Hiring Painters – How to Find Good Help

November 16th, 2017 | Chandler Zieg | Painting Business Articles | 45 Comments

One of the biggest questions we get is “How do you find good help? Everyone I hire seems to be unreliable.”

This is a valid point. Many subcontractors are not reliable. They either show up late (or not at all) and their work is shoddy.

If you’re trying to grow your painting business, bad subcontractors can really put a wrench in your operation. You have to show up to the job site to make sure everything’s ok, or go to the paint store to get something they forgot. THEN you have to deal with an angry customer who’s not satisfied with the work.

There ARE reliable subcontractors out there. It’s just a matter of FINDING them and KEEPING them.

Many painting business owners complain about unreliable subs, when the owners are not reliable themselves. To keep reliable subs, YOU have to be reliable also.

A good painting subcontractor is not going to work for you if:

-You don’t pay on-time.
-You don’t have steady work available.
-You don’t do what you say.

It goes both ways. You can complain about not finding reliable help, but if you’re not providing an appealing offer for subs, they’ll work for someone else.

Another complaint we hear about subs is that they’re too expensive. We hear ‘There’s no way you get away with paying your subs 50%’. But in fact, we DO get away with it.

We can pay our subs only 50% of a job and get away with it because:

-We pay on-time.
-We have steady work.
-We do what we say.

A good painting subcontractor can literally get a text containing an address and the colors and have the job completed 2 days later.

Can you imagine how much time you could save if you had subs like this?

We already told you how to KEEP them, but how do you FIND them?

Here’s how we find good subs:

Craigslist Ads – We find almost all of our subs from craigslist. We post ads and then sift through A LOT of applications. We only contact about 10-20% of them. After that we show them a job and what we can pay out. If they feel our price is in the ballpark, we meet at the job and get to know each other and agree on a price.

For new subs we’re considering, we show up at the beginning of each day to make sure the work is going well. If they do a good job, we give them another one, and another one, until we have a good, reliable sub on our hands.

How do we pay them?

We aim for 50% INCLUDING materials. So the subcontractor actually goes and buys paint/materials for us. This leaves us enough gross profit to invest in other things like:

-Marketing our business
-Production management

How do we keep subs from stealing our jobs?

We make sure to put our company lawn signs at the job. Then we monitor it. If any of our subs poach a job, or try to, we don’t work with them again.

After a couple jobs, they see we’re a great source of work. Most subs will not risk stealing a job after seeing this.

We’ve found that 5-7 good painting subcontractors can produce $1,000,000 in a season.

There could still be problems and you might need to get rid of some people. But overall this system will secure a good core of subcontractors for you, opening up all your time to grow your painting business.

Comment below for other suggestions on finding good subs. Thanks for reading!

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