Painting Contractors and Other Trades During the Recession.

A Recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth and it seems that we are heading there very fast. Recessions can have a big impact on the home service trades, and painters in particular. When new construction is slow, people are less likely to hire painters for new projects. But they may still need painting maintenance and repairs for their existing homes. That means as a painter, you need to make yourself invaluable and indispensable to people who require your services.

Painters during a recession will have to adjust their business model and expectations in order to stay afloat.

Focusing on Residential Painting

When the work was plentiful, paint contractors took on big commercial and new construction painting jobs. However, there may be good reasons to focus on painting residential projects.

During a recession new construction and homebuilding slows down drastically. There are very few new projects available and many low bidders pricing themselves out of business. The existing projects are running into financial trouble, risking not paying their trades and vendors. This is not a good situation for painters to be in, as any delay of payment can be an existential threat to our business.  

The residential market on the other hand is a different story. People are more predisposed to renovating their existing home during a recession than they are to moving. This means that there is still a demand for painting services, even if the overall market has slowed down. Plus, focusing on residential projects will help you weather the storm until the economy picks back up again.

Residential deck maintenance work
Deck staining work is maintenance work

So if you’re looking for ways to keep your painting business afloat during  a recession, shift your focus to residential customers. It may not be the most glamorous work, but it’s still work that needs to be done. And who knows, you may even find yourself with a few more clients than you had before the economy took a turn for the worse.

Take More Maintenance Projects

As the recession drags on, many house contractors and painters are finding that they need to focus on maintenance projects in order to survive. While new construction and reno projects have all but dried up, there is still a need for maintenance and repair work. This has led many companies to focus their efforts on marketing to and servicing existing customers rather than trying to attract new ones.

By providing maintenance services, such as power washing and caulking, painting companies can keep their doors open and continue thriving. In some cases, this may even lead to increased business as customers are impressed with the level of service they receive.

If you are a homeowner looking for a service contractor or painter, don’t be afraid to ask about their maintenance services. You  may be surprised at how much they can help you keep your home in tip-top shape in a budget.

Maintenance work will always be in demand

Are Painting Discounts a Good Idea?

Painters have a tendency of offering discounts or special deals in order to attract customers and get business. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t discount your services so much, that you’re not making a profit. Instead of offering big discounts, try offering more value instead. One way to do this is by increasing your crew production efficiency and giving the customer more painting for the dollar. Another way is to offer additional services and become a one stop service. By leveraging many existing customers and offering them more, you’ll be able to stay profitable.

It’s Time to Use Technology 

Every day there is a lot of softwares out there, promising to automate your business and finetune your processes! With so much construction software competing for your business, there has never been a better time to jump in. Almost all of them have free trials and offer to walk you through it for a painless set-up. Leveraging technology can help a painting company stay competitive, save money in the long run and run efficiently. 

There are estimating, time tracking and project management programs that will make your life easier and modernize your company. One of the newer offerings are CRMs that not only manage your customers data but also automate appointment booking and follow up with emails and texts.

Become a Lean Painting Contractor

When a recession hits, lean management is key to surviving and thriving. A painting company should be able to adapt to changes quickly, which is crucial during an economic downturn. There are some basic measures a lean painting contractor can do to prepare for a recession, including:

– Implement a cost cutting culture.
Educate the painters
– Reducing over-purchasing and waste.
– Improve administrative efficiency and reduce overhead.
– Reduce or even eliminate office space if possible.
– Streamline operations, especially at the job site.

Another way that painters can improve their company during a recession is by renegotiating pricing with vendors. As demand for building materials decreases, your suppliers are in the same boat as you and willing to discount products. A good vendor can go a long way to secure a steady return from your business. For example, delivering paint to a job site can help with keeping logistics and traveling costs down.

By taking these steps, lean contracting companies will be in a much better position to weather the storm when a recession hits. And as we all know, being prepared is half the battle.

There is some wisdom in this Harvard Business Review article: How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward 

Starting a Painting Career During a Recession

Proceed with caution during recession
Driving your contracting business carefully

When it comes to career choices, many people tend to shy away from the trades during economic recessions. After all, with so many people losing their jobs, it can be hard to justify starting a new career in an industry that may not be hiring.

However, painters and other tradespeople can actually fare quite well during a recession. For one thing, while some industries may suffer during an economic downturn, the demand for painting and other trades services generally doesn’t drop off too much. People still need their homes and businesses painted, even when the money is tight.

What’s more, tradespeople often have an edge over other job seekers when it comes to finding work during a recession. That’s because  they usually have specific and forever skills that are in high demand, even when the economy is struggling. As a result, painters and other home services trades can often find work even when others can’t. Ecopainting is always on the look out for good people to join our team for our coming projects.

You Want to Thrive? Stay Flexible

So if you’re a painter during a recession, don’t despair. There are still opportunities out there for those who are willing to look for them. Be creative, keep learning and stay flexible. Most importantly, become essential to the customers and address their real needs. If you can do all that, you’ll weather the storm just fine and come out of the recession strong.

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