Canadian Contractor

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Hiring Secrets of the Pros: Tips and tactics for finding and keeping painters in a tough labor market – Part 1


This is a Sponsored Post from ShurTape Technologies

Across the country, painting contractors large and small are making one consistent concern clear: There’s a critical shortage of talent coming into the industry.

Many trades enjoy a direct funnel of talent from vocational education programs and trade schools, which are experiencing a renaissance in the wake of America’s mounting college debt problem and the de-stigmatization of education in the trades. But in the painting industry, organized recruitment initiatives or formal educational programs are incredibly scarce. And that puts painting contractors at a severe disadvantage in connecting with new talent.

This post is the first in a three-part series highlighting tactics successful painting contractors use to find, hire and retain talent in a tough market, growing their employee base—and their businesses.

Tip #1: Scale Up Gradually
It’s a common scene every spring: The phones start ringing, the work comes flooding in, and contractors often take on more jobs than they have staff to cover.

In the short term, subcontracting helps cover the quick flow of seasonal work and revenue. But a long-term growth mindset relies on full-time employees who have skin in the game with your company.

For most small- to medium-sized contractors, however, hiring a new full-time employee isn’t a quick budgetary decision. And scaling up gradually is, in most cases, the only realistic option. New employees need to be planned for, and to plan, you need to think and budget proactively.

As you work through this year’s work and profit margins, look ahead to next year. Set a specific growth goal—a revenue number and how many painters it would take to get you there— and dedicate a portion of this year’s revenue to help cover the hiring process. With 111 employees and $12 million in annual revenue, Kevin Nolan of Philadelphia, PA’s Nolan Painting dedicates roughly 3 percent of his budget to hiring. Three percent isn’t a bad number to aim for, although smaller operating budgets will benefit from a little more investment, even 5 to 7 percent. Think of the transitional periods as rebuilding years; the short-term hit to your profit will pay off in the long run.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Even investing in one new full-time employee next year, one or two the following year and so on can make a big impact on your growth.

You may need to tighten up other areas of the budget in the short term to get you there, but before long, you’ll be on your way to increasing the number of employees who are invested in your company’s success. And that positions you to dedicate efforts to longer-term business goals.

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