The ServiceLegend Podcast – Episode #45 – Crafting Excellence W/ Nick Slavik



Hey. Hey. What is going on? Everybody, it is Marco here with the pod cast, and we have a special guest for you guys today. His name is Nick Slavic. He’s obviously the chair of the PCA and Painting Contractors Association. It’s been around for 140 years. The non-profit and super excited to talk a lot about that. But obviously, you know, we don’t need to do a big introduction for Nick. He’s the host of Ask a Painter Live. He’s founder at Nick Slavic Painting in Minnesota, which is awesome. And yeah, super excited to have you on the pod man now.

Thanks, Marco. I’m a huge fan of Service Legend and you guys, so thank you for this opportunity.

Awesome. Yeah. And we’ve, we’ve obviously you’ve been on the podcast before and we love hearing from you. The painting community is obviously fans of you, lack of a better term, right? And so we’re super excited to and we’re honored to have you on the podcast as well. And today I want to I want to talk about everything PCA right? So the vision, the mission, current events, anything really going on within the Painting Contractors Association and really to give the audience as much value, to let them know what’s what’s up, what’s going on and kind of what’s in the books coming up, you know, in the PCA as well. But before I get into that, you know, I wanted to kind of kind of dive into a little bit of the, you know, just for a little bit of context. Right? So for people who don’t know you, right. What is it that you do and why is the painting industry, you know, the focus, right? Like, why did you get into the painting industry in the first place? I want to get into that.

Yeah. The the elevator pitch of me is started off in the painting industry and ten years old forced into into the family business. And this is my 30 30th first year give or take in this industry working in it. I’ve owned my own painting business for 15 years, Nick Slavic painting and Restoration. About seven years ago we just had the seventh year anniversary of a social media social media show called Ask a Painter Live, and that goes Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, all that other good stuff. But I’ve basically, um, I’ve known in my area for house painting. We’ve been doing it for a lot of years. I’ve known Nation and worldwide from Ask a Painter, and it’s just being a loudmouth on the internet. And if there was ever proof that consistency over content wins, I am living proof of that. So I’ve I’ve had 366, 67 weeks without missing a week of broadcasting live to the community about what it is to be a master craftsperson and a paint business entrepreneur.

Yeah. So if you’re living under a rock, then that means you don’t know who you are.

Well, you know, I always, you know, dating feelings. We love dating feelings. The feelings in. Everybody knows Nick. He’s a loud mouth. But we have 330,000 paint businesses in the United States and ask a painter live has 20,000 followers. So, I mean, really, it’s. You know, it you can get a big head and a big ego about these things until you look at the data and say you’re still only touching a very small, weird niche minority of this industry.

Yeah, Yeah. It’s so awesome in this industry as well. And we’re talking before labor is becoming easier to find. You know, we’re kind of, you know, going through that renaissance of labor is becoming easier to find and jobs are becoming harder to find, which some people might think that’s different, right? Like where labor is hard to find and jobs are easy. So it’s like easy to get the jobs. But labor is hard. So tell the audience a little bit why. Why is that? Like why based on data, based on your knowledge and kind of being in the painting industry for many years now, why do you think that’s the case?

Yeah. So back to the old data’s and data and feeling stuff. So I believe a good trait of a good leader in any industry is pattern detection, right? Where you can take a step back as the visionary of your company and you’re looking for patterns, good and bad patterns to capitalize on them, good ones. You want to capitalize bad, you want to fix and then capitalize. And I have been around I started my business in 2007, so I lived through that crazy housing crisis, crazy unemployment. Um, stuff was different back then. I mean, there were people used to come to my painting business in the early years with master’s degrees because they’re out of work and they want to feed their families and they’re looking for anything to support their families. And when I started my business, I’m like, Well, I guess that’s just how the world works. People with college degrees come to you all the time looking for work. That was a 2 or 3 year blip, and then we entered into a decade plus of labor, got super hard to find, and jobs are actually relatively easy. Like it’s a cliche and we all laugh at it for a reason, where if you have a website and you answer your phone and you’re a house painter, you will be packed for years with business. Right? And that’s been the truth.

We all kind of laugh at it like, Oh, we brag about how long we’re booked out. But the data is most paint businesses in the United States statistically only lasts between 1 and 3 years. So right now, statistically, 99% of all painting businesses in existence have never experienced a time outside of the last 1 to 3 years when labor was easier to get and jobs were harder. And now I go to social media. I look at all the boards. I talk to other great big business owners across the United States and I talk to other members. And the data point that all professional businesses, large professional businesses share with me right now, where I trust the data integrity is that it costs more to acquire a job and labor is becoming a little easier. Now, this is not being an economic predictor. I’m not saying we’re falling into recession because if I knew what the economy was going to do, I would sell everything I own and either short or long the the stock market. Right. And I’m not doing that. So I don’t going to happen. But I will tell you this. I’m looking at all the data and all the feelings. I see it in my company, other companies. It’s harder to get jobs right now. It’s easier to find labor.

Yeah. What would you say to let’s say the painting contractor is listening to this that are doing, you know, let’s say 500 K to $1 million a year who are kind of going through that growing phase, you know, getting new painters, getting new jobs here. You’re having to balance, you know, acquiring new customers, but also getting the labor side. And maybe they have that preconceived belief that getting labor is hard. So, like what what are some actionable things that you would say to them to work through through them?

So 0 to 500 K, you’ll likely not be greatly affected by any of this because organically work and humans will come work for you and ask you to paint their house. It’s just sort of a thing, right? 500 K to a million. You’re going to start feeling it because you run out of family and friends to employ. Like we always go to our inner circles, right first. And once we run out of family and friends to employ, then we have to just go out to the to the unwashed masses, the public, and do this. Then it becomes a lot harder. And between that 500 and a million mark, you can’t just organically pick your cousins and your buddies to do this with. So you start feeling that pain and then you start thinking, Oh man, maybe something, maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe there’s something wrong with my business. And the solution to all this is just getting intentional, which is anything we devote time and money to and track the data from magically we can move the needle on. So the simple thing to do with that is finding clients and finding employees or subs. There is almost no difference in it. You’re acquiring either the ability to do a job or labor to do the job, and they need to be marketed to very similarly.

Now you find them in different places, but if you intentionally like so many painting companies, spend so much time thinking about SEO marketing, branding, colors, images, things like that, and they spend zero time thinking about employees. If we put as much time into finding decent human beings to work with us, we would get a result. But typically what people do and Marco, you cut me off anytime because I am known for being a windbag on the Internet. So what we what what house painters are known to do is to spend tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds, if not thousands of hours of time into marketing to get jobs. And they track the data from it. But they go to Craigslist, they put up one free ad and says must lift £50, must not be a drug addict, Come work for me. And they’re like, nobody responded to the ad, So guess there’s no good humans out there, right? And we have so much effort and intentionality in one area and not in the other. And it’s just simple. Do the same thing you do with marketing, with marketing for people.

Yeah. You know, that’s even what we, you know, we’re passionate about that even at service legend we’ve we’re actually currently in you know in one of our Q3 is to build out a hiring funnel. And so that’s something you know painting company should do as well like marketing companies doing painting companies should do it. If you guys are trying to get labor, you always see that, you know the the ads on indeed or Craigslist or whatever. And it’s just so boring. Like why would anybody want to work with that company, you know, based on how it presents itself? So that’s something painting companies can do then is is like you said, be more intentional about, you know, your hiring ads and just market your business and create reasons for people to work for you.

So it’s really it’s really funny. I have a master’s class about, you know, modern apprenticeship and decent human being and things like that. It’s actually a two parter. Takes an entire day to get through. And actually with Love, I grabbed screenshots of our industry’s help wanted ads and they are I mean, they are like far side comics and like they are pure comical stuff like so if if we marketed for clients jobs like we marketed for people to work in our business, it would say, I’m a painter, I paint, here’s my phone number, no picture, and that’s it. And we’re like, Wow, that’s so uninspiring. I wonder why no clients contact you. But we do that. I mean, that’s the exact thing we do to find humans with to surround ourselves with. So I’m with you guys, which is intentionality wins and just hoping, you know, the dice roll, hoping things work out is not a great strategy.

Yeah. Yeah. 100%. Now in terms of like what maybe you guys are doing and we’ll get into the stuff in a second here. But at Nick Slavic painting restoration, you know, in terms of I would call it employee acquisition, like your, your your process for acquiring employees that are high quality players, people who get stuff done. And you can lead them for those employees in your kind of marketing for your internally. Are you guys setting a budget to that? Is that what painting contractors should do? Or like when you say get intentional, do you mean set a budget and and do the right like, you know, walk me through what that looks like for for painting companies.

Well, I will tell you this. If you want to market your painting services, there’s actually a lot of competition for that, right? Like I’m on all my local Facebook happening groups and there are constantly, multiple times a day people posting kind of good images and good ads and things like that for that. But when you’re looking for people, there is no competition out there. Like, like I said, those cliche ads, about £50, no drug addict must have driver’s license, things like that, starting wage, $12 an hour. You know, um, if you ever want to be very proud of your efforts and see a huge return on your time and money and get intentional about doing anything different, because you can actually right now get a surprising result with recruiting humans if you try anything different than anybody else. Whereas with just marketing your paint business or your paint services, it’s a little harder. I mean, it’s still pretty easy to differentiate, but people are getting clever too, that people have not gotten clever to recruiting yet. So honestly, if you do anything different than the standard ad, if you just go to indeed right now and say painter ad and you will see all those cliche ads do anything different than that, You know, I’ve I’ve put ads out there with a beautiful black and white picture of young people doing the craft. And all I’ve said is you make the cut and your family, I’ll teach you everything you need to know. Email me. And that’s it. And that speaks to anybody different than what’s out there.

Yeah, it’s all about the messaging, what you put and what you do when someone reaches out. You know.

That. And that goes without saying. Again, if you have the most bang whiz marketing and you never answer your phone, you’ve just wasted everything. So the whole second part, I’m glad you mentioned that because you can have a great ad, you can take this beautiful black and white picture, you can have a loving message and you get a decent human being in. And if you have a huge unprofessional sized business, that’s pure chaos. They’re not going to be welcome there. So you you also have to do follow through. You have to be consistent with the message you put out and you have to have the systems, the processes, the SOPs, the review systems, the pay scales, support systems, things like that, because we’re not typically finding master craftspeople to come in and just plug in and start painting. We’re really having to make our own. And what you’re going to get is a whole bunch of very nervous, decent human beings coming into your business if you don’t have those systems around it.

Yeah. Yeah. No, that totally makes sense. It’s all about putting it out there, but then following up, you know, like having a good system for following up and working through the pipeline. That’s cool, man. Well, let’s dive into some stuff, if you don’t mind. Um, now, you mentioned before jumping on here and just us talking that there’s two main things going on within the PCA, right? Number one is gathering groups. You guys are looking to introduce gathering groups into states. And then the second thing you mentioned was the expo and some some some news on that on that front as well. So let’s start with the gathering groups. Tell me a little bit about the gathering groups. Let’s let’s let the audience know what what’s coming up within the PCA for gathering groups and states.

Yeah. So I will we’re going to talk today about the things, the tangible things that people can touch and feel with the PCA they’re going to see on social media. I want people to know that we’re probably going to talk about 6% of the things that happen at the PCA. There’s a mountain of humans, people that we know and love that are involved with the working daily and weekly to make sure that this industry is professionalized. These are I picked out the gathering groups and expo because of they’re actually going to be things that people can do and touch. So the gathering groups the PCA is 140 year old nonprofit. You can imagine it’s gone through. I mean, I’ve gone through 15 years in my business and I’ve seen this. The PCA has gone from there wasn’t telephones when the PCA started, you know what I mean? So it’s had to modernize many times in its life. And in the last 5 to 6 years, we have undergone likely the largest modernization of this beautiful 140 year old nonprofit for our industry that it ever has in its 140 years. And most people won’t ever see it. It was it was kicked off by a lot of people before me. I was handed an organization that still is on that modernization kick. And I bring modernization up because there used to be chapters and councils and sergeant at arms and reading of the minutes and dues and all this other stuff all over. And there still is a couple of those holdouts in the country. But that’s really a post World War Two thing of that, think about veterans groups, Elk clubs, Oddfellows groups and things like that.

And that’s those all formed out of the end of World War Two. So it’s likely that we are about 75 to 80 years into that thing. And we just wanted to modernize. So what we did locally, me and Jason Paris, you guys know Jason Paris know and love Jason Paris. Um, we started some weird little group called The Gathering of Minnesota Painters about 4 or 5 years ago, and it was in response to these growing groups on social media. You know, we know and love Tanner Mullins group. We know and love Corey License Group. Hundreds of thousands of painters are gathering online where they’re not gathering in these chapters and councils anymore. So Jason and I, we started a Facebook page that said Gathering of Minnesota Painters, kind of a weird little name. And we basically invited a few hundred of our friends. I think we got 300 some members in there and we decided, you know what? We really like each other and we need to break down this wall of competition and we need to get together and we’re going to start it here in Minnesota. So 4 or 5 years ago, we got together four times a year. We got industry partners like Hirschfield, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Typekit, Titan Coat to sponsor us. And we would get together and we would just have a lunch on them. We’d tour one of the facilities, and then we use the group to teach each other things. This wasn’t a thing where it was pure vendor driven and things like that. Our own members would come up with topics and teach the group and it’d be an open, honest discussion.

And what we saw happen was that whole thing about competition. It completely broke down. Tradespeople have this have this chip on their shoulder that every other person who does what they do is competition. And when you go to the data, Marco, the beloved data, you’ll realize that there is no competition. And the residential market right now, like if you have a phone number, you’ll be fine. And we saw gradually everybody side eyeing each other at the start of this meeting. And then at the end of it, the more we met, now we’re all friends. We trade jobs. We have beloved clients that are in our area. We go to the gathering of Minnesota Painters Facebook group, and we we hand that client off to somebody else. And it’s beautiful. Now, the weird thing is in Fight Club esque something Fight Club esque broke out. These things started catching some wind and people started getting them all over the United States and the PCA got behind it. And now there’s 25 plus versions of these all over. And some states that are big enough, you know, your Texas, your Florida’s and even the Ohio Michigan area, there’s multiple ones in each state and it’s just beautiful. Now, the PCA is there to serve and funnel and facilitate these things. And our friends Brad Allison and Brandon Pierpont as well too, those guys are kind of the point people for recruiting and getting these up. So our goal by the end of this year is to have between 30 and 40 and certainly by the end of next year, we want every single state represented, at least with one group.

Right. So you’re looking to expand these gathering groups into you said 30 states. 30 states, Yeah.

By the end of the year. I mean, we our goal was pretty low at the start of the year. I think in, you know, in five months we’ve got 25. So we’re on a good pace, you know. Yeah.

Yeah, absolutely. You should only got five more to go for the rest of the year. Tell me a little bit about what it takes to create these gathering groups, because you told me like in Minnesota, you guys got that collaboration. It kind of breaks the walls down between like competition where, you know, contractors might have that chip on their shoulder. What does it take to put together one of these gathering groups?

Yeah, it takes it takes a couple servant leaders, guys like you, guys like me, guys like Ryan who are out there. And we don’t need to do any of this stuff on social media. Some of it is part of our job, but a lot of it isn’t. We don’t need to share this stuff. We don’t need to get out there and collaborate with other contractors, but we’re going to do it anyway. Servant leaders are people who get involved with sports, church groups, community groups, other paint business owners, things like that. We’re going to do this naturally. It’s a biological urge and this is just a very productive outlet for it. So servant leader, we either tap a servant leader that we know or typically servant leaders find a way to contact us and say, Hey, man, gathering Minnesota painters, that’s awesome. I want to do that in Tennessee. Let’s do this. And it’s like, Great, we’ll just help you out. We actually created a document, a one pager, that will help you get set up. And of course, me, Brad and Brandon are all here for people to support them when they get there. So if anybody’s interested in doing that, you raise your hand, you get a hold of anybody at the PCA or me or Bradley Ellison or Brandon Pierpont, and we will basically hold your hand and help you.


Now let’s say you’re in an area that you know there is a gathering group already. Is there some sort of landing page? I guess I’m, you know, I’m trying to understand where let’s say you’re a painting contractor in Phoenix. You know, is there a site, is there a page on the website that you can go to and kind of see that? Where should they go?

Yeah, two things. So obviously, you can just search Facebook because it’ll always be gathering of something, but the actually has a landing page that that has gathering groups on it and it’ll list with hyperlinks to every single one of them. And every time somebody notifies me that they start one, I send it into the Brad and Brandon do too. And they’re all listed there probably within about a week or two lag time. So yeah, if you’re ever curious, again, website is the one that’ll take you right there. Otherwise, contact me. Search up Facebook. They’re all there.

Yeah. That’s so awesome. And. To your point about the contractors kind of breaking the barrier down or the walls down for competition? Right. Like there’s there’s so much work to go around and there’s no point in holding a grudge or just not, you know, because even like when we’re onboarding clients at service luncheon every single week and every single month we see at all, you know, you got contractors who care. You got contractors who don’t care, you got abundance mindset, you got scarcity mindset. And so, um, I love that about you guys. And that’s what it’s all about, you know, community creating a community of, of contractors who can serve the community with the same, you know, effort. And, and.

I will say that like, even if you want to be selfish, like you can take a 15 year graph of my progress, not only as a human, a father, a craftsperson and an entrepreneur, and there’s a hockey stick right at the end of it. Over the last 5 or 6 years, that inflection point right where the curve hockey sticked up into something good was when I started collaborating with other painters. I joined the PCA and I started getting involved with this stuff. So it’s not just it’s not just non-profit giving of your time donating stuff like this. It’s literally this is the thing that holds most contractors back. If you just want to have a big rip in business and be successful, there’s a cheat code. It’s called collaboration. Honestly, Yeah.

It’s just yeah, you got to be intentional about it that that’s where you’re going to learn. You know, there’s guys that are smarter than you and so you got to learn.

From arguably everybody is smarter than you.

Yeah, there’s always somebody who’s got a worse situation than you. There’s always somebody who’s smarter than you. 100%. Okay, awesome. Well, that makes sense. These gathering groups would be really good. Stay tuned for that. If you’re a painting contractor, stay tuned for those. That’s going to be amazing. Um, let’s talk about the expo. And we’ve been to the Expo the last few years. We love it. We love the value that that the Expo offers. Obviously, we’re there as a as a vendor or a sponsor, but tell me a little bit about, you know, because everybody knows about the Expo, but tell me tell me what’s new, what’s coming in the pipeline for Expo in the next few years?

The Expo is the big boy. It’s my Super Bowl like it is. It is the thing that everybody no one loves. There’s there’s chatter all over the Internet right now. When and where and when and where. It’s all there on the website. We’re going to Orlando. It’s going to be February. It’s going to be monster. And we we did. In the past, we’ve typically tried to take our one big national event, the expo, where everybody shows up like you guys to super grateful for you guys being involved, to love the energy you guys brought, all these other vendors, all these other people that come there. We typically kind of rotate coast to give people a break. So we tried New Mexico this last time, which is a little bit of a risk. It’s a double plane flight, a connecting flight. For most people. The venue was a little bit small, things like that. But we set a record for attendance and things like that. So it was you put all those hurdles in front of people and still we set a record for that. And the amount of new attendees and people who have never been members before and the energy, you were there. Like it was just like palpable.

It was just so much excitement and optimism. And it’s proof that this collaboration and this togetherness works. We’re capitalizing on that and we are shooting to double that this year. So we’re going to Orlando. It’s a big boy. It’s a family destination. It’s a single flight. For most people. The venue is awesome. And yeah, we’re basically just going for it. Like we we had to turn away some vendors and things last year, which is what breaks my heart. And we vowed never to happen again. So yeah, we’re going for the big boy and we formed as as chair. It was very important to me to make sure that again, we’re being intentional about this. So we formed two new committees, a marketing committee and a education committee specifically for this. And we have some of the biggest brains in our industry craftspeople and entrepreneurs volunteering their time on these committees, working daily and weekly to come up with speakers, different tracks for estimators, project managers, business owners, things like that. Varied amounts of inside our industry, sort of knowledge, outside of our knowledge industry, knowledge, things like that, and try to make it one of the most collaborative, interesting, new and interesting expos and with twice the people.

Yeah, I love that. And. You know, at first I was like, New Mexico is close. So for us it was easy. So like, it was closer than the Orlando one and wherever wherever the other locations were. But it definitely was unique. I feel like nobody liked Albuquerque, like, no offense, but I feel like nobody liked Albuquerque. And what was interesting is like as far as like the city, right, Like, like a lot of people like to go to a conference and it’s in an area that’s amazing, right? Um, so in Orlando, you guys will I mean, the venue is a lot bigger, so you’re looking to double it. How many attendees were at these recent ones and how many you guys expecting at the new ones?

Yeah. So we can typically get between 4 and 600 people. I think we were at about 600, give or take. So we would like to broach that thousand person mark go 1000 to 1200, give or take, when you add everybody in. So that would make it a robust, a robust event for our industry.

Yeah. How does that change? I guess the, you know, like the the speakers and sort of the the value and and that sort of thing. Is it going to be a longer event? Is it going to be the same same length? Tell me a little bit about that.

Well, what’s really interesting is that when I first started going six, seven years ago, it was there was there was there was collaboration. Right. And the evenings are always the highlight when you can download and hang out and party with all your all your fellow people. But for the last seven years, the the entire trend and the feedback we’ve been getting is more collaboration time, more time to just mingle and things like that. So what we’re doing is it is not just going to be a ten hour lecture every day, Go from lecture to lecture to lecture. We’re building in so many of these like peer mingle, peer group tables where at our last one we doubled down on that to where there was 50 different tables with 50 different topics and people every rotated every ten minutes. And you could collaborate with other people. And universally people keep saying, We want more of that. We want more of that because you could sit down for ten minutes, you could ask a pointed question. There’s 13 other people there who answer you and you get your information and you go away and it’s a great thing. So we’re trying to have that beautiful balance of education that challenges people and and progresses our industry versus that time to take that challenge and knowledge and then start mixing it up with other people and that good combination of that. But it’s likely that when you actually think about sitting down and listening to information versus collaborating and intermingling and networking with others, it’s probably going to be like a 3,040% info and the rest is going to be all of that collaborative learning and effort.

Yeah, I love that because, you know, as service legend, we go to a lot of events, right? A lot of conferences that are like home service, but then there’s like the whole like marketing side and like the business side of events and you have a ton of events that are just like, like I don’t know how to explain it, but they’re almost like hype. Like it’s just hype in there. They try to sell you things, right? It’s like they got salespeople all over the floor and that’s what I’ve always liked. But it’s what I always liked about the PCA is like you go there and it’s like there’s no like no salesy, you know, like it’s all value. It’s very collaborative. And it’s funny that you bring up those percentages because that’s really what it is like when you go there. You actually learn something. You don’t just feel good, you know, you learn something and you can go home with notes and you can actually implement, you know, tens or dozens of things, you know.

So I’ve I’ve been I’ve been to the ten things where you’re sitting there and you’re just like, Yes, yes, ten x, let’s do this. Then you walk away. You’re like, I don’t have any notes in my notebook, so I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with like, I feel great, you know, Like, it’s it’s awesome. But that’s not that’s not what we’re trying to do. I believe our expo perfectly matches the ethos and the state of our industry now, which is curious people making first contact with other master craftspeople and business owners. And it’s likely that 50 to 60% of the entire crowd has never done one of these before. So when they get there, their minds are just blown. They’re like, Oh my God, I didn’t know there could be such a thing as a $35 million painting business, you know, in multiple states and locations Like it’s it’s discovery, it’s first contact. You know, it’s like it’s discovering one of the tribes in the Amazon, like in the first couple times you come into contact with them all it is is blowing your mind and bewilderness and and then after that you kind of get context and move on. But we set it up for that.

Like people can get excited on their own just by that first contact. We don’t need cheerleaders and everything there. We need good information. We need collaborative time. And the the it’s very likely that the biggest value proposition I mean, there’s a thousand things in the in the expo that are immediate gratification and immediate payback of your dues and stuff like that. We could bullet point list those. But honestly to me and to most of our members, it’s the humans and the PCA and that time we spend together. So the expo is so important and you um, it’s likely you can reap a. Massive amount of benefit from being a member of the PCA. You will not reap near the benefit you could on a major multiplier if you don’t go to one of these in-person events, especially Expo. And I would just say if you have never gone to one of these expos and you are one of the 330,000 painting contractors, your life will be changed. And mine was after my first expo, everything changed from there. That’s where the hockey stick curve went up. And it was a it was a lot of things. It was the people.

Yeah. Yeah.

Thousand percent. What about the data? Because you’re a data guy. Do you have any numbers on, like, of the members of the PTA? What are they mailing dollar companies? Are they. $5 million companies? Are they 500 K Like, can you can you tell me a little bit about what that looks like if you can?

Yeah. So I’m going to and I was very I was very careful to tell you that I’m going to be putting on my chair of the board of the hat and Nick Slavic, the house painter from Minnesota. This is one where I’m kind of dancing in both worlds, where I’m going to try to recall some data. But I don’t want you to sit here and say, I’m not reading an official press release. So on we get we get updates all the time about surveys of our members, about our buying power. Our buying power is in the billions, right? Of the members there. On average, a member is 15 times more professional, larger and more profitable than the standard painting company in the US. It’s it’s partially because we attract big professional businesses. It’s also I’m a perfect example of this, where I was a single owner operator back when I first joined the PCA and now we have 40 people under our employ. You know, we’re going to do 700 jobs in 3 million bucks worth of work this year. And so it’s like that. We also attract the people who need that. Like, I have the grit. I did not have the information when I went there. I found the information and it’s like I applied it to my grit and everything worked beautifully. So those are the two kind of people. We cater to people who need what the PCA has and are on their way to do it, and the people who are already there to be there to foster and care for the young Nick’s of the industry who show up wide eyed and just, you know, bewildered.

Yeah, that’s what I love about it, because you never have a contractor that goes to the PTA who has bad intentions. You know what I mean? Like, you always have the contractors that are looking to professionalize, looking to go to the next level, if you will, and professionalize their business or help professionalize the industry. But also, I mean, there’s a reason why people put logos like the PTA if they’re a member on their website, on their drug reps, etcetera. Like it’s because it’s a staple, right? It says something about their brand. It says something about their personality and kind of where they’re going as a company, you know?

Yeah, it’s a dog whistle to other people like you and me too. When I see that logo and it’s somebody I’ve never met before, it’s like one of me. I bet you. I bet you we could share some knowledge right now that would help each other out in our lives right now. And it never fails.

Yeah, 100%. You kind of know right away, you know, when you see it, you’re like, it’s a great.

Just like just like service legend. Just like ask a painter live just like the they’re think of them as like lighthouses or dog whistles. They appeal to a certain type and a certain type are attracted to those sort of things. So it’s a great clearinghouse for people who share our core values, which is awesome.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, hey, man, let’s talk about the contract or reboot comprehensive, if you don’t mind. Um, let’s talk about that real quick. What is it? It’s new. It’s coming up in July. It’s new to PC as a whole. You guys have never done anything like this in the past and you’re replacing it. So. So tell me a little bit about it.

Yeah, absolutely. So again, in an effort to modernize and meet our people where they are, you know, even five, six years ago, social media wasn’t what it was. Seo, all this other stuff. Google Analytics wasn’t there. So in an effort to stick with it and in fact try to be on the forefront out ahead of our industry, we want to modernize these in-person events because if somebody is going to take the time and the money, the war chest to get to one of these places, we want to have their mind blown. And so we’ve we’ve always done really, really insanely good excuse me, in-person events throughout the country. But this one is even more intentional, where we used to get a big group of people and there’d be a smattering of vendors and members who would present information. And we tried to kind of collaborate it and have some track that it would follow. But really it was kind of a scattershot thing. And it was it was great. It helped me in the first years. But we’ve a lot of feedback from our members is we really want an intentional thing where we’ve really focused on the things that we need now and like pattern detection, you know, like we talked about before, when we’re looking at our industry, I don’t want to wait till there’s a crisis in marketing and nobody has work and everybody’s flooded with employees. We want to sense that right now. Stay out ahead of it and cater content and locations and speakers to that. So basically information on the website, if you want to do this or attend, I’ll certainly be there. A bunch of people you know and love, but it’s basically a response to that, which is what do we think as an industry when we look when we look at all of our people, what do they need? Let’s make a guess and give them the most benefit we can if they’re going to come here to an in-person thing.

Yeah, love that. And then if someone can’t make it to an in-person thing, whatever it is, what kind of content like on the website, online, I know there’s tons of education that you guys have that’s video modules, things like that. So what what are they missing out on? Because you could do that from your from your laptop. So what is there there?

Yeah. So this is, you know, just like data and feelings, there’s a thing called information and grit and people have that in different levels, right? Um, in our industry right now, especially with the information, is not the thing holding people back. We have a thing called Overdrive, which is kind of the Netflix of paint content. I know you guys do some content on there. So do I. It’s a curated list where if you want to learn about job costing, they will queue you up some job costing. If you want to learn about estimating massive amounts of it and not just a list of stuff like curated content from industry experts. If you run out of that magically, the thousands of hours on there, you can go and do painter’s training, which are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of a learning management system to train all of your employees. You pay your dues. I think it’s 500 bucks a month. You can train 100 employees in there, put them all through quizzes, learning management system, things like that. Like you want to talk bang for the buck.

That’s it. Right? And then for business owners, we have business training, so there’s business foundations, accelerator and then legacy where we can actually take you through a traction like approach to tell you exactly what you need to do to professionalize your business and connect you with a cohort and other people like service Legend that can help you as well too. So it’s a honestly, it’s not the information that’s holding people back right now because if you just have enough grit and time to sit through all that stuff, that’s all you need. But the one big thing missing out of that, like you said, is that in-person thing, which is people will get all that information and naturally they will go to search out people that they trust to then make sure that information is good and apply it specifically to their business. So yeah, it’s it’s having enough grit to get through all that stuff and, and doing it. But yeah, if you can’t do it, go to these in-person events massive amounts of of content for you out there.

Yeah, that was, you know, I was even thinking the other day, like you could almost without even going to the in-person events. And obviously you should, right? Like 100%. You should. It’s a totally different experience. You need to talk to people face to face. You get to meet people like Nick, Like it’s it’s definitely a must, but you can pretty much learn how to do a painting business and be professional with overdrive and just the contents that’s out there, you know, like you could pretty much start from scratch and grow your business. And that’s, that’s amazing because it’s almost like a learning management system, you know, it’s an LMS for how to do it and what to do and how to be how to be a legit contractor, you know, well.

In our industry. So 99% of all contractors and I scrub the data every once in a while to look for anomalies or things like that. But as far as I can tell, 99% of all paint businesses, residential paint businesses in the United States are single owner operators. So this isn’t a value judgment for me. This is not me saying good or bad, but the likelihood of them being ultra professional with an employee manual, standard operating procedures, a billing system, a metric based estimating system, a marketing process, things like that. The likelihood of that taking place in a single owner operator is not going to be there. Right. And this comes from me, my beloved industry. This was me. I’ve been I have longer been unprofessional ized than I have been professionalized. So I speak from the heart and I speak as one of my industry brethren and sister. Then, um, but the important thing is that first contact, which is in a lot of other industries, if you’re in the banking industry, it’s likely that you don’t really need a lot of information. You might need grit, so then you might need to go to those conferences that pump you up and keep you going because everybody has a really good supply of information in our industry.

The reason 99% are single owner operators is because these are really good craftspeople that can’t find a professional company to work for. They’re forced to start their own business for good or for bad. And. I don’t know if I was supposed to be a business owner or not. I found a lot of comfort and love and enjoyment out of it, but it’s likely that most of our industry is not set out to be a business owner. So they don’t readily collaborate. They don’t readily look out for information like benchmarks. The first thing that they teach you in college and business is like, Hey, if you’re going to get into the concrete flooring industry, you should probably look for some industry benchmarks, start looking at what gross profit is, what the labor margins are, and start seeing if that’s something you can handle. That’s not a natural sort of inclination for people. It wasn’t for me, right? I didn’t know that. That’s what you do.

You know? Yeah. It shouldn’t be like that’s just human nature. Like you just kind of go with what’s in front of you. Yeah. So you’re telling me that you spent. Because I’m just kind of going back to what you said, you’ve spent more time as an unprofessional contractor than a professional contractor, and that’s majority of the marketplace, is what you’re saying, right?

100%. So in my 30, 31 years in this industry, I’ve only been what you would even call remotely professional in the last 5 to 7 years. So when people think of me and my big business, ask a painter and all the piles of vans and my finishing facility and my leadership team, that’s only happened in the last 20% of my professional career because of collaborating with people like you guys, the Jason Paris, other painters like that. That’s I had the grit, I had the drive. I’ll work 1000 hours a week. I just didn’t know where to put it. Guys like Jason Paris, people like the PCA, they said, Hey, here’s a book called Traction. Here’s a group you should be in. Here’s a paint business you should talk to. And all it did was kick the door open for me. And it’s like, that’s where my effort goes right there. And I got super charged after that.


And what would you tell the folks listening if they are in that position where you are, you know, years ago. What would you tell What would you tell them?

Oh, man. So obviously, do exactly what I’ve said for the last 40 minutes, which is start talking to other people. Start getting in person. The best money you’re ever going to spend investing in your business is sprayers are great, but investing in sitting around other humans in your industry is greater. The other thing that some of the best advice, some of the best things I’ve heard when I was going through this is it is hard, like only 7%. I’m probably going to not get the statistic right. It changes. But only 7% of all businesses in the United States are $1 million or more. And that means somewhere between 5 and 10 employees. And so that statistic alone will tell you if only a single percentage, single digit percentage does it, it’s not easy and you will experience pain. You will cry. You will have sleepless nights. I mean, it is it is wild, man. So having somebody who’s been through it come to you and say, this is hard. It’s not easy. And you’re going to feel lonely, too, you know? I mean, this is a this is a thing where only 4 to 7% of the entire US population are in your shoes that you can collaborate with. In our industry, it’s about 1% or one third of 1% that are in my shoes that I can sit there and say and commiserate with another $3 million business and. That to me is a sad statistic. It shouldn’t be that way. I shouldn’t be part of the 1% of our industry. But if that’s the case, that’s tough, man. That’s a lonely, solitude laden sort of ground for us, you know?


Yeah, absolutely. And then one of the last things I wanted to ask you kind of before we we end off here is, you know, of course the PC has a board of directors and kind of the vision comes from there. Where do you guys see yourself in the next five years, let’s say?

Yeah, this is pretty easy. Every every, every board chair gets elected a few times during their reign. We have a we have maybe a two year reign as board chair to enact some kind of specific thing we want to. And a lot of the people that came before me have worked to professionalize and modernize from the inside the PCA. And I believe I came around at a very good time and they groomed me for this position over the last bunch of years because I am the loud mouth on social media. I am the guy who’s been in the trenches for 30 years. There isn’t a painting thing that you can point me towards that I can’t find a coding solution to or have done many times. I also run a big business and the 1% of our industry. I have a foot in all the worlds and I love this. So they picked me because we have a rip in value proposition. We have so much excitement and we need to get the word out. And my strategy, if I have any, I got about 18, 19 months left to enact some sort of change. We have been massively working on a strategy I called Influencing the Influencers, which is it’s a typical force multiplier strategy. Think of machine gun versus gun. You know, one person can enact a whole lot of change out of a machine gun versus then a pellet gun or a BB gun.

What we’re looking to do is find the service legends, the Brandon Pierpont’s, the Bradley Ellison’s, you know, the Tanner Mullens, the Cory Listers. And we’re looking to influence the influencers, make sure that we build a that they would like so that they can tell a friend because our industry needs this like. I am not doing this to amp up the numbers of the PCA. I am doing this to change people’s lives like mine was changed. I mean, I literally would not be where I’m at. And this is the words are cliche, but it is absolutely true. When you look at the hockey stick curve of my personal and professional life. If I had not found the PCA and the people in it and the resources that it gives, my life would not be what it is right now. And to hold that as a secret or not work to give that to others like they gave it to me. That’s not being a servant leader and that’s not that’s not something I’m into. And you guys, you guys feel the same way. You share our core values. You’re out there trying to make this industry better. If we can make our own lives better in the meantime, great. But we do want to enact a change.


Absolutely. I mean, it sounds so. So good, you know, because you lived it. You know, you you went through the pain, you found the p.s.a. You’ve been where they are right now, you know? And so that’s the only way it grows if it’s for genuine good. And that’s obviously why we love being part of the and will continue to be part of the PTA and do everything we can from our side to professionalize the painting industry together and super excited to, you know, for for what the future holds at the PTA. And the last thing is, you know, like obviously you got Pca’s website and things like that. Where can people stay up to date with the current events? Is it is it on your show? Is it on PCA show? Like tell me a little bit about where where people should go.

Yeah, there is a, um, there is just this crazy blooming of really, really good content. Uh, 5 to 7 years ago it was like the Idaho painter and me, right? And the Idaho painter would talk about painting and I would talk about painting and running a business. And it was kind of like, we’re just out there doing stuff, right? And there weren’t a lot of guys to trip over. Now, I am so proud of our industry that we’re getting all these young, bright minds in here. They’re creating massive amounts of good content. So honestly, I would find as many painting podcasts as you can. I would find this one, I would find all the other ones through the PCA. I would find all the people you know and love that know a kanter’s, the tanner. Mullins You guys and, and I would consume as much of that content as possible because we are at an advent of this crazy amount of content and it’s likely five years from now it’ll be, um, it’ll be a little overladen, there’ll be too many options. But right now there’s massively good content. It’s all free. So you can go to ask a painter, you can go to the PCA, you watch service legend, but don’t limit it there. You need all the perspective you can get out there and consume every dang industry podcast you can.

Absolutely. Cool, man. Well, it’s been a pleasure and an absolute honor having you here on the podcast. We love it every single time. And real quick, for the service legend audience. Next week we have our last week for the Masterclass series with Ryan and Chuck. It’s going to be week six and so make sure you guys tune in to that. With that being said, appreciate you coming on to the podcast and we will talk to you soon.

No, thanks, man. Thanks a lot. Service legend and you do for our industry. And thanks for taking care of our people.

Absolutely. We’ll catch you guys later.







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