Episode 17: A Painting Contractor's Path (With Torlando Hakes)

Episode 17 September 21, 2021 00:23:36
Episode 17: A Painting Contractor's Path (With Torlando Hakes)
The Quit Getting Screwed Construction Podcast
Episode 17: A Painting Contractor's Path (With Torlando Hakes)

Sep 21 2021 | 00:23:36

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Show Notes

We took a short break while Karalynn’s brand new book launched, but we’re back in action! In this fresh new episode, Karalynn is joined by Torlando Hakes, a long-time Painting Contractor, advocate for the industry, educator, and host of PaintEd, another great contractor pod! Torlando tackles the how and why of his path to painting, and dives into some of the key lessons he thinks every painting contractor should learn at the start. Perspective like his can only be found in a genuine pro, so tune in to get schooled by an expert! To all our painters; this one’s for you!

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Connect with Torlando and PCA here: https://www.facebook.com/PCAsocial

Get Advice from Torlando here: https://torlando.periodic.site/

Listen to the PaintEd Podcast here: https://www.pcapainted.org/podcasts/

Look into PCA here: https://www.pcapainted.org/

Purchase Karalynn’s new book, Quit Getting Stiffed, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DRX6PY4

Follow us!
Instagram: @subcontractorinstitute
Facebook: The Subcontractor Institute
LinkedIn: The Subcontractor Institute

Quit Getting Screwed was recorded on Riverside.fm and is distributed by Castos.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:12 Welcome to the podcast. We'll talk about everything related to contractors, construction and information to help you run better businesses. Speaker 1 00:00:24 Hey guys, this is Carolyn chromium. And welcome back to the quick getting screwed podcast, where we talk about all the things to keep you out of trouble in the construction industry. And today's episode goes out specifically to my painting contractors, and I know that it's a different kind of business than everything else. And I really wanted to take this episode to dive in and tell you that there's some really great resources out there. If you're a painting contractor today, my guest on the show is Tor Lando Hakes and he is, has his own podcast con call paid ed, and also a face of the painting contractors association, which is a nationwide association that's been around since what, the late 18 hundreds. So welcome to the photo Orlando. How are you? Speaker 2 00:01:06 I'm I'm glad to be here. I'm doing really great. They, it's a, it's a wonderful day outside. I, I wish I was working outside. How about that? I'm not today and that's okay, but it's, uh, it's wonderful to be here, here. Speaker 1 00:01:19 Oh, thank you so much. I'm jealous because it's still hot here, Houston eventually, maybe in December. It'll cool down. So totally. I know. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Speaker 2 00:01:30 Yeah, so I, I grew up in Michigan in a town called Kalamazoo, Michigan, and started to move around quite a bit with my family. My dad was in retail management and, you know, in that kind of business, it's a little bit like being in the military. It's like being a military Pratt. You'd just end up moving all around the country. And so I, uh, I've lived in, in different places. I've lived in, uh, Reno and Las Vegas. I've lived down south and I ended up here in Indiana right after I graduated high school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life as it wasn't so straight forward. I had some, I had some other ambitions, uh, in addition to college, I wanted to do some service work for my church and different things. And so an opportunity came across to take on a painting apprenticeship and they, you know, they kind of asked me if I had any experience. Speaker 2 00:02:21 And I said, well, one, one summer, my uncle, they had me paint his garage. Is that enough? And they they're like, yeah, absolutely. So I got signed on, I think I was making eight bucks an hour and, and, uh, you know, learning the trade and I, uh, uh, I just kind of fell in love with it. And, uh, I loved the work, you know, I ended up going to college. I went to art school. And so I think that the aesthetics of it was really appealing to me, but I was mainly doing it as a way to pay for, um, the service work that I wanted to do and to get myself through college. Um, but yeah, the time that I was, uh, in college, you know, we were, we were faced with a great recession and, um, job prospects for an artist seemed a little bleak. Speaker 2 00:03:09 That's totally different today. People are hiring artists, which is awesome. Um, but, but at the time, nobody really understood what digital art was. And, uh, and I just, I didn't have many job prospects coming out of college. However, I did start taking jobs as a, as an independent contractor, different homeowners. And, um, they really enjoyed the fact that I was going to art school. They really liked that. And they would ask me to help them choose colors and, and they just really kind of trusted that, that artistic, uh, I, that I had. And, uh, and I put that into the craft. You know, I put that into the work itself and, and always, always try to do a good job. And when I, when I got out of college, I had a, an actual business. And so I just kinda kept going with that. And I, and I grew it as well as I could. Speaker 2 00:03:57 And, uh, we did, we did a lot of work. We had a decent sized team. I had some sales folks, but eventually I kind of worked myself out of the job. Now, the tough thing about that is it started delegating all the stuff that I liked the most first. And I ended up with some of the stuff that I didn't like, which is the stuff that, you know, how to do contracts and money and, you know, all that kind of stuff. I kind of ended up with a job that I didn't really care for. And it started getting really stressful, the word I lost the enjoyment out of it. It was, um, it was quite stressful. And so when I started getting involved with PCA, um, I really wanted to get involved so that I could help other contractors avoid some of the mistakes that I had made growing my business, but also sharing some of the things that actually worked. And so, uh, yeah, I started, uh, kind of speaking on the national stage, appearing on the podcast as a guest. And then at one point, uh, about a year out a year ago, the host, uh, left for another opportunity. And they asked me to join on as the, as the host painted. Speaker 1 00:05:03 That's pretty amazing story. So, and your painting career where you just residential, or do you ever do commercial? I'm just curious. Speaker 2 00:05:09 Yeah, I was mostly residential. I really enjoyed homes and working with the homeowners themselves for the, and I started taking on a little bit more commercial work, just kind of sprinkling it in there, especially in the winter months. And commercial work is, uh, a good route to go in the winter months. And so it was, you know, it was mostly residential, but we did take on some of that commercial stuff. Speaker 1 00:05:32 Okay. And so if you were to share one of the most important business lessons you learned as a business owner, as a painting contractor business owner, what would that number one thing be? Speaker 2 00:05:43 I think the number one thing is to figure out your place in your business. You know, what I see a lot of contractors doing is they, they want to build a business, uh, because the idea is that when you're a business owner, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. You can go on vacations, you know, seven months out of the year and sip eliminate. And we get that idea because, you know, we're, we're working, we're the worker and we're looking and we're trying to find where our bosses, and we think that they're just, you know, on the beach, they've been eliminated all day. And, and so that's what we're aspiring to as a, as business owners. But I can tell you that I, that I had that, that chance I had that opportunity to help, to delegate everything, uh, to the extent that I wasn't, um, operating in the day to day. Speaker 2 00:06:32 And, uh, and it actually wasn't that fulfilling. So to me, I mean, that doesn't mean that I say, you know, hold the brush for your whole life. Always be the one doing the estimate. It's always be, you know, the one in the day to day. That's not what I mean at all. What I mean is it's so important to find a place in your business that when you wake up, you've loved doing that thing that could be leading your people. It could be building new systems. It could be, um, you know, it could be painting, honestly, you know, some folks, they still just love the word, but the key I think, is to find a place in your business where you can truly be happy. And to remember that, you know, however, however you decide to grow that your people always need a leader. And a, and that's you, um, you can't, you cannot be an absentee owner. It does not work out in the long run. Speaker 1 00:07:24 Um, I definitely agree, and there's just so much behind the scenes going on as a business owner, but if you had to do it over again, what would your ideal fulfilling role in your business look like? You know, if you could hire out the tough parts, the collections, the contracts, what would you have enjoyed doing and what role would you have created for yourself? Speaker 2 00:07:43 Well, I think I would be doing the thing that I'm actually doing now, which for me is the, the marketing. Um, I'm a visual person, I'm a creative person. And I, and I love creating marketing campaigns and I love getting out there in the, in the community and talking to people. So personally I would probably stay in that, in that business development space. Um, but I also love the leadership. I love, uh, I loved taking the time to go down to the, to the jobs and talk to the guy. So what my day to day would look like. Um, if I, if I were running a contracting company today, I should back up and just say that I did end up closing by business and in order to pursue marketing and technology. Cause I had, I had been working on a side project where I was creating a system that could automatically generate leads and booked appointments, booked estimates. Speaker 2 00:08:34 And you know, in my company I had a system set up so cleanly that I didn't have to really manage it. And I put out the campaigns that was fun. And then my sales funnel, my booking funnel would lead people through a digital process to where they would book an appointment and get on my, get on the calendar of my salespeople. And I didn't have to manage that process at all. And so at some point it was the customer, you know, customer issues like I, you know, 99% of the customers are happy, but the one that wasn't, they were really mad and nobody could deal with them. And that would always come to me, you know? So, so that was not fun and, and dealing with the money stuff, that's just not for me. So I really kind of carved out and said, well, all this stuff that, that is on my shoulders right now, I really, I really don't care for it. Speaker 2 00:09:30 I would much rather, uh, partner up with people who actually have their own companies that they do, like the production that they want to make sure that they have a crap and then, and then develop these, uh, these marketing and sales funnels that, that I've been doing. So, so that's what, that's what I would be doing. Um, if, if, if I were redoing, if I were starting a company today, uh, my day to day would be getting out in the community and meeting people every single day, taking people out to lunch, going into realtor's offices and, and bringing them breakfast and doing presentations and just, you know, networking my butt off. And then I would go to job sites to, uh, be with the crew just to, to appreciate them love on them, bring some drinks, you know, that whatever drink they like, whether it's coffee or red bull or, you know, whatever they want, I'll bring, I bring them some drinks, tell them how good of a job they're doing. Speaker 2 00:10:27 And then start taking pictures of video. And I would take the pictures and the videos and I post them on, on Facebook primarily if I was a, if I was in residential, but if I was a commercial, I would, I would, I would be in LinkedIn. And, uh, cause you want to be where your audience is. And I would be taking those pictures and documented my team and showing off our good work and just being a really good community member. And I think that's that's, that would probably be what my day-to-day would look like. And then everything else I would have, uh, you know, I hired hire the right people to, to run the operations. That's okay. Speaker 1 00:11:01 Awesome. So how important, like for painting contractors is the marketing side and like the digital process you had, um, you know, where that everything came into the sales funnel. I mean, how important do you think that is? I mean, just to painting contractors in general and help them run better businesses. Speaker 2 00:11:19 Yeah. So, so here's the problem right now we are being lulled into a full sense of security with the amount of work that's out there. I read a jobs report this morning said, I think it, I believe it's sent their one point or their 10 point. It might've been nine, 10.9 million jobs, maybe 10.2, somewhere around there over 10 million jobs right now are unfulfilled. Okay. They're over 10 million jobs, unfulfilled people can't find workers. They can't find them. Uh, and that is true of all of the contracting is true painting. Can't find the workers, can't find people who want to do the work or are willing to do the work for what you're trying to pay them. That's probably the real problem. And so people are lulled into a false sense of security that they have too much work well for those people who watch game of Thrones, winter is coming. Speaker 2 00:12:17 Okay. You know, at some point that overabundance of work that you have is it's in a dry up. And at that point, all of the work that you were doing, just focused on trying to get the work done. And it's going to leave you hanging because you didn't document it. You didn't put it out there on social media. You didn't build a brand in your community. Those things you're going to be in a silo of where nobody knows you, nobody, the people who are actually ready to paint, they're not going to know where to go because they never saw you to begin with. And so even today, even if you are super busy, you know what I, what I probably wouldn't be doing as I probably wouldn't be spending a ton of money on lead generation itself, I would be spending out of spending my efforts on branding, building, building a strong brand and presence in my community so that when people are ready to paint, they know exactly where to go to. Speaker 2 00:13:14 And so that's, that's what I that's. The first problem is that people are not preparing themselves because they think that they have too much work. The importance is when the work dries up, it dries up and you might have a big crew. You might have, you know, you might be hiring all these people and you're, and you got a mad rush, you know, right now we're in September. So there's only so much time before you can finish these exterior jobs. And so you're adding people to your team to work for the next two months, and then what the work, you know, the work is going to dry up. And so you've got to, you got to keep those people busy, and if they're making money for you all summer long, you gotta have a plan to help them make money during the winter. Speaker 1 00:13:59 And that time comes in for planning is now. So that kind of is a nice segue into, so tell me about the painting contractor association and about your podcast, paint ed, and how that helps painters and how it helps them run a better business. Speaker 2 00:14:12 Yeah. Uh, you know, here's the deal? One of the things that was toughest for me as a contractor was just how lonely it felt. Uh, I felt like nobody in my company could really grasp, uh, the pain and the challenge and the fear that I felt as a, as a business owner. Um, I felt like I couldn't share that at home because, you know, if I was concerned, then, you know, then our family finances are, are at risk. And, and, uh, and so then everybody at home is hitting the panic. My wife was hitting the panic button. And so I just felt so lonely. I felt really like I had nowhere to go to, to talk about the things that I was actually going through. And the PCA first and foremost provided a community of people who got it. They totally though those folks, the friendships that I have accumulated in the PCA of people who know what I'm going through have been there, have experienced, it has felt the pain. Speaker 2 00:15:20 Um, that's, that's a bond and a brotherhood and, and, uh, uh, that, that, that you can't find anywhere else and you find it there. And so we, uh, PCA that's, that's the thing that we focus on. Um, that's, that's the first thing that we focused on is building a great community. So we've got a, we got a Facebook group called the paint ed group, and we've got, I think we're up to six, 1600 members. That group size is actually really good because when they blow up to tens of thousands, then it's just, you kind of get lost. But that, that, that size of a group is really positive. You get familiarity, but those names of the people, the same, the same folks, keep showing up and engaging. And you post a question, whether it's about, you know, the craft itself or whether it's about business and you get that help today. Speaker 2 00:16:05 I was, uh, you know, just kind of perusing the group and somebody was asking about how peace rate works. And if you can, if you can pay your workers piece rate, and you know, there's a lot of laws about that and you've got there's nuance to it. And I, I had a piece rate system, and so I was able to direct message that person. And we were, we've been talking about how to implement a piece rate system into their, into their programming. And so you get that, that real time help with all aspects of your business, from a community of your peers, and you just don't feel alone. We've got live events going on. Those are back now, different regional events, smaller events. We got our national expo coming up in next March in Orlando, Florida. And that is a time where you can just get together with people who get it and you don't have to feel alone anymore. Speaker 2 00:16:52 The second thing that that PCA does really well is as a education, we got it. We got an app called PCA overdrive that has over 400 hours of video content. That's all educational, all instructional, some of the best consultants, business coaches. They put together programming some of the, some of the insights from people who are actually living it and succeeding in the field. They put together programming podcasts, like the paint ed is on there. So, you know, you got Carolyn giving us all the knowledge on, on, uh, contracts and stuff like that. So it's, it's real, tangible value that you can learn to grow through those problems that you have because every business is going to have problems. Every individual is going to hit a brick wall and not know where to go and having, having both the community and the education is such a critical component. Speaker 2 00:17:43 And then the third piece I'll say is that when you are a member of the PCA, you get to wear that badge of being a, being a PCA contractor. And I mean, that, that got me jobs because the PCA has a set of industry standards that just says you are a higher caliber paint contractor. Cause you follow a higher law, you follow higher standards. And I would go into my, uh, my sales appointments and I'd say, Hey, we're members of the PCA. It's, uh, it's the only, uh, paint contracting association in the country. It's been around for 140 years. And guess what? I'm one of, uh, one, I'm the only paint contractor in town. Who's a member of the PCA. And so, uh, so it just was a, it was a huge leg up now. That's not true of most towns, my in a small town. So there were, you know, most have a few members, quite a few members and, and, uh, that badge of honor meant something in to, to the customers that it really gave him the confidence that we knew what we were doing. Speaker 1 00:18:45 Well, that's amazing. Especially being a part of association and that's nationwide, right? Like anybody can be a member. Speaker 2 00:18:51 Yeah. It's nationwide. It's in Canada. I mean, I've, I've, I've met folks that will travel to expo all the way from Africa and Australia and England. So it's a, it's a global association. Uh, but you know, yeah, definitely most of our members are here in the U S and Canada. Speaker 1 00:19:08 Do you have like smaller chapters on the state or the town that are the, Speaker 2 00:19:13 Yeah, yeah. So there, there are a couple, yeah, there that breaks down in a couple interesting ways. So there's the national organization, which, which has all codings professionals, whether it's residential, commercial, new construction, you know, so on. Um, and every year we meet at the national expo, uh, you can go to PCA, paint, ed.org to find out when, when and where that's going to be. Um, but that that's once a year. And then there are little breakdown groups, there's a residential forum and a commercial forum and a craftsmanship forum. And those are smaller groups, smaller events, um, still really powerful stuff, but you get more tailored, um, tailored education to, you know, being a commercial contractor versus being a, a residential contractor. And you build that community with people who really, you know, sometimes commercial contractors and residential contractors don't fully have the same problems. Speaker 2 00:20:12 You know, I think with commercial contractors, you get into the relationship with the GC versus residential, getting into the relationship with the homeowner, like the contracts that you have to write are way different. And so being able to go to a place like the commercial farm, if you're a commercial contractor and that's coming up next month in October, um, at the beginning month, I think it's the seventh through the ninth. If I'm, if I'm right and, uh, in Nashville, Tennessee, which is a very cool town, I love Nashville, Tennessee. Um, and so you get to learn specific things, you know, with regards to being commercial contractor and then, and then each state, some of them, not every state, but most of the states have a local chapter where you can meet, um, you know, maybe once a month or so with, uh, with, with your local contractors and just, um, you know, having a good time, uh, cut loose a little bit, learn a thing, or to connect with your vendors, that sort of thing. Speaker 1 00:21:07 Well, that sounds amazing, but you have such a resource and it's, and I was on the website looking through the history of just the fact that it's been around since, I mean, with the late, the late 18 hundreds, 1884, That's just amazing. And all your educational stuff. I mean, it's, it's, it's really amazing to see what you guys have built. And so if somebody wants to know more, where can they find you? Where can they find the PCA and your podcast? Tell me all the things. Speaker 2 00:21:32 Yeah, absolutely. So, uh, you know, learn about the PCA, go to PCA ed.org. That's the website for me. Uh, I'm I'm in the paint ed group. So, you know, on Facebook. So definitely go there, check it out. I also, so one of the cool things about the, uh, the PC is that they have an asker peer network. And so, but that means there are a handful of us who have been through the throws and have, you know, have some of the battles, but have some of the victories to, to share about, we'll share that through the, ask a peer network. And I would love anybody. Who's is listening to this to, uh, to hop on my calendar. You can actually go to, you can see my calendar, it's a tornado dot periodic, that site, and, uh, that, that you can book a direct time with me and we'll have a 30 minute call, uh, get to know each other, talk about some of the things that you're going through. Um, you know, um, I'm a good sounding board, um, and, and offer some good advice just based on, uh, uh, based on a few things based on experience, based on, uh, based on my wins, based on my losses. Um, and, and based on research cause that, cause I am a reader and I do a lot of research and testing. So, um, I, I would love to have conversations with folks. Speaker 1 00:22:44 Oh, that sounds awesome. Well, I thank you again for being here and I'll make sure we'll put all that stuff in the show notes too. The link will be right there, but it's so great to talk to you again, thank you for being on my podcast this time and helping those painting contractors out there. Cause I know it isn't for sure. Businesses generally the same, but it's so helps to have somebody to run ideas past in your own world and your, that is familiar with your actual pain, right? So thank you again to Orlando. Have a great day. Thank you for listening to this episode of quick getting screwed. I hope you found it helpful if you like what you hear, please like us and follow our podcast. If you want further information. So you can find [email protected] We're also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and the book is available on Amazon tune in two weeks from now for a new episode. Thank you.

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