For some of us, this will take some remembering, but go back to when you started your decorating business with just a brush and roller. The first time you dipped the brush, took a deep breath, and painted a line on the wall. That line became a fully painted wall, and you got paid for it.
It’s incredible to think about how far you’ve come since then. But how have you developed as the years have passed? Has your business has become more established? How do you feel each year? Are you worried about the year ahead or excited about the changes you’ve begun implementing the previous year? Because every year, there’s always a change, either the positive one you make, or the one fate makes for you – and sometimes that one is not so positive.
So, let’s consider 2024 and how you can make a positive change to your decorating business. Yes, I know it’s only August. But it’s always better to plan ahead.
Look Back At Your Decorating Business Before You Look Ahead
Before you get into what’s next, take a moment. Think about this year so far. What went well? Where did you struggle? And most importantly, what did you learn? I know some decorators that tried to shift entirely over to just kitchen spraying, but it didn’t go so well. They picked up no new clients, and work started draining away, so they switched back, and everything is now better. But I also know others who made it work and are booming with kitchen leads. Consider what and why. It’s not necessarily you, it could be the environment around you, but it’s essential to know.
I know it sounds like being back at school; you just want to be a decorator. Head into a room, paint, and get paid. Enjoy doing what you’re good at and not worry about the business stuff. But unfortunately, as a business owner, it’s the business stuff that matters.
All the trainers at PaintTech, have had a decorating business at some point in their career. We remember the paint splatters, the long hours, and the satisfaction of a job well done. And, just like you, we faced moments of change and decisions about our future. But we learnt to analyse the past year and forecast the future.
Growth is a Decision
Open your phone and click on the calendar. Are you booked out? Now open Google My Business and see if clients sing your praises and recommend you to others. Because if they aren’t, why aren’t they? For every one client, there should be five leads.
Hey Brenda, I’m glad you love our decorating; thank you for the 5-star review. Could I ask you for 5 people that you think could use my services too? Has anyone been thinking about decorating or expressed an interest? Don’t worry, I’ll call them. I’m not expecting you to’.
Do this, and I guarantee your decorating business will grow. But to do or not do this is a decision, and it’s your decision.
The Power of Learning
Sure, you know your way around a brush and roller; it’s your life blood, and no one can change how you feel about it. But just like the horse and cart, just like VHS or record players, technology outplaces what we know, and if we don’t keep up, we’ll be trying to stick a memory stick in a VHS player or wheels on a donkey. And for decorators, spraying has replaced rollers. Ok, just like a horse and cart, there will always be space on a job for a brush and roller, but the vast majority of any job now should be done with spraying machines.
But just like driving a car, everything needs training. Yes, even using a brush and roller requires training. You might not have realised it, but I guarantee you’ve watched Facebook or YouTube videos with other people painting. This is training in a small form. The difference between that and what we offer for spraying is for us, we give you the ability to learn face to face with approved trainers and guarantee you will get better results.
Know that the world of painting and decorating is vast, and there’s always something new to learn. Maybe 2024 is the year you dive into spray painting or some other advanced technique. Keep your skills sharp and fresh. It’s an investment that pays off in your decorating business, not just in better work but also in customer satisfaction.
Don’t Wait, Innovate!
I hope that 2023 has been a smashing year so far. You have clients coming in, and things are on the up. You’ve made more profit this year than you’ve ever made. But if you’re finding that clients are becoming scarce, it’s time to rethink your marketing strategy.
Consider what you have done, what worked and where it fell down. What areas of your marketing do you need help or training on?
Today’s world is digital, and a little investment in online marketing or a refresher course on modern techniques could boost your business. Be proactive, not reactive. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best time is now!
Start Now, Reap Later
Think about it. Every January, I bet you’re sat there thinking, “I can’t do another year like last year”. The long hours, the bad customers, the low budget jobs. Things need to change. But instead of fretting in 2024 as you are every January, why not enter 2024 with confidence?
That’s why I say to plan now, through September, to hit the ground running in January.
Remember, as a decorator, you have the power to paint your future. But you can’t change things around in a day. So, don’t expect to walk into January unprepared, without learning new skills, having the same mindset, and expecting things to be different.
So that’s the ‘You’ part covered, but what about boosting sales from the start in 2024? How do you stop January from being a typically slow month?
It’s not just about the walls you paint but the relationships you build. As you think ahead, consider strengthening your bonds with suppliers, clients, and even competitors. Build a network of referral partners that always have you in mind when someone asks for a decorator. A recommendation from a past client or a favourable deal from a supplier can make a world of difference.
Look back to the previous January’s. How many leads did you have in the months leading up to January, and how many turned to live jobs? Now multiply those leads by the number of jobs you actually need in January, and you can begin to work out what you need to do in November and December to make January work.
Did You Know? Strong professional relationships can lead to a 30% increase in repeat business. That’s right! Happy clients come back, and they bring their friends.
This might seem out of place, but keeping your passion alive is vital. And yes, I’m going to say it. If you are struggling to be inspired, if you have lost passion, then learning to spray paint is an answer. What ‘learning to spray’ can bring to your decorating career is inspirational. It brings in more jobs and a lot more profit. But it does take commitment, dedication, and hard work. But being inspired will empower you to bring in sales.
Feedback is Gold
December is the perfect time to get reviews for your decorating business. Everyone is settling down for Christmas. They have more free time, and the Christmas spirit puts everyone in a good mood. So, before 2023 wraps up, contact some of your clients and ask for feedback. Constructive criticism can offer insights into areas of improvement you might not have noticed; it’s also a great way to show your clients that you value their opinions, and its fantastic marketing material.
If you’ve worked hard bringing in plenty of pre-Christmas leads, you’ve been out quoting for jobs, and your potential clients are now trying to decide whether or not to go ahead. Having good feedback that you can share on social media or email might be the final thing to push them over the line and fill January’s calendar.
So, there we have it, talking about Christmas and New Year in August. I guess someone has to be the first, though I have heard some stores are already selling Christmas decorations.
If you need any help, support or guidance on improving your business and making 2024 the best year you’ve ever had, please reach out. We’ve been there and helped many decorators do the same in previous years.