be tied up with low paying jobs. If the job doesn’t pay, you don’t get paid, your crews don’t get paid, and… you get the picture.

You and your salesmen are fighting a losing battle if your approach is from a price standpoint. Pricing a job profitably, in this industry is really clear and simple. It’s a formula. If you’re not familiar with that formula, click here to receive a free estimating guide & bonus tips from our industry experts on how to grow your painting business.

You see, you don’t need to compete on price, because this industry is big enough for you to stand your ground, provide quality paint jobs & service, while not losing anything. All it takes is some practice, you’ll be on the winning side of your market.

With that being said… let’s go over a few things

What’s in This Article

Click any of these links to go directly to that section.

What Message Should You be Sending? – and how to send it

Just to make things clear, your “message” is not a single sentence, slogan, or catchphrase. It’s not a hook you use to reel in the big fish… & it’s not what you ‘tell’ anyone. Your message is bigger than that. It’s who you are as a painting business owner. And failing to develop your message is a sure-fire way to stop your business from growing.

Painters are a dime a dozen these days. Though that seems like a good reason to stay out of the painting industry, keep this in mind: The vast majority of painters have no clue on how to run a business. Just by reading this article & becoming aware of the situation, you’re already in a better position than the guy that’s been winging it for 15 years. Not to insult the hardworking blue-collared guys that fill the industry, but the ‘best ways’ to do business have changed.

Now, how you develop your message is through your work & your confidence in your crews. You can’t bow while you present a quote to a customer. This is where a lot of painters fail… hard. They WANT to charge a price that’s fair to them. A price that pays them for materials, labor, + a markup for the cost of doing/growing business. But they don’t. They put together a quote that will give them a higher likelihood of getting a yes… aka a cheap one. They’re “ok” as long as materials and labor are covered… even if it means taking less pay than some of their workers… or less pay than they would’ve made working for another guy.

But that’s not why we do business is it?

To properly convey the correct message, you have to be confident at the estimate. If customers are concerned about price, they’ll ask questions. If they ask questions, you answer. Charging a markup is perfectly acceptable, especially if you’re providing exceptional quality in your work AND exceptional customer service.

Exceptional customer service is more than just greeting clients with a smile or treating them nicely. It’s managing expectations. Delivering a quality product in a reasonable timeframe (though we highly discourage making concrete promises on timeframes, more on that in a later article). And making sure you under-promise & over-deliver… not the other way around. What if you get pushback regarding the price?

Keep reading to find out about….

If you want the exact estimating formulas we use, you can download them here

Letting Customers Know You’re Serious

We’ve all seen it. When a customer sees a project quote… and they say something along the lines of “is that the price? Or your phone number?” Hopefully they’re just looking at your company’s phone number, but this reaction is known as sticker shock. And it’s a tell-tale sign that questions are about to start rolling in.

This is a good thing though. You want an informed customer. And the only thing stopping an uninformed customer from being an informed one, is your salesman… or the internet. Educating your clients on the cost of a project is the perfect opportunity to show how well your company knows paint. No one likes  a know-it-all, but people appreciate knowing details when they’re about to hand over some of their hard-earned money.

So… what’s the best way to overcome pushback & let customers know you’re serious? Train your salesmen to know exactly what they’re quoting. And make sure they are 100% confident in discussing project costs to clients.

Standing Your Ground

Sometimes, even the most informed clients still don’t want to believe that a new coat of paint on 2,200 square feet of house is going to cost them thousands of dollars. Sometimes, they’ll want to mention the guy that’s promoting that “3 rooms for $300” special. This is a great time to show clients WHY you’re not a cheap painter.

Explain to them, ensuring the quality of the work performed on their home is your only priority while under their employment. Though your company thrives on painting the most houses in the smallest, reasonable, time-frame, it does not thrive on delivering finished products that are below your standards. As such, your clients should expect that YOUR painters don’t give them a paint job of the same quality as “the other guys.”

If your company has reviews from previous customers, this is the perfect time to encourage your potential clients to go through them. If you don’t have customer reviews (because you’re new), tell your clients that you value your reputation as a quality painter.

Though this might not work on everyone, remember, if you’re losing a customer because of price, then they were never your customer to begin with. It’s not a loss. It’s an opportunity to go do an estimate for someone that IS your customer.

Beating Lowballers

The topic of this section may seem confusing. Here we’ve been harping on about how you shouldn’t compromise your margins by playing the price game. So how are you supposed to beat the lowballers? Well, the answer is simple. Don’t play their game. By playing their game, you validate their marketing strategies & business model.

Where, in actuality, their marketing strategies are stealing plays from the “Business Owner’s Handbook of Rookie Mistakes” (this isn’t actually a book, and if it is… you should never read it).

Realistically, you, as a painter who is not cheap, should just ignore them. Businesses that sell products at or below cost will never last. Where as you, the savvy entrepreneur, are working to establish a business model built for longevity & growth.

And though, at times, it may seem counterintuitive to lose any customer, stay consistent with your methods & training. When everything comes together, you’ll begin to notice steady growth, year-after-year, and reap the benefits of selling quality rather than quantity.

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