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Hire to Inspire:
A Method to Find and Develop House Painting Employees

 - By Andy Thompson  

Finding good help is one of the toughest things for any business owner, but it is especially hard for service and skilled labor business owners. 


Well first of all, a lot of skilled laborers like painters, who have a year or two under their belt, have a tendency to think they know everything there is to know and can do it better than their boss, so there can be a lot of turnover before you find the right fit for your business. 

It is important to remember also that you must first become the kind of boss that people want to work for.  There are a lot of paint contractors out there who are only concerned about making the quick buck and not about building a solid reputable long
term business.

This type of paint contractor is only interested in getting as much production out of a person for as little money as possible.  These same contractors are the ones complaining about how they can’t find or keep good help.  Truth be told the help is out there, but these contractors haven’t yet figured out how to “develop” the help to benefit their business.  

One of the best places to look for quality painting employees who are eager to learn and willing to pay their dues is through trade schools.  Men and women who attend these types of classes are interested in learning the skill and developing it into a long term career.

A good way to find and keep good help is to develop your employees through an incentive system and to paint a picture (no pun intended) of the benefits involved with working for your growing painting business.

Here are some ideas you can use to help build a solid crew of painters who will represent your painting business as if it were their own, take pride in their work and develop outstanding people skills.  They will leave your customers satisfied and referring your painting business to all their friends and begging you to do all future painting work for them.

In order to draw in and keep the type of painters that will be an asset to your business you must first put together a specific set of guidelines.  Here are a couple of examples you can use and expand on to fit your needs and individual business model.

First, you never want to hire a painter at top pay based on what they tell you about themselves.  Sure they may say they are great in all aspects of the trade, but unless they are willing to “pay their dues” and learn YOUR system and the way you expect things to be done, it may be in your best interest to keep looking.

Consider setting up a 90 day progressive probation period that offers incentives based on attendance, production and attitude. 

For example, let’s say you would be willing to pay the “Right” painter $17.00 per hour once the probation period is over.

You can start your new employee out at $7.00 per hour for the first 30 days regardless of experience.  This is the time when they will be proving themselves to you. 

If all goes well and you feel like they are progressing in the right direction you could give a $2.00 raise paying them $9.00 per hour for the next 30 days while increasing their

If all your expectations are met and you feel that your new employee is a good fit for your business you can bump them up to $12.00 per hour for the last 30 days of the probation period. 

At the end of the 90 day probation period you can do a formal evaluation to determine exactly what you are willing to pay based on your criteria and the progress they’ve made.

Once you decide on a the wage your new employee will work for, a great way to keep them motivated and productive (especially when you are not there to look over their shoulder) is to offer incentive bonuses for finishing the job early or maybe some kind of "no call back" bonus. 

Another way is if a customer gives you a cash tip at the end of a job; consider passing it on to your employee.  I can tell you for a fact, an extra $20.00 tip here and there for doing a good job on a consistent basis can go a long way in keeping your employees
loyal and happy and motivated.

Again you must first become the kind of boss painters want to work for, then explain to your employees the benefits and opportunities available to them as they grow with your company. 

If you think about your painting business as a series of stepping stones, one leading into the next, you will see that by developing your employees through a specific system right from the start you will realize that you are really developing future crew leaders
for when you take the next step of business growth. 

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