You may be wondering why many contractors, including painting contractors, seem to avoid taking on smaller projects. After all, every job is a chance to earn more money and keep the business running, right? While that’s true, there are actually a few good reasons why painting contractors may shy away from small jobs. Let’s take a look at a few of these reasons.
What is a Small Job?
The average painting job in our industry is about 4 thousand dollars and it takes 2 painters about one week to complete. That’s usually how long it takes to paint the interior of a modest home (read our blog about how long it takes to paint a house). Despite the average, painters don’t mind taking smaller jobs than that. If a job can keep a crew busy for a full day or two, most contractors can accommodate it. The difficulty is in accommodating requests for jobs like the following:
- Painting a door
- Repair and paint a small ceiling
- One highlight wall
- Remove wallpaper from a small wall
- Painting a closet to prepare for the closet organiser
These types of jobs can take just a few hours to complete but most painters do expect to work a full day before heading out their door. That being said, a professional company will do well to keep customers happy with their service offering and still keep painters busy.
Why Painting Contractors Like Bigger Jobs
Businesses are into closing sales and creating revenue with the least possible effort. It takes a lot of marketing, communication, estimating, colour help etc. before any project even starts. It’s easier to do this for one big job than let’s say 5 smaller ones with the same revenue total. After the project is on the schedule board the painting company will assign a crew leader with the number of painters to match the size of the scope of work. The crew will order and procure enough equipment and materials to complete the project. Again, the logistics of completing these processes are easier to execute for one big job than a few small ones.
As paint contractors we like to have our schedule full with as many project hours as possible. It keeps our painters confident and secure when they know that there is enough work to keep them gainfully employed. We do take on smaller jobs and always welcome them, however, the big projects are the cornerstones we like to build our schedule around.
Painting companies typically have a minimum price policy they implement when they take on small projects. The minimum price ensures that the contractor can cover the costs of mobilisation, which includes bringing crew and equipment to the site. In addition, minimum pricing helps to offset the overhead costs associated with running a business, such as marketing expenses, insurance premiums, office and warehouse rental costs. By having a minimum price policy the contractors can maintain their service excellence and still remain profitable.
What is a Homeowner to do?
Even if it’s perfectly understandable why painters prefer bigger jobs, what’s a homeowner supposed to do about it? They need a painting service and reaching out to a painter. The following are some good ideas to leverage the contractor’s service call.
- Be accommodating with scheduling.
- Combine it with another small project.
- Can you wait until next time?
- Can it be done in their slower season (winter)?
- Maybe one painter can do it, there is no need for a crew.
- Offer to help the painter with furniture or drapery.
Ask about their minimum charge policy, so that you are not surprised by it. Most painting companies will see the value of servicing a new customer and should do their best to accommodate you.
How Painters Can Learn to Love the Smaller Jobs
Are there any benefits to taking on many jobs and even thriving from them? Yes, there are ways a painting contractor can leverage small jobs to their benefit and still keep customers happy:
Help a Customer Out
Even Though the role of a service business is to be profitable, there is also a role that a business entity has within the community. That is the role of providing services to its customers. Some services are not as profitable as others but showing good will to the community is invaluable. In our own experience, many small jobs in the past have led to building valuable relationships.
Opportunities to Show off Your Work
The beautiful door you painted or the straight lines of that highlight wall are on display every day. If you are proud of your work, the customer is likely to be ecstatic of their new showpiece. They will talk about it to their friends and relatives, they might even call you back to paint the rest of the home when their budget allows it.
Training The Crews
Make this small job an opportunity to train your painters. Teach them how to put on a show for the customer. Teach them the efficiencies of how to be in and out and on to the next job without wasting a lot of time. If these painters can perform well under the microscope of many small projects, these are the painters to build your company around.
Turn Your Small Jobs Specialty into a Marketing Niche
After completing a few of these smaller projects successfully, why not specialise on them. You already know there is a high demand for this service after all. Develop systems and processes for quick turnarounds but keep focusing on the customer’s needs. Maybe fine-tune your virtual estimating process since most of us were forced to use this system during the pandemic restrictions anyway. Have the customer provide the materials or maybe have the paint store develop them. Are your customers condo owners? Why not specialise in “one day condo painting”? If today’s customers expect a package to their door in a few hours, we should not be surprised if they have similar expectations from their service providers.
Most of us like bigger projects, and predictable scheduling, while still maintaining a happy clientele that keeps showering us with glowing reviews and referrals. In reality, not everything is that predictable and if a business is to survive, adapting to everyday realities is a priority. The customer is what drives our business and if all they have is a small job, we need to be understanding and do our best to accommodate them. To our customer: If you only have a room or two to paint or if you only need your trim painted, give us a call and we will do our best to accommodate your small projects.